Is Petroleum Engineering hard? (13 Things to Know in 2023)


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is petroleum engineering hard
is petroleum engineering hard 2023

The discipline of engineering that deals with the discovery, production, and refinement of oil and gas is known as petroleum engineering. It focuses on tasks associated with extracting hydrocarbons, including both crude oil and natural gas.

Petroleum Engineering is an intellectually stimulating field demanding expertise in mathematics, science, geology, and the difficulty of managing valuable oil reserves. 

But here’s the twist: Graduates in this discipline often find themselves enjoying high salaries and a lack of job perks.

So, is the challenge of petroleum engineering truly mind-blowing? Thus, we’ll closely examine compelling motivations that could drive your interest in pursuing a petroleum engineering degree!

Is Petroleum Engineering hard?

Petroleum Engineering offers a difficult curriculum like calculus, physics, chemistry, geology, and mathematics. The most challenging aspect lies in the application of these principles to real-world scenarios. Nevertheless, individuals in this field benefit from satisfying career opportunities and good income. Petroleum Engineering proves demanding due to the necessity of scoring a consistently high GPA throughout your academic journey. 

1. Mathematics & Its branches

To solve the field challenges, remember that as a petroleum engineer, you’ll need to excel in math.

You’ll also learn:

  • Calculus enables us to comprehend how processes like growth and speed operate.
  • Statistics is used to gather, understand, and draw conclusions from data.
  • Linear algebra is math that works with lines and shapes. It can assist us in resolving issues involving numerous variables.
  • Differential equations help understand how things change over time, such as how temperatures rise or fall, by using them as math puzzles.

The above subjects will help you design oil platforms and refineries effectively.

petroleum engineering hard

You’ll study differential equations and one semester each of linear algebra in addition to one and a half years of calculus, which is crucial for Petroleum Engineering. 

Succeeding in this field means focusing on math problem-solving. 

Avoid common distractions like excessive socializing and delaying tasks, and invest your time and effort in mastering math, the backbone of this discipline.

2. The Science Of Oil & Gas Well Drilling

Petroleum Engineering isn’t just about extracting resources; it’s also about creating a sustainable future

Along with mathematics, you need to focus on physics, chemistry, and thermodynamics in Oil and Gas Well Drilling Technology. 

To gain knowledge about core samples, drilling rigs/platforms, and sensor data. 

In your fourth year, deal with the challenging Oil and Gas Well Drilling Technology, gaining expertise in wells, core samples, drilling gear, and data interpretation. 

Regardless of its complexities, it encourages students to create eco-friendly solutions, making it an exciting field of study.

3. Academic Excellence in College is a Must

A strong GPA is your gateway to good universities and desire internships in petroleum engineering.

Hard work in coursework and securing an oil and gas internship are key steps to a rewarding career.

This journey not only sharpens your technical skills but also hones your social and networking abilities for success in this high-paying profession. 

4. Educational Degrees

  • Bachelors in Science (BSc): The bachelor’s program in petroleum engineering is a 3- to 5-year undergraduate program.
  • Masters in Science: The master’s program in petroleum engineering is a 1.5- to 2-year post-graduate program.

For more details you can visit American Society for Engineering Education or Technology Student Association.

5. Top 10 universities for petroleum engineering

is petroleum engineering hard in 2023 or not

According to US News & world report, here are top 10 universities that caters petroleum engineering degree:

  1. University of Texas–Austin (Cockrell)
  1. Texas A&M University–College Station
  1. Colorado School of Mines
  1. Stanford University
  1. University of Oklahoma (Gallogly)
  1. Pennsylvania State University–University Park
  1. University of Southern California (Viterbi)
  1. University of Tulsa
  1. Texas Tech University (Whitacre)
  1. University of Houston (Cullen)

6. Courses

In your fourth year, you’ll have the opportunity to explore courses such as; 

A. Drilling and Well Completion 

is petroleum engineering hard

The course covers drilling and well completion basics, including the drilling process equipment, well pressure control, fluid design, well casing, and cementing. It also introduces drilling operations.

In well completions, it covers different completion designs, well performance overview, tubing string sizing, and specialized components like; 

  • wellheads 
  • safety valves

along with an introduction to well stimulation.

B. Petroleum Engineering Design 

Developing and assessing well systems and drilling procedures.

Analyzing subsurface geological formations and their resource potential using a combination of geological and engineering techniques.

C. Process Safety

In the course of process safety management, we’ll be learning

  1. hazard identification
  1. risk assessment
  1. risk management
  1. Cultivating a safety-focused culture and ensuring commitment 

D. Sustainability

This course will help you in different topics such as; 

  1. sustainable development 
  1. corporate social responsibility (CSR). 

You’ll gain the expertise to seamlessly incorporate sustainability into business operations, and teach meaningful engagement with stakeholders. 

Navigate international legal frameworks, and actively contribute to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Expertise in concepts and regulations is important for students as it is the bridge to success in this field

7. Educational Expenses

Tuition fees range from $8,000 to $15,000 annually. Textbooks and materials cost several hundred dollars per semester. 

Scholarships and financial aid can offset expenses. Graduate programs have varying tuition costs, with some offering assistant-ships for support.

There are some organizations which offers great scholarships such as;

  1. Society of Petroleum Engineering
  1. College Scholarship

8. Tech Savvy Engineers 

Tech savvy engineers, the one who uses modern technologies. Skilled engineers have a good handle on computers and software. 

For example, they understand how the CPU works with programs, networks, and operating systems. 

During internships, experienced engineers teach students about 

  1. Gas computing technologies
  1. Setting up computer systems
  1. Creating programs
  1. Maintaining data standards. 

These internships usually last around six months and end with the students’ graduation.

It’s clear that students in this field frequently face technical issues, which they must address effectively.

Also read, Is software engineering hard?

9. Regulations and Fundamentals

petroleum engineering hard major

As a student in this program, a comprehensive command on the industry’s regulations governing oil and land safety standards is crucial. 

Additionally, you’ll get to know about the fundamental aspects of petroleum. Including the formation of oil, its transportation through pipelines, storage, and the production of derivative products like gasoline. 

10. Certified and Licensed Engineer

Once you’ve completed your academic studies, internship, and graduated, the next milestone is the licensing examination. 

Graduates typically allocate six months for thorough preparation before undertaking the SPE Petroleum Engineering Certification and PE License Exam, which is mandatory. 

Engineering graduates who successfully obtain these certifications and licenses become eligible for membership in SPE organizations.

To gather more information regarding professional engineering license visit,

  1.  National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying 
  2.  National Society of Professional Engineers.

Visit ABET for details of accredited engineering programs. And for other certifications details, get information from Society of Petroleum Engineers

11. Career Opportunities  

is petroleum engineering hard major

According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, In 2022 the median pay for petroleum engineers stood at $131,800 per year or approximately $63.37 per hour. 

Typically, a bachelor’s degree is the entry-level education requirement, and prior work experience in a related occupation is not mandatory. 

On-the-job training is also not commonly required.

There were approximately 21,400 jobs in this field in 2022, with a projected job outlook of 2% between 2022 and 2032, which is considered as fast as average. 

This period is expected to witness an employment change of approximately 500 jobs in the field of petroleum engineering.

12. Working in Remote Locations

Being a professional and certified petroleum engineer often requires working in remote and distant areas. 

Your responsibilities may involve frequent travel to drilling and well sites, where you’ll collaborate with fellow engineers, oilfield experts, and clients. 

This can sometimes require working overtime. 

However, a significant portion of the job involves corporate office work, complete with standard office and travel benefits.

13. Top 10 companies 

Here is the list of top 10 companies that offers job to petroleum engineers:

  1. US Army
  1. Chevron
  1. Royal Dutch Shell
  1. Occidental Petroleum
  1. SLB
  1. British Petroleum Company PLC
  1. Halliburton
  1. ConocoPhillips
  1. Hilcorp Energy
  1. Apache oil company

Also read, Is chemical engineering hard?


Now the question ‘’Is petroleum engineering hard?’’, might be cleared. No doubt! It’s a challenging academic road that awaits individuals who want to learn about petroleum engineering.

It involves understanding oil and land reserves thoroughly, all while keeping up with the ever-changing industry landscape. 

To succeed, students must stay updated on emerging trends, which demands dedication and effort. But the payoff is significant—a place among the respected and well-paid petroleum engineers.

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