Menu Close

How to Become a Petroleum Engineer

Petroleum Engineer

What is Petroleum Engineering?

Petroleum Engineering is an interdisciplinary subject; you will study a number of subjects including geology, physics, chemistry, mathematics, thermodynamics and fluid mechanics. You will be taught how hydrocarbons are generated, stored and produced deep underground. On completion of the program, you will understand the entire life-cycle from identification to the production of oil and gas fields, and how to operate and maintain the equipment which is used in the entire process.

What Petroleum Engineers do?

Petroleum engineers do not just dig a hole in the ground and wait till oil and gas spurts to the surface like a fountain. This process has now become highly technical and sophisticated, requiring the use of the latest equipment and techniques. Petroleum engineering may be classified into various sub-specialties such as reservoir engineering, drilling engineering, and production engineering among others.

A reservoir engineer determines the location of hydrocarbon in place and devises the most appropriate technology to recover the hydrocarbon efficiently and economically. The job of a drilling engineer is to design and execute the drilling process safely at minimum cost. Drilling a well is a multi-million dollars activity which is complex and requires specific expertise.
After the well is drilled and capped, the production engineer takes over the responsibility of production of the oil or gas commercially, safely and efficiently. Production engineer analyzes the data, interprets it, and optimizes the performance of each individual wells, as well as the overall operation of the field.

Advantages of being a Petroleum Engineer

Petroleum engineers have a life full of challenges and opportunities. They have to develop and apply new engineering techniques to recover oil and gas from various subsurface formations. They work at the cutting edge of technology and thereby are entitled to some of the best salaries and perks in the industry.

  • Growth of population and energy demands means there will a constant need for Petroleum Engineers. Even as oil reserves dwindle and alternate energy resources are being developed, the demand for oil will remain high for the next 50 years or more.
  • Petroleum Engineering is a specialized subject, few universities offer it and few students enter it, so you have less competition and better chances of continued employment.
  • This is an interdisciplinary field and you have a chance to study a wide variety of subjects. Petroleum engineers use high-performance computers, for analysis, simulation and also in automation of oilfield drilling and production equipment.
  • The industry has the highest salary rate. Last year the average starting salary for petroleum engineers with a bachelor’s degree was $78,541,(ref NACE Salary survey) with a median salary of a petroleum engineer at $128,230 (ref: U of Ok website)
  • Most oil and gas companies operate on a world-wide basis and you will have a chance to travel and work all over the world with the best of facilities even in the most challenging environments.

Best Petroleum Engineering Schools

Here are some of the top schools offering courses in Petroleum Engineering:

The University of Texas at Austin (UT) is a public research university and the flagship institution of the University of Texas System located in the state capital city of Austin. The institution has the nation’s eighth-largest single-campus enrollment, with over 55,000 undergraduate and graduate students and over 24,000 faculty and staff. The University of Texas is divided into 18 schools and colleges.

The University of Texas at Austin is big, bold and ambitious. The size of the university allows UT Austin to offer unmatched opportunities in almost 400 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. UT Austin’s intellectual resources include world-renowned cultural and research centers like the Harry Ransom Center, the McDonald Observatory, the Blanton Museum of Art and the LBJ Presidential Library. Longhorns learn and work in an inclusive, international environment that prepares them to change the world through research, entrepreneurship and creativity.

A famous staple of the UT Austin campus, the orange glow that burns from the clock tower after major sports victories, was designed by Cockrell School alum Carl J. Eckhardt, Jr. in 1937. In the years since, the Cockrell School of Engineering has continued to produce innovative engineers through highly ranked programs in areas like petroleum, civil, and environmental engineering.

The Hildebrand Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering (PGE) offers curriculum in Petroleum Engineering. They have an exciting group of professionals committed to educating the next generation of petroleum engineering leaders who will improve the quality of life. The Center for Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering (CPGE) is the research center of the PGE department that produces innovative faculty and student research.

PGE is home to the No. 1 petroleum engineering undergraduate and graduate programs according to US News & World Report. Their tradition of excellence stems from strong curriculum, world-class faculty, and an unmatched research program. The PGE faculty develop interdisciplinary research in petroleum and geosystems engineering as well as other areas related to energy and the environment. The professors conduct $13 million in research a year, more than any other U.S. petroleum engineering program.

Undergraduate Program

Undergraduate students in the PGE department receive a strong education, empowering them to become leaders in the energy field. It is a top-rated undergraduate petroleum and geosystems program plus the value of a UT education, the abundant campus activities with exciting career opportunities and multiple graduate studies options.

The Hildebrand Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering (PGE) has a leading undergraduate program that provides a tight-knit environment for students to learn and develop themselves. With a state-of-the-art learning center and dedicated faculty who have written the books on petroleum engineering, PGE students receive a strong and rewarding educational experience. In addition, students have many opportunities to develop their petroleum engineering skills and knowledge outside of the classroom, including student organizations, camps and internships with industry. PGE has a strong connected culture that is influenced by lifelong student and faculty relationships.

PGE undergraduates are recruited and hired by top energy companies for internships and full-time positions. Internships allow students to put the theory to practice with hands-on projects in industry. Students are taken out of the classroom environment and go into the field at locations across the country, including: Houston, Denver and Prudhoe Bay, Alaska for a rewarding and educational summer experience. Internships are one of the best avenues for students to obtain full-time positions once they graduate.

Graduate Program

Graduate students in the UT PGE department collaborate with world-class faculty on innovative research that results in game-changing solutions for the energy industry. Learn more about what program option is the best fit for you, the financial support available, abundant campus activities, why everyone is talking about Austin and the career opportunities available to you.

The graduate program by the numbers alone, is a strong and influential community that is dedicated to changing the world — 180 students, $16 million in research funding and 1,200 alumni with graduate degrees. The tight-knit group allows students to learn and develop in one of the nation’s fastest growing cities, Austin, Texas.

In the classroom, students will receive a strong education from world-class professors. Graduate students conduct research in excellent facilities that provide unique capabilities in a variety of areas including production logging, vertical and inclined flow in wells, artificial lift, core flooding for enhanced oil recovery, subsurface environmental remediation, drilling, stimulation, rock mechanics, well log digitizing and interpretation, and PVT analysis.

Since many petroleum companies conduct worldwide operations, petroleum engineers may have the opportunity to work on assignments all over the world. Petroleum engineers must solve a variety of technological, political, and economic problems encountered in these assignments. These exciting challenges combine to offer a petroleum engineer a most rewarding career.

Colorado School of Mines, also referred to as “Mines”, is a specialized, public teaching and research university in Golden, Colorado, devoted to engineering and applied science, with special expertise in the development and management of the Earth’s natural resources. Spread over an area of 373 acres, it is located close to the industry production, with many geological formations that are actively in production. It has also close to industry links enable collaboration, internships and information sharing. Mines has an SPE chapter, and benefits from knowledge that is pooled by the most important industry body.

Colorado School of Mines offers a prestigious entry into petroleum engineering education through an interdisciplinary teamwork approach. The University focuses on laboratory and classroom training to prepare students with the knowledge required to perform in the industry

Mines has special relationships with many prestigious institutions like: American Rock Mechanics Association, American Association of Drilling Engineers, U.S. Geological Survey and National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Students are also encouraged to take part in field operations in the summer break, while being guided by postgraduates. An exchange program allows one semester swaps with the Petroleum Engineering Departments of the Mining University of Leoben, Austria. The same applies to the Technical University in Delft, Holland. Mines also has an exchange arrangement with the University of Adelaide in Australia.

The Petroleum Engineering Department’s vision is to lead the Colorado School of Mines, in engineering, science, and technology challenges through education, research development, and management with consideration of engineering and science integrity, social responsibility, economic effects, ethical constraints, environmental impact, and safety concerns. It is their mission is to provide the necessary skills at the undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education levels to serve the world in developing conventional and unconventional hydrocarbon resources, water resources, and geothermal energy, while promoting cutting-edge research to improve resource recovery, advancing technologies to combat environmental problems, such as carbon sequestration and other earth disposal processes, and to foster the socially responsible development of Earth’s resources.

Marquez Hall, is the state-of-the-art home of the Petroleum Engineering Department, includes a visualization center as well as numerous laboratories and classrooms equipped with the technology needed to keep students and research on the cutting edge. This building has greatly enhanced our existing facilities such as COMPUTER LABORATORY: A state-of-the-art computer laboratory is available for ­general use and classroom instruction. Software includes more than $5 million in donated industry software used by oil and gas companies and research labs around the world.

DRILLING SIMULATOR LABORATORY: Rare on university campuses, this lab contains a computer-controlled, full-scale drilling rig simulator. It includes drilling controls that can be used to simulate onshore and offshore drilling operations and well control situations.

RESERVOIR CHARACTERIZATION LABORATORY: Properties of rock are measured that affect economic devel­opment of reservoir resources of oil and gas. Measured properties include permeability, porosity, and relative per­meability. “Hands on” experiences with simple and sophisticated equipment are provided.

DRILLING FLUIDS LABORATORY: Modern equipment enables students to evaluate and design fluid systems required in drilling operations.

FLUIDS CHARACTERIZATION LABORATORY: A variety of properties of fluids from oil and gas reservoirs are measured for realistic conditions of elevated temperature and pressure. This laboratory accentuates principles studied in lectures.

Academic Programs

Many degree programs offer Mines undergraduate students the opportunity to begin work on a Graduate Certificate, Professional Master’s Degree, Master’s Degree or Doctoral Degree while completing the requirements for their Bachelor’s Degree. These combined Bachelors-Masters/ Doctoral programs have been created by Mines faculty in those situations where they have deemed it academically advantageous to treat undergraduate and graduate degree programs as a continuous and integrated process. These are accelerated programs that can be valuable in fields of engineering and applied science where advanced education in technology and/or management provides the opportunity to be on a fast track for advancement to leadership positions. These programs also can be valuable for students who want to get a head start on graduate education.

Undergraduate program

The primary objectives of petroleum engineering are the safe and environmentally sound exploration, evaluation, development, and recovery of oil, gas, geothermal, and other fluids in the earth. Skills in this branch of engineering are needed to meet the world’s ever-increasing demand for hydrocarbon fuel, thermal energy, and waste and pollution management.

One of the objectives in the Petroleum Engineering Department is to prepare students to succeed in an energy industry that is evolving into an industry working with many energy sources. Besides developing technical competence in petroleum engineering, you will learn how your education can help you contribute to the development of alternative energy sources such as geothermal. In addition to exciting careers in the petroleum industry, many petroleum engineering graduates find rewarding careers in the environmental arena, law, medicine, business, and many other walks of life.

A student in the undergraduate program will be involved in math, computer sciences, chemistry, physics, general engineering, the humanities, technical communication, including report writing and public speaking, environmental issues and corporate social responsibility. The breadth and depth of our program is designed to prepare each graduate for a successful career with both technical competence and managerial ability. The department also offers petroleum engineering undergraduate students a five-year, combined undergraduate/graduate program.

Graduate Program

All disciplines within the field of petroleum engineering, which can be categorized into drilling, production, and reservoir engineering, are covered in depth at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Specific areas of focus are fundamental fluid and rock behavior, well design and construction, well completion and stimulation, formation evaluation, well testing, reservoir characterization, production operations and artificial lift, reservoir engineering and management, supplemental recovery, economic evaluation of petroleum projects and unconventional oil and gas reservoirs.

Following graduate programs are offered by Mines :

  • Combined program in PE: For PE BS students going for a PE Master’s degree – allows you to double count 6 credit hours in both the undergraduate and the graduate program.
  • Masters of Science: Degree Requirements: 24 hr. of course credit, 12 hr. research credit, Write and defend a thesis
  • Masters of Engineering: Degree Requirements:36 hr. of course credit, no thesis
  • Doctor of Philosophy: Students with an MS in petroleum engineering or another complementary discipline can be accepted to the Doctor of Philosophy program. To obtain the PhD degree, a student must demonstrate unusual competence, creativity and dedication in the degree field. A requirement of at least 54 credit hours beyond the Master’s degree of which no less than 30 credit hours earned by research and to write and defend a thesis.

The University of Oklahoma (OU) is a public research university in Norman, Oklahoma spread over an area of 3000 acres. OU offers 170 degree programs with incomparable learning experiences to prepare you for success beyond college. The state-of-the-art facilities, cutting-edge research opportunities and innovative academic environment set us apart from other universities.

The Mewbourne School of Petroleum and Geological Engineering (MPGE), located within the Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy, is one of the oldest and ranks among the top five programs in the nation. MPGE’s rigorous curriculum prepares students for work in a far-reaching industry that supports much of the heartland. Students receive a firm foundation in contemporary oil and gas issues, extraction methods, engineering processes, resource development and advanced course work in the three primary petroleum engineering specializations: Drilling Engineering, Production Engineering and Reservoir Engineering.

Alumni of the Mewbourne School of Petroleum and Geological Engineering School have created and led some of the world’s most innovative and entrepreneurial energy companies, leaving a significant OU imprint across an industry that is the most important engine of global economic growth. Students receive a firm foundation of knowledge in math, science, humanities and engineering principles, and in their advanced coursework focus on Drilling, Production and Reservoir Engineering. With fantastic internships and the highest starting salary among all engineering disciplines, the opportunities are boundless for students who choose to study petroleum engineering. World-class research, state-of-the-art laboratories, and renowned faculty enhance the student experience by providing real-world perspectives that allow students to gain first-hand knowledge and expertise throughout their time at OU.

The Mewbourne School of Petroleum and Geological Engineering (MPGE) at the University of Oklahoma has appeared on most top lists over the years. Students graduating from MPGE, obtain excellent employment with ease thereby consistently achieve employment rates of over 90% year on year.

This is partly down to the quality of the research departments here. MPGE have distinct departments that solve different industry problems. The departments are as follows:

  • Integrated Core Characterization Center (IC3) that includes a complete Amoco Rock Physics Laboratory
  • Integrated PoroMechanics Institute (iPMI)
  • Well Construction Technology Center (WCTC)
  • Institute for Applied Surfactant Research (IASR)
  • Unconventional Shale Gas Consortium (USGC)

As well as the sheer number of graduates in the workplace, MPGE alumni are numerous at high levels in companies. This also applies to the recognized industry associations such as the Society of Petroleum Engineers of which seven have served as president.

Undergraduate Program

The Petroleum Engineering undergraduate program is designed to allow students to graduate after successfully completing 127 credit-hours in a standard four-year plan. The program also ensures that students are able to successfully use and build upon engineering and scientific principles as they progress through the curriculum. The Petroleum Engineering program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET. Admission to the Petroleum Engineering Professional Program is REQUIRED prior to enrollment in any upper-level petroleum engineering courses.

Graduate Program

The Mewbourne School of Petroleum and Geological Engineering is a leading research institution that has a tradition of excellence dating back to its earliest days. Students of the graduate programs are provided with a premier education in a diverse and multicultural workplace environment that is reflective of industry trends. Opportunity is available to conduct original research and to work closely with renowned faculty and industry leaders while gaining experience and visibility through publication and conference presentations along the way. The skills and knowledge obtained through active participation in MPGE’s graduate programs give our graduates the keys to succeed in their careers.

Currently, there are three master’s programs, two doctoral programs, and one graduate certificate available through MPGE. Plus, all natural gas programs are available online.

The University of Tulsa (TU) is a private research university located in Tulsa, Oklahoma spread over an area of 200 acres. Its mission reflects these core values: excellence in scholarship, dedication to free inquiry, integrity of character, and commitment to humanity. The university achieves its mission by educating men and women of diverse backgrounds and cultures.

The McDougall School of Petroleum Engineering is the largest department on the TU campus. Internationally recognized as one of the top petroleum engineering schools in the country. Its mission is to provide a high-quality educational experience that prepares each graduate either to work in the petroleum industry or to pursue an advanced petroleum engineering degree. The school offers many research opportunities with nine consortia that are supported by some of the world’s top energy firms.

While striving to teach a balanced curriculum, the McDougall School of Petroleum Engineering is committed to discovery of new concepts and technologies in the areas of drilling, production and reservoir engineering. With an excellent reputation, and close industry links, 95% of graduates manage to secure employment within 6 months of leaving.

The postgraduate programs have a focus on innovation and technological progress. The research departments work in co-operation with multiple government and industry agencies.

One key differential at TU is that undergraduates can also get involved with, and work alongside postgraduate researchers. This fosters an atmosphere of empowerment. It also helps create a backdrop of mutual respect and understanding whatever the level of experience. These qualities are crucial when working in challenging and dangerous environments.

  • Professional Opportunities
  • Completions Engineers
  • Drilling Engineers
  • Production Engineers
  • Reservoir Engineers
  • Geoscientist
  • Industrial Engineer

Undergraduate Program

Petroleum engineering focuses on the development, exploration, drilling, production, management of oil, natural gas resources and other minerals. Based on the solid fundamentals of math, physics and chemistry, a petroleum engineering degree includes education in geology and a proper blend of fluid and solid mechanics.

While teaching is the major goal, the McDougall School of Petroleum Engineering is also committed to the discovery of new concepts and technologies in drilling, production and reservoir engineering. The B.S. degree program in petroleum engineering is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET. The school’s strong research program is supported by industry and government sources. Undergraduate and graduate students work alongside faculty at key research locations on the main campus and TU’s historic North Campus.

Graduate Program

Internationally recognized as having one of the top petroleum engineering graduate programs in the country, the McDougall School of Petroleum Engineering has more than 500 students. The program offers M.S. and Ph.D. degrees.

Graduate students learn advanced petroleum production concepts and collaborate on multi-disciplinary research projects to continue the development of their petroleum engineering skill set and professional careers.

The school’s strong research program is supported by industry and government sources. Students work alongside faculty at key research locations on the main campus and TU’s historic North Campus. TU’s reputable petroleum engineering program receives overwhelming support from industry and government sources, a prime landscape for those students who choose to obtain the highest degree offered in the petroleum field.

The Pennsylvania State University (Penn State or PSU) is a state-related, land-grant, doctoral university with campuses and facilities throughout Pennsylvania. Founded in 1855, the university has a stated threefold mission of teaching, research, and public service. Its instructional mission includes undergraduate, graduate, professional and continuing education offered through resident instruction and online delivery. Its University Park campus, the flagship campus, lies within the Borough of State College and College Township. It has an enrolment of 85,000 undergraduate and 14,000 graduate students

Pennsylvania State has a long history of oil and gas. In fact, the first oil was struck on August 27, 1859 at Titusville, Pennsylvania. This discovery, in turn, lead to the first super giant oil field in Bradbury. The first official course in petroleum engineering was offered in 1907 at Penn State entitled “Prospecting and Well Drilling”. Over the last 110 years, Penn State has stayed at the top of the rankings national and international rankings, not just for oil and gas, but for engineering in general.

The John and Willie Leone Family Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering (EME) educates students to embrace the challenges of bringing these natural resources into our daily lives. The team of faculty, staff, and students strive for excellence in devising ways to ensure an affordable supply of energy and minerals, while protecting the environment and the health and safety of the workforce. From generating heat and electricity to transportation and recreation, all our activities depend on fuels and minerals extracted from the earth.

Penn State research facilities are state of the art and highly regarded. Facilities available to students include a multi-phase fluid flow system laboratory, and a drilling rig simulator.
The technique known as water-flooding was first developed at Penn State. Many other discoveries were made in the University.

Undergraduate Program

The John and Willie Leone Family Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering offers a total of six bachelor’s degrees. Students enrolled in these programs experience problem-based learning and interactive classes with individual attention. Instruction in theory, applications, and project design is augmented by hands-on training in our diverse research facilities. In addition, students have access to a fully equipped 24-hour computer lab complete with the latest software packages.

The students have the opportunity to participate in a variety of activities that complement the classroom experience. No education is complete without on-the-job training and students in our EME programs are sure to find an abundance of summer internship openings that offer invaluable work experience in their field of choice. At the same time, membership in one of our professional society student chapters, offers students leadership skills training, provides a forum for students to discuss matters of interest within their industry’s community, and presents excellent networking opportunities with industry professionals at national and regional society events. On top of that, students are eligible to apply for many scholarship opportunities (which topped $250,000 last year) and, upon graduation, can look forward to receiving one of the highest starting salaries for baccalaureate degrees at Penn State.

Graduate Program

The John and Willie Leone Family Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering houses one graduate program in Energy and Mineral Engineering, which offers both M.S. and Ph.D. degrees. Within this program, you can customize your course of study to facilitate your research interests. Necessarily, the range of active research areas are broad and fully reflected in the research interests of our program faculty.

Whether you choose to specialize in an area of petroleum and natural gas engineering, mining and mineral process engineering, environmental health and safety engineering, fuel science, or energy management and policy, you will receive a flexible yet comprehensive graduate education through a blend of individualized research projects and coursework in core areas of study.

Students of the graduate programs enjoy small personal classes taught by an experienced EME faculty who are internationally recognized for their research contributions. In addition, students have access to a variety of research laboratories and computational facilities within the department. Upon graduation, our students achieve a near 100% job placement rate as our alumni stand at the forefront of energy and environmental engineering with careers in industry, academia, and government.

Graduates of Penn State’s petroleum and natural gas engineering program have risen to top executive positions of oil companies in all branches of this field. An analysis of the educational backgrounds of executives in the energy sector shows that they have backgrounds in engineering, including petroleum engineering and geosciences. Employers include major oil and gas production companies, large and small independents and service companies and government agencies.
As a petroleum and natural gas engineer, you can expect to earn the highest starting salary among all of the engineers. Starting salaries are around $90,000, and median annual earnings for petroleum engineers are now well above $140,000.

Louisiana State University (LSU) is a public coeducational university located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The current LSU main campus consists of more than 250 buildings constructed in the style of Italian Renaissance architecture and occupies a 650-acre area on the banks of the Mississippi River.  The university has an enrolled student body of over 25,000 undergraduate and over 5,000 graduate students in its 14 schools and colleges.

Louisiana is a big oil state one of the top four in the United States in oil and gas production. The oil and gas industry is the biggest source of revenue for the state, responsible for approximately half of the state’s revenue during this period. The close proximity of exploration and production of hydrocarbons makes the University ideal to offer programs directly related to this industry that are on the cutting edge of technology. LSU is the flagship university in the state and that adds to the importance of being among the top schools in the country.

LSU’s Craft and Hawkins Department of Petroleum Engineering has run a highly respected program since the 1920’s. LSU has a unique laboratory not found anywhere else in a University in the United States; The Petroleum Engineering Research & Technology Transfer, or PERTT, Laboratory. This is a full scale, hands-on training facility for students to understand bore-hole technology. LSU invests large resources in its research departments including the PERTT Laboratory. Research areas of expertise include well control & blowout prevention, enhanced recovery, and down-hole water sink technology. Alumni will leave LSU armed with strategies that can help make a difference in the field. It’s not surprising that the oil and gas industry loves to recruit LSU Petroleum Engineering graduates and postgraduates.

Undergraduate Program

Although the petroleum engineering curriculum is designed primarily for careers in the petroleum industry, it is suitable for careers in related areas such as ground water hydrology, geothermal energy, solution mining, and underground storage or disposal of fluids. Professional courses in drilling and production, well design, reservoir engineering, petrophysics, well logging, and the phase behavior of hydrocarbons systems follow basic course work in mathematics, chemistry, physics, geology, and the engineering sciences. You should prepare yourself in high school by taking several college preparatory mathematics and science courses. Additionally, the faculty gives specific attention to the economic evaluation of drilling and production operations.

The department is active in obtaining summer employment in the petroleum industry for its students. The department also strongly recommends that its students join and participate, as student members, in the Society of Petroleum Engineers and take the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) examination during their senior year as preparation for licensure as a professional engineer.

The nationally ranked Craft & Hawkins Department of Petroleum Engineering at LSU has alumni throughout the world working for major companies, small independent companies, government agencies, and as independent consultants.

Graduate Program

The department offers both a Master of Science in Petroleum Engineering and a Doctor of Philosophy in Petroleum Engineering. There is a minimum core requirement of (18 for MS or 21 for PHD) credit hours in drilling, production, formation evaluation, reservoir engineering, and engineering mathematics as shown in the department’s Core Curriculum Requirements document. A secondary concentration area consisting of a minimum of 6 hours of earned credit in a specified field of study may be required by the advisory committee. The Master’s Examination Milestones and Ph.D. Examination Milestones defines expectations of student achievements in various states in the program.

Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering
Texas A&M University

3116 TAMU
College Station, TX 77843-3116
Phone: 979.845.2241
Fax: 979.845.1307

The Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering of Texas A&M University has been ranked as the best petroleum engineering department for its undergraduate programs in petroleum engineering. It offers a complete curriculum of studies in Petroleum Engineering from an undergraduate engineering degree to a doctorate program.

A degree from Texas A&M is considered as a great investment – one that continues to appreciate over time. It is consistently recognized as a top value in higher education, based on the combination of academic quality and affordability. An education from Texas A&M remains very valuable and very affordable, year after year.

The University is part of the Bryan-College Station metropolitan area located within Brazos County in the Brazos Valley in Southeast Central Texas region. Spreading over 5200 acres, it is one of the largest areas occupied by a University in the United States. It has an enrollment of over 56,000 students pursuing degrees in 10 academic colleges from all 50 US states and 124 foreign countries.

U.S. News and World Report recently ranked its Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering, first, for the best undergraduate programs. The primary goals of the program are to produce up to 200 highly-qualified U.S. and international students each year, placing these students in entry-level industry positions or graduate programs.

Its graduate programs in Petroleum Engineering are ranked as the third best in the United States and it offers highly-rated research programs that lead up to Doctorate degree in Petroleum Engineering.

Harold Vance Department is determined to meet its standards; they believe they must give the students the best possible preparation to enter this industry. Their curriculum gives every student a solid foundation in petroleum engineering fundamentals, but we also insist on experience in the industry. As a result, their graduates will enter the industry ready to be productive contributors, but they also will understand the need to continue to learn and improve their skills throughout their careers.

The students and the alumni called the ‘Aggies’ are highly sought after by the industry and with strong links with the Petroleum industry employment for the ‘Aggies’ is not very difficult. They command high starting salaries.
The reason that Texas A&M so strong in the sector is quite natural for a state to focus on it is natural expertise and environmental assets. Texas is ‘oil country’ and always has been. Texas is in the heart of an oil industry hub. When multiple leading oil and gas companies have head offices, and hundreds of smaller companies live and work in a location, there are benefits to students. The closeness between academia and industry fosters strong relationships that lead to internships, scholarships and job placement relatively easily. Qualifications from one of the best petroleum engineering schools, is likely to maximize your career potential.

Undergraduate Program

The curriculum in petroleum engineering is intended to prepare students for the petroleum industry and other fields which involve fluid flow through subsurface formations and particularly for those professions which have to do with drilling, production, reservoir engineering and transportation of oil, gas, and other subsurface resources.

Graduate Program

The Department of Petroleum Engineering offers Graduate Degree Programs and course work at both the Masters and Doctoral level. The graduate program in Petroleum Engineering is recognized for excellence in teaching and research both nationally and internationally.

Texas Tech University
Whitacre College of Engineering
Bob L. Herd Department of Petroleum Engineering

Box 43111 | Lubbock, TX 79409-3111
Phone: 806.742.3573
Fax: 806.742.3502

Texas Tech University is a public research university in Lubbock, Texas. It has an enrolled body of 37,000 students. The Spanish Renaissance-themed buildings of the campus, is described one of the most beautiful campuses in the USA and has received the Grand Award for excellence in grounds-keeping. It also has a public art collection among the ten best in the United States.

Texas Tech’s beautiful campus is alive with activity all year long. From fall football games to the Carol of Lights in December, the spring flowers of Arbor Day and commencement in May, there is always something to do, see or experience when you are a Red Raider, as its students are called.

The Bob L. Herd Department of Petroleum Engineering is staffed with industry-experienced faculty members who have an average of more than 15 years of experience per faculty member. This experience is combined with sound engineering and scientific principles in the classroom and made an integral part of the candidate’s educational challenge.

Another reason why Texas Tech appears in our list of top schools is that they have the largest test well inside the campus grounds allowing hands-on training to students and research associates. A Petroleum Engineering Advisory board helps students to stay up to date with industry best practices.

One of the biggest attractions of studying here, is the new Terry Fuller Petroleum Engineering Research Building which was opened in 2014 and entirely donor funded. As is the case with all top schools, Texas Tech works closely with industry. The oil and gas industry invested $22.8 million, with money coming from Apache Corp, Pioneer Natural Resources, Linn Energy, Chevron, Anadarko and Oxy Petroleum.

Texas Tech University endeavors to provide excellent instruction and design experiences essential for graduates to enter the practice of petroleum engineering and pursue life-long professional development. It also conducts research that generates, communicates, and applies new knowledge for the betterment of society. It attempts fosters a spirit of service and leadership among students and faculty and assist the public in addressing issues concerning the use of resources, protection of the environment, and development of infrastructures and finally to fulfill an obligation to the people of the state of Texas and the nation in making available the technical expertise for the safe and efficient development, production, and management of petroleum reserves.

Undergraduate Program

The Bob L. Herd Department of Petroleum Engineering supports the mission of the university and the college through its undergraduate program by providing students with an appropriate curriculum and educational experience.

The course selection and content remain current through continuous assessment by faculty, students, alumni, Petroleum Industry Advisory Board (PIAB) members, and industry employers.

To accomplish this mission, the petroleum engineering faculty, with advice from students, alumni, PIAB members, and industry employers, endorse program educational objectives to generate petroleum engineering graduates who will accomplish the following during the first few years after graduation:

Be successful in diverse career paths in the petroleum industry.
Continue professional development through participation and leadership in professional organizations. Pursue lifelong learning through continuing education or postgraduate education (professional meetings, short courses, graduate courses).Progress to professional registration and work in increasingly responsible engineering positions, and pass the Professional Exams.

Graduate Program

Master of Science with Thesis
The master’s program requires a minimum of 30 graduate credit hours above the baccalaureate degree, including 6 credit hours allowed for the thesis. The department graduate advisor will meet, advise, and approve courses for the degree each semester. A written thesis is required for the master’s degree. In addition, the candidate’s thesis committee will administer a final oral exam in defense of the completed thesis.

Master of Science without Thesis
The department also offers a non-thesis master’s program that requires a minimum of 33 graduate credit hours approved by the graduate advisor (excluding seminar). The graduate program for non-thesis master’s candidate is specifically tailored for that candidate’s educational background, industry experience, and individual interest.
For both the thesis and the non-thesis programs, a final comprehensive examination is required. The policy governing the comprehensive examination is available with the departmental graduate advisor. Comprehensive examinations are given only after the graduate dean has admitted the students to candidacy.

Combined B.S. & M.S. Degrees
Students entering the petroleum engineering program assigned a faculty advisor and are responsible for arranging a course of study with the advisor’s counsel and approval. Programs leading to a combined B.S. & M.S. degree are available. Students interested in these programs should inform their academic advisor during the first semester of the junior year. Students must meet all Graduate School admission requirements.

Doctoral Program
The objectives of the Ph.D. program are to provide students opportunities to reach a critical understanding of the basic scientific and engineering principles underlying their fields of interest and to cultivate their ability to apply these principles creatively through advanced methods of analysis, research, and synthesis. The Ph.D. degree is awarded primarily on the basis of research. Applicants for the doctoral degree must have a degree in engineering disciplines and must meet the approval of the department’s graduate committee. Students majoring in this department for a doctoral degree must take diagnostic examinations (or preliminary examination) by the end of their second long semester. These examinations are based on the undergraduate curriculum. Each student is required to take the diagnostic examinations in their area of specialization and any three-core areas.

In addition to regulations established by the Graduate School, applicants for candidacy for the doctoral degree are required to demonstrate high proficiency in a single research area. The coursework for each student must meet the approval of the student’s doctoral advisory committee. The department has no specific foreign language requirement (but a foreign language for the Ph.D. degree can be specified at the discretion of the student’s dissertation advisor). Research tools are included as an integral part of the degree program in the leveling, minor, or major courses of each student. Additional information may be obtained from the departmental program advisor.