Why study petroleum engineering?

As a petroleum engineer you will be responsible for the identification and production of hydrocarbons, requiring a range of skills in engineering and geoscience disciplines. You may work on a drilling rig, as part of a multi-disciplinary team for an energy company or as one of a diverse range of service contractors who support the extraction of hydrocarbons.

This is an exciting and technically challenging programme that will equip you for a range of careers in the petroleum industry. Ongoing growth in worldwide energy consumption means demand for petroleum engineers is high. Oil companies and service providers are actively recruiting graduates in this area, which remains buoyant despite the economic climate. 

The School of Earth and Environmental Sciences is open and welcoming, with low staff:student ratios and an excellent reputation for high quality research. We have exceptional links with the oil and gas industry, which supports both our teaching and our research programmes. Major oil and gas companies are actively recruiting students from our BEng and MEng courses, as well as offering internships and sponsorship for post-graduate study to exceptional students.

All students are eligible to apply for the BP STEM Scholarship of £5,000/year. We also award the best overall academic performance, best MEng thesis, and all-round contribution to the course and/or School.

Petroleum Engineering is an interdisciplinary subject, so you will study a broad range of subjects including geology, fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, chemistry and mathematics. You will be taught how hydrocarbon is generated, stored and produced in the subsurface. On completion of the programme you will understand the life-cycle development of oil and gas fields, and how petroleum engineers operate them effectively.

Whatever career path you choose, we will equip you with a range of technical and transferrable skills and knowledge.

As well as lectures, you will learn through:

  • problem-solving exercises that are based around real-world data and problems;
  • laboratory classes using subsurface rock and fluid data;
  • construction and flow simulation of geocellular models using industry-standard software (provided by Schlumberger); 
  • fieldwork, to examine the geological heterogeneity encountered in hydrocarbon reservoirs.

 Find out more about your job prospects - Careers with petroleum science and engineering

What do our graduates do now?

The BEng and MEng in Petroleum Engineering degree has been offered at the University of Manchester since 2009. Many of our overseas students return to their home countries and are employed by government organisations and national oil companies, as reservoir engineers and well engineers. Our graduates have gained positions with international technical service companies and major energy companies, including BG-Group, BP, Schlumberger, Shell and Tullow. Many of our students choose to progress to a Masters programme, typically in Petroleum Engineering or Petroleum Geoscience.

Sarah Barber is now a Petroleum Engineer (Petrophysics) with Shell in the Netherlands. She graduated with BEng Petroleum Engineering (first class honours), July 2013.

Sarah Barber

“I am a Shell Petrophysicist working in a joint venture company. I cover 16 producing onshore gas fields (over 100 wells) in the development. On a day to day basis, I work in multi-disciplinary project teams to assess infill drilling opportunities. A major part of my work is also reservoir and well optimization. The majority of my time is spent in the office, except during logging when I oversee operations at the wellsite.”

“The course content, the staff and the industry connections really make Manchester PetEng special. Studying here feels like being part of a close knit community with a tremendous amount of support to get you where you want to go. The amount of industry exposure through external and university lecturers gives you a real insight into the work done in petroleum companies and makes you feel connected from the start. Studying here with a diverse group of students from different backgrounds and nationalities is just like the office, a lot of fun!”

Michael Lacey is currently studying for his PhD at the University of Manchester. He graduated with MEng Petroleum Engineering (first class honours) in 2015.

“As a recent graduate of the MEng Petroleum Engineering course, I have started a PhD in Petroleum Engineering. I really enjoyed the diversity of the course, with a very wide range of skills both personal and academic utilised and developed throughout the course. Although I found certain aspects of the course challenging, I feel the course put me in a strong position with all the necessary skills to succeed in industry or academia.”

Marianna Sinakova is now a Graduate Reservoir Engineer with BP. She graduated with BEng Petroleum Engineering (first class honours), July 2012.

Marianna works for BP developing the modelling techniques for complex rock compaction functions. She initially secured a summer internship with BP whilst studying for her undergraduate degree before going on to study an MSc.

“So far I have used most of the things that I studied on my course in my job. I can definitely say that I am well versed in the area that I am working in.”

Marianna was very active during her time at Manchester and helped to set up the Manchester Student Chapter of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, as well as taking part in a number of other societies. She says that this helped her develop key skills such as leadership, and make new friends.

“I found that whatever I wanted or needed to do, the University always supported me. I think it’s invaluable to have this support and for this I would strongly recommend coming to study at Manchester.”


Our Staff

This course is led by industrially-experienced academics and external lecturers with many years of petroleum engineering experience.

Dr Stefan Schroeder: Programme Director and Careers Officer for Petroleum Engineering. Dr Schroeder has been a Lecturer at the University of Manchester since September 2011, before which he worked as a petroleum geologist for Total in France.

Dr Vahid Niasar: Deputy Programme Director for Petroleum Engineering. Dr Niasar has been a Lecturer at the University of Manchester since 2014, and is also Chair of the UK Chapter International Society of Porous Media. Dr. Niasar has more than 8 years of industrial experience, including 3 years working as a Reservoir Engineer at Shell.

Dr Masoud Babaei: Lecturer in Petroleum Engineering. Dr Babaei joined the University of Manchester in 2014 after finishing his PhD in Petroleum Engineering at Imperial College London and working as a PDRA for two years.

Dr Cathy Hollis: Dr Hollis has been a Reader at the University of Manchester since 2007, and also has over 10 years experience as a petroleum geologist, including six years in Shell International Exploration and Production.

Prof Jonathan Redfern: Chair of Petroleum Geoscience. Prof Redfern has 15 years academic experience , prior to which he spent 15 years working as a Petroleum Geologist, for Fina and Amerada Hess. He is Programme Director for the MSc in Petroleum Geoscience.

Dr Rossmary Villegas: Dr Villegas is a Petroleum Engineer, who joined the University of Manchester in 2009. Prior to this she undertook post-doctoral research at Herriot Watt University and worked for the Venezuelan National Oil Company (PDVSA).

Did you know?

• All students are eligible to apply for the BP STEM Scholarship of £5,000/year.

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