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Bachelor of Science in Petroleum Engineering

Energy is a key component to people's everyday lives. Petroleum engineers are able to address and solve important technology challenges that will lead to energy security and societal prosperity, so the position is in high demand. This challenging and rewarding field of engineering requires creative application of a wide spectrum of knowledge, including, but not limited to mathematics, physics, geology, and chemistry.

Worldwide energy demand is growing, and experts agree that oil and gas will continue to play an important role in the world's energy supply. The decision making for complex projects falls to a great extent upon petroleum engineers, providing them with a high degree of responsibility. In addition, since hydrocarbon reserves are found in such diverse areas as Asia, South America, and Europe, petroleum engineers will have opportunities for exciting assignments all over the globe.

Petroleum engineers play a variety of roles within the energy business. They design and monitor the drilling of exploratory and development wells used to locate and produce the oil and gas from the subsurface. They work with technologies that can describe the characteristics of rocks deep beneath the surface and detect the type of fluids contained in those rocks. They install and maintain the equipment that lifts fluids from subsurface reservoirs to the surface, and they design surface collection and treatment facilities to prepare produced hydrocarbons for delivery to a refinery or pipeline. Hydraulic fracturing of shale gas and tight oil is the responsibility of a petroleum engineer, as is the development and implementation of enhanced oil recovery methods that capture stranded or bypassed hydrocarbons from old oilfields. In addition to these traditional petroleum engineering career choices, there are other emerging careers for petroleum engineering graduates in pollution clean up, underground waste disposal (including the subsurface injection of carbon dioxide to reduce atmospheric greenhouse gases), and hydrology.

The objective of the petroleum engineering program is to graduate practical, qualified engineers who can successfully pursue careers in the oil and gas production and services industries or similar areas. Graduates of the program are expected to understand the fundamental principles of science and engineering behind the technology of petroleum engineering to keep their education current and to give them the capability of self-instruction after graduation. They should be prepared to serve society by using the ideals of ethical behavior, professionalism, and environmentally responsible stewardship of natural resources.

The technical curriculum contains the following elements:

  • A combination of college-level mathematics and basic sciences (some with experimental work) that includes mathematics through differential equations, probability and statistics, physics, chemistry, and geology
  • Engineering topics that develop a working knowledge of fluid mechanics, strength of materials, transport phenomena, material properties, phase behavior, and thermodynamics
  • Petroleum engineering topics that develop competence in (1) design and analysis of well systems and procedures for drilling and completing wells; (2) characterization and evaluation of subsurface geological formations and their resources using geoscientific and engineering methods; (3) design and analysis of systems for producing, injecting, and handling fluids; (4) application of reservoir engineering principles and practices to optimize resource development and management; and (5) use of project economics and resource valuation methods for design and decision making under conditions of risk and uncertainty
  • A major capstone design experience that prepares students for engineering practice, based on the knowledge and skills acquired in earlier coursework and incorporating engineering standards and realistic constraints


Course requirements are divided into three categories: basic sequence courses, major sequence courses, and other required courses. In addition, each student must complete the University’s core curriculum . In some cases, a course required as part of the basic sequence may also be counted toward the core curriculum; these courses are identified below. To ensure that courses used to fulfill the social and behavioral sciences and visual and performing arts requirements of the core curriculum also meet ABET criteria, students should follow the guidance given in ABET Criteria .

In the process of fulfilling engineering degree requirements, students must also complete coursework to satisfy the following flag requirements: one independent inquiry flag, one course with a quantitative reasoning flag, one ethics and leadership flag, one global cultures flag, one cultural diversity in the US flag, and two writing flags. The independent inquiry flag, the quantitative reasoning flag, the ethics and leadership flag, and both writing flags are carried by courses specifically required for the degree; these courses are identified below. Courses that may be used to fulfill flag requirements are identified in the Course Schedule .

Enrollment in major sequence courses is restricted to students who have received credit for all of the basic sequence courses and have been admitted to the major sequence. Requirements for admission to a major sequence are given in Admission to a Major Sequence . Enrollment in other required courses is not restricted by completion of the basic sequence.

Courses used to fulfill technical and nontechnical elective requirements must be approved by the petroleum and geosystems engineering undergraduate adviser before the student enrolls in them.

Basic Sequence Courses
CH 301Principles of Chemistry I (part II science and technology)3
CH 302Principles of Chemistry II3
Engineering Mechanics
E M 306Statics3
E M 319Mechanics of Solids3
Geological Sciences
GEO 303Introduction to Geology3
GEO 316PSedimentary Rocks3
M 408CDifferential and Integral Calculus (mathematics; quantitative reasoning flag)4
M 408DSequences, Series, and Multivariable Calculus4
M 427KAdvanced Calculus for Applications I (quantitative reasoning flag)4
Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering
PGE 301Engineering, Energy, and the Environment3
PGE 310Formulation and Solution of Geosystems Engineering Problems3
PGE 427Properties of Petroleum Fluids4
PGE 322KTransport Phenomena in Geosystems3
PGE 326Thermodynamics and Phase Behavior3
PGE 333TEngineering Communication (writing flag and ethics and leadership flag)3
PHY 303KEngineering Physics I (part I science and technology; quantitative reasoning flag)3
PHY 303LEngineering Physics II (part I science and technology; quantitative reasoning flag)3
PHY 103MLaboratory for Physics 303K1
PHY 103NLaboratory for Physics 303L1
Rhetoric and Writing
RHE 306Rhetoric and Writing (English composition)3
Undergraduate Studies
UGS 302First-Year Signature Course3
or UGS 303 First-Year Signature Course
Major Sequence Courses
Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering
PGE 323KReservoir Engineering I: Primary Recovery3
PGE 323LReservoir Engineering II: Secondary and Tertiary Recovery3
PGE 424Petrophysics4
PGE 430Drilling and Well Completions4
PGE 334Reservoir Geomechanics3
PGE 337Introduction to Geostatistics3
PGE 362Production Technology and Design3
PGE 365Resource Economics and Valuation3
PGE 368Fundamentals of Well Logging3
PGE 373LGeosystems Engineering Design and Analysis3
Approved technical area electives12
Remaining Core Curriculum Courses
E 316LBritish Literature (humanities)3
or E 316M American Literature
or E 316N World Literature
or E 316P Masterworks of Literature
American and Texas government6
American history6
Visual and performing arts3
Social and behavioral sciences3
Total Hours128