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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
• Doctor of philosophy degree in Geology, Geological Engineering and mining engineering
• Minors: Geology, Geospatial Technology and Petroleum Systems
• Certificates - Engineering Management and Leadership, Geospatial Technology, Global Engineering, HBX CORe Credential of Readiness for Business and Six Sigma Greenbelt.

What is Geological Engineering?

Geological engineering involves geology, civil engineering and fields such as mining, forestry and geography. 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 SD Mines prides itself in 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 between the junior and senior year. 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:
• Assessment of the quality of rock, soil, water and other natural conditions before construction begins
• Complete site analysis and design foundations and earthworks to ensure the safety of a project
• Assist in the design of structures
• Drill and analyze bedrock and deposits samples
• Test construction materials
• Consult for an engineering or environmental firm
• Design ways to mine difficult to access resources
• Design dikes and works to prevent shoreline erosion
• Design open-pit and underground mines
• Provide 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

Course Curriculum

Link to Catalog

Internships and Co-ops

77% of Mines students gain real-world experience through paid internships, co-ops and research. Students have traveled to Nicaraguan volcanoes, coastal biomes in Florida and the Bahamas, Michigan mines and a mile below the earth at the Sanford Underground Research Facility. They've worked with faculty who've discovered new dinosaurs and conducted fieldwork spanning continents, from Turkey to Death Valley.

Career Outlook

The average starting salary for a Mines geological engineering graduate is $58,324.


Geological engineers use natural material properties in their work, lending their expertise to various industries, such as:
• mineral exploration
• petroleum exploration, production, and service
• hazard investigations
• engineering consulting
• water resources
• building projects, pipelines
• environmental firms


SD Mines geological engineering graduates work for a variety of employers, including:
Coeur Mining
Baker Hughes
Baker Gold
Parsons Brinkerhoff
SD Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Kinross Gold

Geological Engineering Research

Faculty members and students from the Geology and Geological Engineering Department have joined 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). The EGS Collab received a $9 million grant from the Department of Energy to study geothermal systems, technology that scientists believe could power nearly 100 million American homes. Scientists will collect data to better understand how fractures created in deep, hard rock environments can be utilized to capture geothermal energy.



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