Petroleum engineering is not a narrowly-focused engineering discipline. In addition to having a petroleum engineering and earth science background, a petroleum engineer must have a good understanding of basic engineering, the natural sciences and mathematics.
Skills in this branch of engineering are needed to meet the ever-increasing demand for energy. The world’s energy portfolio includes hydrocarbon, geothermal and wind energy storage as well as environmental issues such as nuclear waste disposal. The program emphasizes integrated, multidisciplinary teamwork in classroom instruction and research and actively pursues interdisciplinary activities with many other Mines departments, particularly the Earth Science/Engineering programs.
Our mission is to educate engineers for the worldwide petroleum industry at the undergraduate and graduate levels, perform research that enhances the state-of-the-art in petroleum technology, and to serve the industry and public good through professional societies and public service.
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.
The department offers a choice of a thesis-based Master of Science degree or a non-thesis Master of Engineering degree. 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. In addition to extensive course work, a dissertation is required for the PhD degree.
The department requires that all applicants have taken core engineering, science and math courses before applying to the petroleum engineering graduate program. These classes would be three courses of calculus, two courses of chemistry with quantitative lab, two courses of physics, fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, mechanics of materials, statics and differential equations.
Applicants with a weak background in petroleum engineering will be reviewed if their undergraduate record (geophysics, chemical, civil, electrical or mechanical engineering) is satisfactory, and if their GRE scores and the TOEFL scores (for international applicants) are satisfactory. Minimum scores required for applications to be reviewed are: TOEFL is 80 out of 120, with no individual score being lower than 18; GPA must be 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, or above; GRE scores 139 verbal, 155(MS)- 159(PhD) quantitative, and 3.5 analytical.
Provisionally admitted students will be required to take up to seven P.E. undergraduate courses to complete any deficiencies and demonstrate their ability before being fully admitted to the graduate program. An advisor would sit down with you once you are on campus to go over your transcripts and work history to determine if all the deficiency courses would be required. You would need to pass them with a GPA of 3.0 or better to be fully accepted into the graduate program.
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 and graduate students have the opportunity to participate in exchange programs with the petroleum engineering departments of the following institutions:
- Mining University of Leoben, Austria
- Technical University in Delft, Holland
- The Petroleum Institute, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
- University of Adelaide, Australia
Qualified undergraduate and graduate students from each school can attend the other for one semester and receive transfer credit back at their home university. Students should coordinate their study abroad semester with Mary Cook, associate director of international programs, and Terri Snyder, undergraduate program advisor for the Petroleum Engineering Department.
Marquez Hall, 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:
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.
Graduates of the program are in high 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 Mines petroleum engineering students during summer breaks and after graduation. Exciting experiences range from field work in 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. In addition to exciting careers in the petroleum industry, many of our graduates find rewarding careers in the environmental arena, law, medicine, business and many other walks of life.