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Geological Engineering Master's Degree Programs

A geological engineering master's degree program builds on the information that applicants have learned in previous undergraduate schooling in order to move on from entry-level positions. Read more to learn about common courses, admission requirements and program length.

How to Earn a Master's Degree in Geological Engineering

A master's degree in geological engineering prepares students for careers in fields like groundwater engineering, geologic hazard mitigation, and other areas. Some schools allow students to choose from a degree plan with a thesis, a project, or a focus on course work, but most programs require completion of 30-36 credit hours, spanning about 1-3 years. Students design their programs of study with an advisor, but courses like the following are common.

Groundwater Hydrology

Students typically build on knowledge of concepts like features that affect groundwater flow, elementary flow theory, and how hydrologic systems above ground and below work together. At the end of the course, students could be proficient in their use of engineering tools used in hydrology.

Graduate Writing Seminar

A seminar course in geological engineering often explores thesis and report formats, organization of thinking, and writing mechanics. Students can also discover what they can expect when it comes to their oral presentations. This type of course is designed to help students review the skills they'll need to successfully complete a thesis or report, as required by their chosen degree format.

Graduate Research or Design Project

Depending on the school you choose, you may perform research and complete a thesis or create an in-depth project. For those who choose the project, it may be possible to repeat this course multiple times. Students conduct original research or design a project which they present as part of degree completion requirements.

Geological Data Analysis

Geological data analysis courses cover concepts like mapping, sampling, and hypothesis testing. Students can gain experience in writing code in Mathlab, and using data sets from case histories. Other concepts addressed in this sort of class might include geostatistics and regression.

Landslide Investigation

A course focused on landslide typically investigates and analyzes unstable slopes. Students might learn about the different types of landslides and techniques to help prevent them. Rock fall analysis, monitoring and slope stability analysis are all concepts typically covered in this sort of course.

Master's Degrees in Geological Engineering

Master of Science (MS) in Geological Engineering

This degree program sometimes includes a variety of specializations: engineering, geology/geotechnics, groundwater engineering, or mining and geological engineering are options. Students can often choose whether to complete a thesis, an original research project, or course work. Most schools require that applicants have a Bachelor of Science in Geological Engineering, or an engineering-related field. These programs typically require on campus study, but there might be accelerated degree programs available.

Master of Engineering (MEng) in Geological Engineering

A Master of Engineering has similar prerequisites to the Master of Science, like completion of courses in geology, chemistry, physics, and math. The difference comes in some of the courses that students can choose from, like petroleum design, mineral exploration design, and alphanumerical modeling for geomechanics. The choice to focus on environmental applications, engineering geology, or groundwater usually leads students to the Master of Engineering degree program, and students often need an undergraduate engineering degree from an ABET-accredited program (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) to enter a Master of Engineering program.

Degree ProgramProgram LengthProgram Requirements Related Careers
Master of Science in Geological Engineering 2-3 *Physics study at the college level
*Undergraduate degree in geology or related field
*Geoscientist
*Mining Engineer
Master of Engineering in Geological Engineering 1-3 years *Undergraduate degree in a related field
* GRE exam results
*3 letters of recommendation
*Hydrologist
*Geomechanical Engineer

Entrance Requirements for a Master's Degree in Geological Engineering

There are some schools that allow students to earn a bachelor's degree and a master's degree simultaneously, but most schools require that applicants have a bachelor's degree in a related field, such as geology, engineering, math, or physics. Applicants typically need an undergraduate GPA of 3.0, and to submit a personal statement, along with 1-3 letters of recommendation. Some schools require scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).

Although many entry-level careers in the field require individuals to have at least a bachelor's degree, it's not uncommon for individuals to obtain graduate-level degrees, such as an MS or an MEng in geological engineering, to start working in the field or to advance. These degree programs typically span 1-3 years and usually offer a wide variety of specializations and courses.