Master of Science (MS) programs in oil and gas engineering are focused primarily on training students in the common processes and procedures used in this field. Most of these programs provide training in multiple engineering fields, including reservoir, natural gas, and geological engineering. Both thesis and non-thesis programs are available, and students must pass a comprehensive exam prior to graduation. In order to apply, students must hold a bachelor's degree in a science or engineering field, but some exceptions may be made depending on the student's educational background and experience.
Master's Degree in Oil and Gas Engineering
Thesis programs 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 usually complete about 36 total credits of coursework, plus a final, all-inclusive exam.
MS programs in oil and gas engineering involve advanced studies in areas such as rock mechanics, petrophysics, enhanced oil recovery, oil field management, well-drilling, completion, and stimulation. Possible course titles 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
Job opportunities for oil and gas engineers, also known as petroleum engineers, are predicted to be favorable between 2014 and 2024, primarily because of the number of jobs opening due to retirements, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www. bls.gov). These engineers are projected to have a 10% job growth during this time frame. In May 2015, the BLS reported that petroleum engineers earned an average annual salary of approximately $149,590.
The BLS states that in order to keep up with improvements in technology, continuing education is vital for engineers. This can be accomplished through opportunities provided by professional organizations, such as the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), which offer continuing education training programs, conferences, and competency certification courses. Alternatively, research-oriented students may pursue a Ph.D. in the field.
Overall, master's degree programs in oil and gas engineering provide students with comprehensive training in a wide variety of subjects related to the field. After graduation, they are prepared for engineering careers in the industry or higher level studies.