Graduate Program

Mines Petroleum Engineering

Petroleum Engineering Graduate Program Description

Are you looking to advance your education and boost your career potential?

If so, look no further. Our petroleum engineering graduate program at Colorado School of Mines will provide you with the foundational knowledge, hands-on learning and confidence to thrive in the world of petroleum engineering.

Our graduate program will prepare you to join the evolving energy industry that, in addition to petroleum and natural gas, also includes hydrogen, geothermal and other forms of subsurface engineering. Skills in this field of engineering are needed more than ever to ensure successful energy extraction and to address environmental issues, such as carbon dioxide sequestration.

In addition to a petroleum engineering and earth science background, successful petroleum engineers require a solid understanding of basic engineering, mathematics and the natural sciences. That’s why our unique program emphasizes integrated, multidisciplinary teamwork in both the classroom and our research partnerships with other departments.

Our mission is to educate engineers for the worldwide petroleum industry, 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.

Degree Options

Students standing around pump

Combined Program in PE

For Petroleum Engineering BS students going for a PE Master’s degree, our unique Combined Program allows you to double count 6 credit hours of graduate coursework in both the undergraduate and the graduate program.

Masters of Science

Degree Requirements:

  • 24 hr. of course credit
  • 6 hr. research credit
  • Write and defend a thesis

Masters of Engineering

Degree Requirements:

  • 30 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.

  • Degree Requirements: At least 54 credit hours beyond the Master’s degree of which no less than 30 credit hours earned by research.
  • Write and defend a dissertation

Dual Degree (School of Mines and University of Leoben)

Graduate students in our department have the opportunity to participate in a dual degree program with the Petroleum Department at University of Leoben, Austria. If enrolled in this unique program, students who complete all requirements will graduate with a Master of Science degree from both institutions with a focus on reservoir management. Students will spend two semesters at Mines and two semesters at the University of Leoben. Each school will also require their own final project including researching, writing and defending a thesis for Colorado School of Mines and researching and completing an oral test for University of Leoben.

Mines Requirements for the Dual Degree:

  • 15 credits of Graduate Level courses at Mines
  • 6 Credits of Research

University of Leoben Requirements for the Dual Degree:

  • 54 ECTS course credits at MUL
  • 6 ECTS course credits that may be taken at either MUL or Mines

Deadline to submit applications:  An application is submitted to both universities.

  • Colorado School of Mines: March 1st for Fall review
  • University of Leoben: Feb 5th for Winter review

Qualifications for the program include:

  • The equivalent of a U.S. Bachelor’s degree with a strong academic background
  • Meeting all requirements of both universities for entrance into the program.

Tuition Fees:  Students will pay the appropriate tuition and fees at the school they attend each semester.


Small group in front of drilling platform.

A Comprehensive Approach to Petroleum Engineering

Our graduate program addresses the core concepts of petroleum engineering, including drilling, production and reservoir engineering, as well as all subsets.

Additionally, the comprehensive scope of our program allows our students to focus on specific areas of interest within petroleum engineering, such as:

  • 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
  • Unconventional oil and gas reservoirs

Current Students

Our department prides itself on supporting our students throughout their entire experience at Mines If you have any additional questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us at any time.

More Information

Application Requirements

The department requires that all applicants have taken core engineering, science and math courses before applying to the petroleum engineering graduate program. These classes are: 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.

Minimum scores required for applications to be reviewed are:


  • Masters: Verbal 139, Quantitative 155, Analytical 3.0
  • PhD: Verbal 139, Quantitative 159, Analytical 3.5
  • GPA: 3.0 on 4.0 scale
  • TOEFL: 79 out of 120
  • Reading 20, Listening 21, Writing 17, Speaking 21

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.

Provisionally admitted students will be required to take up to seven PE 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.

Exchange Programs

To truly expand your educational experience, our undergraduate and graduate students have the opportunity to participate in study abroad programs with the following institutions:

  • King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran Saudi Arabia
  • IFP-Petroleum Economics and Management, Rueil-Malmaison, France
  • Montanuniversitat, Leoben Austria
  • Khalifa Institute, Abu Dhabi, UAE
  • University of Nicosia, Cyprus
  • University of Aberdeen, Scotland
  • Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim, Norway

Interested students, please contact the Office of Global Education about specifics for each program.

Professional Organizations

To help our students take that next step in their careers, our petroleum engineering department partners with various professional organizations. These partnerships help students learn more about the professional industry of petroleum engineering and offer important networking opportunities. 

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. 

Local Chapters:

Career Paths

The petroleum and energy industries offer wide ranges of employment opportunities for Mines petroleum engineering students during summer breaks and after graduation. Opportunities range from the oil and natural gas industry to other subsurface engineering positions in areas like geothermal and carbon management. Whether you enjoy working outside in the field or being indoors in an office, there is a position waiting for you! Worldwide travel and overseas assignments are often 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 world of subsurface engineering, many of our graduates find rewarding careers in the environmental arena, law, medicine, business and many other walks of life.


Marquez Hall, the state-of-the-art home of the Petroleum Engineering Department on Mines campus, includes numerous laboratories and classrooms equipped with the technology needed to keep our students and research on the cutting edge.

Marquez Hall facilities include:

Marquez Hall exterior

Computer Laboratories

State-of-the-art computer laboratories are 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 and Characterization Laboratory

Properties of rock are measured that affect economic devel¬opment of reservoir resources of oil and gas. Measured properties include permeability, porosity, and relative per¬meability. “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.

Petroleum Engineering Graduate Program

Preparing students for success!