5 Best Online Master’s in Petroleum Engineering in 2024

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Updated: April 15, 2024, Reading time: 7 minutes

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Petroleum Engineering leads to a high-paying career. The Bureau of Labor Statistics discloses that the average annual pay of petroleum engineers is $131,800, and this is for those with only a bachelor’s degree. Imagine how much more you can earn when you surpass some of your competition’s education and skill levels.

Earning a master’s degree is one of the best ways to increase income potential and unlock more career opportunities. According to other data from BLS, those with master’s degrees are paid considerably more than undergraduate degree holders and have lower unemployment rates. 

If you’re already employed, you can pursue an Online Master’s in Petroleum Engineering degree program. The following five online master’s degrees are fully accredited, have maintained excellent academic reputations, and have high student satisfaction rates. 

Online Master's in Petroleum Engineering student
Grad School Center is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Program Overview

SchoolProgramTuitionAcceptance RateStandout Program Feature/s
University of North DakotaMaster’s in Petroleum Engineering$869.51 per credit hour83%Allows students to choose between an MS and an MEng program
University of HoustonMaster of Petroleum Engineering– $549.18 per credit hour (resident)
– $1069.18 per credit hour (non-resident)
66%Offers a highly customizable curriculum
University of South CaliforniaMaster of Science in Petroleum Engineering$2,424 per unit rate36%Boasts some of the nation’s strongest faculty members and extensive research facilities
Texas Tech UniversityMaster of Science in Petroleum Engineering– $9,804 per year (resident)
– $17,512 per year (non-resident)
 67%Maintained strong and influential partnerships with large industry players
University of KansasMaster of Science in Petroleum Engineering$795 per credit hour88%– Offers the most affordable flat-rate tuition rate
– Offers online students financial aid and scholarship opportunities

5 Best Online Master’s in Petroleum Engineering

University of North Dakota

Grand Forks, ND

Online Master’s in Petroleum Engineering

Tuition$869.51 per credit hour
Credit Hour30-32

The online Master’s in Petroleum Engineering at the University of North Dakota can be completed as a Master of Science (non-thesis) or Master of Engineering (course-based) degree. Either way, you will focus on hydraulic fracturing, re-fracturing, data-driven modeling, shale oil, and seismic analysis. Both degrees also require a faculty-approved design project. 

UND offers affordable online tuition rates, including hands-on activities, compared to similar graduate schools. While most courses can be completed online, you may still need to visit the campus for personal interaction with instructors and fellow students. 

Featured courses include:

University of Houston

Houston, TX

Online Master of Petroleum Engineering

Tuition$549.18 per credit hour (resident)
$1069.18 per credit hour (non-resident)
Credit Hour30

The University of Houston’s online Master of Petroleum Engineering program has a slightly competitive admission process. The program’s non-thesis curriculum is focused on linking classroom lessons with real-world applications through professional development and research opportunities. 

In addition to engaging in the core courses, students can customize their learnings and pursue electives of their choosing. Students meet with academic advisors to discuss academic and goals and help them choose which electives align with their career aspirations and interests best.

Before pursuing electives, students must complete the following required courses:

University of South California

Los Angeles, CA

Online Master of Science in Petroleum Engineering

Tuition$2,424 per unit rate
Credit Hour30

The University of Southern California, renowned for its prestige, has one of the most selective petroleum engineering programs in the nation. Their online MS in Petroleum Engineering stands out as a highly competitive option. Industry experts and distinguished faculty members lead the program and provide students access to cutting-edge academic and research facilities.

Required courses of the program include:

Texas Tech University

 Lubbock, TX

Online Master of Science in Petroleum Engineering

Tuition$9,804 per year (resident)
$17,512 per year (non-resident)
Credit Hour33

Texas Tech University’s online MS in Petroleum Engineering is a non-thesis option designed for students seeking a tailored master’s degree. TTU is widely known in the engineering field for maintaining strong and influential partnerships with large industry players, which provides students with invaluable networking opportunities and real-world insights.

Although the program is not research-intensive, you can still participate in some of the department’s research areas. Among the most popular areas are Carbon-Zero Hydrogen Production and Fiber Optic Sensing. 

You can expect to study the following topics:

University of Kansas

Lawrence, KS

Online Master of Science in Petroleum Engineering

Tuition$795 per credit hour
Credit Hour30

The online MS in Petroleum Engineering offered by the University of Kansas is focused on students who want to develop their research skills and technical knowledge. The curriculum combines courses specific to the field with data science knowledge. It aims to place graduates ahead of the industry’s low-carbon section. 

The University of Kansas’ online graduate students qualify for financial aid and scholarships, just like their on-campus peers. It is a very rare opportunity in the realm of online education. 

The program’s graduate core courses include:

Petroleum Engineering students on site

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are Petroleum Engineers Highly Paid? 

The average annual salary of engineering occupations is $100,030, placing the $131,800 median salary of petroleum engineers at a significantly higher level. There are several reasons why these engineering professionals are highly paid. 

Working conditions

Petroleum engineers’ working conditions are not as glamorous as those of other engineering professionals. Their primary task is to locate oil and natural gasses, which requires them—especially those in their early careers—to labor in the field for 12 to 18 hours a day, six or seven days a week, with very little time off. 

Application Requirements 

The set of requirements for entry as a petroleum engineer is complex and challenging. Although a bachelor’s degree is often enough for entry-level work in various industries, such as oil, gas, and mining, it won’t make you stand out. Many companies prefer a postgraduate degree in petroleum engineering.


Another reason is licensing. Entry-level roles don’t often require a PE license. However, if your goal is to land a job with better pay and more professional independence, you must pursue licensing and specialization, which demands more completing continuing education courses/degrees. 


The United States has limited accredited petroleum engineering departments. Altogether, they only provide a few hundred graduates annually, hardly meeting the demand for new hires that oil and gas companies require to help ramp up new production. Moreover, petroleum engineering faces a wave of retirees and high salaries, making it difficult for schools to attract faculty to start new departments.

What Do Graduates Learn in an Online Master’s in Petroleum Engineering Degree Program? 

An online master’s in petroleum engineering is a strategic choice for those interested in advancing their careers in oil and gas extraction. As an online student in an accredited online program, you can expect to have the same core curriculum and requirements as on-campus students. However, you might not be eligible to pursue a Thesis Track

A master’s in petroleum engineering program explores advanced topics in oil and natural gas techniques’ exploration, extraction, and production. Some of the most common courses you’ll find include:

What are the Most Popular Professional Organizations for Petroleum Engineering Majors?

You can enhance your career prospects by joining professional organizations that provide networking opportunities, industry updates, professional development resources, and access to industry resources. Here are some of the most sought-after ones: 

Additional Resources:

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