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Geological Engineering

What is a geological engineer?

Geological engineering is the development and conservation of natural resources in ways useful to humankind. Geological engineers work in the areas of

  • surface and groundwater resources
  • geotechnical and hazard assessment
  • fuels and minerals
  • environmental site assessment

Using natural material properties for design is a normal part of their work. These fields have job growth of 12 percent above the national average.

The geologically complex Black Hills are the furthest eastward extension of the Laramide Rocky Mountains with rocks as old as 2.7 billion years. It is centrally located with respect to some of the largest energy and mineral provinces in the western US. The recently launched Energy Resources Initiative is designed to provide scientific and engineering solutions to these industries. Coupled with research opportunities at the Sanford Underground Research Laboratory, SD Mines is the ideal location to study this unparalleled natural lab.


Average Starting Salary  

  • Coeur Mining
  • Baker Hughes
  • Baker Gold 
  • Halliburton
  • Parsons Brinkerhoff
  • Terracon 
  • Kinross Gold
  • Wipro
* Based on 18 offers, ranging from: $41,600 to $92,500.  

Internships & Co-ops

75% of Mines students gain real-world experience through internship and co-op opportunities at an average salary of over $17 an hour at 240 employers in 39 states. Geological engineering majors also conduct research at the Sanford Underground Research Facility, and SD Mines' Engineering Mining Experiment Station.


Global Experiences

The geology and geological engineering department runs one of the largest summer field camp stations in the United States with opportunities to study in the Black Hills, Denver Basin, Death Valley, Turkey, Nepal, Iceland, Hawaii, the Galapagos Islands, and India.


  • mineral exploration
  • petroleum exploration, production, and service
  • hazard investigations
  • engineering consulting
  • water resources
  • building projects, pipelines
  • environmental firms

Additional career information can be found at these sites:


Among the Geology/Paleontology research facilities at SD Mines are the James E. Martin Paleontology Research Laboratory and the Museum of Geology:

PRL 360 Tour

Museum 360 Tour