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Undergraduate Catalog | 2006-2008
College of Engineering
page 11 of 17 in Chapter 6
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Bachelor of Science in Petroleum Engineering

Producing oil, gas, and other fluid resources from the earth is the task of the petroleum engineer. This challenging field of engineering requires application of a wide range of knowledge—from the basic sciences of mathematics, physics, geology, and chemistry to the principles of engineering analysis, design, and management.

Petroleum engineers provide the technological expertise to bring oil and natural gas from deep within the earth to the surface for delivery to processing facilities. Petroleum engineers focus on the efficient and safe extraction of fluids from their natural geologic formations.

Once geologists have located potential oil- or gas-bearing formations, petroleum engineers design and monitor the drilling of exploratory and development wells used to locate and produce the fluids contained within these formations. Drilling operations can be extremely expensive and technologically challenging, especially in offshore and remote areas or when drilling horizontal wells. In addition to overseeing drilling, petroleum engineers evaluate the characteristics of oil and gas reservoirs, select and implement recovery methods, develop methods to lift fluids, and design surface collection and treatment facilities to prepare produced hydrocarbons for delivery to a refinery or pipeline. Petroleum engineers are asked to devise novel advanced technologies to recover more oil or gas than what is naturally released from the rock pore system. Advanced computational methods are often used to aid in accurate acquisition and analysis of data, simulation of alternative recovery schemes, and other difficult design problems.

In addition to traditional petroleum engineering career choices, there are other emerging careers for petroleum engineering graduates in pollution cleanup, underground waste disposal, and hydrology. These disciplines increasingly rely on the expertise of petroleum engineers. Additional energy-related applications for which petroleum engineers are uniquely educated include in situ uranium leaching, geothermal energy production, and coal gasification.

Worldwide proved oil and gas reserves are larger than ever before. Experts agree that oil and gas will continue to play an important role in the global energy supply. Because hydrocarbon reserves are found in such diverse areas as Asia, South America, and the Middle East, petroleum engineers will have opportunities for challenging assignments all over the world.

The challenges facing the petroleum industry require large investments in technologically complex projects. The task of making wise and cost-effective investments falls to a great extent upon petroleum engineers, providing them with a high degree of challenge and responsibility.

The objective of the petroleum engineering program is to graduate practical, qualified engineers who can successfully pursue careers in the oil and gas production and services industries or similar areas. Graduates of the program are expected to understand the fundamental principles of science and engineering behind the technology of petroleum engineering to keep their education current and to give them the capability of self-instruction after graduation. They should be prepared to serve society by using the ideals of ethical behavior, professionalism, and environmentally responsible stewardship of natural resources.

The technical curriculum contains the following elements:

  • A combination of college-level mathematics and basic sciences (some with experimental work) that includes mathematics through differential equations, probability and statistics, physics, chemistry, and geology.
  • Engineering topics that develop a working knowledge of fluid mechanics, strength of materials, transport phenomena, material properties, phase behavior, and thermodynamics.
  • Petroleum engineering topics that develop competence in (1) design and analysis of well systems and procedures for drilling and completing wells; (2) characterization and evaluation of subsurface geological formations and their resources using geoscientific and engineering methods; (3) design and analysis of systems for producing, injecting, and handling fluids; (4) application of reservoir engineering principles and practices to optimize resource development and management; and (5) use of project economics and resource valuation methods for design and decision making under conditions of risk and uncertainty.
  • A major capstone design experience that prepares students for engineering practice, based on the knowledge and skills acquired in earlier coursework and incorporating engineering standards and realistic constraints.
  • A general education component that complements the technical content of the curriculum.
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Course requirements are divided into three categories: basic sequence courses, major sequence courses, and other required courses. Enrollment in major sequence courses is restricted to students who have received credit for all of the basic sequence courses and have been admitted to the major sequence by the College of Engineering Admissions Committee. (Requirements for admission to a major sequence are given in this chapter.) Enrollment in other required courses is not restricted by completion of the basic sequence.

Courses used to fulfill technical and nontechnical elective requirements must be approved by the petroleum and geosystems engineering undergraduate adviser before the student enrolls in them. Courses that fulfill the social science and fine arts/humanities requirements are listed in this chapter.

Curriculum | Bachelor of Science in Petroleum Engineering

Basic Sequence Courses
  Chemistry 301, 302, Engineering Mechanics 306, 319, Geological Sciences 312K, 416M, Mathematics 408C, 408D, 427K, Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering 102, 203, 210, 312, 322K, 333T, Physics 303K, 303L, 103M, 103N, Rhetoric and Writing 306 56
Major Sequence Courses
  Geological Sciences 330K, Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering 421K, 323K, 323L, 323M, 424, 326, 430, 334, 337, 362, 365, 368, 373L 45
  Approved technical area electives 6
Other Required Courses
  English 316K 3
  American government, including Texas government 6
  American history 6
  Approved fine arts or humanities elective 3
  Approved social science elective 3

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Suggested Arrangement of Courses | Bachelor of Science in Petroleum Engineering

First Year — Fall Semester
  CH 301, Principles of Chemistry I 3
  GEO 312K, Geology of Engineering 3
  M 408C, Differential and Integral Calculus 4
  PGE 102, Introduction to Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering 1
  RHE 306, Rhetoric and Writing 3
  Social science or fine arts/humanities elective 3
First Year — Spring Semester
  CH 302, Principles of Chemistry II 3
  M 408D, Sequences, Series, and Multivariable Calculus 4
  PGE 203, Problem Solving in Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering 2
  PHY 303K, Engineering Physics I 3
  PHY 103M, Laboratory for Physics 303K 1
  Social science or fine arts/humanities elective 3
Second Year — Fall Semester
  E M 306, Statics 3
  GEO 416M, Sedimentary Rocks 4
  M 427K, Advanced Calculus for Applications I 4
  PGE 210, Formulation and Solution of Geosystems Engineering Problems 2
  PGE 312, Physical and Chemical Behavior of Fluids I 3
Second Year — Spring Semester
  E 316K, Masterworks of Literature 3
  E M 319, Mechanics of Solids 3
  PGE 322K, Transport Phenomena in Geosystems 3
  PGE 333T, Engineering Communication 3
  PHY 303L, Engineering Physics II 3
  PHY 103N, Laboratory for Physics 303L 1
Third Year — Fall Semester
  PGE 323K, Reservoir Engineering I: Primary Recovery 3
  PGE 424, Petrophysics 4
  PGE 326, Thermodynamics and Phase Behavior 3
  PGE 430, Drilling and Well Completions 4
  American government 3
Third Year — Spring Semester
  PGE 421K, Physical and Chemical Behavior of Fluids II 4
  PGE 323L, Reservoir Engineering II: Secondary and Tertiary Recovery 3
  PGE 362, Production Technology and Design 3
  PGE 368, Fundamentals of Well Logging 3
  American history 3
Fourth Year — Fall Semester
  PGE 323M, Reservoir Engineering III: Numerical Simulation 3
  PGE 334, Geology and Mechanics of Geologic Structures 3
  PGE 337, Introduction to Geostatistics 3
  PGE 365, Resource Economics and Valuation 3
  American government 3
Fourth Year — Spring Semester
  GEO 330K, Petroleum Geology: Basin and Trend Analysis 3
  PGE 373L, Geosystems Engineering Design and Analysis II 3
  American history 3
  Approved technical area electives 6

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Undergraduate Catalog | 2006-2008
College of Engineering
page 11 of 17 in Chapter 6
« prev | next »
College of Engineering Office of the Registrar University of Texas at Austin copyright 2006
Official Publications 15 Aug 2006