Geological Engineering BS

Contact Information

Dr. Robert Hall, Interim Department Head
Department of Geology and Geological Engineering
Mineral Industries 303
(605) 394-2461

Geological Engineering Faculty

Professor Stetler; Associate Professors Katzenstein and Li; Assistant Professor Ye; Professors Emeritus
Davis, Rahn, Roggenthen, and Sawyer.

Geology Faculty

Professors Duke, Hall, Masterlark, Pagnac, and Uzunlar; Associate Professor Ustunisik; Assistant Professors Keenan, Waldien, and Ward; Instructor Karnes; Professors Emeritus Bjork, J. Fox, Martin, and Paterson.

Adjunct Faculty

M. Anderson, Benton, and Valder.


Research Scientist Nielsen; Coordinator and Instructor Pellowski; Museum of Geology Associate Director and Instructor N. Fox; Museum of Geology Assistant Director and Instructor Johnson; Museum Preparator and Lab Manager Wright.

Geological Engineering

Geological engineering 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. Instruction in geological engineering provides training at both the undergraduate and graduate levels through the Ph.D.

Geological Engineering (GEOE) as a relatively rare degree program that only 13 schools in the U.S. offer. The geological engineering bachelor of science 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 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. It is this significant field experience and wide breadth of expertise that sets geological engineering graduates apart from other engineering fields, and is a large contributor to why our program has such a high placement rate (99% over the past 5 years).

See complete information on requirements at Geological Engineering, BS

The Geological Engineering (BS) is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET,, under the General Criteria and the Program Criteria for Geological and Similarly Named Engineering Programs.

Complete information on program educational objectives and student outcomes is given at Geological Engineering Outcomes and Assessment.

Geological Engineering Education

An integral part of the educational experience is development of the ability to design solutions for meeting desired needs in geological engineering work. The design component of the curriculum is developed within geological engineering courses that integrate basic science (including geology, chemistry, and physics) and engineering science (including statics, mechanics of materials, fluid mechanics, soil mechanics, and thermodynamics). This engineering design experience includes a multi-component capstone design sequence. The capstone engineering design sequence builds upon and integrates previous coursework to prepare graduates for the professional practice of geological engineering.

The nature of geological engineering is continually evolving as the needs of employers change in response to advances in technology and economic forces. To prepare adequately for careers in geological engineering, students must be willing to acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies to embrace new technologies and to stay current within the engineering profession. Graduates with a broad range of skills, flexibility in learning new technologies, and sound training in fundamental principles can expect a competitive advantage in the job market and workplace.

Professional Development

Students in geological engineering are encouraged to participate in student chapters and organizations within GGE as well as seek student membership in professional societies. The department also hosts a chapter of Sigma Gamma Epsilon, the geoscience honor society. Students are strongly encouraged to take the Fundamentals of Engineering examination, as the first step in becoming a registered professional engineer.

Advanced Degrees

Graduate programs, both master’s and doctoral, are available and involve additional specialization in geology, paleontology, or geological engineering. The MS in Geology and Geological Engineering is offered as both non-thesis (coursework only) and thesis tracks (requiring original research and defense of a thesis). The MS in Paleontology is available as a thesis MS only.

The M.S. programs in geology and geological engineering and in paleontology both offer an accelerated M.S. track open to students enrolled in the B.S. in Geology or B.S. in Geological Engineering at South Dakota Mines.

The PhD program in Geology, Geological Engineering, and Mining Engineering offers specializations in each of these areas, with students specializing in paleontology following the geology specialization.

Additional information can be found in the GGE graduate programs page. Completion of graduate degrees leads to higher-level professional employment including college-level instruction.

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