Petroleum engineering is a highly specialized field. It involves the extraction of hydrocarbons from below the planet’s surface and finding ways to do so that are efficient and safe for the community and the environment.

Since the petroleum industry also plays an important role in the world’s economy, employment opportunities for petroleum engineering graduates are abundant. Studying abroad is one of the best ways to increase your chances of landing a high-paying job with the leading petroleum engineering companies.

Here are a few of the best countries to study petroleum engineering abroad. The list also includes the main reasons why we chose them as well as the best universities in each country offering programs in the said field.

Top Countries to Study Petroleum Engineering

1. China

  • Reason: low tuition and cost of living, high employment rate, top-rated universities, internationally-recognized engineering degrees

One of the world’s fastest-growing economies, the People’s Republic of China has a low cost of living, affordable tuition fees, highly-ranked universities, and high employment rate making it an attractive study abroad destination for international students. Several students who aspire to have a successful career in the field of petroleum engineering choose to enroll in one of the country’s top universities because engineering degrees in China are internationally recognized by companies and employers around the world.

Because China is recognized as one of the best countries to study petroleum engineering, the country has a number of universities that offer programs well-known for providing high-quality education, having state-of-the-art facilities and infrastructures, and producing knowledgeable and skilled graduates who eventually become highly competent professionals in the field. Programs are designed for students to have a strong foundational knowledge of the physical, geological, and mathematical theories and applications relevant to petroleum engineering.

Some of the top universities in China to study petroleum engineering are the China University of Petroleum, Southwest Petroleum University, China University of Geosciences, Tsinghua University, and China University of Mining and Technology.

2. Canada

  • Reason: safe and welcoming environment, growing petroleum industry, advanced technology, numerous employment opportunities for international students

This multicultural country is known for having a safe and peaceful environment as well as a welcoming and inclusive attitude towards immigrants and international students. Canada is also one of the easiest countries to apply for a student visa and allows international students to stay and work in the country after graduation.

Canada is an excellent place to study petroleum engineering and has a continuously growing petroleum industry since it is among the top suppliers of petroleum in the international market. Petroleum engineering jobs in the country are also expected to rapidly increase in the coming years, which means more employment opportunities for graduates of the said field. Petroleum engineering students in Canada have the advantage of utilizing the most advanced technology and working closely with industry experts in learning how to safely and economically extract oil and gas products.

Some of the best Canadian universities for petroleum engineering are the University of Calgary, University of Alberta, University of Waterloo, University of Regina, and the University of British Columbia.

3. Saudi Arabia

  • Reason: high-quality education, booming petroleum industry, numerous employment opportunities

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is one of the top oil-producing countries and possesses around 15% of the world’s petroleum reserves. It has long been the largest petroleum exporter and the petroleum industry has made a significant contribution to the country’s gross domestic product and export earnings.

The government of Saudi Arabia has also increased its efforts and funding for the enhancement of the country’s education system. The prominent reputation of its universities especially in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, availability of cutting-edge facilities, and generosity in providing scholarships makes it an attractive study abroad destination for the international student community. Numerous employment opportunities in the country’s major industries are also given to international graduates including those holding a degree in petroleum engineering.

Among the best universities in Saudi Arabia to study petroleum engineering are the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, King Saud University, and King Abdulaziz University.

4. Norway

  • Reason: a safe environment, top-rated universities, booming petroleum industry, numerous employment opportunities

A relatively small country located in the northernmost part of Europe, Norway is considered one of the best places to live because of its safe environment, low unemployment rate, affordable healthcare, and clean, beautiful surroundings. Norway is also known for having one of the best education systems in the world with several of its universities consistently appearing in international rankings for institutions providing higher education. It is also one of the countries that offer free education in its public universities for all students regardless of which country they are from.

Norway is also one of the leading exporters of oil and gas in Europe and the petroleum industry is a major driver in the country’s economy. Employment opportunities for qualified individuals are projected to increase as the petroleum industry in the country continues to develop. Norway is surely one of the best countries to study petroleum engineering as degrees in Norwegian universities provide strong foundational knowledge and essential skills to meet the current needs of the industry, identify its present challenges, and come up with efficient and environment-friendly solutions.

Some of the internationally-recognized universities in Norway offering high-quality petroleum engineering education are the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, University of Bergen, University of Oslo, University of Stavanger, and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences.

5. Iran

  • Reason: growing petroleum industry, several employment opportunities, and high-paying jobs

Iran is also among the countries that have the vastest oil and gas reserves in the Middle East. The production and export of petroleum are major factors driving the country’s economic growth. Since petroleum engineering is a highly specialized field and petroleum engineers play an essential role in the industry, petroleum engineering jobs are among the highest-paying jobs in Iran.

Several universities in Iran are known for having the best petroleum engineering degrees in Asia. Students learn about key theories and concepts not only in engineering, geology, physics, and mathematics but also in management and economics which are going to be useful in their future professions.

Some of the top universities in Iran to study petroleum engineering are the University of Tehran, Sharif University of Technology, Amirkabir University of Technology, Islamic Azad University, and the Petroleum University of Technology.


Hopefully, this article on the best countries to study petroleum engineering was informative & insightful. Make sure to also check out the Available Programs for International Students to know more!