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Master’s Degree Programs in Oil and Gas Engineering Overview

Majors Overview September 10, 2015

This article talks about master’s degree programs in oil and gas engineering and their education requirements, coursework, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.

Master’s Programs in Oil and Gas Engineering

The focus of multi-faceted master’s degree programs in oil and gas engineering is on managing the extraction of natural gas. Most post-secondary institutions offer oil, or petroleum, and gas engineering as a specialization within a college or school of engineering. The primary focus of graduate programs, such as the Master of Science (M.S.) in Oil and Gas Engineering, is on making students adept in the common procedures and processes employed in this field. The majority of these programs also cover a variety of engineering disciplines, such as natural gas, reservoir, and geological engineering. Schools offer both non-thesis and thesis programs; a comprehensive exam has to be completed by students.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria in some programs require incoming students to hold a bachelor’s degree in physical science, such as physics or chemistry, or an engineering discipline, such as mining or environmental engineering. Schools commonly review the interests, experiences and backgrounds of applicants though they may waive some conditions for deserving candidates.


Non-thesis and thesis options are available through the majority of master’s degree programs in petroleum and gas engineering. Students who choose thesis options must typically complete about 30 credits in elective and core courses apart from 6 credits earned through the preparation and defense of the thesis. About 36 total credits and a final all-inclusive exam are traditionally completed by non-thesis students. Coursework covers advanced study in areas such as petrophysics, rock mechanics, oil field management, and enhanced oil recovery, apart from well drilling, stimulation, and completion. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Well stimulation design and analysis
•Conservation theories and applications in petroleum engineering
•Petroleum engineering
•Steady and unsteady state flow in porous media
•Advanced reservoir engineering

Job and Wage Outlook

Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, oil and gas engineers, also called petroleum engineers, are expected to see an above-average job growth rate of 26% (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). The growth is expected to be driven by imminent retirements during that period. In May 2012, petroleum engineers brought in an average annual wage of $130,280.

Continuing Education Choices

Program graduates may opt for continuing education in order to stay abreast of technological advances. They may seek a doctorate program. Continuing training programs, competency certification courses, and conferences are also available through some professional organizations, such as the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE).

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