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Petroleum Engineering

Go overseas for fieldwork and placement opportunities

HH85UCAS code 4yrsfull time 1yrplacement option

Star Course Overview

Why take this course?

The MEng in Petroleum Engineering programme, is a clear progression route if you have an Engineering background or are continuing your studies from other technical undergraduate degrees. It will give you a strong grounding in subjects needed for further accreditation in Engineering and Technological fields. This MEng course complements the postgraduate degree giving you greater opportunities to specialise as well as again transferable industry skills.

What is the difference between the MEng and the BEng? The MEng degree is a year longer than the BEng and gives you the benefit of advanced skills and knowledge, which is always appealing to employers. The MEng and BEng courses are the same for the first two years, but different topics are covered from year three onwards. While both courses include group work, 25% of the final year of the MEng is made up of our multi-disciplinary group projects.​

What will I experience?

On this course you can:

  • Gain transferable skills about the petroleum engineering industry
  • Learn to obtain oil or gas from a reservoir
  • Develop intellectual and practice skills through projects with actual field data
  • Interpret and develop models with uncertain information
  • Benefit from professional links from the Industrial Advisory Board

What opportunities might it lead to?

The course positions you to start a career as a professional engineer and you’ll possess specific skills to succeed in the petroleum industry. You will have the opportunity to be involved with the Society of Petroloeum Engineers (SPE) Portsmouth Chapter who regularly host events, guest lectures from the industry, fieldtrips to nearby sites and organise career seminars and showcases of SPE UK webinars.

Here are some routes our BEng graduates have pursued:

  • mineral and petroleum exploration
  • reservoir engineering, simulation and performance management
  • drilling and production engineering
  • drilling fluid analysis
  • mud/wireline logging (formation evaluation)
  • petroleum refinery operations
  • petroleum and energy economics

Studying Petroleum Engineering has developed my engineering skills to a level that I could never imagine all thanks to my lecturers who have been supportive throughout my course.

Usama Diybs, Petroleum Engineering Student 2016

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Key Facts

UCAS Course Code:
4 years full time, 5 years sandwich with work placement

120-144 points to include a minimum of 3 A levels, or equivalent, with 40 points from Mathematics, plus two relevant subjects See full entry requirements

We accept UCAS points from other qualifications. See full details and English Language qualifications


UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students
2017/18 entry: full time: £9,250 p/a*

Course is not eligible for Government Postgraduate Loan

International students
2017/18 entry: full time: £14,400 p/a**

*Tuition fee may be subject to annual increase.
**Tuition fee is subject to annual increase.

View tuition fee terms and conditions
View additional course costs

+44 (0)23 9284 5566
School of Engineering



Find out what our students say about studying at Portsmouth, including:

  • Hands-on opportunities to gain practical experience by solving real-world problems
  • Approachable and passionate lecturers with industrial experience 
  • Excellent facilities and good employment prospects

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Light bulb Structure & Teaching

Year one

Core units in this year include:

  • Introduction to Petroleum Engineering
  • Principles of Petroleum Engineering
  • Chemistry for Petroleum Engineering
  • Earth Science
  • Communication
  • Mathematics



Year three*

Core units in this year include:

  • Individual Project
  • Petroleum Production Engineering
  • Petroleum Reservoir Simulation
  • Formation Evaluation and Well Logging
  • Enhanced Oil Recovery and Field Development

Year two

Core units in this year include:

  • Petroleum Engineering numerical and computational methods
  • Reservoir Engineering
  • Petroleum Geosciences
  • Drilling Engineering
  • Thermodynamics and reservoir fluid properties

Options to choose from in this year include:

  • Petroleum Refinery
  • Language option

Year four*

Core units in this year include:

  • Energy Management, Economics & Risk Analysis
  • Unconventional Resources
  • Well Engineering
  • Multidisciplinary Group Project

Options to choose from in this year include:

  • Petroleum Fundamentals and Exploration
  • Reservoir Engineering and Simulation

*This course is also available as a 5 year sandwich (work placement)

Placement Year

One year in industry is offered between year 3 and 4 or between year 4 and 5. The University has two specialised offices that will help you to find a placement.


You will be taught using a mixture of lectures, tutorials, laboratory sessions and project work. Each unit typically has up to 48 hours scheduled for lectures and supervised activities. In addition, you will need to spend significant time in our drilling, petroleum and computer laboratories, as well as in private study as directed by lecturers.

Lecturers generally spend part of the scheduled time in tutorial sessions to help you with any technical aspects of the course of which you are unsure. You will also have a personal tutor who can help you throughout the course.

The time you spend in teaching activities may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year typically spent their time as follows:

  • Year one students: 31% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 69% studying independently and 0% on work placement
  • Year two students: 22% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 78% studying independently and 0% on work placement
  • Year three students: 18% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 82% studying independently and 0% on work placement
  • Year four students: 17% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 83% studying independently and 0% on work placement


Assessment is geared towards the subject matter in a way that encourages a deeper understanding and allows you to develop your skills. It includes examinations, assessed coursework, laboratory work and a dissertation that can often be linked with industry.

Here's how we assess your work:

  • Formatively in seminars and open discussions
  • Analysis of case study
  • Lab work
  • Individual and group work
  • Presentations and exams

The way you’re assessed may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year were typically assessed as follows:

  • Year one students: 88% by written exams, 8% by practical exams and 4% by coursework
  • Year two students: 83% by written exams, 4% by practical exams and 13% by coursework
  • Year three students: 40% by written exams, 0% by practical exams and 60% by coursework
  • Year four students: 52% by written exams, 0% by practical exams and 48% by coursework
Jebraeel Gholinezhad

Tutor's View

Jebraeel Gholinezhad
Petroleum Engineering Lecturer

Once you are equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills on fundamental aspects of petroleum engineering including formation evaluation, drilling, production, reservoir engineering and simulation, we move on to more specialised subjects; in particular, reservoir economics and management, well engineering, unconventional resources and reservoir characterisation. This is supported by a challenging but fruitful field development group project and a hands-on experience on the latest industry standard simulation software.

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Monitor Facilities & Features


You will have access to experimental and computational facilities dedicated to the programme. We have invested heavily in our facilities so that you can put the knowledge you gain from our courses into practice. Our laboratories are staffed by experts in the respective fields. Computer suites and associated software are regularly upgraded to reflect current industrial practice and course requirements.

Specialist Software and Equipment

We have an impressive collection of hardware/software development tools for design, development and implementation. With many of our labs fully equipped with numerous benches for testing and measurements of a wide range of systems, you'll have access to all the gadgets you’ll possibly need to explore the mud rheology and drilling as well as reservoir characterisation and simulation.

Computing Suites

You will have access to our advanced computer suites with the latest analysis and simulation software including Schlumberger package, ECLIPSE, Petrel, Pipe Sim, Techlog, Sapphire, CMG, and IHS. Regular use of such applications is a great way to further familiarise yourself with industry-standard software packages.

University Library

Modern, comfortable and a great learning environment, our library offers a wealth of information including 400,000 books, DVDs, maps and thousands of online e-journals and newspapers. Many electronic resources are available anywhere, 24/7 and our friendly staff are always on hand to help.

Budgeting for your studies

There are extra costs associated with studying, which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.

Recommended texts:
If you wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow from the University Library, the average price is £50-£60. You may be studying up to 6 units a year, each with a standard recommended text.

General costs:
We recommend that you budget £75 a year for costs of photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.

Final year project:
If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose to develop.

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Mortarboard Careers & Opportunities

Career prospects

Where next?
Where next?

On successful completion of the course, you will have gained the skills and knowledge that will make you attractive to a wide variety of employers with interests in all aspects of the Petroleum upstream industry and the Energy sector in general.

Here are some routes our BEng graduates have pursued:

  • mineral and petroleum exploration
  • reservoir engineering, simulation and performance management
  • drilling and production engineering
  • drilling fluid analysis
  • mud/wireline logging (formation evaluation)
  • petroleum refinery operations
  • petroleum and energy economics.

Work experience

Employment boosting opportunities
Employment boosting opportunities

Industrial and summer placements are encouraged with many of our current students taking placements. Most students who chose this option have come back to continue their study more refreshed and aligned with the needs of the industry, some bring back sponsored projects for final years, whilst others secure jobs and in some cases scholarships for the final year.

Career planning

Career planning
Career planning
6.04 minutes

To make sure you take the right steps on your career path, we’re here to give you help, support and advice throughout your study. Even after you’ve graduated, we continue to give you support for up to five years.

Employers tell us that they want graduates to be able to demonstrate certain skills when they come out of university. Our courses take account of this. We make sure we prepare you for employment through work-related learning, projects, placements and working in simulated environments that are designed to prepare you for the working world.

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