Why earn a Ph.D. in petroleum engineering?

Application Deadlines
Aug. 1
Dec. 1
May 1

As a Ph.D. candidate in UND's petroleum engineering program, you'll have an inside track to participate in practical research projects in line with industry needs - and make significant contributions when you graduate.

Current petroleum engineering research includes:

  • Geomechanics, production and reservoir studies of hydraulic fracturing.
  • Studies on re-fracturing for optimization of production from unconventional shales.
  • Data driven modeling in unconventional reservoirs.
  • Petrophysical and geochemical analysis of shale oil.
  • Geophysics and seismic analysis of unconventional reservoirs.

You'll complete two consecutive semesters in residence during your first two years as a Ph.D. candidate at UND, and also complete a qualifying exam (that includes a research proposal), submit a series of peer-reviewed journal and conference papers and successfully defend a dissertation.

Petroleum Engineering Ph.D. at UND

  • Work in world-class labs and train on cutting-edge simulators at our Collaborate Energy Complex.

  • Be on top of oil industry trends. Our Industry Advisory Council, represented by some of the state's biggest companies, regularly helps us refine our curriculum.

  • All master-level petroleum engineering courses available online.

  • Gain networking and career opportunities through relationships with the Society of Petroleum Engineers, North Dakota Petroleum Council and other groups.

  • Small class sizes + open-door policy among faculty = a rich, personalized learning experience for online and on-campus students.

  • Compete for a travel grant from the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG) to attend the SEG/Chevron Student Leadership Symposium.

Careers in Petroleum Engineering 


Median salary in 2019 for a petroleum engineer in the U.S.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


No. of petroleum engineering jobs in the U.S., 2019

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Petroleum engineers are in great demand. More than 90 percent of our graduates find jobs. Employers of petroleum engineers are involved in the following fields:

  • Petroleum exploration
  • Geologic formation characterization
  • Drilling and fracturing
  • Computer simulation
  • Equipment and process design to optimize recovery
  • Monitoring of production and processing

In addition, petroleum engineers are involved in refining, petro-chemical production and transportation of products, as well as geosciences, environmental efforts and international commerce.

When You Earn a Ph.D. in Petroleum Engineering

A doctorate in Petroleum Engineering gives you the strategic skills you need, including:

  • Oil and Gas
  • Production Engineering
  • Reservoir Engineering
  • Strategic Planning

UND Petroleum Engineering Alumni

Petroleum Engineering alumni have gone on to a variety of successful careers with:

  • Center for Energy and Environment
  • Keane Group Holdings, LLC
  • Continental Resources, Inc.
  • Eog Resources, Inc.
  • FedEx Corporation

Petroleum Engineering Courses You Could Take

Leaders That Do

The Petroleum Engineering program provides hands-on learning experience in a variety of disciplines.