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Geological Engineering
Geological engineers integrate two disciplines: geology and engineering. Geologists study the Earth, its composition and structure, its history, and its past plant and animal life. Engineers apply scientific knowledge and experience to design and analyze systems for the benefit of mankind.

Geological engineers solve engineering problems and design engineering systems with, on, and in geological materials, while, at the same time, protecting the environment.

They might design structures in soil and rock for dams or tunnel construction.  They may be involved in water resource management, or in evaluating and planning for geologic hazards such as earthquakes, landslides and volcanoes. Geological engineers work to protect the environment through remediation of polluted sites, proper waste disposal, and erosion control.

Preparation
A bachelor's degree in engineering is required for almost all entry-level engineering jobs. Admissions requirements for undergraduate engineering schools include a solid background in mathematics (algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and calculus) and science (biology, chemistry, and physics), and courses in English, social studies, humanities, and computer and information technology. Bachelor's degree programs in engineering typically are designed to last 4 years, but many students find that it takes between 4 and 5 years to complete their studies. In a typical 4-year college curriculum, the first 2 years are spent studying mathematics, basic sciences, introductory engineering, humanities, and social sciences. In the last 2 years, most courses are in engineering, usually with a concentration in one branch.  Geological engineers might take courses in Geomechanics, Engineering Geostatistics, Soil Mechanics, and Groundwater Mechanics and Modeling.

Those interested in a career in geological engineering should consider reviewing engineering programs that are accredited by ABET, Inc. If you choose to attend a program that is not ABET accredited, you should be sure that the university is regionally accredited. The following is a list of universities offering accredited degree programs in geological engineering. Be sure to check with ABET for updates and changes.

Co-ops
Students seeking geological engineering jobs enhance their employment opportunities by participating in internship or co-op programs offered through their schools. These experiences provide the students with broad knowledge and experience, making them more attractive candidates to employers. Most universities offer co-op and internship programs for students studying geological engineering. Click here for more information.

Employment
Many geological engineers work for consulting firms where they offer their experience and knowledge on environmental or geo-technical programs or project.  They also work for government agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency, and also may work at state or local government groups focusing on the environment.

Professional Organizations

The Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration

 


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