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Geological Engineering

Administrative Unit:Civil and Environmental Engineering
College/School: College of Engineering
Admitting Plans:M.S., Ph.D.
Degrees Offered:M.S., M.Engr., Ph.D.
Minors and Certificates:Ph.D. Minor

Faculty: Professors Benson (chair) (Civil and Environmental Engineering), Anderson (Geology and Geophysics), Bahr (Geology and Geophysics), Edil (Civil and Environmental Engineering), Goodwin (Geology and Geopysics); Associate Professors Feigl (Geology and Geophysics), Fratta (Civil and Environmental Engineering), Tikoff (Geology and Geophysics), Tobin (Geology and Geophysics), Wu (Civil and Environmental Engineering; Assistant Professors: Loheide (Civil and Environmental Engineering), Tinjum (Civil and Environmental Engineering); Affiliate Professors Kung (Soil Science), Lowery (Soil Science), Plesha (Engineering Physics), Potter (Civil and Environmental Engineering), Wang (Geology and Geophysics)


The graduate program offers training leading to the master of science and the doctor of philosophy degrees in geological engineering. Geological engineering is a rapidly growing field of study which integrates the two disciplines of geology and engineering. Geological engineers help find the best ways to use the earth's resources for solving technical problems while protecting the environment. The need for graduate education in geological engineering has been brought about by modern developments and activities in science and industry which have an impact on earth materials including soil, rock, and water. The area of study combines research and application methodologies of geology and of several engineering disciplines to address engineering problems in which the geologic nature of a site or geologic processes constitute major design objectives or constraints.

Emphasis in the program is on development of the student's ability to originate and perform analytical, numerical, and/or laboratory analysis techniques to address new and challenging earth-related problems associated with modern land-use practices, earthen construction, mineral extraction, and environmental pollution control and remediation. The program is expected to be of interest to students in engineering (particularly mining, civil, environmental, and mechanical) and physical sciences (particularly geology, geophysics, and geography). Students select their research topics from such areas as geotechnical and geo-environmental engineering, applied geophysics, hydrology and hydrogeology, numerical modeling of rock masses, remote sensing, rock mechanics, and rock engineering.

Modern facilities include rock physics and rock mechanics laboratories; drilling rig and instrumentation for rock and soil mechanics field testing; and soils, geosynthetics, and geo-environmental laboratories. Research assistantships, teaching assistantships, and fellowships are available to qualified applicants either upon admission or one to two semesters after entering the program.


Admission to the program requires approval of the admissions committee. Applicants are normally expected to have a bachelor's degree in engineering or the physical sciences.

For more information: Geological Engineering Program, 2312 Engineering Hall, 1415 Engineering Drive, Madison, WI 53706-1687; 608-265-5570; gle@engr.wisc.edu; www.engr.wisc.edu/interd/gep.