Stanford University's petroleum engineering program, which they call Energy Resources Engineering, is one of the best in the U.S. Admission to the undergraduate Bachelor of Science program is highly competitive, and accepted students must complete rigorous coursework in a variety of areas to receive a degree.
Getting Accepted to Stanford
The first step toward getting a petroleum engineering degree from Stanford is to earn admission to the university. With an acceptance rate of only about 7 percent, winning a spot at Stanford is tough. Most Stanford undergraduate students score between 2040 and 2330 on the SAT. Even students at the lower end of that range scored better than 90 percent of all test-takers. For those lucky enough to secure a spot at Stanford, the journey toward a degree has just begun.
General Education Requirements
All Stanford undergraduate students must take a series of general education courses, regardless of their major. The required subjects include humanities classes like philosophy and literature, social science classes like sociology and psychology and foreign language classes. All students at Stanford are also required to take mathematics courses, but petroleum engineering majors will fulfill their math requirements in their degree program.
Petroleum engineering is a mathematics-intensive field. Stanford undergraduates hoping to earn a B.S. in the subject must take at least 23 credit hours in mathematics. Classes include several different levels of calculus, linear algebra and differential equations. Many of these courses are prerequisites for engineering classes, meaning that students must complete their math courses before they can begin to study petroleum engineering.
Petroleum engineering majors at Stanford must complete at least 20 credit hours of engineering classes to graduate. These include classes in applied mechanics, engineering thermodynamics and fluids engineering. To make sure students understand the business-related dimensions of engineering, students are also required to take a course in engineering economics.
A basic understanding of scientific principles is essential for petroleum engineers, so Stanford requires a series of courses in physics and chemistry. Future petroleum engineers must complete courses in mechanics, electricity and magnetism and light and heat in the physics department. From the chemistry department, students take two introductory courses. They also must complete a foundational geology course.
Earth and Energy Courses
Courses in science and math are intended to give students a strong foundation in engineering for any field. Petroleum engineering majors have to take more specific classes in earth and energy science to complete their degree. These classes include topics such as subsurface modelling, sedimentary geology and well-log analysis. These courses allow students to specialize in solving problems common in the petroleum industry.
Nick Robinson is a writer, instructor and graduate student. Before deciding to pursue an advanced degree, he worked as a teacher and administrator at three different colleges and universities, and as an education coach for Inside Track. Most of Robinson's writing centers on education and travel.