Schools for Aspiring Petroleum Geologists

A bachelor's and master's degree in geology is usually required for employment as a petroleum geologist, though a bachelor's degree can qualify graduates for some entry-level jobs in the field. Programs are available at a number of 4-year universities throughout the country.

How to Select a Petroleum Geology School

Ranging from a bachelor's degree up to a professional graduate degree, schools across the country offer programs with concentrations in petroleum geology. Some programs offer master's degree focused solely on petroleum geology. These programs are designed for working geoscientists or those with a bachelor's degree looking to enter or advance in the petroleum industry.

Students interested in pursuing a degree in petroleum geology may want to consider the following:

  • Universities with leading petroleum geologists on faculty, devoted laboratories, advanced subsurface research stations, and data archives may be the most desirable for those interested in the field.
  • Students may also want to consider a program with a concentration option in petroleum geology or petroleum geochemistry in addition to general geological study.

Petroleum Geology Program Overviews

Bachelor's Degree in Geology

Baccalaureate programs in geology focus on general geological research and instruction and some offer courses in petroleum geology. Many programs also require students to complete a summer fieldwork course with local affiliated organizations or through school-sponsored research projects. Course topics often include:

  • Advanced math
  • Earth sciences
  • Hydrology
  • Petrology

Master's Degree in Petroleum Geology

Master's degree programs in geology with a specialization in petroleum geology can take two years of full-time study to complete. Some schools offer an option of a research thesis, project or comprehensive examination for graduation. Professional organizations in the industry offer additional funding and scholarship opportunities for graduate students devoted to petroleum geology. Courses include:

  • Seismic interpretation
  • Petrophysics
  • Petroleum exploration

Top Ten Schools with Geology Programs

College/University Institution Type
Pennsylvania State University-University Park public, 4-year
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor public, 4-year
Stanford University private, not-for-profit, 4-year
University of Arizona public, 4-year
California Institute of Technology private, not-for-profit, 4-year
University of Texas - Austin public, 4-year
Massachusetts Institute of Technology private, not-for-profit, 4-year
University of California-Berkeley public, 4-year
University of California-Los Santa Barbara public, 4-year
University of Colorado - Boulder public, 4-year

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