B.S. in Petroleum Engineering Program

Petroleum engineering is the branch of engineering concerned with the drilling, recovery, production, and distribution of petroleum and natural gas. It includes knowledge of the properties of fluids and rocks in surface and subsurface environments as well as methods of exploiting the economic production of oil and gas from petroleum reservoirs. A major subdivision at KU is reservoir engineering, or the development of processes to improve production from oil and gas reservoirs. Reservoir engineers use sophisticated mathematical techniques and computer technology to obtain optimum production. Through such techniques, petroleum engineers continue to extract oil and gas from reservoirs that only a few years ago would have been considered uneconomical. This branch of engineering is somewhat different from the other in that production is far removed from physical observation.

The curriculum develops fundamental concepts that describe the properties of fluids and rocks in surface and subsurface environments. These are integrated with courses covering fluid flow in reservoirs along with drilling and production equipment to develop a broad understanding of how fundamental concepts are used to solve technical problems. The development of engineering design concepts begins with the application of fundamental principles and concepts to solve engineering problems in these courses and culminates in a series of senior-level design courses that require comprehensive integration of technical knowledge as well as consideration of economic, environmental, safety, and societal concerns. This experience is essential in the preparation of graduates for entry-level positions.

Educational Objective

The objective of the program is to prepare graduates for professional practice in industry, government, or post-undergraduate training in petroleum engineering and other related disciplines.

Professional Opportunities

Petroleum engineers search the world for reservoirs containing oil and natural gas. Once these resources are discovered, petroleum engineers work to understand the geologic formation and properties of the rock containing the reservoir, determine the drilling methods to be used, and monitor drilling and production operations. They design equipment and processes to achieve the maximum profitable recovery of oil and gas. Petroleum engineers typically work for major oil companies, independent oil exploration, and production and service companies.

Undergraduate Admission to the School of Engineering

Admission to the KU School of Engineering (and its degree programs) is selective.

Students may be admitted to an engineering or computer science degree program as freshmen (first year) students, but all admissions, for both in-state and out-of-state students, are selective. Applications are judged on several factors, such as high school record, scores on national tests, academic record at college or university level, and trend of grades and more. High school transcripts and ACT scores (or equivalent SAT scores) are required.

Minimum Academic Standards for Admission

To be considered for admission to the School of Engineering, beginning first-year students must meet or exceed the following minimum standards:

  • Must be admissible to the University of Kansas by assured admissions or individual review AND
  • Have a 3.0+ GPA AND
  • Have a mathematics ACT score of 22 (or math SAT score of 540).

Important: Simply meeting these requirements won't guarantee admission to a School of Engineering degree program. Students who perform beyond these minimums will have a better probability of being admitted to their selected major.

Minimum Academic Standards for Direct Admission into Degree Program for incoming Freshmen

Students with a 26+ Math ACT (600+ Math SAT) or meet eligibility requirements for MATH 125 (Calculus I) may be admitted directly into their chosen major, with the exception of those seeking admission into an EECS program. Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, Computer Engineering, and Interdisciplinary Computing students must have a 28+ Math ACT (640+ Math SAT) or eligibility for MATH 125 for direct admission.

First-Year General Engineering Program

Students with a 22-25 Math ACT (540-580 Math SAT) or meet eligibility requirements for Math 104 (Pre-Calculus) are admitted to the School of Engineering First-Year Experience non-degree program for undergraduate students.

First-year Engineering students have one academic year (two semesters and one summer) to transition into a degree program. Admission to a degree program is possible after one of the following is met:

  • Complete 12+ credit hours at KU, earn a "B" or higher in Math 104 (Pre-Calculus), earn a "C" or higher in all science and engineering courses, and earn a KU GPA of 2.5+ OR
  • Earn a "C" or better in MATH 125 (Calculus I), earn a "C" or better in all science and engineering courses, and earn a KU GPA of 2.5+

Exploring Engineering

Students not admitted directly to the School of Engineering or their major but who are admissible to the university may be admitted to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences as an Undecided student. They can later re-apply to the School of Engineering during the semester they are completing the admission requirements for transfer students.

Transfer Admission Standards

Applications from all transfer students, whether from other institutions or from other academic schools at the University of Kansas, are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Transfer students must be admissible to KU AND have a cumulative college transferable grade-point average of 2.5+ to be considered. In addition, students must have grades of "C" or better in those courses in math (must include MATH 125 Calculus I or equivalent), science, and engineering applicable to the engineering degree.

Students interested in the Information Technology program are admitted as juniors. They must have completed 60 hours of pre-requisite courses including foundational courses in math, science, and computer science and have a 2.5+ cumulative GPA or better. The Information Technology program resides at the Edwards Campus in Overland Park, KS. Click here for more information.

Current KU Students admitted to other academic units may apply to the School of Engineering by completing a Change of School form. This must be turned in to the School of Engineering Dean's Office by the appropriate deadlines indicated below.

Already Applied to KU, But Not Engineering?

Don't worry. It's not too late to change your mind if you’ve already applied to KU and selected a major outside the School of Engineering. If you think one of the 12 engineering or computer science majors is a better fit for your talents, you can still change your requested major — preferably before May 1 — and be considered for admission to the School of Engineering and all the benefits that go with it.

To update your application, visit Undergraduate Admissions and click on “Change application term, major, mailing address, and/or email address.”

Please contact a member of our recruitment team, 785-864-3881, if you have any difficulty.

Application Deadlines For New Freshman and Transfer Applicants

September 15 Priority deadline for current KU students to apply for spring admission to Engineering.
November 1 Final deadline for scholarship consideration for incoming freshmen planning to enter in fall or summer semesters.
December 1 Final deadline to apply for the Self Engineering Leadership Fellows Program for incoming freshmen
February 1 Final deadline for scholarship consideration for transfer students planning to enter in fall or summer semesters. Applications available for the Engineering Learning Community
February 15 Priority deadline for current KU students to apply for summer or fall admission to Engineering.
May 1 Enrollment Deposit due.

General Education Requirements

The KU Core is the university-wide curriculum that all incoming undergraduate students will complete as part of their degree requirements. It comprises three general education goals and three advanced education goals. Associated with each goal are one or more learning outcomes:

  • GE 1.1, Goal 1, Outcome 1, Critical Thinking;
  • GE 1.2, Goal 1, Outcome 2, Quantitative Literacy;
  • GE 2.1, Goal 2, Outcome 1, Written Communication;
  • GE 2.2, Goal 2, Outcome 2, Oral Communication;
  • GE 3H, Goal 3, Outcome 1, Arts & Humanities;
  • GE 3N Goal 3, Outcome 2, Natural Sciences;
  • GE 3S Goal 3, Outcome 3, Social Sciences;
  • AE 4.1, Goal 4, Outcome 1, Diversity;
  • AE 4.2 Goal 4, Outcome 2 Culture;
  • AE 5.1, Goal 5, Outcome 1, Social Responsibility & Ethics (course);
  • AE 5.2, Goal 5, Outcome 2, Social Responsibility & Ethics (practice);
  • AE 6.1, Goal 6, Outcome 1 and 2, Integration & Creativity.

Details of the KU Core can be found at kucore.ku.edu. Some required courses in the Petroleum Engineering curriculum satisfy a KU Core goal and/or outcome. For these courses, the goal/outcome code is given in parentheses after the course on the pages below. Where required courses do NOT specially satisfy KU Core goals (GE 2.2, GE 3H, GE 3S, AE 4.1, AE 4.2, AE 5) students must choose from a list of several courses to satisfy each of the required goals.

Plan of Study

Recommended enrollments are as follows, but may vary according to existing credits:

C&PE 1171C&PE 1271
CHEM 130 or 170 (KU Core GE 3N)5CHEM 135 or 175 (KU Core GE 3N)5
MATH 1254MATH 1264
ENGL 101 (KU Core GE 2.1)3ENGL 102 (KU Core GE 2.1)3
KU Core GE3S,AE4.1,AE4.23GEOL 1013
 16 16
C&PE 2172C&PE 3274
C&PE 2191C&PE 3253
MATH 2203ME 3123
MATH 2902MATH 1274
PHSX 210 (KU Core GE1.1)3PHSX 2123
PHSX 2161PHSX 2361
GEOL 1032 
KU Core GE 2.23 
 17 18
C&PE 5113C&PE 6184
C&PE 5274C&PE 6193
ME 2113Engineering Elective3
C&PE 5283GEOL 591 (Geology for Petroleum Engineers)4
ENGL 203 (Writing for Engineers KU Core GE 3H )3C&PE 5222
 16 16
C&PE 6273C&PE 6173
C&PE 6253C&PE 628 (KU Core AE 6)3
GEOL 5354Basic Science or Engineering Elective3
KU Core GE3S,AE 4.1,AE4.23KU Core GE3S,AE 4.1,AE 4.23
Engineering Elective3C&PE 6243
 16 15
Total Hours 130

Bachelor of Science in Petroleum Engineering Degree Requirements

A student in Petroleum Engineering must complete and earn a cumulative 2.0 grade-point average in C&PE 327, C&PE 325, and ME 312 to progress to C&PE 511, C&PE 527, C&PE 528, C&PE 618, or C&PE 619.

A student in Petroleum Engineering must complete and earn a cumulative 2.0 grade-point average in C&PE 511, C&PE 522, C&PE 527, C&PE 528, and C&PE 618 to progress to C&PE 625, C&PE 627, C&PE 617, or C&PE 628.

A student must attain a cumulative grade-point average of at least 2.0 in C&PE courses taken at KU for graduation with a B.S. degree in petroleum engineering.

A total of 130 hours is required, as follows:

Petroleum Engineering Science
C&PE 117Energy in the Modern World1
C&PE 127Introduction to Petroleum Engineering Profession1
C&PE 217Introduction to Petroleum Drilling Engineering2
C&PE 219Drilling Fluids Laboratory1
C&PE 325Numerical Methods and Statistics for Engineers3
ME 312Basic Engineering Thermodynamics3
C&PE 327Reservoir Engineering4
C&PE 511Momentum Transfer3
C&PE 527Reservoir Engineering II4
Design and Integrating Courses
C&PE 522Economic Appraisal of Chemical and Petroleum Projects2
C&PE 528Well Logging3
C&PE 617Drilling and Well Completion3
C&PE 618Secondary Recovery4
C&PE 619Petroleum Engineering Laboratory I3
C&PE 624Process Safety and Sustainability3
C&PE 625Unconventional Reservoirs3
C&PE 627Petroleum Production3
C&PE 628Petroleum Engineering Design (KU Core AE 6)3
Engineering & Science Electives
ME 211Statics and Introduction to Mechanics3
Basic Science or Engineering Elective3
Engineering Elective6
Basic Sciences
CHEM 130General Chemistry I (KU Core GE3N)5
or CHEM 170 Chemistry for the Chemical Sciences I
CHEM 135General Chemistry II5
or CHEM 175 Chemistry for the Chemical Sciences II
PHSX 210General Physics I for Engineers (KU Core GE 1.1)3
PHSX 216General Physics I Laboratory1
PHSX 212General Physics II3
PHSX 236General Physics II Laboratory1
GEOL 101
GEOL 103
The Way The Earth Works
and Geology Fundamentals Laboratory
GEOL 591Topics in Geology: _____ (Geology for Petroleum Engineers)4
GEOL 535Petroleum and Subsurface Geology4
Mathematics Courses
MATH 125Calculus I4
MATH 126Calculus II4
MATH 127Calculus III4
MATH 290Elementary Linear Algebra2
MATH 220Applied Differential Equations3
General Education Component
Students with an initial term of Fall 2014 or later must meet the minimum requirements of the KU Core. Learn more about KU Core requirements at http://kucore.ku.edu.
ENGL 101Composition (KU Core GE 2.1)3
ENGL 102Critical Reading and Writing (KU Core GE 2.1)3
ENGL 203Topics in Reading and Writing: _____ (Topic: Technical Writing for Engineers (Goal 3H))3
KU Core GE 2.23
KU Core GE 3S (Social Science)3
KU Core AE 4.1 (Human Diversity)3
KU Core AE 4.2 (Global Awareness)3

Credit for ROTC Courses

Only ROTC courses qualifying as engineering electives and humanities/social sciences may be used.

Departmental Honors

Students wishing to receive Departmental Honors in Chemical and Petroleum Engineering must apply to the Department in writing by September 1st for a December graduation or February 1st for a May graduation.  The criteria for Departmental Honors are:

  1. A cumulative 3.5 GPA in courses taken at KU
  2. A cumulative 3.5 GPA in engineering courses taken at KU
  3. Completion of an experience or an achievement that is deemed worthy of Departmental Honors.  Examples of achievements include (not limited to):
    1. Completion of 3 hours of C&PE 661 (Honors research ) or equivalent with an A or B
    2. Completion of Senior Thesis
    3. Co-author on a publication – may require research advisor verification
    4. Presentation at a National Conference – may require research advisor verification 
    5. Receiving an award for scholarly work – may require research advisor verification 

The application must include:

  • Completed application form
  • Approximately 200-500 word statement of the achievement or experience that is worthy of Departmental Honors.

A departmental committee will review all applications and make the final decision on the awarding of Departmental Honors.  Some applications may require verification from the research advisor.  Students awarded Departmental Honors will be recognized at the end of the year banquet.