Is Petroleum Engineering Hard? [WHAT Students SAY]

Petroleum engineering is a blend of both chemical and mechanical engineering with some additional courses related to oil and gas. Now to pursue this major you need to have studied various courses in high school such as calculus and some other course of physics as well.

The physics and mathematics courses in high school lay the foundation for the upcoming concepts of advanced mathematics and advanced physics. If your foundation is weak in high school then at engineering college pursuing Petroleum Engineering might be tough. The concepts used in higher semesters might cause a lot of trouble.

Is Petroleum Engineering Hard in 2023?

The answer is yes, Petroleum Engineering is quite hard. This particular degree falls under the category of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) majors. In addition, in colleges and universities, STEM majors are one of the hardest to master. Overall, every type of engineering is hard but this specific major is one the toughest with greater opportunities after graduation the demand for such engineers is quite on the higher side.

Now just like any other type of engineering this major also requires excessive knowledge of mathematics and physics. The main reason this major is tough is that it is the combination of two of the toughest types of engineering. It is a blend of both chemical and mechanical engineering. Therefore, you need to give this major extra concentration to have any chance of completing it. The failure rate of this major is on the lower side as well.

Almost everyone who opts for this major completes it after four years and after 120 credit hours. Because this major is tough but is not tougher like aerospace engineering where the failure rate is on the higher side due to its complexity.

Difficulty Table


The level of difficulty in petroleum studies increases when they have to work on the sites as compared to the study.

Why is petroleum engineering so hard?

The most straightforward reason is that it is a part of STEM majors. All the stem majors are on the tougher side. The usage of both mechanical and chemical engineering ideas makes this major challenging. This specific major also requires some advanced concepts of both mathematics and physics. Therefore, you need to have a strong command over the concepts of mathematics, and mostly calculus a lot of calculus is used in this major.

Is this harder than mechanical engineering?

The answer is neither yes nor no. The Petroleum Engineering major uses concepts of both mechanical and chemical engineering. Therefore, the majority of the concepts of these three fields are the same the only advantage mechanical engineering has over Petroleum Engineering is that mechanical engineering major has a wide range of applications in the job market and industry.

Again sometimes mechanical engineering majors can be tougher due to some of the more advanced concepts that are only related to mechanical engineering.

Is Petroleum Engineering harder than electrical engineering?

The answer is NO. Electrical engineering is quite hard because the Electrical engineering major is vast and there are tons of concepts that a student is required to master during his/her bachelor’s degree. The problem is in electrical engineering majors concepts start to become advanced very quickly while there is more involvement of maths in the Electrical engineering (EE) major as compared to the petroleum engineering major.

There are tons of courses that require excessive study hours and extreme levels of creativity and again the EE major is vast so you need to cover a lot of different concepts in a single degree program. While on the contrary, the (PE) major requires less amount of study hours as compared to the (EE) major.

Is Petroleum Engineering harder than chemical engineering?

There isn’t a yes or no response to it. Because the petroleum engineer is almost specified as a chemical engineer. This is so because by doing PE you need to combine the concepts of both chemical and mechanical engineering concepts.

Nevertheless, the Chemical engineering field is quite broader as compared to Petroleum Engineering so chemical engineer can have more job opportunities while Petroleum Engineering is only reduced to some of the specific positions because the PE major has a very limited amount of applications present in the job market and industry.

The only edge chemical engineering has over Petroleum Engineering is the career prospects. Still, sometimes chemical engineering can be categorized as tougher than Petroleum Engineering due to the involvement of some of the organic chemistry courses.

Is Petroleum Engineering harder than Aerospace Engineering?

The answer to that is NO. Aerospace engineering deals with the objects that are present in outer space and with the equipment needed for space exploration. Therefore, the aerospace engineering major uses some of the most advanced concepts of both mathematics and physics.

But if you are passionate about learning concepts of physics used in outer space then for you the aerospace engineering major will also become quite easy.

Jenny Blake
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