Undergraduate Program

The Department of Geology and Geological Engineering offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Geological Engineering.

Geological Engineers deal with a wide variety of the resource and environmental problems that come with accommodating more and more people on a finite planet. Foundations for building, roads and other structures must be properly evaluated and stabilized; contaminated sites and ground-water must be accurately characterized before cleanup can be accomplished; water supplies must be located, developed and protected; and new mineral and energy resources must be located and developed in an environmentally sound manner. Geological Engineers are the professionals trained to meet these challenges.

Graduates follow five general career paths

  • Geological Engineering/Geotechnics: Careers in site investigation, design and stabilization of foundations; site characterization, design, construction and remediation of waste disposal sites or contaminated sites; and assessment of geologic hazards.
  • Hydrogeology: Careers in assessment and remediation of groundwater and surface water contamination, design of groundwater control facilities and exploration for and development of water supplies.
  • Petroleum Exploration and Development: The location of oil, gas and coal and their efficient extraction.
  • Mineral Exploration and Development: The search for and development of natural deposits of metals, industrial materials and rock aggregate.
  • Geological Science: Graduates of this track have become experts in global climate change, the early history of the Earth, planetary science, and simulation of sedimentary rock sequences, to name a few.

At all levels the GE program emphasizes laboratory and field experience. All courses have a laboratory session and after the junior year students participate in a field course, which is six weeks of geologic mapping and direct observation. The course involves considerable time outdoors in the mountains and canyons of southwestern Colorado and Utah.

The Bachelor of Science in Geological Engineering curriculum provides a strong basis in geological science and traditional engineering along with specialized upper level instruction in integrated applications to real problems. The program is accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology and students have the background to take the Engineer in Training Exam and to become registered Professional Engineers.

Advising Checklists

Suggested Technical Electives (Exploration Track)

Engineering Science Engineering Design
CEEN 415 Foundations 1.5 1.5
EGGN 361 Soil Mechanics 2 1
EGGN 363 Soil Mechanics Lab 1
GEGN 473 Site Investigation 2 1
GEGN 466 Groundwater Engineering 2 1
GEGN 483 Mathematical Modeling of Groundwater Systems 1 2
GEGN 498B Integrated Surface Water Modeling 1 2
GEGN 475/575 Applications of GIS 1.5 1.5
GEGN 582 Integrated Surface Water Hydrology 2 1
GEOL 551 Applied Petroleum Engineering 1 1
GEOL 552 Unconventional Petroleum Systems 2 1
GEOL 560 Imperial Barrel AAPG Competition 1 2
GPGN 302 Seismic Methods I 2 2
GPGN 303 Gravity & Magnetics Methods I 2 2
GPGN 432 Formation Evaluation 2 2
MNGN 312 Surface Mine Design 3
MNGN 314 Underground Mine Design 3
MNGN 321 Introduction to Rock Mechanics 3
MNGN 407 Rock Fragmentation 1 1
MNGN 421 Design of Underground Excavations 3
MNGN 445 Open Slope Design 3
PEGN 308 Reservoir Rock Properties 2 1
PEGN 311 Drilling Engineering 1 3
PEGN 414 Well Test Analysis & Design 1.5 1.5
PEGN 419 Well Log Analysis & Formation Evaluation 2 1
PEGN 423 Petroleum Reservoir Engineering I 1 2
PEGN 424 Petroleum Reservoir Engineering II 1 2
PEGN 426 Well Completions and Stimulation 1 2
PEGN 428 Adv. Drilling Engineering 2 1
ABET Objectives and Outcomes

Program Educational Objectives

Program educational objectives are broad statements that describe what graduates are expected to attain within a few years of graduation. Graduates from the Department of Geology and Geological Engineering will:

  1. Demonstrate a high level of technical competence
  2. Demonstrate prowess in written, oral and graphical communication
  3. Experience good teamwork and leadership practices

Student Outcomes

Student outcomes describe what students are expected to know and be able to do by the time of graduation.  Students finishing a program in Geological Engineering will have:

  • an ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering to geological engineering problems
  • an ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data
  •  an ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability. For Geological Engineering, this will include one or more of the following considerations: the distribution of physical and chemical properties of earth materials, including surface water, ground water (hydrogeology), and fluid hydrocarbons; the effects of surface and near-surface natural processes; the impacts of construction projects; the impacts of exploration, development, and extraction of natural resources, and consequent remediation; disposal of wastes; and other activities of society on these materials and processes
  • an ability to function on multidisciplinary teams
  • an ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems
  • an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility
  • an ability to communicate effectively
  • the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context
  • a recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in life-long learning
  • a knowledge of contemporary issues
  • an ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice
  • proficiency in geological science topics that emphasize geologic processes and the identification of minerals and rocks
  • the ability to visualize and solve geological problems in three and four dimensions
  • proficiency in the engineering sciences including statics, properties/strength of materials, and geomechanics

The Geological Engineering Program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.


Earth and Environmental Science: An audio podcast by Teaching Professor and Assistant Department Head Christian V. Shorey.