Skip Logos, Search and Top Navigation
Skip to Top Navigation


The Petroleum Geosystems Initiative (PGI) is a unique, interdisciplinary MS track designed to prepare students for careers in the petroleum industry. In addition to conducting cutting-edge independent research advised by faculty throughout the Department of Geosciences, PGI students complete a team- and project-based curriculum designed to prepare tomorrow’s industry leaders.

Program Overview

During their graduate studies at Penn State, PGI students

  • Work closely with multi-disciplinary team of other PGI students
  • Learn from a series of interactive, industry-focused PGI courses that supplement the Geosciences Graduate Curriculu
  • Conduct cutting-edge independent research with Penn State’s world class faculty
  • Obtain practical hands-on industry training through interaction with industry mentors and participation in the Imperial Barrel Award program.


In addition to in-depth training provided by discipline-specific courses and the Geosciences Graduate Curriculum, all students in participating in PGI take the following course sequence:

Year One: Fall - Petroleum GeSystems (3) Spring - Multichannel Seismic Processing 
Year Two: Fall - Applied Reservoir Engineering (3) Spring - Play Evaluation (IBA Program (3)


Student Research 

Just like other Geosciences graduate students, PGI students work with faculty to pursue original research projects across a broad range of disciplines including geophysics, geochemistry, sedimentology, stratigraphy, structural geology, geodynamics, tectonics, Earth surface processes and paleobiology. Through thesis research, PGI participants develop the deep technical, critical-thinking, and communication skills required for a successful industry career. 



PGI student fellowships are generously provided by Chevron and Shell. This support allows PGI students to pursue high-level research and make important connections with geoscientists actively working in industry.

Students currently supported by Chevron and Shell Corporation.


2017-2018 2018-2019
Timothy Witham  Zi Xian Leong 
David Soto  
Brandon Clark  



Apply to PGI

Prospective students must apply and be accepted to the Department of Geosciences Graduate Program Graduate applicants interested in the Petroleum Geosystems Initiative should indicate so by including a brief summary of interest with the personal statement they write for the department application. We encourage applications from students with a wide variety of backgrounds and research interests. Admitted grad applicants will be selected for PGI by the PGI faculty committee.