What is petroleum engineering?

Power the world with reliable and sustainable energy.

Energy plays a key role in our everyday lives — from our smartphones to our cars to our houses it raises our standard of living. Through teamwork and an innovator's mindset, petroleum engineers fuel the world. Using mathematics, physics and geology, petroleum engineers are able to address and solve important issues that will lead to energy security and thus are in high demand.

Petroleum engineering overlaps with many of the engineering disciplines, including mechanical, chemical and civil engineering.

Petroleum engineering is a combination of innovation, exploration and expansion. This major provides the building blocks for every other profession to effectively carry out its work.

—  Nicholas Staviski, Class of '19

Graduates of this program will:

  • Evaluate potential oil and gas reservoirs
  • Oversee drilling activities
  • Select and implement recovery schemes
  • Design surface collection and treatment facilities

Petroleum engineers use supercomputers, not only in analysis of exploration data and simulation of reservoir behavior, but also in automation of oilfield production and drilling operations. Petroleum engineers have a future full of challenges and opportunities. They must develop and apply new technology to recover hydrocarbons from oil shale and offshore oil and gas fields. They must also devise new techniques to recover oil left in the ground after application of conventional producing techniques.

Since many petroleum companies conduct worldwide operations, petroleum engineers have the opportunity for assignments all over the world. Petroleum engineers must solve the variety of technological, political, and economic problems encountered in these assignments. These exciting challenges combine to offer a petroleum engineer a most rewarding career.

For more information on the game-changing research currently conducted in the department, visit our research page.