Oil and Gas Management Degree Program Options

Bachelor's degree programs in energy management or commerce that emphasize oil and gas combine an education in business administration with broad preparation for employment in the petroleum industry. Master of Science (M.S.) programs in energy or petroleum management explore concepts in business administration and economics with an emphasis on the global oil and gas industry.

Essential Information

Bachelor's and master's degree programs related to oil and gas management are available for those interested in the field. A bachelor's degree program might include business, law, or economic coursework and students are able to choose an area of concentration. Internships are encouraged, and many programs work closely with energy industry companies who sponsor students through scholarships and ensure coursework meets professional needs. With an emphasis on global energy concerns, master's-level programs prepare students to take on larger professional roles. In addition, many master's students are often mid-career professionals looking to advance to executive positions.

  • Program Levels: Bachelor's degree and master's degree
  • Program Fields: Business administration or science
  • Prerequisites: Undergraduate degrees require a high school diploma or equivalent. Master's degrees require a bachelor's in a related field, standardized test scores, and may require professional experience.
  • Program Specializations: Energy management, commerce, energy, or petroleum management
  • Program Length: Bachelor's is 4 years, Master's is 2 years

Bachelor's Degree in Energy Management or Commerce

Bachelor's degree programs in energy management or commerce that emphasize oil and gas are typically interdisciplinary, and include coursework in business, law, economics, petroleum engineering and natural sciences. Degrees conferred may be a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration or Bachelor of Business Administration. These curricula also include general education courses such as composition, as well as math courses like calculus and statistics. Coursework for the major may include:

  • Information technology
  • Petroleum engineering
  • Geology
  • Energy policy
  • Energy industry financial reporting
  • Petroleum land titles, records and management

Master of Science in Energy or Petroleum Management

Master's programs in this discipline prepare students for executive and leadership roles in international petroleum exploration, production and trading. While some elective courses are offered, the curriculum may be less flexible than many other graduate degree programs because energy management often tailors coursework to specific industry needs. Programs offered within business schools will emphasize management and finance, while those offered within engineering schools will provide a more technical curriculum. Students in either program frequently work in teams to replicate the collaborative nature of energy industry employment and to facilitate knowledge sharing. Coursework may cover the following topics:

  • Global energy issues and economics
  • Renewable and alternative energy
  • Accounting for global energy markets
  • Finance and hedging strategies for global energy markets
  • Leadership and decision-making
  • Asset management

Popular Career Options

Oil and gas management professionals are involved in the business, financial and regulatory concerns of the energy industry. They may work in oil exploration, production or commodities trading and are often involved in land management. M.S. program graduates may be qualified for energy industry leadership roles in both private and public spheres. They may be employed by energy firms such as oil companies, government agencies or investment banks. Potential positions may include:

  • Associate landman
  • Management consultant
  • Risk consultant
  • Project manager
  • Strategy consultant

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that all management occupations in the oil and gas extraction industry earned a mean wage of $159,040 in May 2014. That year the mean annual wages of general and operations managers in the oil and gas extraction industry were $117,200.

The BLS reported that petroleum engineers could expect moderate growth in job opportunities during the 2012-2022 decade, with oil prices a main determinant. Petroleum engineers earned a median salary of $130,050 in May 2014. Post-secondary engineering teachers/researchers overall earned an average salary of $102,000 during that same time period.

Continuing Education Information

Students who work in land management may pursue professional certification from the American Association of Professional Landmen (AAPL). The AAPL awards the sequential Registered Landman (RL), Registered Professional Landman (RPL) and Certified Professional Landman (CPL) designations. Certification requires professional experience, sponsorship from three CPLs and passage of a comprehensive exam. The AAPL requires that those holding certification renew it every five years through continuing education.

Graduate students who want to move away from oil and gas management to become researchers or college teachers may pursue a related doctorate degree, such as petroleum engineering. Candidates for the doctoral program without a degree in petroleum engineering may have to complete additional coursework in petroleum engineering, engineering science or geology. They may also have to pass a preliminary examination demonstrating proficient knowledge in petroleum engineering within a certain amount of time after admission to the program.

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