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Essential Energy Educationissues, careers, classroom resources

University of Southern California

Petroleum Engineering Department
925 Bloom Walk – HED 316
Los Angeles, CA 90089-1211
Phone: (213) 740-0322
Facsimile: (213) 740-0324

Department email:
Department website:

Dean: C. L. Max Nikias, Ph.D
Director: Iraj Ershaghi, Ph.D.

Contact Information

Office Name/Title Contact Information
Director Iraj Ershaghi (213) 740-0321
Petroleum Engineering Program Maria Valenzuela (213) 740-0322

Petroleum Engineering Degree Information

Degree Petroleum Hours Total Hours
Petroleum Engineering Emphasis 16 132
Master of Science   27
Engineer   60
Doctor of Philosophy   60


Accredited as an option in Chemical and Mechanical Engineering.

Curriculum Description


In petroleum engineering is offered only as an option in chemical or mechanical engineering. The option courses include drilling and production, transport in porous media, formation evaluation, reservoir engineering, and economic evaluation.

Masters and Doctorate:

Both thesis and non-thesis options course work includes a group of required core courses in advanced reservoir engineering including simulation drilling and formation evaluation. Other elective courses offered to provide areas of specialization.

Doctorate Degree requires 60 semester units beyond BS and must have strong independent research component as reflected in completion of approved thesis

Program Admission Requirements


Evidence of intellectual promise from high school academic record and SAT or ACT tests. 14 units in academic subjects: normally including 3 units English; 3 to 4 units of mathematics, preferably through math analysis; 2 units social studies; 1 unit chemistry; and preferably 1 unit physics.

Masters and Doctorate:

BS in petroleum engineering (or other engineering or science with assigned deficiencies) with academic record indicating ability to perform satisfactorily at graduate level. Minimum scores on Graduate Record Examination including advanced examination.

Doctorate is the same as MS except higher undergraduate GPA requirements and GRE scores. Must show aptitude for original scholarly research as indicated by required Ph.D. screening examination

Faculty Information

Name Position Major Field of Interest Contact Information
Iraj Ershaghi, Ph.D. Professor/Director Well/Testing/Fractured Reservoirs/Reservoir Characterization/Geostatiscal Methods
(213) 740-0322
George V. Chilingar, Ph.D Professor/Lecturer Carbonate Oil Reservoirs/ Clay/ Mineralogy/ Drilling Fluids/ EOR/ Formation Damage
(213) 740-4383
Allan Spivak, Ph.D. Associate Professor Reservoir Simulation
(213) 740-0322
Yanis C. Yortos, Ph.D. Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs/Professor Transport Processes in Porous Media/Thermal Oil Recovery
(213) 740-0317
Elmer L. Dougherty,Ph.D. Professor Emeritus Energy Modeling/Petroleum Economics/Reservoir Simulation
(213) 740-0322
Lyman L. Handy,Ph.D. Professor Emeritus Thermal Oil Recovery/Fluid Flow Through Porous Media
(213) 740-0322
Robert Ehrlich, Ph.D. Professor/Lecturer EOR
(213) 740-0322
Eric Upchurch,M.S. Lecturer Drilling
(213) 740-0322
Victor Ziegler,Ph.D. Lecturer Petroleum Reservoir Engineering
(213) 740-0322
Jalal Torabzadeh, Ph.D. Lecturer Completion / Stimulation Formation Damage
(213) 740-0322

Cumulative Degrees Awarded

Bachelor Degrees: 843
Master’s Degrees: 568
Doctorate Degrees: 81

Curriculum Analysis

Subject Course Type Hours Required
Mathematics Calculus 12
Differential Equations 4
Physics Mechanics/wave & sound 4
Thermodynamics, Electricity & Magnetism 4
Chemistry General Chemistry 8
Physical Chemistry 4
Adv. Physical Chem. Or Adv. Organic 4
Organic Chemistry 4
Analytical Chemistry 4
General Engineering Engineering Thermodynamics 4
Engineering Economy 3
Chemical Engineering Materials 3
Process Dynamics/Control 4
Unit Operations 4
Chemical Engineering Lab 4
Chemical Process and Plant Design 3
Probability and Statistics 3
Process Separation 4
HSS Humanities and Social Sciences 24
Petroleum Engineering Reservoir 3
Molecular Transport Process 4
Intro to Transport in Porous Media 3
Formation Evaluation 3
Economics 3
Drilling 3
Communications Expository Writing 4
Computer Programming 4
Chem. Process Design 3
Advance Writing 3
Computer Aided Plant Design 3