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What is Geotechnical Engineering?

Geotechnical engineering deals with earth materials, including soil, rock, and groundwater. As most engineering projects are supported by ground, geotechnical engineering interfaces with most of the other civil sub-disciplines. For example, geotechnical engineers design foundations for structures, sub-grades for roadways, embankments for water storage and flood control, and containment systems for hazardous materials. In addition to participating in the design, construction, and operation of most civil engineering projects, geotechnical engineers also deal with various geologic hazards impacting our society, such as landslides, soil erosion, and earthquakes. Employers of graduates specializing in geotechnical engineering include consulting firms, design firms, contractors, public agencies, utilities, energy companies, and academia.

This specialty introduces students to a variety of employment opportunities in international organizations, public agencies, private industries, universities, and consulting firms. Geotechnical graduate students have access to research facilities available on campus at the Computing Services Center and in other divisions within the department (such as the environmental, water resources, ocean and coastal areas), the Texas Transportation Institute and the Texas Engineering Experiment Station.

Degree Information

Students can earn B.S., M.S., M.Eng. and Ph.D. degrees in civil engineering in the geotechnical engineering division of emphasis.

Undergraduate Requirements

To fulfill the common civil engineering program degree plan, undergraduate students declaring a specialty in geotechnical engineering are required to complete a technical elective plan. See the undergraduate advising page for more information.

Graduate Requirements

Each area specialty area has its own graduate degree requirements in addition to the requirements set forth by the department and university. Please check with your advisor for the most current degree requirements. See the Graduate Student Handbook for Geotechnical Engineering for more information.