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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.

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Ranging from a bachelor's degree up to a professional graduate degree, schools across the country offer programs with concentrations in 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.

Top Ten Schools with Geology Programs

A list of the top ten schools in the country with geology programs at various degree levels:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition (2015-2016, In-state)*
Pennsylvania State University-University Park University Park, PA Public, 4-year Bachelor's, Master's and Doctoral $17,514 (Undergraduate); $19,328 (Graduate)
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Ann Arbor, MI Public, 4-year Bachelor's, Master's and Doctoral $13,856 (Undergraduate); $20,638 (Graduate)
Stanford University Stanford, CA Private, not-for-profit, 4-year Bachelor's, Master's and Doctoral $46,320 (Undergraduate); $45,729 (Graduate)
University of Arizona Tucson, AZ Public, 4-year Bachelor's, Master's and Doctoral $11,403 (Undergraduate); $11,040 (Graduate)
California Institute of Technology Pasadena, CA Private, not-for-profit, 4-year Bachelor's and Doctoral $45,390 (Undergraduate); $43,710 (Graduate)
University of Texas - Austin Austin, TX Public, 4-year Bachelor's, Master's and Doctoral $9,806 (Undergraduate); $10,934 (Graduate)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, MA Private, not-for-profit, 4-year Bachelor's, Master's and Doctoral $46,704 (Undergraduate); $46,400 (Graduate)
University of California-Berkeley Berkeley, CA Public, 4-year Bachelor's, Master's and Doctoral $13,431 (Undergraduate); $11,220 (Graduate)
University of California-Los Santa Barbara Santa Barbara, CA Public, 4-year Bachelor's, Master's and Doctoral $13,968 (Undergraduate); $11,220 (Graduate)
University of Colorado - Boulder Boulder, CO Public, 4-year Bachelor's, Master's Doctoral $11,091 (Undergraduate); $10,530 (Graduate)

Source:*National Center for Education Statistics

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School Selection Criteria

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 studies.
  • Programs with internships offer the best hands-on experience, which will be of benefit when looking for jobs after graduation.

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.

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.

There are many schools that offer a wide range of degrees in geology, with some specializing in petroleum geology. Individuals should consider career goals and specific program offerings before deciding on the school that is best for them.

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