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Best Petroleum Engineering Schools Online 2020

Looking to advance in the field of petroleum engineering? Don’t want to relocate and spend two years in a different place in order to earn your master’s degree? Prefer to keep working while you earn it? Well there aren’t very many master’s in petroleum engineering degrees offered online, but this is a ranking of the top five.

• #1. Texas A&M University
• #2. University of Southern California
• #3. University of Houston
• #4. University of Utah
• #5. University of North Dakota

All of these degrees are offered by petroleum engineering schools ranked among the top 200 engineering institutions in the United States by U.S. News and World Report. We ranked them according to three factors: the school’s overall U.S. News ranking, the engineering programmatic ranking by U.S. News, and program cost. Because even though engineering is a lucrative field, and petroleum engineering especially so, the cost of education is a major issue today, and why pay more than you have to? More information about our ranking methodology for top petroleum engineering schools can be found at the end of the article after the FAQ.

#1. Texas A&M University

Online Petroleum Engineering Degree


Website
Score: 30

This online master’s in petroleum engineering can be completed by taking just 30 credit-hours of courses if your undergraduate degree is in petroleum engineering. Students with other engineering degrees will go through a 36 credit-hour program. You will take courses like well stimulation, phase behavior of petroleum reservoir fluids, application of petroleum reservoir simulation, and unconventional oil and gas reservoirs.

  • U.S. News Overall Ranking: National #70
  • U.S. News Programmatic Ranking: #15
  • Out-of-State Tuition and Fees: $16,640

#2. University of Southern California

Online Petroleum Engineering Degree


Website
Score: 29

USC uses units instead of credits, and courses vary between 3 and 4 units in the online petroleum engineering degree. 28 units are required to graduate with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0. Students will take courses like fluid flow and transport processes in porous media, geomechanics for energy and environment, formation data sensing with well logs, and drilling technology and subsurface methods.

  • U.S. News Overall Ranking: National #22
  • U.S. News Programmatic Ranking: #9
  • Out-of-State Tuition and Fees: $47,163

#3. University of Houston

Online Petroleum Engineering Degree


Website
Score: 23

Students applying for this 30-credit online petroleum engineering degree must have a 3.0 GPA minimum and have passed the GRE. Students will take courses like core analysis: evaluation of petroleum formations, well drilling and completion, well logging: evaluation of petroleum formations, enhanced oil recovery, origin/development of oil and gas reservoirs, and fundamentals of hydraulic fracturing.

  • U.S. News Overall Ranking: #185
  • U.S. News Programmatic Ranking: #69
  • Out-of-State Tuition and Fees: $7,530

#4. University of Utah

Online Petroleum Engineering Degree


Website
Score: 20

The University of Utah’s online master of petroleum engineering degree features a 12-day field study program in Utah and Wyoming, in addition to courses and research. Students can complete the 33-credit master of engineering degree online in just 16 months. Coursework covers topics like environmental issues, constraints on energy technologies, and economic issues.

  • U.S. News Overall Ranking: #104
  • U.S. News Programmatic Ranking: #55
  • Out-of-State Tuition and Fees: $24,665

#5. University of North Dakota

Online Petroleum Engineering Degree


Website
Score: 13

North Dakota University’s online master’s in petroleum engineering is 32 credit-hours and takes two years to complete. More than 90% of graduates from this program find jobs in fields like petroleum exploration, geologic formation characterization, drilling and fracturing, computer simulation, equipment and process design to optimize recovery, and monitoring of production and processing.

  • U.S. News Overall Ranking: #263
  • U.S. News Programmatic Ranking: #156
  • Out-of-State Tuition and Fees: $12,224

Frequently Asked Questions about Petroleum Engineering Schools

Will an online degree from petroleum engineering schools be respected?

Schools offering an online master’s in petroleum engineering is a pretty new phenomenon. It’s still a rare degree to find offered online. So it’s hard to say what the exact reception will be in the industry. Other industries have begun to embrace online learning as it has become much more popular, especially at the graduate level, in the past several years. One important thing to note is that all of the petroleum engineering schools in our ranking are placed in the top 200 engineering schools in the U.S., so that’s a good sign. Top engineering schools would be unlikely to begin offering substandard degrees, as it would hurt their reputation in the industry and be bad for their alumni. It’s also uncommon for schools to specify on transcripts or diplomas that a degree was earned online. The online nature of the degree isn’t considered relevant information. These schools ensure that their online master’s in engineering degrees are of the same quality as the in-class counterparts. If you are working in an engineering job currently and earning a master’s degree at the same time, that’s an impressive achievement most employers will appreciate.

How much can I make with a master’s in petroleum engineering online?

Petroleum engineers typically earn their master’s degree at some point mid-career. This can allow them to transition into research. Petroleum engineering researchers who are familiar with cutting edge theory and technology are growing ever more important in the industry. This is because the easily obtainable oil is running dry, and as the resource becomes more scarce, companies will need to tap oil that’s more complicated to access.

So how much more will you be paid? Well, the exact numbers for petroleum engineering aren’t available. But on average, the increase in pay for somebody going from bachelor’s to master’s in their field is 38%. According to the BLS, the median salary for petroleum engineers is around $137,000 per year. So if petroleum engineering follows the national trends, that should lead to a pay increase of around $52,000 per year on average.

What makes an online master’s in petroleum engineering a better choice than in-class options?

For one, travel is an important component of a petroleum engineer’s job. The in-class education model makes that incredibly difficult. Earning a degree using this on-campus model could make it much more difficult for you to remain in your job while earning your master’s. Thankfully, the incredible online programs featured in our rankings are both well-respected and will allow you to stay current and active in the industry!

How do I pay for my online master’s in petroleum engineering?

This question is why we tend to include tuition in our ranking methodology. Not everybody can afford to pay tuition out of pocket, even if you’re a petroleum engineer and making good money. In fact, making good money means you’re more likely to have to take out student loans to finance your degree. FAFSA grants are often need-based. If your company has a professional development program, it may pay up to a certain amount on your tuition. After that, you’ll be mostly on your own. This means your two main options will be to pay out of pocket, or take out student loans.

But just look at how incredibly affordable many of the programs in our ranking are. These are incredible options. If your company does have a professional development budget, then some of these degrees may be cheap enough to be paid entirely by your allotment. Even if they’re not, you may be able to cover anything over your allotment out of pocket. Even if that’s not an option, and cheaper degree means less student debt, and that’s always a good thing.

Methodology for Ranking Petroleum Engineering Schools

U.S. News Rankings

National Universities Ranking

Top 200= 5 Points
Top 91-100= 6 Points
Top 81-90= 7 Points
Top 71-80= 8 Points
Top 61-70= 9 Points
Top 51-60= 10 Points
Top 41-50= 11 Points
Top 31-40= 12 Points
Top 21-30= 13 Points
Top 11-20= 14 Points
Top 1-10= 15 Points

Graduate Engineering Schools Ranking

Top 200= 5 Points
Top 91-100= 6 Points
Top 81-90= 7 Points
Top 71-80= 8 Points
Top 61-70= 9 Points
Top 51-60= 10 Points
Top 41-50= 11 Points
Top 31-40= 12 Points
Top 21-30= 13 Points
Top 11-20= 14 Points
Top 1-10= 15 Points

Tuition

Less than $50,000= 1 Point
Less than $45,000= 2 Points
Less than $40,000= 3 Points
Less than $35,000= 4 Points
Less than $30,000= 5 Points
Less than $25,000= 6 Points
Less than $20,000= 7 Points
Less than $15,000= 8 Points
Less than $10,000= 9 Points
Less than $5,000 = 10 Points

CVO Staff
October 2019

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This concludes our ranking of the top petroleum engineering schools offering a petroleum engineering degree online for 2020.

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