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 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.

Undergraduate program requirements and course descriptions

Undergraduate Courses Flowchart

Career Opportunities

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 one-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. 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 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.


We want to provide a broader skill set to our undergraduate students so they are better qualified for the PE jobs, as well as for opportunities in related industries. This will be accomplished by offering three new minor programs to our students in:

  • Midstream – starting Academic Year 2017-18.
  • Corporate Social Responsibility – starting Academic Year 2017-2018
  • Petroleum Data Analytics - projected availability Academic Year 2017-18


The Externship Program was started to give valuable experience to undergraduate students unable to secure industry internships. The program offers juniors the chance to work with industry-provided data-sets for various projects, train on software, make field visits, and gain additional experience in other areas. The five-week summer program has multiple tracks led by PE faculty and mentors composed of current grad students and recent PE Mines alumni. Previous externship tracks have included Drilling and Production Analytics, Enhanced Oil Recovery, and Hydraulic Facture Design and Refracturing Treatments.

Each track had its own focus and tasks, but all of the tracks had students give final oral and written reports to industry representatives.

Chevron Short Course Series

The Chevron Short Course Series provides intensive one or two day courses in software or skills that will be beneficial to seniors about to enter the workforce. Previous short course topics have included Sucker Rod Pumping Fundamentals, Decline Curve Analysis, Big Data Analytics, Aries, Fracture Design and Introduction to Numerical Simulation.

Student Organizations

The Petroleum Engineering Department encourages 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.

Undergraduate Admissions


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