Getting into oil and gas with a physics degree with no geophysics courses?

In summary, there are many job opportunities in the oil and gas industry for individuals with a BS in Physics, including geoscience jobs such as Geophysicist, Petrophysicist, and Geologist. However, it is recommended to have some background in geophysics before entering the industry. Field service type jobs may also be available, which involve installation, commissioning, and maintenance of equipment. Companies that recruit computer programmers and individuals with a Masters in Physics can be found through headhunters and a strong knowledge of programming languages, such as Fortran, can be beneficial. Office jobs in the industry also exist but may not be as exciting
  • #1
Shackleford
1,656
2
Is that possible? UH offers a physics degree BS with geophysics specialization. I looked at doing that a while back but decided against it. With just a BS Physics, could I get into oil and gas/energy? If so, what kinds of jobs would I be doing? I live outside of Houston, btw.
 
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  • #2
Well, of course, I took a freshman physical geology course.

Anyone?
 
  • #3
Of course you can get into the oil & gas industry. There are tons and tons of geo-science jobs such as: Geophysicist, Petrophysicist, and Geologist.
 
  • #4
ranger said:
Of course you can get into the oil & gas industry. There are tons and tons of geo-science jobs such as: Geophysicist, Petrophysicist, and Geologist.

With just a pure physics degree and no geophysics courses? How difficult would learning the geophysics applications on the job be?
 
  • #5
Shackleford said:
With just a pure physics degree and no geophysics courses? How difficult would learning the geophysics applications on the job be?

Well you have already taken one course. Its better you be well prepared by taking a few extra courses in the area. Sure you will do on-the-job learning, but you will probably need a little more background. I am not discounting the fact of getting in with just Physics degree with no geoscience specialization, but you should at least have a little background in the area.
 
  • #6
ranger said:
Well you have already taken one course. Its better you be well prepared by taking a few extra courses in the area. Sure you will do on-the-job learning, but you will probably need a little more background. I am not discounting the fact of getting in with just Physics degree with no geoscience specialization, but you should at least have a little background in the area.

Scratch that. I cannot substitute any geology courses for my physics electives. I have already used all my free electives, so if I took any geophysics courses I would have to take additional courses and graduate later than I'm planning. I'm not going to do that. Blah.
 
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  • #7
Shackleford said:
Is that possible? UH offers a physics degree BS with geophysics specialization. I looked at doing that a while back but decided against it. With just a BS Physics, could I get into oil and gas/energy? If so, what kinds of jobs would I be doing? I live outside of Houston, btw.

Yep. But you might not be doing any geological work. Lots of Oil and Gas companies will higher you as long as you have a BS in any technical field. It may require you to take a field service type job but they pay really well too.

CS
 
  • #8
stewartcs said:
Yep. But you might not be doing any geological work. Lots of Oil and Gas companies will higher you as long as you have a BS in any technical field. It may require you to take a field service type job but they pay really well too.

CS

What does a field service type job entail?
 
  • #9
Shackleford said:
Scratch that. I cannot substitute any geology courses for my physics electives. I have already used all my free electives, so if I took any geophysics courses I would have to take additional courses and graduate later than I'm planning. I'm not going to do that. Blah.

Sounds like you don't really want it very much then!
 
  • #10
98whbf said:
Sounds like you don't really want it very much then!

Just thinking about a decent-paying job, that's all. lol.
 
  • #11
You could do a masters in the topic, you'd probably be pretty employable then
 
  • #12
Shackleford said:
What does a field service type job entail?

Depends on the company. It can be installation, commissioning of new equipment, field repairs, field modifications, 3rd party services, etc.

CS
 
  • #13
There are lots of different jobs in oil and gas. I worked as a computer programmer in oil and gas before working as a computer programmer in finance. There are also some physics related jobs in designing instruments (neutron scattering devices, resistivity detectors, etc.)

Also there are different subdivisions in oil and gas. Geophysics is different from petrophysics for example. Geologists look at the forest. Geophysicists look at the trees. Petrophysicists look at the leaves.
 
  • #14
Shackleford said:
What does a field service type job entail?

Going to an oil well and babysitting instruments. It can be rather interesting if said oil well is on an offshore platform off the coast of Angola.
 
  • #15
what are the companies who recruit computer programmers or ppl with masters in pure physics in this oil n gas sector...?I hve done masters iin physics and now working as a computer programmer...
 
  • #16
twofish-quant said:
Going to an oil well and babysitting instruments. It can be rather interesting if said oil well is on an offshore platform off the coast of Angola.

Offshore platforms are boring everywhere! LOL! :biggrin:

The excitement in Angola would come from making it to and from the rig from the airport without getting kidnapped or killed. :rofl:

CS
 
  • #17
observer20 said:
what are the companies who recruit computer programmers or ppl with masters in pure physics in this oil n gas sector...?I hve done masters iin physics and now working as a computer programmer...

Much of the recruitment is doing through the same set of headhunters that to headhunting for other fields. If you send in your resume to an HH in Houston, there is a good chance that an oil/gas company would be their clients. There are the big majors (Exxon, Schlumberger, Halliburton), but there are also mom-and-dad shops. The google terms are "geological software" "geophysical software" and "petrophysical software."

The thing that got me my job in oil and gas was extensive knowledge of fortran 77.
 
  • #18
observer20 said:
what are the companies who recruit computer programmers or ppl with masters in pure physics in this oil n gas sector...?I hve done masters iin physics and now working as a computer programmer...
Sorry, this might be a bit off-topic, but did you choose to do computer programming or did you want to do something else, but couldn't find a more strictly physics-related job?
 
  • #19
twofish-quant said:
Going to an oil well and babysitting instruments. It can be rather interesting if said oil well is on an offshore platform off the coast of Angola.

What about an office job downtown Houston?
 
  • #20
Ryker said:
Sorry, this might be a bit off-topic, but did you choose to do computer programming or did you want to do something else, but couldn't find a more strictly physics-related job?

Pretty much. If someone knocked on my door and offered a tenure track position at a major university at be rather quickly gone. ... Listens at the door for a knock ... Nope... No one knocking this evening. So I can't get exactly what I want, so the next step is to figure out the closest thing I can get. It helps that professorship was really a second choice anyway. What I *really* want to do is to be a starship captain, but I have the problem of being born a few centuries too early.

Also computer programming and "physics job" aren't exclusive. I spent most of graduate school staring at a computer screen trying to figure out what the @#$#@$ bug is in the @#$#@$ code. What I do most of the day is to figure out what the @#$$#@$ bug is in the #@$#@$ code.
 
  • #21
Shackleford said:
What about an office job downtown Houston?

There are those too. Houston has some really weird geography, and the oil companies are rather spread out so a lot of the oil related companies have their offices on the outskirts. One reason I got out of the oil/gas business is that I didn't like Houston that much. I really like NYC, but I've never been able to quite fit into Houston.
 
  • #22

1. Can I still get into the oil and gas industry with a physics degree and no geophysics courses?

Yes, it is possible to get into the oil and gas industry with a physics degree and no geophysics courses. Many oil and gas companies look for candidates with a strong background in mathematics and physics, as these skills are transferable to the industry.

2. Will I need to take additional courses or training to work in the oil and gas industry?

It depends on the specific job or role you are interested in. While a physics degree may provide a strong foundation for certain positions, some roles may require additional training or courses in geophysics or other relevant areas. It is always a good idea to research the specific requirements for the job you are interested in.

3. What skills from my physics degree will be useful in the oil and gas industry?

A physics degree provides a strong foundation in mathematics, critical thinking, problem-solving, and data analysis. These skills are highly valued in the oil and gas industry, as they are essential for tasks such as exploration, reservoir characterization, and data interpretation.

4. How can I gain practical experience in the oil and gas industry without taking geophysics courses?

There are various ways to gain practical experience in the oil and gas industry without taking geophysics courses. You can seek internships or entry-level positions in companies related to the industry, attend conferences and workshops, or participate in research projects related to oil and gas.

5. Can I pursue a graduate degree in geophysics with a physics background?

Yes, it is possible to pursue a graduate degree in geophysics with a physics background. Many graduate programs in geophysics consider applicants from a variety of backgrounds, including physics. However, you may be required to take some additional courses to bridge any knowledge gaps and meet the program's requirements.

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