As students decide on the best path to reach their chosen career, a quick Google search highlights engineering as a field that will remain in demand for many years to come. To meet rising, global demand, universities must consistently produce graduates in various engineering fields, from electrical, to mechanical, to civil and beyond.
But if you’re planning to enter a more specialized field, petroleum engineering is a discipline that’s required worldwide and is also now considered one of the sector’s highest-paying jobs. In fact, petroleum engineers have been named as having one of the top 100 ‘Best Jobs in America’, according to CNN Money.
Another thing that makes the study of this subject so appealing is that the growth in energy demand worldwide suggests a surging need for petroleum engineers. With the rise of our global population, the need for energy resources will also increase, hence the need to recruit qualified graduate petroleum engineers. Though the field is very specific, this type of education covers a broad curriculum, including the technical and theoretical skills required to operate heavy machinery, to managing computer systems and discovering new sources of energy.
As a petroleum engineering student, you’ll also develop expertise in teamwork, leadership and effective communication, ‘soft skills’ that are desirable in any potential recruit. And on top of an already extensive list of perks, being in this line of work gives you plenty of chances to travel all over the world, as a job that requires mobility and global understanding.
Intrigued to know more? Here are 4 US institutions providing a top-notch education in the petroleum engineering field…
With an outstanding reputation for both teaching and research, the Colorado School of Mines is the ideal place to start your journey into this lucrative industry. Its College of Earth Resource Sciences and Engineering provides both undergraduate and graduate programs that prepare students for success in the fast-paced business of energy. For students who are aiming to pursue an undergraduate degree, Mines’ Petroleum Engineering Department offers a curriculum that not only develops technical competence, but also teaches students how to make meaningful contributions to the development of alternative energy sources. Here, you’ll gain the skills needed to meet the world’s ever-increasing demand for hydrocarbon fuels and waste and pollution management.
The Department’s summer sessions, which serve as a platform for students to meet powerful industry figures, are unique to the Colorado School of Mines, giving students the chance to network with global leaders of the petroleum industry long before they graduate. On top of this, students get the chance to undertake an in-depth study of the Rangely Oil Field, the largest in the Rocky Mountain region, to learn about the complexities of geologic systems, and the environmental or safety issues that come as a result. On top of practical work, the Department boasts a popular Externship Program, a five-week summer placement that gives students the chance to work with industry-provided datasets for various projects, including software training, field visits and more.
DEPARTMENT OF PETROLEUM AND GEOSYSTEMS ENGINEERING, COCKRELL SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING, UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN
Focused on addressing the world’s most pressing issues, the respected Cockrell School of Engineering seeks to improve quality of life by empowering future generations. The School provides nine globally-recognized undergraduate programs and 13 acclaimed graduate courses, including the notable Petroleum Engineering degree. Here, students learn through innovative, hands-on projects that ensure each pupil gains the essential problem-solving skills required to create real-world energy solutions. You’ll also get to work with renowned educators and researchers who don’t just teach you the basics, but rather encourage you to develop ideas that will help change the world.
For students keen to specialize, the School offers research and education programs within the following fields: Drilling, Well Completions and Rock Mechanics, Natural Gas Engineering, Reservoir Engineering, Production Engineering, Unconventional Resources, Environmental Engineering, Fundamental Processes, Integrated Reservoir Characterization, Nanoparticle Engineering for Subsurface Processes. Located in Austin, Texas, the School is strategically placed near a wealth of thriving start-ups and technology giants like Dell, IBM and National Instruments.
DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY AND MINERAL ENGINEERING, PETROLEUM AND NATURAL GAS ENGINEERING, PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY (PENN STATE)
Designed to equip students with the tools for lifelong professional growth, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering undergraduate program at Penn State prepares pupils for a career in both the private and public sectors, or for further education at the postgraduate stage. Combining theory and application, the program enables students to appreciate that a successful engineering design project requires a firm theoretical foundation, experimentation and engineering judgement. With this degree, students will gain the necessary skills to be able to communicate effectively, to work as part of a multi-disciplinary team, and to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global and societal context.
Beyond the classroom walls, students have the chance to participate in a variety of activities, from on-the-job training to internships, that grant invaluable professional experience. But if you’re unable to find something that suits, the University offers leadership training and a forum for students to discuss interests in an industry-relevant community. On top of this, the School promotes several opportunities to network with professionals at national and regional events. Although this course aligns to a particular discipline, graduates from the petroleum and natural engineering program have forced successful careers with large oil and gas production companies, or even with government agencies and service organizations.
DEPARTMENT OF CHEMICAL ENGINEERING AND MINERALS SCIENCE, VITERBI SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA (USC)
Located in sunny Los Angeles, the USC Viterbi School of Engineering delivers education, research and commercialization that caters to real-world needs. For undergraduates seeking a successful career as a petroleum engineer, the School offers a degree in Chemical or Mechanical Engineering with an emphasis in Petroleum Engineering. A minor in this subject can prepare students for a meaningful role in the exploration, recovery and production of subterranean resources, and underground disposal of hazardous wastes.
In addition, the School offers several graduate programs including the MSc, PhD and a Graduate Certificate Program in Smart Oilfield Technologies for those looking to boost their employability prospects or pursue a career in research. But if your interest spans multiple disciplines, you can opt for the dual degree program, leading to a graduate qualification in both Petroleum Engineering and Engineering Management. At the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, students don’t just receive a well-rounded education, but also learn to address pressing issues and provide solutions to complex problems of the contemporary world.
*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International