Geological/Geotechnical Engineering

Master of Science in Civil & Environmental Engineering

scenic view of a dam on a river

Learn to apply geological knowledge and engineering principles to solving technical problems while protecting the environment.


Is this program right for you?

The Geological/Geotechnical Engineering master’s program from the University of Wisconsin–Madison is interdisciplinary, taught by faculty from the College of Engineering and the College of Letters and Science. Our program integrates expertise from geology and engineering, so you acquire deep understanding of the interrelation between nature and the built environment.

In just one year, learn to solve a variety of practical problems associated with rock and soils using principles of sustainable engineering. Combine your knowledge of geology with your engineering expertise to build structures, manage groundwater and surface water resources, construct subsurface repositories for waste disposal, and design systems to help extract mineral resources.

Our program is dynamic. You work with engineering and geoscience professors, visiting professors, academic staff members, and a cadre of research graduate and undergraduate students. Choose your electives based on your specific career or research needs. Research topics include geoenvironmental engineering, water resources, hydrology, hydrogeology, soil dynamics, and many more.

In the UW–Madison Geological/Geotechnical Engineering master’s program, you develop strong skills in geoenvironmental engineering, groundwater technology, hydrogeology, rock and soil mechanics, geophysics, and geology. Graduate ready to excel in your field, whether it be consulting, petroleum and gas industries, mining, federal and state laboratories, or research.

Is this program right for you?

The Geological/Geotechnical Engineering master’s program from the University of Wisconsin–Madison is interdisciplinary, taught by faculty from the College of Engineering and the College of Letters and Science. Our program integrates expertise from geology and engineering, so you acquire deep understanding of the interrelation between nature and the built environment.

In just one year, learn to solve a variety of practical problems associated with rock and soils using principles of sustainable engineering. Combine your knowledge of geology with your engineering expertise to build structures, manage groundwater and surface water resources, construct subsurface repositories for waste disposal, and design systems to help extract mineral resources.

Our program is dynamic. You work with engineering and geoscience professors, visiting professors, academic staff members, and a cadre of research graduate and undergraduate students. Choose your electives based on your specific career or research needs. Research topics include geoenvironmental engineering, water resources, hydrology, hydrogeology, soil dynamics, and many more.

In the UW–Madison Geological/Geotechnical Engineering master’s program, you develop strong skills in geoenvironmental engineering, groundwater technology, hydrogeology, rock and soil mechanics, geophysics, and geology. Graduate ready to excel in your field, whether it be consulting, petroleum and gas industries, mining, federal and state laboratories, or research.

Admissions Requirements

All applicants must:

  • Meet all of the requirements of the Graduate School.
  • Have a bachelor’s degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from an ABET-accredited engineering program or from a recognized international institution.
  • Non-native English speakers must have a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a score of 580 (paper) or 92 (internet). For score reporting, use UW–Madison institution code 1846.

To apply:

  • Online application.
  • Statement of purpose including your technical areas of interest, coursework emphasis, research experience, professional goals, faculty members you are interested in working with, and any other items relevant to your qualifications for graduate school.
  • Three letters of recommendation.

Connect with us

Online Engineering Data Analytics Info Session

February 10
UW–Madison Engineering Professional Development Program Director Dr. Andrea Strzelec will present information and answer questions about enrolling and participating in this valuable online degree program.
Register for Webinar

Online Engineering Management Info Session

February 11
UW–Madison Engineering Professional Development Program Director Susan Ottmann will present information and answer questions about enrolling and participating in this valuable online masters degree program.
Register for Webinar

View all events

Program Highlights

  • The Geological/Geotechnical Engineering master’s degree is accelerated, so you graduate in just 1 year.
  • With more than $12.8 million in annual research expenditures, nearly 100 patents, and 13 startups, our faculty and students are at the forefront of scientific discovery and real-world translation.
  • Our flexible curriculum allows you to customize your degree program to fit your personal objectives.

University of Wisconsin–Madison ranked Best Online Graduate Engineering Programs (#11) and Best Engineering Grad Schools (#22) by U.S. News & World Report.

How You'll Learn

  • Twelve months of full-time study on campus to earn your degree.
  • Courses begin in fall semester only.
  • Take 15 credits from the approved list of Geological/Geotechnical Engineering Specialization courses.
  • Take six credits from a second discipline within the approved list of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) specialization courses, based on your career interests.
  • Take three credits from a third discipline within the approved list of CEE specialization courses, based on your career interests.
  • Take five credits of Independent Study.
  • Take one credit in Graduate Student Seminar.

Sample Curriculum

  • Wind Energy Design and Construction
  • Introduction to Geological and Geotechnical Engineering Design
  • Rock Mechanics
  • Foundation Engineering
  • Seepage and Slopes
  • Applied Geophysics
  • Field Methods in Applied and Engineering Geophysics
  • Remediation Geotechnics
  • Advanced Geomechanics
  • Advanced Soil Properties and Behavior
  • Unsaturated Soil Engineering
  • Physicochemical Basis for Soil Behavior
  • Soil Dynamics
  • Graduate Student Seminar

Job Outlook

Top Job Titles
  • Geotechnical Engineer
  • Civil Engineer
  • Geologist
  • Structural Engineer
Top Industries
  • Architectural, Engineering, and Related Services
  • Utility System Construction
  • Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services
  • Scientific Research and Development Services

Market Salary
$89K in 2018

Projected Job Growth
10.6% for Civil Engineers (2016-2026)

Job Postings
2,772 in 2018

Top Locations
  • California
  • Texas
  • Colorado
  • Pennsylvania
  • New York
Top Employers
  • CDM Smith
  • Golder Associates
  • Terracon Consultants, Inc
  • The Klienfelder Group, Inc
  • Tetra Tech

Source: Burning Glass Technologies: Labor Insight. 2019.
Burning Glass Technologies’ Market Salary is an estimated expected salary. Market Salary uses machine learning algorithms to account for experience, skill, and education among other factors that may impact individual salaries.

Ready to learn more about Geological/Geotechnical Engineering?
View the UW-Madison Guide

Stay in Touch

Sign up to receive application tips and deadline reminders.

Connect with our enrollment coaches

Our friendly, knowledgeable enrollment coaches are here to answer your questions. Contact an enrollment coach to:

  • Learn how to make this program work with your life/schedule
  • Verify credit transfers
  • Get help with your application
  • Determine if financial aid is available

Visit with our coaches on campus or at an upcoming student fair in your area. Search student fairs & events

Connect with a coach