Petroleum Engineering
Get Your Degree!
Request More Info >

Petroleum Engineering Overview

Most of our modern equipment relies on petroleum for fuel. Although scientists are working on creating new forms of energy, our society still relies heavily on petroleum. If you would like to participate in finding and extracting this precious resource, consider majoring in Petroleum Engineering.

As a Petroleum Engineering major, you will take classes in applied mathematics, geology, thermodynamics, and engineering principles. These classes will equip you with the skills to drill and collect petroleum and maintain rigs to ensure we have enough gas to complete our day-to-day tasks.

Required Skills

Strong math and analytical skills will help students succeed in this field. Each drilling location is different, meaning engineers must be able to develop a drilling plan, adjust for issues, and determine any problems that may arise. Creativity and problem-solving skills will allow engineers to accomplish these tasks. Students must also be able to work in teams with a variety of other professionals.

Petroleum Engineering is a full time job that often has long hours. Many work between 50-60 hours a week while traveling back and forth from drilling locations. While at a drilling location, petroleum engineers rotate being on duty every 84 hours.

Like most engineering professions, petroleum engineering employers require previous experience. Students are able to gain this experience through internships or cooperative engineering programs, which allow students to earn credit while working.

Most entry-level jobs require applicants to have a bachelor's degree. However, if you wish to rise within the company or want to conduct research and development, you may have to receive your master's degree. Some colleges offer 5-year programs that end with the receiving of both degrees.


A degree in Petroleum Engineering often leads graduates to a career in oil and gas extraction. Graduates currently hold jobs with oilrig companies, mining companies, and oil product manufacturers. Since large petroleum sources are outside the United States, some graduates have pursued careers in other countries.

Despite the increasing demand for renewable energy, Petroleum Engineering occupations are growing at an average rate. As oil prices increase, companies are expanding their operations, creating a higher demand for petroleum engineers. Graduates should have good job prospects after graduation, especially those who are willing to relocate.

Petroleum Engineering majors have an average starting and mid-career salary of $89,064 and $159,974, respectively.

Add to Notebook
Find your best fit major

Major at a Glance

Top statistics for this major

College Ranking by Major

Click rankings below to view the top colleges in this Major
Yearly Graduations
Average Starting Salary
Average Mid-Career Salary

Example Careers

Here is a small sample of the careers that a degree in Petroleum Engineering might open up.

Architectural and Engineering Managers
Engineering Teachers, Postsecondary
Petroleum Engineers
Salary data is estimated by College Factual using 2013 data provided by PayScale.
We can help you make the best choice of a college major
Apply for Scholarships