For almost 90 years, UT PGE has cultivated a culture of scientific and engineering inquiry, of business innovation and entrepreneurs, and policy leadership that placed Texas and the U.S. at the helm of the world’s energy sector. The faculty members who have walked the UT PGE halls are responsible for many significant inventions and discoveries that impact industry. Many graduates of the department have served as CEOs of major oil companies, built their own businesses from the ground up or have contributed to substantial energy research findings, including modern day hydraulic fracturing. All these successes have led to a top-rated petroleum engineering program.

Historical Milestones


  • 1930: The Department of Petroleum Engineering was formed with Frederick Plummer as the first chair
  • 1931: First petroleum production text book was written by Frederick Plummer
  • 1931: The first two degrees were awarded


  • 1940: PGE became one of the largest petroleum engineering programs in the country


  • 1955: The first PhD was awarded


  • 1986: New petroleum engineering building opened, which is our home today


  • 2012: Unveiling of the Ben H. Caudle Student Excellence Center
  • 2017: Hildebrand Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering established

“The Hunt: The Story of Oil, Engineering and UT-Austin” – Regional EMMY-nominated Documentary

From the LeDuc Woodbend Fields in Edmonton, Canada, to the Eagle Ford Shale in San Antonio, UT PGE went on a hunt with an award-winning film crew in the summer of 2012 to capture the department’s rich 83-year history and its influence on Texas and the world. View the Regional EMMY-nominated documentary film trailer below:

Chapters of our History - Told by Famous Faculty and Alumni

This video debuted at the 2010 UT PGE Distinguished Alumni Reception & Dinner, and includes:

1930’s-1950's memories by George Fancher Jr.
1950’s-1980's memories by Dr. Ben Caudle
1980's-2010 memories by Dr. Larry Lake