The EU's Best Universities for an Oil Career


Taking a look at the résumés of senior executives at leading Italian oil firm Eni S.p.A. reveals that most of the company's management team hold fairly traditional degrees such as physics, mechanical engineering and economics from a variety of Italian universities. However, what worked for one generation of Italians may not necessarily be the correct course for a subsequent generation looking to get into an oil and gas career. Today's young Italians (as well as international students) may smooth their entry into the energy industry by taking an oil and gas-focused master's degree at Perugia or Turin.

University of Perugia

Perugia University (Università degli Studi di Perugia)

Perugia University has 31,000 students enrolled on a broad spectrum of courses, ranging from engineering, natural sciences and medicine to arts and humanities.

The university runs a two-year master's degree in 'petroleum geology' that is designed to give the student the ability to carry out all the professional activities required of a professional geologist specializing in oil and gas.

By the end of the course, students will have acquired a thorough knowledge of the main areas of earth sciences that characterize the activity of exploration and development, and an adequate knowledge of specialized fields of petroleum geology.

In order to gain the master's qualification, students have to write a thesis in either English or Italian.

The course is supported by Italian oil major Eni, which provides some professors for vocational disciplines as well as funding field and laboratory activities.

Polytechnic University of Turin (Politecnico di Torino)

A leading institution for the study of engineering in Italy, the Polytechnic University of Turin has around 32,000 students – of which around 15 percent are foreign (the greatest proportion of foreign students at any Italian university).

Politecnino di Torino

The university's Department of Environment, Land and Infrastructure Engineering has a two-year 'petroleum engineering' master's degree that is taught in English. The aim of the course is to train engineers who will then be able to begin working immediately in the oil and gas sector.

By the end of the course, students will be able to analyze hydrocarbon deposits both for quantity of reserves and production capacity, and will identify the best strategies for producing oil and/or natural gas based not only on technical feasibility but also economic and environmental sustainability, according to the university.

Specific engineering subjects learned by the student include: techniques for the drilling and completion of oil wells; techniques for exploitation of deposits through extraction or oil and natural gas; and above-ground chemical treatment of oil and natural gas to obtain energy-producing petroleum products.

The Netherlands

The Netherlands has a number of well-regarded and well-established universities, and it is common in that country for degree courses to be taught in English. Delft University of Technology, in particular, has several courses that are connected to the oil and gas sector.

Delft University

Delft University of Technology

Delft University of Technology boasts the current CEO of Royal Dutch Shell plc, Ben van Beurden, as an alumnus (he holds a chemical engineering degree from the university). Of its 18,000-plus student population international students account for almost 3,000.

The university offers the usual 'electrical engineering' and 'mechanical engineering' degrees at bachelor's level as well as an oil and gas-related 'marine technology' undergraduate degree. At postgraduate level, it has a two-year Master of Science degree in 'petroleum engineering and geosciences' as well as 'applied earth sciences', 'marine technology' and 'offshore engineering' master's degrees. All master's degrees are taught in English.


With its North Sea reserves, it is no surprise that Norway has a number of universities that offer suitable courses for Norwegian speakers looking to get into the oil and gas industry. Bergen University, for example, offers bachelor's degrees in 'petroleum and process technology' and 'geoscience', along with a number of oil and gas industry-related master's courses. However, international students with good English looking for a course in Norway should check out the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Located in Trondheim, in the north of Norway, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology has some 23,000 students, including some 2,600 international students.

For English speakers there are a range of master's degree courses available at the university. These include Master of Science degrees in 'petroleum engineering', 'petroleum geosciences', 'natural gas technology' and 'marine technology'.

Both the 'petroleum engineering' and 'petroleum geosciences' degree courses focus specifically on exploration and production of oil and gas on the Norwegian Continental Shelf as well as methods for increased oil recovery on the NCS. They also offer opportunities for students to specialize in areas such as drilling technology, petroleum production, reservoir technology, petroleum geology/geophysics, seismology and reservoir seismology.


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Generated by readers, the comments included herein do not reflect the views and opinions of Rigzone. All comments are subject to editorial review. Off-topic, inappropriate or insulting comments will be removed.

Bernardo  |  July 24, 2014
Not to forger Subsea Msc at Aberdeen University, it is a fairly good programme with good industry connections
Peter Schwarz  |  July 11, 2014
The University of Stavanger is considered one of the best places to study petroleum engineering in Norway, located in the undisputed oil capital, Stavanger. The university has approximately 10.000 students, 10 percent having international background. The university is renowned for its close contact with the oil and gas industry, with the headquarters of 26 international oil and gas companies in the region. The university offers English Master’s programmes in a wide range of courses, including Offshore Technology, Environmental Technology, Petroleum Engineering, and Petroleum Geosciences Engineering. It was recently chosen by the Norwegian Government to host Norway’s new cutting-edge petroleum research centre for Improved Oil Recovery, based on a national competition evaluating scientific quality and collaboration with industry. The degree in Petroleum Engineering has been offered since 1977 and is at the forefront of petroleum engineering education worldwide. It offers three specializations; Well Engineering, Reservoir Engineering and Natural Gas Engineering. The degree in Offshore Technology is focused on industrial asset management, risk management and issues related to the design of offshore installations for the oil and gas industry. This programme incorporates three streams of specialization; Industrial Asset Management, Marine and Subsea Technology and Risk Management. The degrees have an international profile and accommodates both Norwegian and international students.
Alan MacLennan  |  July 08, 2014
Robert Gordon University also offers MSc Information Management by distance learning. Its a profession increasingly in demand in the O&G industries, as we know from our friends (and graduates) in the industry who advise us on course content.
Rob Townsend  |  July 07, 2014
In the UK there are several Geological Society of London accredited courses that have not been mentioned here. A recently accredited course that is worthy of mention would be that of the University of Derby with its MSc in Applied Petroleum Geoscience.
Vutescu Cristian  |  July 07, 2014
University Oil and Gas Ploiesti Romania. In Ploiesti, the capital of the Oil industry in Romania. From this University, at this moment, many engineers are working around the word for the most important Oil Companies.
Joel Couse  |  July 05, 2014
Im stunned to see that Frances IFP (Institut Français du Pétrole) gets no mention in your list. Its certainly the equal of any of the schools mentionned in the last, and is backed by a very large research activity.
Wale olojo  |  July 05, 2014
If you read the write up from the start you would realise he said the list is not exhaustive and also that if you wanted cheap tuition but quality education. Im sure thats why hes not mentioned Heriot watt.
Olarinre Salako  |  July 04, 2014
I want to believe this survey is incomplete. This is because Heriot Watt Institute of Petroleum Engineering is well known all over the world. It is a leading centre of excellence in petroleum engineering and petroleum geosciences teaching, training and research with strong links to industry worldwide. It has graduated many Petroleum Engineers, Reservoir Managers and Geoscientists who are doing very well in the industry. The institute has gotten 5-star awards for third time running ahead of Imperial College
Andrew Faulkner  |  July 02, 2014
I find it extraordinary that Heriot Watts department of petroleum engineering gets no mention. it is considered ( by employers) one of the best in the world let alone Europe or is this survey based purely on recent grant awards?

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