Petroleum Geology

Bachelor of Science

The modern world is still heavily dependent on oil and gas for everything from heating our homes to driving our cars. Petroleum geologists help maintain this critical supply by discovering and analyzing natural reserves on land and in the sea using sophisticated technology.

Program Overview

Explore how natural resources are discovered and produced.

The Moncrief Petroleum Geology program will prepare you for a career as a geoscientist in the oil and gas industry or as a resource assessment and energy policy manager at a governmental agency. In the program, you’ll have the opportunity to visit nearby oil and gas fields, study stunning geologic formations minutes from campus and work one-on-one with professors on independent research projects.

Generous donations from legendary oilman Tex Moncrief Jr. and Western graduate Paul M. Rady, Chairman and CEO of Antero Resources, have provided funding for the Petroleum Geology program. In our state-of-the-art computing facilities, you’ll learn the technological skills you need to navigate industry software and data sets. To begin making professional connections, you’ll have the opportunity to network with industry geoscientists and participate in competitive internships. If you’re interested in pursuing an advanced degree, our expert faculty will help you publish your research and apply to graduate programs.

Start exploring

Western provides one-of-a-kind opportunities to visit nearby oil and gas fields, study stunning geologic formations minutes from campus and work one-on-one with professors on independent research projects.


Code Title Credits Description
CHEM 111 General Chemistry I (GT-SC2) 3 View
CHEM 112 General Chemistry Laboratory I (GT-SC1) 1 View
CHEM 113 General Chemistry II 3 View
CHEM 114 General Chemistry Laboratory II 1 View
GEOL 101 Physical Geology (GT-SC2) 3 View
GEOL 105 Physical Geology Laboratory (GT-SC1) 1 View
GEOL 201 Historical Geology (with laboratory) 4 View
GEOL 302 Geoscience Writing 2 View
GEOL 305 Mineralogy (with laboratory) 4 View
GEOL 310 Stratigraphy and Sedimentation (with laboratory) 4 View
GEOL 311 Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology (with laboratory) 4 View
GEOL 343 Exploration Geophysics (with laboratory) 3 View
GEOL 345 Structural Geology (with laboratory) 4 View
GEOL 346 Subsurface Geology (with laboratory) 4 View
GEOL 450 Field Geology 4 View
GEOL 455 Petroleum Geology (with laboratory) 4 View
GEOL 456 Petroleum Geology of Unconventional Resources (with laboratory) 4 View
GEOL 465 Research in Basin Analysis (with laboratory) 3 View
MATH 151 Calculus I (GT-MA1) 4 View
MATH 251 Calculus II 4 View
PHYS 170 Principles of Physics I (with laboratory) (GT-SC1) 4 View
PHYS 171 Principles of Physics II (with laboratory) (GT-SC1) 4 View
PHYS 200 General Physics I (with laboratory) (GT-SC1) 4 View
PHYS 201 General Physics II (with laboratory) (GT-SC1) 4 View


Career preparation starts your first year at Western and is the primary focus of every degree.

Visit Career Services in Library 120 or online to discover your interests, define your goals, and land the career of your dreams.

The data below is automatically collected by Burning Glass Technologies, a firm that sources job market data and provides analytics. The statistics illustrate general trends in U.S. careers, but do not precisely represent every job and salary.


Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship

The Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship is a one-time non-renewable scholarship and is only applicable for the student’s first year at Western. This scholarship is not available to midyear transfers or students beginning in the spring semester.

Are you an alumni or employee of Western and know a prospective (or incoming) student who would be a great fit at Western? A recommendation from alumni and employees can support any new student and provide them a $500 scholarship their first year. (Western employees may not recommend a spouse or dependent receiving tuition benefits).

  • Any Western alumni/employee may nominate only one student per academic year to receive the $500 scholarship (distributed $250 per semester).
  • The scholarship is good for the first year only and is non-renewable.
  • The recommended student must be a full-time undergraduate student, attending Western for the first time.

The applicant must fill out the application form found here. The nominating alumni/employee must fill out the application form and submit the required documents by June 1. The recommended student must meet university admissions acceptance standards and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The Presidential Promise is guaranteed to students who have received a scholarship through the Denver Scholarship Foundation (DSF) and/or GearUp—and are eligible for a Pell Grant. For students who meet these criteria, Western will cover the cost of tuition and fees through the combination of federal, state and institutional aid. For more information on the Presidential Promise, visit our scholarships page.

Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) or Central Plains (CP) tuition represents a substantial savings relative to normal, out-of-state tuition. Students eligible for the WUE or CP program will be charged 150% of Western’s total in-state tuition. For 2018-19, total in-state tuition was $8,934. WUE/CP tuition was $13,401. The WUE/CP discount is valued at $4,695.

For more information about the WUE and CP geography-based programs, visit Western’s Tuition Discount Programs Page.

Immediately upon acceptance at Western, every student is considered for a merit scholarship worth between $2,500-$4,500 per year for in-state students and $8,000-$10,000 for out-of-state students. The amount is based on the student's GPA and ACT/SAT scores. Visit our Net Price Calculator at to determine whether you qualify for a merit scholarship.

For more information about merit scholarships at Western, visit our scholarships page.

News & Research

Nontraditional student writes his own future in geosciences

Nontraditional student writes his own future in geosciences

Read More

Get Involved

Make your education a life changing experience.

A college education is so much more than just taking classes. Expand your community and network, while gaining hands-on experience in your field.

  • Computing Facilities: The Scientific Computing Lab and Geology Research Lab have a combined 20 workstations for highly-interactive instruction and use the most up-to-date industry software and data sets.
  • Outdoor Laboratory: The Gunnison Valley provides a wide range of opportunities for unique field experiences and undergraduate research.
  • Research Funding: The Bartleson-Prather Fund provides students scholarships and research stipends.

Outdoor observations

Petroleum Geology students observe many of the principles that they learn in the classroom on local field trips.

Department Chairperson

Robin A. Bingham, Ph.D.

Professor of Biology

Administrative Assistant

Samantha Siegfried

Administrative Assistant for NES and MCS

Contact Information


Campus Location

Western Colorado University
Hurst Hall 128
1 Western Way
Gunnison, CO 81231