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What is Geological Engineering?

The matters relating to soil, rock, groundwater and the design structure in and below the ground are all covered under Geological Engineering. Geologists put to use the knowledge of principles of earth science and apply it to solve human problems.

A number of ground engineering specializations namely, geotechnical engineering, land remediation, rock mechanics, groundwater hydrology and engineering geology, are included in Geological Engineering.

The scope of knowledge includes things that are a part of or made to be part of the earth, including roads, building projects, mines, railways, quarries, dams, petroleum production, building projects and pipelines, etc. In case of any pollution occurring, geological engineers need to investigate, devise clean-up process and perform environmental assessments.

Universities for MS in Geological Engineering

Based on the QS World rankings for studies in Geology, the top universities to be considered are:

1. ETH Zurich- Swiss Federal Institute of Technology
2. University of Oxford
3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
4. University of Cambridge
5. Harvard University
6. The Australian National University
7. California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
8. University of California, Berkeley
9. Stanford University
10. University of Washington
11. Princeton University
12. Columbia University
13. University of Leeds
14. University of Bristol
15. Utrecht University


This is a list of the top 15 universities which are well known and have a good reputation for a Master’s degree in Geological Engineering.

Pre-requisites for MS application

Eligibility criteria for applying to a Master’s in Geological Engineering vary depending on the part of the world you’re applying to.

In case you want to pursue MS in Geological Engineering in US, the general requirements are:

  • A bachelor’s degree in Geology or Geological Engineering
  • You must have a GRE score preferably above 295.
  • Your Grade Point Average (GPA) should be 3.0 or higher.
  • You should also have a valid IELTS or TOEFL score.
  • A Statement of Purpose (SOP) is mandatory for the application as well.

If you’re applying to MS in Geological Engineering in Europe, the minimum requirements are:

  • A bachelor’s degree in Geology or Geological Engineering
  • You should also have a valid IELTS or TOEFL score.
  • Appearing for an entrance exam conducted by the faculty may be a required.

Some universities also consider and accept bachelor’s in civil engineering, mining engineering, environmental engineering, etc. with specific geology-related electives.

Program details

Masters’ coursework may or may not include thesis work for the completion of the degree. However, it is advisable to select a course with a thesis compulsory as it expands one’s knowledge and helps in understanding the subject in a better manner.

Students could also go for a program that requires gaining industrial experience before the degree is completed.

Typical of the flexibility offered by US universities, students could complete the course over a two-year time period or fast-track the course by taking more credits per semester and complete the degree in a year. In most European universities, the degree can be completed in a year.

Cost of MS

An MS in Geological Engineering could cost you anywhere between USD 30,000 and USD 60,000 per year in the US. In Europe, tuition fee for a Master’s in Geological Engineering could be in the range of 2000 EUR to 6000 EUR per academic year.

While this may seem huge, most universities offer a variety of scholarships to attract international students. The scholarship amount ranges from a few thousand dollars to almost a full ride depending upon your profile and how well you fit in the program requirements.

Jobs after MS

Graduates with a Master’s degree in Geological Engineering are sought out by many government and non-government organizations:

  • They can be appointed as specialists in environmental firms.
  • Companies working in the stream of highway departments, environment protection agencies, forest services and hydro-operations could also employ geological engineers.
  • The construction industries which are in the business of building tunnels, bridges and high-rises depend on geological engineers to assure the stability of rock and soil foundations.
  • The geological engineers are also heavily employed in energy fields, exploration of natural resources like oil, gas, geothermal, coal, tar sands and uranium.
  • Industries and farms require reliable water sources which could need drilling. Geological engineers acquire specialty in groundwater supply and design dikes, prevent shoreline erosion, etc.

Working conditions of a Geological Engineer

The work of a geological engineer mostly consists of being outdoors. They spend more than half of their working hours on field investigations and supervising the construction of their designs.

Salary of a Geological Engineer

The typical salary of a post-graduate in Geological Engineering ranges from USD 64,000 to USD 84,000 per year.


If you have always been interested in special rocks, liked to study the earth’s movements and its many layers, watched fascinated as creeks followed their course underground then geological engineering might be the right career path for you. The scope for this field is vast and you can secure a job in companies that solve human-related earth problems with engineering solutions.

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