Bob L. Herd Department of Petroleum Engineering

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petroleum engineeringCONTACT INFORMATION:
214 Petroleum Engineering Building
Box 43111, Lubbock, TX 79409-3111
T 806.742.3573 | F 806.742.3502


About the Program

In 2014 the department moved into the new 24,000 square-foot Terry Fuller Petroleum Engineering Research Building.

This department supervises the following degree programs and certificate:

  • Bachelor of Science in Petroleum Engineering
  • Master of Science in Petroleum Engineering
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Petroleum Engineering
  • Graduate Certificate in Petroleum Engineering

Mission. The mission of the Bob L. Herd Department of Petroleum Engineering has three elements:

  • To provide excellent instruction and design experiences essential for graduates to enter the practice of petroleum engineering and pursue life-long professional development.
  • To conduct research that generates, communicates, and applies new knowledge for the betterment of society.
  • To foster a spirit of service and leadership among students and faculty and assist the public in addressing issues concerning the use of resources, protection of the environment, and development of infrastructures.

Program Educational Objectives. The undergraduate program educational objectives embody the expected accomplishments of graduates during their first few years following graduation. The program educational objectives of the Bob L. Herd Department of Petroleum Engineering (PE) as adopted by the PE faculty, students, and Industry Advisor Board are as follows:

  • Be successful in diverse career paths in the petroleum industry.
  • Continue professional development through participation and leadership in professional organizations (SPE, ASEE, API, AADE, SPWLA).
  • Pursue lifelong learning through continuing education or post-graduate education (professional meetings, short courses, graduate courses).
  • Progress to professional registration so that some individuals graduate from an ABET-accredited degree plan, pass the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam, work in increasingly responsible engineering positions, and pass the Professional Exam.

These objectives are published in the university's catalog and on the Bob L. Herd Department of Petroleum Engineering website.

Student Outcomes. Student outcomes are statements of the expectations for the knowledge and skills that students should possess when they graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Petroleum Engineering from Texas Tech University.

Graduates of the program must demonstrate the following:

  • An ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering.
  • An ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data.
  • An ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability.
  • An ability to function on multidisciplinary teams.
  • An ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems.
  • An understanding of professional and ethical responsibility.
  • An ability to communicate effectively.
  • The broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context.
  • A recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in life-long learning.
  • A knowledge of contemporary issues.
  • An ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice.

Program Overview. The department is uniquely located in the Permian Basin, where approximately 22 percent of the nation's petroleum resources and 68 percent of Texas' petroleum resources lie within a 175-mile radius. The department fulfills an obligation to the people of the State of Texas and the nation in making available the technical expertise for the safe and efficient development, production, and management of petroleum resources.

Petroleum engineering is the practical application of the basic and physical sciences of mathematics, geology, physics, and chemistry and all of the engineering sciences to the discovery, development, production, and transportation of petroleum. Petroleum is the most widely used form of mobile energy and now supplies approximately three-fourths of the total energy used in the United States. It is also a major raw material from which a wide variety of products are manufactured.

The department strongly encourages students to experience at least one summer internship for professional growth. Intern students will be assessed externally. The department has conferred over 2,800 B.S. degrees since the program's inception in 1946. A high-priority goal is to produce quality B.S. graduates measured by the following:

  • Student average starting salaries near the top of the national average in accredited U.S. petroleum engineering departments.
  • Provide summer intern opportunities and experiences within the industry.
  • Recruitment of quality undergraduates.
  • ABET accreditation.
  • Petroleum Industry Advisory Board recommendations on curriculum and graduates.
  • An independent assessment of capstone senior course.

The department is heavily involved in assisting students to find employment—both summer internships and full-time positions—upon graduation. Approximately 50 companies have recruited the department's students and nearly 100 percent of them have been placed upon graduation for the previous 16 years. A large percentage of the department's undergraduate body is on scholarship. An interview and resume workshop for the fall and spring semesters is conducted to assist students with interviewing and resume writing skills as an additional effort to maintain petroleum engineering's outstanding placement rate. The curriculum is under continuous review, and revisions are made as needed to maintain accreditation and ensure employability of students. Faculty participation with ABET and the SPE Education and Accreditation Committee ensure the department is current on engineering education. In addition, faculty have attended and been principal planners in all nine of the Colloquiums on Petroleum Engineering Education. Changes in the petroleum engineering curriculum since 1991 have been implemented by the Petroleum Engineering Curriculum Committee after due consideration of input from the Petroleum Industry Advisory Board, ABET recommendations, and the department's planning and assessment tools.

The department assists students to obtain summer internships. This provides invaluable and highly recommended industry experience to students. The increasing department involvement in industrial research provides an opportunity for undergraduate students to participate actively in the research experience on campus.

The Bachelor of Science in Petroleum Engineering is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, 111 Market Place, Suite 1050, Baltimore, MD 21202-4012, 410.347.7700.


Undergraduate Program

General Standards and Requirements. Admission requirements and academic standards for the Department of Petroleum Engineering are consistent with the dynamic enrollment plan for the Edward E. Whitacre, Jr. College of Engineering. Refer to the introduction to the Whitacre College of Engineering section of this catalog (pages 297-299) for a description of the criteria for initial admission to the Whitacre College of Engineering and the lower-division foundational curriculum. The required foundational curriculum for petroleum engineering consists of ENGL 1301, 1302; MATH 1451, 1452; CHEM 1307, 1107; PHYS 1408; PETR 1305 or ENGR 1315.

Admission to the petroleum engineering upper-division degree program is very competitive. Consequently, only 250 students in any academic year will be allowed to transition from the lower-division foundational program to the upper-division petroleum degree program, no later than between the third and fourth semesters. The 250-student limit to the petroleum engineering degree program will be effective Spring 2016 and thereafter. Thus, the admission change will affect students entering Texas Tech in Fall 2014 and after, and those students who entered prior to Fall 2014 but have not successfully transitioned into the upper-division degree program.

To apply for admission in the petroleum engineering upper-division degree program (beginning with PETR 2322), students must meet ALL of the following requirements:

  • completion of the foundational curriculum;
  • completion of 12 credit hours of Texas Tech University coursework
  • minimum institutional GPA of 3.2.

Students meeting all three of the required criteria will be considered for admission to the petroleum engineering program based on their institutional GPA. Where necessary to distinguish among students, math, science and engineering coursework GPAs will be weighted higher than other courses in the core or foundational curriculum. Once the enrollment cap of 250 has been reached for any given academic year, no additional students will be admitted to the petroleum engineering upper-division program for that year. Students meeting all three of the required criteria who are not among the 250 admitted students may declare majors in any other department in the college of engineering, provided standards for those majors are met. To apply to the petroleum degree program, students must complete the Authorization for Transfer into Upper Division Degree Program form. Students may complete an electronic copy of the form, located on the college of engineering website, or complete the paper copy located in the Engineering Opportunities Center of the college of engineering Dean's Office. Entry requirements for the petroleum engineering degree program are subject to change and students must meet the requirements at the time of submitting the Authorization for Transfer into Upper Division Degree Program form.

Upon acceptance into the upper-division petroleum degree program students will be placed on the most current catalog and upper-division degree plan to fulfill graduation requirements in place at that time.

All students in the department are required to have a Windows-based laptop computer, safety glasses, and steel-toed boots. Many instructors require students to transfer homework via email. Some instructors transfer information to students using the Internet. Students should check the department website for hardware and software recommendations; most petroleum-based software applications will run only on Windows-based PCs. The department has laptop accessible classrooms. Computer labs are not provided.

The academic standards required by the Whitacre College of Engineering and the Bob L. Herd Department of Petroleum Engineering are given in the introduction to the Whitacre College section of this catalog and summarized below. Exceptions to these academic standards are at the discretion of the petroleum engineering faculty in concurrence with the dean of the Whitacre College of Engineering. The standards are as follows:

  • A grade of C or better must be achieved in all prerequisites before the subsequent course may be attempted.
  • A minimum 2.5 GPA is required to maintain academic good standing and continued membership in the Whitacre College of Engineering.
  • A full-time student must achieve a C or better in 18 credit hours of coursework in the degree plan in each 12-month period.
  • An engineering course may be repeated only one time after a course drop, withdrawal, or failure to achieve a C or higher.
  • A maximum of three engineering courses may be repeated.

The department requires students in their junior year to conduct a degree audit. Following this audit, they must meet with their academic advisors to discuss all courses remaining for completion of their degree. Students must select "operations" or "reservoir" concentration upon registration for fall (first semester senior) courses. The student will be expected to enroll only in courses within their designated concentration. To graduate, the student must complete the required concentration courses.

Curriculum. Petroleum engineering applies the curriculum management of the Whitacre College of Engineering. Because of the rigidity of the upper-division petroleum degree program, students should be aware of the implications of not successfully completing coursework as prescribed in the degree plan.

Per the Academic Advising and Support section of this catalog, students should "notify their advisor immediately when receiving a course grade of D or F," before dropping a course, or when withdrawing from the university in order to gain a full understanding of the implications and develop a plan for the future.

Minors. Currently, petroleum engineering does not offer a minor. In conjunction with the Bachelor of Science in Petroleum Engineering degree, students may declare a minor (18 hours in a subject) in a field of their choice. Any required or elective courses in petroleum engineering may be applied toward the minor with the approval of the minor department (and department advisor). While declaration of a minor is not required, it is strongly recommended. Suggested minors are, but not limited to, mechanical engineering, geosciences, and mathematics. These minors can be earned with some additional hours..


Bachelor of Science in Petroleum Engineering
Combined Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Petroleum Engineering

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Graduate Program

The department is staffed with industry-experienced faculty members who have an average of more than 20 years of experience per person. This experience is combined with sound engineering and scientific principles in the classroom and made an integral part of the candidate's educational challenge. The department is located in a geographical area that produces 22 percent of the nation's petroleum resources. Sixty eight percent of Texas' petroleum resources lie within a 175-mile radius of the Texas Tech campus. This proximity provides the student with unique opportunities for directly interfacing with industry as well as for first-hand observations of oil field operations. The department has been consistently ranked in the top 10 petroleum engineering departments nationwide for both the graduate and undergraduate program.

Graduate studies in petroleum engineering prepare the engineer to assume responsibility in technical and managerial areas within the oil and gas industry. Historically, the graduate can expect to be challenged quickly and in areas of strong potential for personal and professional growth. Candidates with superior skills and the desire to progress within the industry can expect to be successful. The Petroleum Engineering Department at Texas Tech prepares the advanced student with the technical skills required to meet those challenges. Access to a laptop is required.

All graduate-level petroleum engineering courses must be taken for credit. A grade of B or better must be obtained in all graduate courses. No more than six hours of PETR 5000 can appear in a master degree plan without approval from the graduate dean.

The curriculum is organized into five core areas that denote the teaching and research concentration of the faculty. The master's degree plan of a petroleum engineering student should include at least one course from each of the five core areas; the doctoral degree plan should include at least two courses in each core area.

Drilling Engineering: PETR 5000, 5302, 5303, 5315, 5317
Production Engineering: PETR 5000, 5306, 5314, 5316, 5318, 5319
Reservoir Engineering: PETR 5000, 5307, 5311, 5320, 5323, 5325
Formation Evaluation: PETR 5000, 5304, 5305, 5308, 5324, 5328, 5329
Simulation/Computational: PETR 5309, 5310, 5312, 5313, 5322.

All graduate students are required to register for PETR 5121 each long semester. Students should notify their graduate advisor immediately when receiving a grade of C, D, or F and before dropping a course, or when withdrawing from the university, in order to gain a full understanding of the implications and develop a plan for the future.

Admission Process

The ideal graduate applicant should have a B.S. in Petroleum Engineering with at least a 3.0 GPA. In addition the applicant must provide the following:

  • Financial statement (proof of financial support)
  • Official transcript
  • Proof of proficiency in English (TOEFL, IELTS, PTE Academic, Cambridge CPE, Cambridge CAE, or completion of ELS Level 112)
  • Official GRE scores (quantitative, verbal and written)
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Goals/purpose statement

For more information about the graduate school application process visit or

Master's Program

Master's With Thesis. The department graduate advisor will meet, advise, and approve courses for the degree each semester. In addition to the written thesis, the candidate's thesis committee will administer a final oral exam/defense of the completed thesis. This thesis option requires a minimum of 30 credit hours comprised of 24 hours of coursework and 6 hours of PETR 6000 (thesis) and PETR 5121 (seminar). (All students are required to enroll in PETR 5121 each long semester.)

Master's Without Thesis. The graduate program for a non-thesis master's candidate is specifically tailored for that candidate's educational background, industry experience, and individual interest. For the non-thesis program, a final comprehensive examination is required by the department and the Graduate School. The policy governing the comprehensive examination is available with the departmental graduate advisor. Comprehensive examinations are given only after the graduate dean has admitted the students to candidacy. The non-thesis option requires a minimum of 33 credit hours comprised of 27 hours of coursework and 6 hours of PETR 6001(report) and PETR 5121 (seminar). (All students are required to enroll in PETR 5121 each long semester.)

Combined B.S.—M.S. Non-Thesis Degrees. Students in the B.S. petroleum engineering program at TTU are assigned a faculty advisor and are responsible for arranging a course of study with the advisor's counsel and approval. Programs leading to a combined B.S.–M.S. degree are available. Students interested in these programs should inform their academic advisor during the first semester of the junior year. Students must meet all Graduate School admission requirements ( and non-thesis degree requirements.

Doctoral Program

The objectives of the Ph.D. program are to provide students opportunities to reach a critical understanding of the basic scientific and engineering principles underlying their fields of interest and to cultivate their ability to apply these principles creatively through advanced methods of analysis, research, and synthesis.

The Ph.D. degree is awarded primarily on the basis of research. Applicants for the doctoral degree must have a degree in engineering disciplines and must meet the approval of the department's graduate committee. Students majoring in this department for a doctoral degree must successfully pass the qualifying examinations. These qualifying examinations consist of two parts. The first part is based on the undergraduate curriculum and concerns the following five areas of petroleum engineering: production, drilling, reservoir engineering, formation evaluation, and computational/numerical simulation. Students must pass this first part by the end of the second long semester. The second part of the qualifying examination is an oral defense of the dissertation proposal.

In addition to regulations established by the Graduate School, applicants for candidacy for the doctor's degree are required to complete a minimum of 72 credit hours beyond the bachelor of science degree in petroleum engineering comprised of 60 hours of coursework (which may include up to 12 hours of 7000-level research) and 12 hours of PETR 8000 (dissertation). During their coursework, students are required to demonstrate high proficiency in one of the five areas mentioned above. The coursework of each student must also meet any additional recommendation of the student's dissertation committee.

The graduate advisor determines course content and transferrable hours from any previous Master of Science in Petroleum Engineering programs. No more than 30 hours can be transferred.

The department has no specific foreign language requirement (but a foreign language for the Ph.D. degree can be specified at the discretion of the student's dissertation advisor). Research tools are included as an integral part of the degree program in the minor or major courses of each student. Additional information may be obtained from the departmental program advisor.

Graduate Certificate Program

The department offers a Graduate Certificate in Petroleum Engineering that is intended to supplement a course of study for the student who possesses an engineering degree other than petroleum engineering. The successful student will complete a minimum of 18 hours as determined by the program and must complete with a B or better. The certificate program is intended to provide the above-average student with basic education in petroleum engineering. (Due to petroleum engineering enrollment surges, this Graduate Certificate program is temporarily not accepting new students.)


Course Descriptions

Petroleum Engineering (PETR)



Alphabetical listing of all TTU faculty and their academic credentials.


Marshall Watson, Ph.D., Chairperson

George P. Livermore Professor: Soliman
Professors: Heinze, Hussain
Associate Professors: Menouar, Sheng, Watson
Assistant Professors: Emadibaladehi, Ettehadtavakkol, Panacharoensawad
Associate Professor of Practice: Bateman
Instructors: Gamadi, Giussani, House

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