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.

Graduates of our program are in great demand in private industry, as evidenced by the strong job market and high salaries. The petroleum industry offers a wide range of employment opportunities for Petroleum Engineering students during summer breaks and after graduation. Exciting experiences range from field work in drilling and producing oil and gas fields to office jobs in small towns or large cities. Worldwide travel and overseas assignments are available for interested students.

One of our 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.

The Petroleum Engineering Department encourages student involvement with the Society of Petroleum Engineers, the American Association of Drilling Engineers, and the American Rock Mechanics Association. The department provides some financial support for students attending the annual technical conferences for these professional societies.

Petroleum Engineering Summer Sessions

Two summer sessions, one after the completion of the sophomore year and one after the junior year, are important parts of the educational experience. The first is a two-week session designed to introduce the student to the petroleum industry. Various career opportunities are highlighted as well as showing petroleum field and office operations and geology. In addition, students are indoctrinated in health, safety, and environmental awareness. Petroleum Engineering, a truly unique and exciting engineering discipline, can be experienced by visiting petroleum operations. Historically, the areas visited have included Europe, Alaska, Canada, the U.S. Gulf Coast, California, the Midcontinent, the Northeast US, and the Rocky Mountain Region.

The second two-week session, after the junior year, is an in-depth study of the Rangely Oil Field and surrounding geology in Western Colorado. The Rangely Oil Field is the largest oil field in the Rocky Mountain region and has undergone primary, secondary, and enhanced recovery processes. Field work in the area provide the setting for understanding the complexity of geologic systems and the environmental and safety issues in the context of reservoir development and management.

More about the Petroleum Engineering undergraduate program.

Undergraduate Courses Flowchart

Undergraduate Admissions


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