College of Mines and Earth Sciences


Geology and Geophysics

Ph.D. in Geological Engineering

Program Purpose

The Ph.D. program in Geological Engineering prepares students for a professional career in basic research or higher education with an emphasis on characterization of, and design of engineering solutions to meet, societal needs and challenges in geologic settings. This includes exploration for and exploitation of natural resources and characterization and remediation of geologic hazards and environmental contamination. The Ph.D. degree is the standard level of preparation for academic careers in geological engineering, and for careers in the private sector and public service that emphasize original research.

Learning Outcomes

  • Mastery of geological engineering knowledge and skills that permits success as a professional engineer in academia, industry or public service.
  • Completion of a major body of original geological engineering research, the results of which are published in peer-reviewed professional venues.
  • Proficiency in accessing and utilizing the professional scientific literature.
  • Proficiency in oral and written communication of scientific results.
  • Thorough understanding of the origin and composition of the geologic materials that make up the Earth.
  • Thorough understanding of the dynamic geologic processes that operate within the Earth’s interior and on its surface.
  • Thorough understanding of geologic time, in both relative and absolute terms, and how geologic time is measured.
  • Thorough understanding of the evolution of the Earth and of the evolution of life on Earth.
  • Ability to use principles of mathematics, chemistry, biology and physics to solve geologic problems.
  • Proficiency in solving field-based problems in Earth science.
  • Ability to engage in lifelong learning and understanding of the need to do so.
  • Understanding of the role of the Earth sciences in helping to solve societal problems related to natural resources, natural hazards, energy, environment and global climate.
  • Understanding of the place of the Earth sciences in the larger picture of intellectual inquiry, including connections between science and history, philosophy, ethics and the formulation of public policy.