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Geological Engineering Degree

Program Offerings

• Bachelor of science degree in Geological Engineering
• Accelerated master’s in Geology and Geological Engineering (earn your bachelor’s and master’s in as little as five years)
• Master of science degree in Geology and Geological Engineering
• Master of science degree in Paleontology
• Doctor of philosophy degree in Geology, Geological Engineering, and Mining Engineering
• Minors: Geology, Geospatial Technology, and Petroleum Systems.
• Certificates - Geospatial Technology (undergraduate and graduate) and Petroleum Systems

*The BS in Geological Engineering is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET,

What is Geological Engineering?

Geological engineering involves the engineering of natural materials with applications to geology and engineering fields such as civil, mining, environmental, and petroleum. It is the development and conservation of natural resources in ways useful to humankind. It encompasses diverse fields such as groundwater resources, subsurface contamination, slope stability, environmental site design, and mineral and petroleum exploration and production.

Geological engineering is a relatively rare degree program offered by only 13 universities in the country. The degree bridges the gap between the science of Geology and multiple engineering disciplines including mining, civil, petroleum, and environmental engineering. As such, the curriculum that students complete as part of the degree is very diverse, with courses covering topics in Geology, the engineering disciplines stated above, and engineering topics unique to Geological Engineering.

The GEOE program at South Dakota Mines prides itself on providing a hands-on field-based education. Students spend a large amount of instruction time in the field through lab and design courses, as well as a GEOE specific, six-credit field course taken as upperclassmen. It is this significant field experience and wide breadth of expertise that sets Geological Engineering graduates apart from other engineering fields.

What does a geological engineer do?

Graduates of the geological engineering program work in the areas of groundwater, environmental site planning and natural hazards, geomechanics and geotechnics, and fuels or minerals.

Job duties of a geological engineer might include:
• Assessing the quality of rock, soil, water and other site conditions
• Completing site analyses and foundation designs
• Assisting in the design of structures
• Conducting lab analyses of earth materials
• Assisting in the design of safe and efficient mines
• Delineating and extracting energy resources
• Modeling and protecting groundwater and surface water resources
• Mitigating against geologic hazards
• Providing solutions to problems related to land reclamation, water and air pollution, and sustainability

First-Year Courses

• Introduction to Geology and Mining Engineering Lab
• Chemistry
• Calculus
• Composition
• Physics
• Intro to CADD
• Geology for Engineers

Course Curriculum

Link to Catalog

Internships and Co-ops

On average, 79% of South Dakota Mines students have applicable work experience when they graduate, thanks to internships and co-ops. For these co-ops and internships, students receive an average salary of $19.70/hour.

In recent years, geological engineering students have worked for mining, geotechnical, and petroleum companies and for Federal agencies in various locations throughout the country.

Career Outlook

The average starting salary for a 2018-2019 Mines geological engineering graduate was $58,429. Many go on to graduate school. The job placement rates of 2018-19 SD Mines geological engineering graduates was 100%.


Geological engineers contribute their expertise to various industries, including:
• mineral resource extraction
• petroleum exploration, production, and service
• hazard mitigation
• engineering consulting
• water resource development and protection
• construction
• environmental consulting


South Dakota Mines geological engineering graduates work for a variety of employers, including:

• Coeur Mining
• Baker Hughes
• Barrick
• Halliburton
• Parsons Brinkerhoff
• Terracon
• SD Department of Environment and Natural Resources
• Kinross Gold
• Wipro
• US Geological Survey
• Barr Engineering

Geological Engineering Research

Geological Engineering faculty and students conduct research on a wide variety of topics. One example is a collaboration with scientists from eight national labs and six universities at the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) in a project called Enhanced Geothermal Systems Collaboration (EGS Collab) that will collect data to better understand how fractures created in deep, hard rock environments can be utilized to capture geothermal energy.




SD Mines is the #1 Engineering School in the country for return on investment!

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