Jul 13, 2014, at 1:55 PM
My name is Ross [----] and I will be a senior at [----] High school in Missouri this year.
I am considering either geology or geophysics as a major for college. I am specifically looking for guidance regarding the future job outlook for both of these careers in the next 20 years.
I am also considering majoring in petroleum engineering and need some insight about the advantages and disadvantages concerning this career compared to geology/geophysics. Also, would it benefit me do double major in two of these three careers.
My final question is regarding colleges. Currently, Missouri University of Science and Technology is my top choice. I have also looked into University of Kansas and Texas A&M. What is your opinion on these colleges and are there any other colleges you would recommend for these majors?
Thank You and could you please email me back at [----]
********* my reply ********
I would suggest you go for petroleum engineering at the best school you can get into and afford. If you start in petroleum engineering and find it not to your liking or too difficult, you can fall back on geophysics or geology. The situation in reverse is generally not true, to change into engineering is quite difficult.
Of the schools you mention only Texas A&M has all 3 degrees: petroleum engineering, geophysics, and geology. Another option if your grades are good enough is the Colorado school mines, which offers all three.
If you wind up majoring in geology or geophysics, I strongly suggest you minor in the other field. The minor is generally a small amount of effort using technical electives, yet increases your chance of employment later.
Finally, petroleum engineering allows you to go to work with a BS degree (but there are very few elective courses). Both geophysics and geology are more flexible but require a masters degree to go to work, which means an extra two years.
Employment outlook in any of the three fields is excellent for the next 20 to 30 years. Despite all the talk about renewable energy sources, over 60% of the world's energy comes from fossil fuels. This is unlikely to change over the career timeframe you're talking about.