All facilities are built on, in, or with earth materials. As such, the science and engineering of soil and rock, and of the water and other fluids that permeate them, are critical for addressing national and global issues, including infrastructure construction and reconstruction, mitigation of natural hazards, and frontier exploration and development.
Geotechnical engineering is a branch of civil engineering that generally deals with problems involving soil and rock. Examples include the design of foundations for structures, tunneling, excavations, disposal of waste products by burial, dams, and a variety of similar earth-related topics.
Our goal is to educate graduate students to become leaders in geotechnical engineering practice and academia. We strive to provide a broad and fundamental educational experience. To achieve these goals, we maintain a balance between research and teaching in our program. Theory and practice, experimental and analytical techniques, and traditional and cutting-edge ideas are integrated within our research and teaching.
Master’s and PhD programs
Because surveys have shown that the greatest challenge often faced by new practicing engineers is in the area of written communication, we require that all graduate students prepare a written report during their graduate studies. The requirement is fulfilled through the preparation of a MS thesis or PhD dissertation. Preparation of the document involves extensive individual interaction with the supervising professor, thus developing the student's communication skills, individual thought processes, and problem-solving capabilities.
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Download a PDF program guide about your program of interest, and get in contact with our graduate admissions staff.
Our MS program is focused on preparing students for geotechnical engineering practice, while exposing them to geotechnical engineering research. Our PhD program is more research-oriented. The program is tailored to fit the interests and aspirations of the individual student. Some of our PhD graduates go into engineering practice, while others pursue careers in research or teaching.