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Petroleum engineers focus on both providing energy for the world's people and saving the planet by mitigating the effects of using hydrocarbons. They invent new techniques to recover natural resources from the earth and apply environmentally sound production methods for oil and natural gas. Even as we develop important sources of alternative energy, oil and natural gas will remain essential for decades to come.

Declare This Major

Undergraduates currently enrolled at The University of Texas at Austin who wish to change to an engineering major need to apply for an internal transfer. Find out more about the internal transfer process on the Cockrell School of Engineering's Policies and Procedures Web page.

Prospective University of Texas at Austin students should visit UT Admissions to learn about the application process and how to declare a major.

Required Courses

For more information on required courses, read the Petroleum Engineering undergraduate course overview.


Petroleum engineering is a specialization within the Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering.

What can I do with this major?

Wondering how you'd turn this major into a career? Remember: your major does not always determine your career path. Career counseling and assessments at the Vick Center can help you explore.

Major ≠ Career

Graduates with this major pursue many different careers, depending on their interests and experiences. Make yourself more marketable by complementing this major with part-time work, volunteering, internships, a certificate program, or graduate school.

Experience + Degree = Career

The Career Service Offices in your college can help you with internships and jobs. They work closely with employers to help students prepare for career opportunities. Read a few inspiring stories by professionals whose experiences led to great careers.


Engineers are creative problem solvers who are essential to our health, happiness and safety. Engineering students celebrate discovery, design, creativity, imagination, innovation and contribution to the world we live in. No profession unleashes the spirit of innovation like engineering. From research to real-world applications, engineers constantly discover how to improve our lives by creating bold new solutions that connect science to life in unexpected, forward-thinking ways. Few professions turn so many ideas into so many realities. Few have such a direct and positive effect on people's everyday lives. We are counting on engineers and their imaginations to help us meet the needs of the 21st century.

Learn about the Cockrell School of Engineering Petroleum Engineering Student Organizations.


Engineering students will acquire creative problem solving skills and the ability to design and lead in a variety of situations and environments. Based on "The Engineer of 2020" by the National Academy of Engineering, the Cockrell School of Engineering strives to graduate students who:

  • Possess strong analytical skills
  • Exhibit practical ingenuity - skill in planning, combing and adapting
  • Exhibit creativity - invention, innovation, thinking outside of the box
  • Exhibit good communication skills
  • Master the principles of business and management
  • Understand and practice the principles of leadership
  • Possess a framework upon which high ethical standards and a strong sense of professionalism can be developed
  • Exhibit dynamism, agility, resilience, and flexibility
  • Embrace being a lifelong learner