Petroleum engineering degrees are highly specific and are designed to prepare students for a lucrative career in the growing energy industry. Students planning to enter the field or advance their careers by pursuing graduate degrees must be selective about the program they choose. While an affordable petroleum engineering degree is always desirable, other factors must be considered as well in order to ensure that the quality of instruction is up to par. In order to narrow the choices, we’ve compiled the following list of 10 great value colleges for a petroleum engineering degree.
Rating and Ranking Methodology
Graduate Degree Opportunities in Petroleum Engineering
• Presence of Master’s Degree Program – 1 point
• Presence of Doctoral Degree Program – 1 point
Awards and Recognition (Related to Petroleum Engineering)
• National Level – 2 points
• Regional Level – 1 point
20-Year Net ROI
• Above 600,000 – 5 points
• Above 500,000 – 4 points
• Above 400,000 – 3 points
• Above 300,000 –2 points
• Above 200,000 – 1 point
Petroleum Engineering Research Opportunities – 1 point
Innovative Programs and/or Teaching Methods in Petroleum Engineering – 1 point
Study Abroad Opportunities in Petroleum Engineering – 1 point
Petroleum Engineering Internship Opportunities – 1 point
Petroleum Engineering Scholarship Opportunities – 1 point
Affiliated Centers and Institutes on Campus – 1 point
Related Student Organizations and Societies – 1 point
Wow Factor: awarded for each unique feature or program that “wowed” us – 1 point
Great Value Colleges for Petroleum Engineering
After using College Navigator to identify the most selective schools that offer petroleum engineering degrees, our editors consulted PayScale.com and school websites to apply the above ranking methodology. In cases of a tie, the college’s net price was considered, and the most affordable school received the higher ranking.
#10 – The University of Texas at Austin
Net Price: $16,832
The Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin offers degree programs for both undergraduate students and graduate students. Both of these programs are relatively small, allowing for a close-knit community of peers and meaningful interaction between faculty and students. Despite its size, the department offers its students several interesting opportunities, particularly in research. Faculty members have interests in a wide range of areas in the field, and even undergraduate students are able to participate in faculty research.
#9 – Texas Tech University
Net Price: $13,901
The Texas Tech University Department of Petroleum Engineering is one of the largest of its kind and offers degree programs at the graduate and undergraduate level. One of the most impressive aspects of the department is its facilities. It is home to the Terry Fuller Petroleum Engineering Research Building. This state-of-the art, 42,000 square foot building has allowed the already large program to expand and provide its students with more hands-on opportunities. There are several specialized labs and classrooms, and coursework is closely connected with laboratory experience.
#8 – University of Houston
Net Price: $12,618
The University of Houston’s Department of Petroleum Engineering offers four degree programs: a BS, an MS, an MPE, and a PhD. These programs are broad and train students to work in a multinational, multidisciplinary environment. The programs are also new and relatively small, but strong. All students, even undergraduates, have access to the department’s research resources. Petroleum engineering students also benefit from the university’s location in Houston. The department maintains strong partnerships with the city’s petroleum industry, allowing students to interact with potential employers through internships and conferences.
#7 – Montana Tech
Net Price: $11,037
Montana Tech offers a BS in Petroleum Engineering and a MS in Petroleum Engineering with specializations in Production Engineering, Reservoir Engineering, and Drilling Engineering. All of these specializations include opportunities to gain hands-on experience both on and off campus. Montana Tech is home to five on-campus labs where students can participate in research and become familiar with specialized equipment. Students are also able to participate in field experiences all over the state. Petroleum engineering degree students who graduate from either of these programs are well-prepared for both further study and entry into the industry.
#6 – University of Alaska-Fairbanks
Net Price: $8,383
The University of Alaska-Fairbanks is one of the best options for students interested in the arctic oil and gas development aspect of petroleum engineering. Alaska is home to the largest oil field in America, and this university’s petroleum program is the only one of its kind in the state. Students are able to participate in research specifically regarding frozen reservoirs and other conditions unique to Alaska’s environment. This specific petroleum engineering degree program may not be ideal for individuals not interested in the arctic aspects of the industry, but it is perfect for those who want to specialize in this area.
#5 – University of Southern California
Los Angeles, California
Net Price: $31,189
The University of Southern California’s Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science offers master’s and doctoral degrees in petroleum engineering. The master’s program includes a geoscience track and a one-of-a-kind smart oilfield technologies track. Both of these tracks are available online for the convenience of working students. The department has a history of interaction with and support from the petroleum industry. Thanks to the industry’s contributions to the department, petroleum engineering students enjoy state-of-the-art facilities, special programs, and opportunities to connect with future employers.
#4 – Stanford University
Net Price: $17,952
The Department of Energy Resources Engineering at Stanford University offers MS and PhD degree programs in Petroleum Engineering. These programs are housed in the Green Earth Sciences Building, which operates facilities for research in several areas. In addition to access to these facilities, each graduate student is given a computer powerful enough to run almost all necessary software. For projects requiring an exceptional amount of computer power, all students have access to high-performance computational resources on-campus. Students may also participate in the department’s graduate seminar series and summer short courses.
#3 – Missouri University of Science and Technology
Net Price: $14,377
The Missouri University of Science and Technology is home to the only petroleum engineering degree program in the state, as well as the only program in the nation with an emphasis in mechanical earth modeling. It offers a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering, a master’s degree program, and two doctoral degree programs. Both undergraduate and graduate students have access to state-of-the-art, specialized facilities, including computer labs and experimental labs. Multiple honor societies and student organizations are also open to students looking for fun extracurricular activities and opportunities to network.
#2 – Colorado School of Mines
Net Price: $25,138
The Petroleum Engineering Department at the Colorado School of Mines works to prepare its students to enter the interdisciplinary and international petroleum industry. Both the department’s graduate and undergraduate program attract students from around the world. The department also maintains strong partnerships with other departments to create a multidisciplinary environment in both research and classroom instruction. Petroleum engineering degree students are encouraged to join student and professional organizations, as well as to study abroad. Some funding is available for students who attend conferences held by professional organizations.
#1 – Texas A&M University
College Station, Texas
Net Price: $11,725
Texas A&M University’s Petroleum Engineering Department is well-known for its excellent curriculum, facilities, and faculty. It offers four degree programs: a BS, an MS, an MEng, and a PhD. The MEng program is primarily focused on practice, whereas the MS and PhD programs are primarily focused on research. The BS in petroleum engineering is a bit broader and trains students in both aspects of the field. The department is home to multiple specialized research laboratories, such as the Global Petroleum Research Institute. More adventurous students may also choose to study abroad.
This concludes our ranking of 10 great value colleges for a petroleum engineering degree.