Colorado School of Mines Graduate School Insights

How to choose a graduate petroleum engineering program

One criterion to consider when choosing a graduate program in petroleum engineering is rankings. Just a quick glance at various lists will show that the same schools appear time and time again. Here’s a sampling:

U.S. News and World Report, Best Graduate Petroleum Engineering Programs 2020

  1. University of Texas – Austin
  2. Texas A&M University – College Station
  3. Stanford University
  4. Colorado School of Mines
  5. Penn State University

College Factual, Highest Paid Petroleum Engineering Graduates 2021

  1. Texas A&M University
  2. University of Oklahoma
  3. University of Texas – Austin
  4. Texas Tech University
  5. University of North Dakota
  6. Montana Tech
  7. University of Texas of the Permian Basin
  8. University of Tulsa
  9. Colorado School of Mines

Best Petroleum Engineering Schools, Petroleum Ninja

  1. University of Texas – Austin
  2. Colorado School of Mines
  3. Texas A&M University
  4. Penn State University
  5. University of Tulsa

Top Value for Money Colleges with Petroleum Engineering Programs, Petroleum Ninja

  1. Stanford University
  2. University of Texas – Austin
  3. Texas A&M University
  4. Colorado School of Mines
  5. University of Southern California

Best Petroleum Engineering Programs, QS World University Rankings 2020

  1. National University of Singapore
  2. University of Texas – Austin
  3. Stanford University
  4. Technical University of Denmark
  5. Texas A&M University
  6. Imperial College London
  7. University of Adelaide
  8. University of Alberta
  9. Heriot-Watt University
  10. King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals
  11. University of Strathclyde
  12. Delft University of Technology
  13. University of Manchester
  14. Politecnico di Torino
  15. Middle East Technical University
  16. (tie) University of New South Wales
  17. (tie) University of Surrey
  18. Colorado School of Mines
  19. Sharif University of Technology
  20. KTH Royal Institute of Technology

Of course, rankings are just a snapshot. Another thing to consider is connections. Does the institution have a history of working with industry, both for research and employment?

Colorado School of Mines has partnerships with companies, universities and governments all over the world, with a particular focus on the extraction, transport and processing of natural resources. “The program has a strong alumni base of support and works with international companies from around the world,” says Professor Jennifer Miskimins, head of the Petroleum Engineering Department. These collaborations foster innovation while also providing numerous opportunities for Mines faculty, students and graduates.

Speaking of innovation, it’s important that petroleum engineering graduates stay at the forefront of the field considering the energy transition and all the other pressures that the industry faces.

Mines, for example, is home to the Unconventional Natural Gas and Oil Institute, the Fracturing, Acidizing, Stimulation Technology Consortium and the Unconventional Reservoir Engineering Project, just to name a few. These research centers are constantly seeking new ways to discover, explore and develop oil and gas reserves.

The institution encourages collaboration across disciplines and recently launched the Integrated Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage Initiative, providing avenues for petroleum engineers to be part of—and lead—the energy transition.

“The Mines Petroleum Engineering Department is very diverse in its offerings, with research programs that cover the fundamental areas of drilling, production, completions and reservoir, but it also offers areas such as petroleum data analytics, machine learning, gas hydrates, geothermal energy and space resources studies,” Miskimin says.

“Additionally, the department enjoys a close working relationship with the faculty of other sister departments such as geophysics, geology, chemical engineering and mining, which expand students’ access to multiple experts across campus,” Miskimins says. Diversity in terms of population is also an asset in such an international industry. Seventy-five percent of the students in Mines’ graduate PE program, for example, come from outside the United States.

Location is another consideration as well. Petroleum engineer jobs in the U.S. are concentrated in the Western and Southwestern states: Texas, California, Oklahoma, Colorado and Louisiana. Does your program make it easy to take on internships? Will you have opportunities to meet with recruiters, industry leaders, alumni?

Learn more about petroleum engineering graduate programs at Mines »

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