Petroleum Engineering

Bachelor's Degree Program

Students from all over the world come to UAF to study petroleum engineering. This ABET-accredited program is the only degree of its kind in Alaska. It’s also the only petroleum engineering program in the United States that emphasizes the unique challenges found in the Arctic. That gives our graduates a huge edge with employers in Alaska and throughout the North.

The petroleum engineering degree at UAF puts you in the heart of the nation’s energy frontier, with access to research, hands-on learning and professional opportunities you won’t find anywhere else in the world. You’ll have the advantage of working one-on-one with accomplished faculty who are experts in their fields. Your professors will know you by name and their doors are always open.

We have a long and successful track record of preparing leaders in the industry. More than 98% of our bachelor’s in petroleum engineering graduates find permanent positions in the oil industry or go to graduate school.

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Why Study Petroleum Engineering at UAF?

We offer one of the most modern and challenging petroleum engineering degree programs anywhere in the world, in the state that’s home to the largest oil field in North America. These are some of the opportunities you’ll have when you study petroleum engineering at UAF.

Get specialized training for petroleum engineering in Alaska and the Arctic

  • We prepare students for the unique challenges of the Arctic due to the harsh, cold climate, permafrost and remote location. You’ll find this emphasis in both the curriculum and the research opportunities associated with this program. As a result, our graduates are well versed in the oil and gas operations in the Arctic and highly sought after by employers throughout the region.

Take part in unique hands-on learning opportunities

  • Labs provide hands-on experience and are more advanced compared to many other programs, with software and equipment used by industry professionals available in our Petroleum Development Laboratory. For example, one of the exercises you’ll participate in involves separating the oil, gas and water in a horizontal separator after production from an oil well.
  • The major oil and gas producing and drilling service companies also offer summer internships to our students in Alaska and the Lower 48.

 

Engage in undergraduate research

  • Our research focuses on the development of oil and gas resources in Alaska. This encompasses enhanced oil recovery (EOR) and other well drilling and completion projects that involve dealing with permafrost. For example, we are currently leading the first ever field pilot on Alaska's north slope to validate the use of polymer floods for heavy oil EOR, a project funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.

 

Participate in petroleum engineering professional organizations

  • We have very active student chapters of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) and the American Association of Drilling Engineers (AADE). These offer industry speaker seminars and other networking events that take your learning experience beyond the classroom.
  • You can also take part in field trips to oil and gas production facilities and participate in student paper and other competitive events that are held as part of SPE and AADE.

 

Work closely with award-winning faculty

  • Our professors include winners of the SPE Western Region Distinguished Achievement Award for petroleum engineering faculty. All are active in research and are published authors in the field of petroleum engineering.

 

What Can You Do With a Degree in Petroleum Engineering?

When you earn your degree in petroleum engineering at UAF, you can look forward to a wide range of exciting career possibilities, in Alaska and beyond. Operating oil and gas companies and service companies routinely recruit graduates of the program. A number of our petroleum engineering degree graduates have gone on to achieve high level managerial and executive level positions in the oil industry.

Petroleum engineering career outlook

Petroleum engineering is a fast growing industry. Based on recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of petroleum engineers is projected to grow 15% from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. Alaska is also the state with the highest concentration of petroleum engineers in the nation. 

Petroleum engineer jobs

Jobs in petroleum engineering typically fall into the service sector (with companies such as Schlumberger, Baker Hughes and Halliburton) or with operating companies such as BP, ConocoPhillips and ExxonMobil. Petroleum engineer jobs are typically in the areas of drilling, reservoir or production.

Some of our bachelor’s program graduates also go on to pursue graduate degrees in petroleum engineering or related fields.

Petroleum engineer salary

Petroleum engineering has historically been one of the highest paid engineering disciplines, although it is a cyclical industry affected by the rise and fall of oil prices.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Alaska is one of the top paying states in the nation for petroleum engineers, with an annual mean wage of $161,920.

 

 

Get Started on Your Bachelor’s Degree in Petroleum Engineering

Take the next step toward earning your petroleum engineering degree. We have the resources to help you get started.