15 Best PhDs in Petroleum Engineering 2020

| Staff

15 Best PhDs in Petroleum Engineering 2020
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Pursuing a PhD in Petroleum Engineering

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Doctoral degrees position individuals to make significant research contributions to their field. With one of the 15 Best PhDs in Petroleum Engineering, students can help engineer the future of petroleum for 2020.

Individuals interested in the most advanced details of the petroleum engineering field may benefit from one of Grad School Hub‘s 15 Best PhDs in Petroleum Engineering. Doctoral degree programs are heavily research-based and designed for those with a strong foundational understanding of and interest in their field. Most of the following degree programs require applicants to hold a Master of Science degree for Petroleum Engineering or a closely related field. Some programs admit those who hold relevant Bachelor of Science degrees if they complete additional qualifying coursework. 

The Petroleum Engineering programs listed include research-based courses in the field. The field of Petroleum Engineering can be loosely categorized into areas of drilling, production, and reservoir engineering. A significant portion of these doctoral programs is devoted to supervised research in areas of students’ particular interest or expertise. Most Ph.D. programs require qualifying, or comprehensive examinations, as well as research theses, projects, and dissertations. Doctoral dissertations generally require a proposal, extensive research and a subsequent report or project, and a written or oral defense.

Doctoral degrees position graduates to pursue research-based or academic positions in the field of petroleum engineering. Doctoral students may go on to work as professors or laboratory researchers in the field. In general, petroleum engineers examine, design, and develop methods for extracting petroleum, oil, and gas from the Earth. Petroleum engineers may work at drilling and well sites, or in a behind-the-scenes capacity in offices or research labs. According to the most recent report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, petroleum engineers had a 2017 annual salary of $132,280. The demand for petroleum engineers is growing at a projected rate of about 15 percent. This is much faster than the industry average, as gas prices can lead to increased investment in oil-related production and exploration.

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Accredited Online College Programs

Best PhDs in Petroleum Engineering

Rank School Location
1 Colorado School of Mines Golden, CO
2 Louisiana State University Baton Rouge, LA
3 Missouri University of Science and Technology Rolla, MO
4 Stanford University Stanford, CA
5 Texas A & M University College Station, TX
6 Texas Tech University Lubbock, TX
7 The University of Texas at Austin Austin, TX
8 University of Alaska Fairbanks Fairbanks, AK
9 University of Houston Houston, TX
10 University of Louisiana at Lafayette Lafayette, LA

Methodology

The staff of Grad School Hub has compiled the following 15 Best PhDs in Petroleum Engineering for the 2019-20 academic school year based on public data released from educational, commercial, and government databases. Data contributed from sources such as the National Center for Education Statistics, and the U.S. Department of Labor plays a significant role in how graduate degree programs are ranked because institutional transparency is essential for deciding which career path is right for you. Based on this data, GSH organizes information into five weighted categories, which are:

  • Alumni Feedback: 20%
  • Continued Enrollment: 20%
  • Degree Selectivity: 10%
  • Graduate Expenses: 25%
  • Projected Annual Salary: 25%

A more comprehensive evaluation of how each category is determined and scored is accessible through our Ranking Methodology page.

Here are the 15 Best Ph.D.s’ in Petroleum Engineering for 2019 – 2020!

  • Colorado School of Mines
    Location

    Golden, CO

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The Colorado School of Mines offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Petroleum Engineering. The program is open to students who hold a Master of Science degree in petroleum engineering or a related discipline. Students must complete a minimum of 54 credit hours beyond the master's degree, with at least 30 credit hours spent on research. All students must also write and defend a graduate research thesis. The interdisciplinary curriculum focuses on areas such as fluid and rock behavior, well testing, artificial lift, and economic evaluation. The department is home to a state-of-the-art computer lab, drilling fluids and simulator laboratories, and a reservoir characterization laboratory. Students are encouraged to get involved with the American Association of Drilling Engineers, the American Rock Mechanics Association, and the Society of Petroleum Engineers. Students also have opportunities to study abroad in Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, France, or Austria.

    Colorado School of Mines is devoted specifically to applied science and engineering, and it has expertise in areas relating to natural resources. The institution runs the Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum and hosts the Colorado State Science Olympiad. It also hosts an international oil shale symposium each year.

  • Louisiana State University
    Location

    Baton Rouge, LA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Louisiana State University offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Petroleum Engineering. Applicants must hold a Master of Science degree in petroleum engineering or an MS in a related engineering or science field plus additional coursework. The degree requires 21 core credit hours in drilling, formation evaluation, engineering mathematics, and reservoir engineering. Students must also select a concentration. Coursework includes milestone exams periodically throughout the program.

    LSU is a public state university in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It is the flagship school of Louisiana and the flagship institution of the Louisiana State University System. A land-, sea-, and space-grant institution, it has conducted research in partnership with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Science Foundation. U.S. News & World Report ranks the university No. 140 in National Universities and No. 70 in Top Public Schools. It is also ranked No. 10 in graduate Petroleum Engineering.

  • Missouri University of Science and Technology
    Location

    Rolla, MO

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Missouri University of Science and Technology offers students the choice to pursue either a Doctor of Philosophy or Doctor of Engineering degree in Petroleum Engineering. The program emphasizes mechanical earth modeling as a specialty and is ideal for students with a background in geological engineering and geomechanics. The program's research specialties include hydraulic fracturing, gel treatments, and geomechanics of petroleum recovery. Students also have access to lab equipment such as viscometers, tensiometers, and liquid parameters.

    Missouri S&T is a public university in Rolla, Missouri is known primarily for its engineering school. The university is a member institution of the University of Missouri System. It operates the Missouri S&T nuclear research reactor, the first operational nuclear reactor in the state. The university offers ongoing projects in Bolivia, Ecuador, and Guatemala through its Engineers Without Borders chapter. A land- and space-grant research university, Missouri S&T's other significant projects include a house sustained by solar energy, a remote-controlled airplane, and a human-powered vehicle. U.S. News & World Report ranks the university No. 157 in National Universities, No. 80 in Top Public Schools, and No. 67 in Doctorate Engineering Programs.

  • Stanford University
    Location

    Stanford, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Stanford University offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Petroleum Engineering. The degree program requires 90 units beyond the Master of Science degree, including 36-course units and 54 research units. Each student is also required to act as a teaching assistant at some point during their candidacy. Course offerings include Energy Efficient Buildings, Fuel Cell Technology, Groundwater Flow, and Technology in the Greenhouse. All students must also complete a written Ph.D. proposal and defense.

    Stanford is a private research university in Stanford, California. Its campus includes the Stanford Research Park, the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, and the Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve. The university has made significant discoveries in the realms of business and the sciences, including DNA synthesis, the laser, Google, and Yahoo!. U.S. News & World Report ranks Stanford No. 7 in National Universities, No. 5 in Best Value Schools, and No. 5 in Most Innovative Schools. It is also ranked No. 2 in Best Engineering Schools and No. 3 in Petroleum Engineering at the graduate level.

  • Texas A & M University
    Location

    College Station, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Grad School Hub's top-ranked doctorate program in Petroleum Engineering is offered by Texas A&M University. The university's Doctor of Philosophy in Petroleum Engineering requires 64 hours beyond the master's level. At least one year of the program must be completed in residence on the Texas A&M campus. Students must also complete two to four courses outside the petroleum department and two credits of internship. Required coursework includes a preliminary exam, a research proposal, a doctoral dissertation, and a final exam.

    Texas A&M University is a public state flagship university in College Station, Texas. Its student body is the largest in the state of Texas and the second-largest in the United States. A land-, sea-, and space-grant research institution, A&M is a member of the Association of American Universities. The university researches projects funded by organizations such as NASA, the National Science Foundation, and the Office of Naval Research. U.S. News & World Report ranks the university No. 66 in National Universities, No. 44 in Best Value Schools, No. 37 in Most Innovative Schools, and No. 24 in Top Public Schools. The site also ranks the university No. 15 in Best Engineering Schools and No. 2 in Petroleum Engineering at the graduate level.

  • Texas Tech University
    Location

    Lubbock, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Texas Tech University offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Petroleum Engineering. Qualified applicants should hold a Bachelor of Science degree in petroleum engineering. The doctoral program requires a minimum of 72 credit hours beyond the BS level. The curriculum is organized into five core areas: Computational, Drilling Engineering, Formation Evaluation, Production Engineering, and Reservoir Engineering. All students must complete a two-part qualifying exam. The exam includes an assessment on undergraduate-level petroleum engineering curriculum and an oral defense of a dissertation proposal.

    Texas Tech University is a public state university in Lubbock, Texas. It is the flagship institution of the four-campus Texas Tech University System. The university conducts prominent research projects in areas such as epidemiology, atmospheric sciences, and wind energy. It has also made numerous contributions to NASA research efforts. U.S. News & World Report ranks Texas Tech No. 187 in National Universities, No. 100 in Top Public Schools, and No. 87 in Doctorate Engineering Programs. It is also ranked No. 9 in Petroleum Engineering.

  • The University of Texas at Austin
    Location

    Austin, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of Texas at Austin offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering. Applicants do not need to have a background in petroleum engineering and will be considered o long as they have a bachelor's degree in engineering, math, or sciences. Each student must complete background courses in drilling engineering, geology, production engineering, reservoir engineering, and well logging. Students research subjects such as artificial lift, drilling, logging, oil recovery, stimulation, and rock mechanics. All students must pass a written qualifying exam and an oral doctoral research proposal exam. They must then produce and orally defend a research dissertation.

    The University of Texas at Austin is the flagship institution of the University of Texas System. It is a public space-grant research university. Located in Austin, Texas, it has the nation's eighth-largest single-campus enrollment. It is counted among the nation's "Public Ivy" institutions, meaning its educational quality is comparable to that of the private Ivy League. U.S. News & World Report ranks the university No. 49 in National Universities, No. 16 in Most Innovative Schools, and No. 15 in Top Public Schools. The site also ranks the university No. 1 in Petroleum Engineering at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

  • University of Alaska Fairbanks
    Location

    Fairbanks, AK

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of Alaska Fairbanks offers a concentration in Mining and Petroleum within its Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering program. Applicants must hold either a Bachelor of Science or Master of Science in Engineering to be accepted. The 36-credit curriculum includes concentrated course offerings in Coal Preparation, Mineral Valuation and Economics, and Mine Systems Simulation. Students are expected to achieve a minimum of three full-time semesters of on-campus study. Each student must also pass a written and oral comprehensive exam and a doctoral research thesis proposal, program, and defense.

    UAF is a public land-, sea-, and space-grant institution in College, Alaska, and the flagship school of the University of Alaska system. The campus includes research institutes such as the Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, the Geophysical Institute, and the Institute of Northern Engineering. It is noted for research specialties including Arctic biology and engineering and Alaska Native studies. The university is ranked No. 146 in doctorate Engineering Programs by U.S. News & World Report.

  • University of Houston
    Location

    Houston, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of Houston offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Petroleum Engineering. Interested students must apply with transcripts showing an acquired Bachelor of Science or Master of Science in Petroleum Engineering or a relevant engineering or scientific field. Courses include Artificial Lift, Geomechanics, Horizontal Wells, and Well Logging. Beyond required courses, the program of study includes a six-credit doctoral seminar, 12 credits of advanced electives, 18 research credits, and a 12-credit doctoral dissertation. Students must also pass a qualifying exam before advancing to candidate status. Students can choose to take three of the following four exams: Drilling & Completion, Formation Evaluation & Reservoir Characterization, Production Engineering, and Reservoir Engineering.

    UH is a public state university and the flagship institution of the University of Houston System and is classified by the Carnegie Foundation as a doctoral degree-granting research institution with "highest research activity." The university conducts interdisciplinary research in areas such as artificial intelligence, biomedical sciences, natural resources, space exploration, and superconductivity. U.S. News & World Report ranks UH No. 171 in National Universities and No. 91 in Top Public Schools. The site also ranks the university No. 69 in Best Engineering Schools.

  • University of Louisiana at Lafayette
    Location

    Lafayette, LA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of Louisiana at Lafayette offers a Petroleum Engineering concentration within its Doctor of Philosophy in Systems Engineering program. The program is open to students with a Bachelor of Science or Master of Science degree in an engineering field. The program curriculum explores topics related to the systems of biofuels production facilities, biomass gasification units, coastal ecosystems, deep-water drilling operations, refineries, and more. The university is ranked No. 179 in doctorate Engineering Programs by U.S. News & World Report.

    UL Lafayette is a public research university in Lafayette, Louisiana. It has the largest student enrollment of all nine constituents of the University of Louisiana System, and the second-largest in the state. It is categorized as a Doctoral University with Higher Research Activity by the Carnegie Foundation. As a member of the Southeastern Universities Research Association, LSU researches academic areas involving data science, visual analytics, and primates.

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