Masters Degree in Oil and Gas Engineering: Program Information

Discover program information for students who want to earn a master's degree in oil and gas engineering. Review the educational prerequisites and typical program coursework. Check out career statistics and continuing education options for petroleum engineers.

Essential Information

Master's degree programs that focus on oil and gas engineering are multi-faceted and directed toward managing the extraction of natural gas. At most institutes of higher learning, oil, or petroleum, and gas engineering is a specialization offered within a school or college of engineering. Prospective students of such programs should have science-related bachelor's degrees.

Graduate programs, such as the Master of Science in Oil and Gas Engineering, are focused primarily on training students in the common processes and procedures used in this field. Various engineering disciplines are also covered in most of these programs, including reservoir, natural gas and geological engineering. Both thesis and non-thesis programs are available, and students complete a comprehensive exam. Graduates can keep up with technological advancements by participating in continuing education programs.

Education Prerequisites

Some master's degree programs in oil and gas require candidates to have earned a bachelor's degree in a physical science, like chemistry or physics, or an engineering discipline, like environmental or mining engineering. It's common for colleges and universities to review the backgrounds, experiences and interests of graduate school applicants and potentially make exceptions at their discretion.

Program Coursework

Most master's degree programs in petroleum and gas engineering provide students with a thesis or non-thesis option. Thesis options typically require completion of approximately 30 credits in core and elective courses plus 6 credits earned by preparing and defending the thesis. Non-thesis students traditionally complete about 36 total credits plus a final all-inclusive exam. This program involves advanced study in areas such as rock mechanics, petrophysics, enhanced oil recovery and oil field management, in addition to well drilling, completion and stimulation. Some of the coursework ordinarily found in an oil and gas graduate degree program can include:

  • Steady and unsteady state flow in porous media
  • Petroleum engineering
  • Well stimulation design and analysis
  • Advanced reservoir engineering
  • Conservation theories and applications in petroleum engineering

Career Information

Job opportunities for oil and gas engineers, also known as petroleum engineers, are predicted to be highly favorable between 2010 and 2020, primarily because the number of jobs opening due to retirements, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www. In May 2012, the BLS reported that petroleum engineers earned an average annual salary of approximately $147,470.

Continuing Education Information

The BLS states that in order to keep up with improvements in technology, continuing education is vital for engineers. This can be accomplished via a doctorate (Ph.D.) degree program. Some professional organizations, like the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), also offer continuing education training programs, conferences and competency certification courses.

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