Jul 15, 2024  
2016-2017 Graduate Catalog 
2016-2017 Graduate Catalog [Not Current Academic Year. Consult with Your Academic Advisor for Your Catalog Year]

Petroleum Engineering, PhD

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Cullen College of Engineering  > Department of Petroleum Engineering  > Petroleum Engineering, PhD


Admission to the University of Houston PhD Program in Petroleum Engineering will require the following:

  1. GRE-An acceptable score within the Cullen College of Engineering standard on the Verbal, Quantitative, and Analytical portions of the Graduate Record Examination. 
  2. LETTERS-Three letters of recommendation from recognized professionals who can attest to the applicant’s capability for independent and creative thinking for the graduate level research in petroleum engineering.
  3. STATEMENT-A written statement of the applicant’s professional goals.
  4. APPROVAL-Approval by the Petroleum Engineering Graduate Committee.

In addition, students required to submit a valid TOEFL score, must achieve the minimum Cullen College of Engineering requirement.

Degree Requirements

   Paths to PhD-There are two Paths to the PhD Degree:

BS to PhS - Direct from BS to PhD, bypassing the MS degree, or by

MS. to PhD - Obtaining an MS degree first at UH (or elsewhere).

Both BS and MS degrees must have been obtained from an accredited institution in Petroleum Engineering or a relevant engineering or scientific discipline. The applicants must maintain a Grade Point Average of 3.2/4.0 (BS) or 3.3/4.0 (M.S.).

The chart below demonstrates course requirements for either path to PhD.

Category Semester Credit Hours (BS-PhD) Semester Credit Hours (MS-PhD)
Required Courses 12 12
Prescribed Electives 12 12
Free Electives 12 0
Research and Dissertation 36 36
TOTAL 72 60

Students without sufficient background for the required courses must complete leveling courses that will not count toward the degree.  Each Ph.D. student must maintain a Grade Point Average (GPA) above 3.00 throughout the Ph.D. program.


The Ph.D. in Petroleum Engineering will require a dissertation. 

  1. PhD Dissertation Committee: During the third semester after the student is enrolled in the PhD program, a dissertation committee will be formed by the advisor with approval of the Chair of the Petroleum Engineering Department. In consultation with the student and the advisor, the Chair of the Petroleum Engineering Department will recommend a Chair of the Dissertation Committee. The Chair will be a tenured, tenure-track or research faculty member associated with the Petroleum Engineering Department. The committee shall consist of at least five members including the Chair. Among the committee members, three members should be associated with Petroleum Engineering Department and one member should be from outside the Department.
  2. Preliminary Examination/Research Proposal: The student must pass the preliminary examination that includes a dissertation proposal and an oral presentation by the end of the second academic year. The student is required to write a dissertation proposal of his/her proposed research to the dissertation committee members. After the submission of dissertation proposal, the student must give a public oral presentation of the proposed research to the dissertation committee and the public.  Each committee member must indicate acceptance of the preliminary examination with “Satisfactory” or “Unsatisfactory”. A unanimous “Satisfactory” by the committee members will grant the student the status of “PhD Candidate”.
  3. Dissertation Defense: The PhD candidate must provide the committee members with the final version of the dissertation after the completion of his or her research. After consultation with the committee members, the PhD candidate will defend his or her dissertation at a public oral defense.  The dissertation committee will make the final judgment of the acceptance of the dissertation defense and the contribution of the work to the existing knowledge base of petroleum engineering.


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