Bachelor in Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering – West Virginia University

Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering is concerned with design and application aspects of the discovery, production, and transportation of oil and natural gas resources.

Professionals in this field must have a thorough understanding of the geological principles relating to the occurrence, discovery, and production of fluid hydrocarbons. The petroleum and natural gas engineer must know and be capable of applying both conventional engineering design principles as well as those pertaining specifically to the field of petroleum and natural gas engineering. These are developed in the petroleum and natural gas engineering courses in the curriculum. In addition, a strong foundation in mathematics and the sciences broadens the future engineer’s professional capabilities. Because many engineers will be employed as supervisors or executives, managerial and social skills are also emphasized.

Students are offered the opportunity to enter all phases of the petroleum and natural gas industry in meaningful and important jobs, continue their education towards advanced degrees, or in some cases pursue a combination of professional employment and continued education.

Program Objectives

  • The graduates will be successful in their professional careers as petroleum engineers in the energy industry, government agencies, and/or post-graduate education.

  • The graduates will continue to develop professionally and serve in leadership roles.

  • The graduates will be successful in demonstrating their obligations to the profession, to their employer, and to society.

The foundation for achieving program objectives is established through a rigorous curriculum that provides the students with:

  • An understanding of scientific and engineering principles and the application of these principles in solving petroleum and natural gas engineering problems using modern tools

  • An integrated design experience leading to a capstone design course

  • A balanced and rounded education to recognize the need for developing technical communication and teamwork skills, as well as understanding the engineer’s professional, ethical, and societal obligations

Program Outcomes

  • The graduates will have a thorough understanding of scientific and engineering principles and their application to petroleum and natural gas engineering problems.

  • The graduates will have the ability to integrate their scientific and engineering knowledge to design and conduct experiments, and interpret and analyze data.

  • The graduates will have the ability to apply scientific and engineering fundamentals to formulate solutions to petroleum and natural gas engineering problems.

  • The graduates will have the ability to use techniques, skills, and modern petroleum and natural gas engineering tools.

  • The graduates will have the ability to integrate their scientific and engineering knowledge to solve petroleum and natural gas engineering design problems.

  • The graduates will have the ability to communicate effectively.

  • The graduates will have the ability to function on multidisciplinary teams.

  • The graduates will recognize the professional and ethical responsibilities of a petroleum engineer.

  • The graduates will have an understanding of the impact of petroleum and natural gas engineering solutions in a societal and global context.

  • The graduates will recognize the need to acquire the knowledge of contemporary issues.

  • The graduates will recognize the need to engage in life-long learning.

These outcomes are achieved by enrolling in rigorous individual courses in all basic areas of petroleum and natural gas engineering, basic science, mathematics, geology, and humanities and social sciences. The petroleum and natural gas engineering curriculum also contains significant laboratory components aimed at reinforcing the knowledge gained in the classroom. In the senior year, electives are offered in which the student may obtain additional depth of knowledge in specific areas of petroleum and natural gas engineering technology. Each student is individually assisted in course selection by an advisor who is a member of the petroleum and natural gas engineering faculty.

Students gain practical experience and first-hand knowledge of many aspects of petroleum and natural gas engineering through close proximity to the industry in West Virginia and surrounding states. Production sites, secondary and enhanced oil recovery projects, compressor stations, gas storage fields, and corporate offices all provide excellent opportunities for our students. Additional experience is provided through modern, well-equipped laboratories within the department and the University. Students are urged to gain field experience through summer employment in the industry.

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