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A minimum of a bachelor’s degree in engineering is necessary to obtain employment as a -petroleum engineer. However, most employers prefer that petroleum engineers earn a degree in petroleum engineering.
The majority of programs take four years to complete, but some schools offer a five year combined bachelor’s/master’s program. Petroleum engineering programs are accredited by by ABET, and graduates of accredited petroleum engineering programs are allowed to apply for state licensing after working in the industry a required amount of time and passing exams.


1. The University of Texas at Austin

The University of Texas at Austin is one of the top petroleum engineering schools in the United States. Located within the Department of Petroleum and Geosciences, the petroleum engineering school emphasizes that their curriculum teaches students how to improve the quality of life of all people. The program also houses first rate faculty and an excellent research program.
The Bachelor of Science degree thoroughly prepares students to become employed in the oil and gas industries. The school also offers master’s and PhD programs. A bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering is not needed for admission to either graduate program if an applicant has a bachelor’s or master’s degree in engineering or another related field.

2. Texas A & M University

Located in College Station, Texas, Texas A & M’s petroleum engineering program strives to prepare students to enter the petroleum engineering industry. The school not only relies on classroom instruction, but industry experience as well.
The bachelor’s degree available at the university takes four years to complete and includes courses in geology and petroleum engineering. The school also offers a master’s degree and a PhD. The graduate program is regularly ranked as one of the best petroleum engineering schools to obtain a graduate degree in the subject.

3. Pennsylvania State University

At Pennsylvania State University, students can pursue a degree in Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering. Those enrolled in the undergraduate program will receive an education that applies the most current knowledge in the industry. The program contains two parallel sequences where students will learn about reservoir engineering and then drilling and production.
A master’s degree and a PhD are also available in Energy and Mineral Engineering. Students enrolled in the graduate program can opt to specialize in petroleum and natural gas engineering where they will receive instruction through coursework and research projects based on their area of concentration.

4. University of Houston

The petroleum engineering program at the University of Houston is only four years old, but the program currently houses 500 undergraduate and 100 graduate students. The school is located in Houston, Texas and is next to the University of Houston Energy Research Park (UHERP). The department is currently recruiting more full time faculty to improve the program, and is committed to providing funding and internship opportunities to qualified students.
Undergraduates can earn a Bachelor of Science in Petroleum Engineering in four years. The degree instructs students in the basic principles petroleum engineering. The Master of Science in Petroleum Engineering is recommended for those who have earned a BS in the subject since the coursework needed for the master’s degree requires substantial ability in specific math, science, and engineering courses.

5. Colorado School of Mines

Colorado School of Mines is located in Golden, Colorado and seeks to educate students so that they may achieve success in the industry and serve the public. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, the program stresses the importance of interdisciplinary teamwork in an ever changing industry. The school has recently expanded its facilities and equipment in order to better educate students.
The bachelor and master’s degrees in petroleum engineering offered at the school emphasize laboratory and classroom training. The undergraduate program trains students for careers in various industries. In addition, the education students receive can assist in the development of alternative energy sources in the future. The graduate program offers a Professional Masters in Petroleum Reservoir Systems, Master of Engineering (Petroleum Engineering), Master of Science (Petroleum Engineering), and Doctor of Philosophy (Petroleum Engineering).

6. Texas Tech University

The college located in Lubock, Texas, houses a top petroleum engineering program. The location of the school makes it an ideal place to study petroleum engineering since it is situated in the Permian Basin which is within a 175 mile radius of much of Texas’ petroleum resources. Since 1948, over 2,350 Bachelor of Science degrees in petroleum engineering have been awarded, and the school offers students the opportunity to participate in summer internships.
The degree options available at Texas Tech are: The Bachelor of Science in Petroleum Engineering, Master of Science in Petroleum Engineering, and Doctor of Philosophy in Petroleum Engineering. All programs are highly competitive to gain entry into, so it is recommended that students have above average test scores and undergraduate GPAs.

7. University of Kansas

Located in Lawrence, Kansas, the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering has produced graduates who are employed in the field throughout the world. The school is committed to keeping class sizes small and implementing field trips that instruct students about petroleum operations. Reservoir engineering is one of the chief focuses in the undergraduate program. Internships are also an important feature of the undergraduate program and students are encouraged to participate as interns.
The University of Kansas offers a Bachelor of Science in Petroleum Engineering which educates students for entry level careers in the industry. The Master of Science program has a thesis and non-thesis option, and the PhD in Chemical and Petroleum Engineering which is an additional 45 credits and takes about 5 years to complete.

8. West Virginia University

A top ranked engineering college, West Virginia University’s department of Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering provides students with a solid foundation in science, engineering, and computer applications. Faculty in the department engage in research in a variety of areas such as environmental remediation, natural gas production & storage, and drilling engineering.
The college offers a Bachelor of Science in Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering. The program allows students to gain experience in a variety of settings through internships, research, and cooperative education. The Master in Science and the PhD in require a substantial amount of research and graduate students need to follow a program of study. A bachelor’s degree in Engineering is necessary to apply to the master’s program. A BS or MS in Petroleum Engineering is needed to apply to the doctoral program.

9. Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College

The Craft & Hawkins Department of Petroleum Engineering at Louisiana State University is located in Baton Rouge. The department houses exceptional faculty members engaged in various areas of research such as microscopic fluid retention and integrity issues with large-scale wells. The school is also home to the PERT Lab, a facility that conducts research regarding blowout prevention and is the only one of its kind.
The Bachelor of Science in Petroleum Engineering is a program of study with diverse courses, and therefore, graduates can obtain employment in a variety of areas. The Master of Science degree has a thesis and non- thesis option. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in Petroleum Engineering, a BS in another engineering field, or a BS in science. Those with a master’s degree in Petroleum Engineering who wish to continue with their education can apply to the PhD program in Petroleum Engineering. In some cases, students with an MS in another engineering field can be admitted into the PhD program.
The Doctor of Philosophy in Petroleum Engineering is open to students holding a M.S. in petroleum engineering. However, special programs involving additional course work can be developed for those with M.S. degrees in related branches of engineering.

10. Stanford University

Ranked as one of the best graduate engineering schools in the country by US News, the Petroleum Engineering program at the school offers a master’s degree and a PhD and educates students to become leaders in the industry.
The Master of Science degree program admits students who have an undergraduate-level energy resources engineering background. Students are able to focus their research in many areas such as oil and gas recovery, simulation and engineering, and energy industry management. The PhD in Petroleum Engineering provides students with advanced knowledge in the subject and requires a minimum of 36 units of coursework and 36 units of research.

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