PhD in Petroleum Engineering - Eligibility, Admission, Syllabus, Institutes, Scope

  • Posted 3 weeks ago

Mohit Dhulia

A PhD in Petroleum Engineering is a three- to five-year doctoral-level program that combines laboratory and field studies with theoretical and computational skills to address issues related to petroleum and its various aspects. Petroleum Engineering is a branch of engineering that deals with the activities involved in the production of hydrocarbons such as natural gas and petroleum.

The PhD in Petroleum Engineering is concerned with the advancement and exploration of oil and gas extraction processes. This course is linked to geoscience and provides advanced knowledge in mining engineering and geology.

A certified petroleum engineer has extensive knowledge and skills in all aspects of mineral oil and gas extraction from the earth’s core. Apart from the exciting curriculum, some of the benefits of pursuing this specialized course of engineering include the ability to stay and work in remote locations such as the middle of the sea, desert, or islands, the fact that it is one of the highest-paid branches of engineering, and the fact that it has evergreen job prospects.

Some of the positions available to PhD students are head plant engineer, consultant, petroleum geologist, process engineer, associate professor, senior research associate, restoration ecologist, staff scientist, and laboratory head.

PhD in Petroleum Engineering: An Overview

The highlights of the PhD in Petroleum Engineering are listed in the table below, along with some basic information.

Level of CourseDoctoral Level
Also referred asDoctor of Philosophy in Petroleum Engineering
Duration of CourseThree to Five years
Type of ExaminationThesis Submission
Eligibility Criteria60% in the last qualifying examination in some relevant stream.
Process of AdmissionEntrance Test /Research Proposal and Personal Interview
Fee for the CourseINR 2000 – 1,00,000
Average Annual Salary5 Lac -15lac
Areas of EmploymentPetroleum Manufacturing Companies,Educational Institutions, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Government Ministry of New& Renewable Energy, Solar Energy Power Plant, Refineries.
Profiles of Job Department In Charge, Project Coordinator, Assistant Professor,Researcher, Operation Manager, Laboratory Assistant.
Hiring Firms ONGC, OIL, HUL, Red Solar, Department of New & Renewable Energy,IOCL, Forest Institute of India, Climate Change Department.

PhD Petroleum Engineering Eligibility

The eligibility criteria for a PhD in Petroleum Engineering are nearly identical at all Indian universities. Candidates must have at least one of the degrees listed below.

  • A master’s degree in life sciences, biotechnology, biochemistry, chemistry, or microbiology is required.
  • A Bachelor’s degree (B.Tech. or B.Sc.) from a recognized college in the relevant field.
  • Candidates must have received a score of at least 60% on their most recent qualifying exam.

PhD in Petroleum Engineering Curriculum and Syllabus

The PhD in Petroleum Engineering is a fast-paced program with many specialization options. A Junior Research Fellow can specialize in any of the subjects listed in the table below.

Petroleum Geology and Methods for Petroleum ExplorationReservoir GeoMechanics
Production Engineering and Well Testing AnalysisOil/Gas Field Development
Enhanced Oil Recovery SystemFormation Evaluation
Petroleum Reservoir ModellingPipeline Engineering
Economics and Risk ManagementPetroleum Law and Contract
Data AnalysisArtificial Lift Technology
Bio ClimatographyThesis + Presentation

Relevant Links
M.Phil. (management Studies) M.Phil. (management) Ph.D. (Business Administration)

PhD in Petroleum Engineering Admission Procedure

For admission to PhD petroleum engineering, universities in India consider the last qualifying examination, namely the Post Graduate Degree, as well as their own entrance examination. Top universities, such as IISc, JNU, and CU, hold entrance exams, while private institutions hold their own admission tests and interviews.

Some universities have a direct admission system based on the weighting of marks in the PG course and UG degree, as well as the presentation of a research proposal.

The steps for entrance-based admission are as follows:

  • Candidates must first register and then wait for notification of the availability of the online application.
  • After filling out the application with the correct information (degree, grades, experience, current profile, etc.) and submitting it, one month is given to complete the application.
  • The application will not be accepted unless all the required documents are uploaded and the application fee is paid.
  • Only after the fees have been paid will the application be considered.
  • The candidate has the option of selecting an exam center based on his or her convenience during the entrance exam.
  • Candidates must appear for the exam on the specified date, as stated on the website and on their admit card.
  • Following the announcement of the results, only those candidates who have managed to pass will be invited for an interview, with the goal of securing a PhD seat at the university.

PhD Petroleum Engineering: Institutes Ranked by NIRF

Ranking by NIRFInstitute NameAverage Fees
Average Salary
Per Annum
1IIT Madras  INR 1,10,000INR 8 Lac
5IIT Kharagpur  INR 15,000INR 4 Lac
51Chandigarh University  INR 50,000INR 5 Lac
66University of Petroleum and Energy Studies  INR 5,57,250INR 8 Lac
101Dibrugarh University  INR 70,000INR 6.4Lac

PhD Petroleum Engineering: Important Entrance Exams

Only a few universities conduct entrance examinations, which are followed by merit screening. Most universities take direct admission based on experience or Bachelor’s or Master’s degree marks.

DBT JRF: The entrance exam for the DBT JRF fellowship is held once a year. They publish the entrance list in two categories based on DBT JRF. Students in Category I will be eligible for a PhD fellowship in any other life science program at any university or institute in India, while students in Category II will be eligible for a fellowship through a DBT-sponsored project.

GATE: The GATE has a paper (Petroleum Engineering) with the code PE; candidates should check the GATE website for more information. This paper is required for admission to institutions such as the IISc in Bangalore.

PhD in Petroleum Engineering: Courses offered Abroad

Name of the CourseName of the InstituteLocation
PhD – Doctor of Philosophy
in Engineering – Petroleum
(By Research)
Edith Cowan UniversityAustralia
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
in Petroleum Engineering
University of New
South Wales – UNSW

PhD in Petroleum Engineering: Focus Areas

The goal of a PhD in Petroleum Engineering is for the student to become a professional ecologist and researcher.

  • The focus of a PhD in Petroleum Engineering is on developing new technologies that will provide a long-term solution while also opening up new business opportunities.
  • Drilling Engineering, Reservoir Engineering, Horizontal and Vertical Well Technology, Simulation Lab Techniques, Enhanced Oil Recovery Techniques, Field Development, Sensory Ecology, Ecophysiology, and Climate Change Research are some of the topics that candidates may be interested in.
  • Because drilling and boring during on-site projects causes a huge amount of damage to the ecosystem, a PhD in Petroleum Engineering encourages researchers to become more conscious and aware of ecological aspects such as biodiversity, climate change, sewage treatment, and soil erosion.
  • The course is designed to cover, learn, and research all topics related to petroleum and natural gas, as well as prepare students for practical applications.
  • A high level of understanding of natural and artificial ecosystems, including flora and fauna, is expected, which will aid reservoir design studies, horizontal and vertical well technology, well intervention, and drilling engineering.

PhD Petroleum Engineering: Important Documents Required

  • Migration Certificate (No objection certificate from the university last attended)
  • Mark-list of the last qualifying degree examination
  • A character certificate (from the head of the institute from which the student has obtained his qualifying degree)
  • No objection certificate from the employer (if employed)
  • passing/degree certificate of the last qualifying degree examination.
  • Research Proposal:
  • Gap certificate (if applicable)
  • Documentary proof of the date of birth

Students should be aware that if the aforementioned certificates are not attached to their application, their application will not be taken into account for admission.

PhD Petroleum Engineering: Preparation Plan

The syllabus for entrance exams such as DBT JRF, ICMR, and CSIR UGC NET can vary slightly. Here are some helpful hints for securing a JRF position:

  • Candidates must first understand the exam pattern and syllabus.
  • General Science, Mathematics, Chemistry, General Aptitude, Data Interpretation, Quantitative Aptitude, Reasoning, General Biotechnology, and Petroleum Engineering are all part of the DBT JRF, JEST, or private entrance examination.
  • The personal interview, conducted by the respective universities, is the second phase after qualifying for the entrance, which is solely based on merit.
  • Candidates must brush up on their Bachelor’s and Master’s degree knowledge and submit a genuine new research proposal.
  • Even for the interview round, it’s a good idea to brush up on basic petroleum engineering concepts.
  • Candidates must first become familiar with the exam format and syllabus.
  • The DBT JRF, JEST, or private entrance examination covers general science, mathematics, chemistry, general aptitude, data interpretation, quantitative aptitude, reasoning, general biotechnology, and petroleum engineering.
  • The personal interview, which is conducted by the respective universities, is the second phase after qualifying for merit-based admission.
  • Candidates must review their Bachelor’s and Master’s degree coursework and submit a genuine new research proposal.
  • It’s a good idea to brush up on basic petroleum engineering concepts, even for the interview round.
  • In the following subject, research the top colleges and the PhD curriculum.
  • The guiding step in filtering out colleges based on the candidate’s ease of access should be research projects, faculty, and career options.
  • It is critical to check for updates and notifications on a regular basis.
  • Having a discussion with seniors about the possibilities can aid in the selection of the best college.
  • preparing for the entrance exam according to the prescribed syllabus.
  • Only by practicing, brushing up on knowledge, and passing the cut off will the candidate be able to attend their dream school.

PhD Petroleum Engineering: Suitable Candidates

  • Students with prior experience innovating and analyzing are a good fit. Candidates with more experience are more desirable for better jobs and placement.
  • One of the students’ areas of work is to analyse problems related to the technical aspect of energy.
  • Candidates with strong analytical abilities are preferred, especially for this course.
  • As petroleum engineers, project leads, professors, and seismic data acquisition scientists, students must cater to a variety of roles, so a multitasker with good observation skills is preferred.
  • For students interested in pursuing a PhD in Petroleum Engineering, the most important skills are creation, design, and problem solving.
  • If a candidate wants to specialize, this degree will provide them with the necessary skills.
  • To face the challenges, one must be completely dedicated and resilient both during and after the course.

PhD in Petroleum Engineering: Top Institutes

These are some of the best universities in India for pursuing a PhD in Petroleum Engineering, as well as their geographical location, fees, and annual expected salary.

Ranking by NIRFInstitute NameAverage Fees
Average Salary
Per Annum
1IIT Madras  INR 1,10,000INR 8 Lac
5IIT Kharagpur  INR 15,000INR 4 Lac
51Chandigarh University  INR 50,000INR 5 Lac
66University of Petroleum and Energy Studies  INR 5,57,250INR 8 Lac
101Dibrugarh University  INR 70,000INR 6.4Lac
129Dehradun Institute of Technology  INR 1,80,000INR 3.8Lac
134Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Petroleum Technology  INR 13000INR 3.5 lac
138MIT World Peace University  INR 50,000INR 4.6Lac
Karnataka University  INR 3,000INR 3.5 Lac
University of Rajasthan  INR 6,000INR 3 Lac

PhD Petroleum Engineering: Important Skills Required

  • Strong technical skills: petroleum engineers deal with fundamental engineering issues, which necessitate a strong foundation in core engineering disciplines. It includes some physics, mathematics, and chemistry background, which can be further developed during the course.
  • Teamwork: The heavy project environment of petroleum engineering necessitates breaking down tasks into small chunks and delegating them to team members.
  • Problem-solving skills: the ability to think analytically and solve problems is required in order to pursue any core engineering-related courses. The ability to come up with solutions to problems is something that petroleum engineers do on a daily basis.
  • Ability to work under pressure: Petroleum engineering careers frequently involve field assignments, which necessitate the ability to deal with pressure and on-the-job demands. Field tasks are frequently demanding, and it is necessary to be prepared to face challenges and solve problems under duress.
  • Drive and enthusiasm: Any professional commitment is difficult to pursue without a passion for it; this is especially true for petroleum engineers due to the demanding nature of their work environment. As a result, it is critical to have the motivation and enthusiasm to continue working in the field with passion and dedication.
  • Numerical and analytical skills: Routine tasks as an engineer frequently entail rigorous mathematical computations that necessitate speed and accuracy in numerical calculations. Solving complex problems frequently necessitates strong analytical abilities.
  • Good health and fitness: The nature of the job, as an on-field role, necessitates that your body be sound and healthy. These types of outdoorsy on-field jobs require your full fitness and can take place in remote deserts or off the coast of the sea.

PhD in Petroleum Engineering and PhD in Chemical Engineering: Key Differences

Because of their similar goals of sustainability, renewability, and conservation, PhDs in Chemical Engineering and PhDs in Petroleum Engineering are two of the most difficult courses to complete. Both PhD programs have different areas of research specialization, which are listed below in tabular form.

Basis of ComparisonPhD in Chemical EngineeringPhD in Petroleum Engineering
HighlightPhD in Chemical Engineering is a three- to five-year program that covers all of the topics in Fluid Mechanics, Chemical Process Designing, and Advanced Chemical Engineering.Natural Resource Management, Ecology of Global Changes, and Risk Management related to Petroleum Restoration Techniques are all part of a PhD in Petroleum Engineering that combines flexible course work with more detailed laboratory work. 
Procedure of AdmissionThe score in an entrance examination, such as self-conducted exams by universities or a NET/GATE score, is used to determine admission.Entrance examinations such as NET, GATE, and CSIR are used to determine admission.
Fee for the CourseINR 15,000 to 1 LacINR 2,000 to 1 Lac
Eligibility CriteriaMinimum aggregate of 60% in MSc or MTech and 70% in BSc or BTech with more than five years of experience.60-70% marks in both Bachelors’s and Masters’s degrees.
Course SyllabusChemical Reactor Analysis, and Design, Fluidization Engineering, Advanced Process Control,Advanced Reaction Engineering.Petroleum Geology, Drilling Engineering, Reservoir Engineering, Advanced Mathematics in Petroleum Engineering,Reservoir Simulation Techniques, Well Technologies.
Top UniversitiesNIT Kurukshetra, Chandigarh University, Amity University  IIT Kharagpur, Dibrugarh University, University of Petroleum and Energy Studies      
Profiles of Job, Solar Project Manager, Professor, Researcher, Process Engineer, Energy Analyst, Project Manager, Head Plant Manager, Quality Control Manager, Plant Designer, Head Chemical Engineer.Process Engineer, Biotechnologist, Research Biologist, Biotechnical Research Manager, Petroleum Engineer,Petroleum Geologist, Assistant Professor.
Average Salary
Per Annum
INR 4,00,000 – 800000INR 5,00,000-7,00,000

PhD in Petroleum Engineering: Important Books Required

These are some of the most important books to have when doing research in petroleum engineering.

Book NameAuthor’s Name
Objective Petroleum EngineeringPetrodice Academy
Petroleum Refining TechnologyRam Prasad
Elements of Petroleum Refinery EngineeringO.P. Gupta
Modern Control EngineeringOgata
Engineering Mechanics Statics and DynamicsShames / Rao
Environmental Challenges Confronting the Oil IndustryJavier Estrada
Risk Management:With Applications from the Offshore Petroleum IndustryTerje Aven , Jan Erik Vinnie

PhD Petroleum Engineering: A Comparison among Institutes

On the basis of a few parameters, a comparison is made between the top three institutes for PhD in Petroleum Engineering.

OverviewDehradun’s University of Petroleum and Energy Studies is one of the top private colleges in the country, promising to produce innovative and leading petroleum engineers.Although IITM is one of the best engineering colleges in India, with some of the best faculty, the admission cut-off is quite high..IIT Kharagpur is one of the oldest IITs, known for providing high-quality design education and dedicated research.
Eligibility CriteriaM.Tech with 55% in Petroleum EngineeringM.Tech with minimum 55% aggregateM.Tech with minimum 55%
Process of Admission Entrance basedEntrance basedEntrance based
Average Annual FeeINR 15000INR 2000INR 3000
Average Salary
Per Annum
Top Hiring Firms Evonik, Intel, Godavari Fertilizers,Jacobs Engineering, and Chemicals Ltd.Henkel, Shell,Rio Tento, Chevron,Reliance Industries Limited.Hindustan Unilever, Oil and Natural Gas Co, Larson and Toubro Ltd,Bharat Petroleum Co. Ltd.

PhD in Petroleum Engineering: Top Job Profiles

As the world suffers from an energy crisis, the creation of job opportunities will increase, and renewable energy for natural gas and petroleum is a long-term, sustainable solution to the problem. China, India, and the United States, which are the top three countries in this field, will create more jobs.

  • Environment Consultant, Geologist, Conservationist, Climatologist, Petroleum Engineer, Lecturer, Assistant Professor, Staff Scientist at the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Godrej, IOCL, OIL, ONGC, Forest Institute of India.
  • Large corporations such as ONGC, BPCL, IOCL, OIL, and HUL offer a position known as Sustainability Science Regional Lead with a highly competitive base salary, annual bonus, stock, and excellent benefits.
  • Students have the option of joining institutes as faculty or researchers (Doctoral Research Committee) or working independently.

As previously stated, there are numerous career options:

Role of Job Description of JobAverage
Seismic Data Acquisition ScientistThey are primarily responsible for alerting any adverse circumstances so that complex research on Well Technology, Drilling and Reservoir Engineering, Stimulation Techniques, and other topics can be conducted more effectively.INR 8 Lac 
Energy ManagerResponsible for the management of energy-related operations that are aligned with the company’s vision.INR 4.5 
Assistant ProfessorResponsibilities include teaching, guiding, and mentoring students on the latest advances in oil recovery techniques and reservoir mechanics research.INR 6Lac
Production EngineerWork out the details of how the product will be manufactured and assembled on the assembly line, such as the appropriate quantity of components and product packaging.INR 4.8 Lac
Process EngineerDesigning new process plants and equipment, as well as developing new industrial processes.INR 6 Lac
Quality Control ManagerEnsure the quality of new or modified product manufacturing’s initial start-up.INR 5 Lac
Petroleum GeologistTo research earth science in order to improve the efficiency of renewable energy use by utilising by-products or petroleum alternatives.INR 5.2 Lac

Some other important areas of employment are

  • Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL)
  • Shell
  • Reliance Industries Ltd ( Reliance Energy)
  • Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation (GSPC)
  • Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL)    
  • Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC)       
  • Oil India Limited (OIL)
  • Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC)
  • Schlumberger
  • Halliburton
  • Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL)

PhD Petroleum Engineering: Benefits and Scope

The PhD in Petroleum Engineering provides a platform for thousands of talented students to develop their innovative minds in order to solve the problem of ecosystem imbalance.

  • Because it is a practical, work-based subject, students must improve their performance throughout the course by analyzing the material.
  • This course emphasizes immediate, first-hand application. The curriculum is set up so that students can learn and perform.
  • Continuous adaptive learning is characterized by the expansion of one’s skill set in response to new developments and changes in the environment.
  • Petroleum geologists, conservationists, process engineers, senior research associates, and assistant professors are among the positions available to them.
  • The average annual salary for PhD in Petroleum Engineering graduates ranges from 6.5 to 10 LPA.
  • As previously stated, the petroleum engineering industry is vast and brimming with opportunities. To land a sought-after position in the industry, you must possess the necessary skills and qualifications. India, on the other hand, has an abundance of crude oil and natural gas reserves. As a result of these natural resources, the country now has a thriving petroleum industry.
  • Many public and private-sector companies hire petroleum engineering graduates on a regular basis. If one works for a government agency, there is a reasonable amount of job security. Multinational corporations that import or export petroleum or its components, on the other hand, pay very well.
  • In this industry, certified petroleum engineering graduates are responsible for everything from locating crude oil deposits to extracting and refining crude oil, minerals, and natural gas. The value chain is made up of several complicated steps, each of which necessitates extensive engineering knowledge and a great deal of effort. There are several petroleum refineries in India, including those in Jamnagar (Reliance and Essar), Cochin, and Dibrugarh, among others. These refineries have a high employability rate.
  • With several onshore and offshore projects taking place across grids, the scope for petroleum engineering abroad is even greater. All of these projects necessitate the presence of skilled on-site engineers. The Gulf is a major oil exporter with the greatest number of opportunities, almost all of which are extremely lucrative. Oil production sites can be found on every continent, and they require skilled engineers to maintain their operations.


What is the difference between public and private colleges in terms of fees?

The fee in a public college can range from 2000 INR to 1 L, whereas the fee in a private college can range from 10,000 INR to 1.7 L.

What is the average annual salary of a petroleum engineer after completing a PhD?

Depending on the project or assignment, the salary ranges from 5,00,000 to 7,00,000 L.P.A

Is pursuing a PhD in petroleum engineering a worthwhile endeavor, or should a candidate go straight to work?

If a candidate is eager to learn more about their chosen skill and specialize in it, they should pursue a PhD. The PhD is solely dependent on the candidate’s nature and passion.

What makes petroleum engineering such a popular program?

Petroleum geology and Earth sciences encourage and foster a culture of learning and innovation while pondering the future of our existence and attempting to develop advanced oil and petroleum restoration technologies that are both renewable and sustainable.

Give an example of an entrance exam that is accepted by reputable institutions.

Popular and widely accepted entrance exams include DBT JRF, CSIR UGC NET, GATE, CU, DU, and JNU.

What is the most in-demand job position?

Some of the job profiles include process engineer, geologist, consultant, senior research associate, and assistant professor.

What is the average value of a fellowship in India?

In India, the minimum amount of a fellowship is 30,000 INR per month.

What is the procedure for enrolling in this course?

There will be an entrance exam on research methodology and specialization areas, followed by a personal interview.

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