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Geological Engineering Degree

What is 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, geothermal energy, subsurface contamination, environmental site design, and mineral and petroleum exploration and production.

This program offers an accelerated master’s degree.

What does a geological engineer do?

As a graduate of the South Dakota Mines geological engineering program, you might work in the areas of groundwater, environmental site planning and natural hazards, geomechanics and geotechnics, and fuels or minerals.

Courses for this Degree

• Geology for Engineers
• Surveying for Mining and Geological Engineers
• Statistical Methods in Geology and Geological Engineering
• Engineering Geophysics
• Engineering and Environmental Geology
• Introduction to Geomechanics
• Groundwater
• Geothermal and Production Engineering
• Geometallurgy
• Well Log Analysis

Course Curriculum

Catalog Links: Geological Engineering

Internships and Co-ops

On average, 73% of South Dakota Mines students have applicable work experience when they graduate thanks to internships and co-ops. For these co-ops and internships, students receive an average salary of $22.62/hour.

In recent years, geological engineering students have worked for mining, geotechnical, and petroleum companies and for federal agencies in various locations throughout the country.

Career Outlook

The average starting salary for a 2022 geological engineering graduate from Mines was $64,000. The placement rate for 2022 geological engineering graduates is 100%.


As a geological engineering graduate from Mines, you will have the opportunity to work in a variety of industries, including:
• mineral resource extraction
• petroleum exploration, production, and service
• hazard mitigation
• engineering consulting
• water resource development and protection
• construction
• environmental consulting


Graduates of the South Dakota Mines geological engineering program work for companies all over the world, including:

• Braun Intertec
• Freeport McMoRan
• Inberg-Miller Engineering
• Montana DOT
• US Army
• Coeur Mining
• Halliburton Bentonite
• Terracon
• SD Department of Environment and Natural Resources
• Wipro
• Kiewit
• US Geological Survey

Geological Engineering Research

As a geological engineering major at South Dakota Mines, you will get involved in hands-on research from day one as an undergraduate, and you will participate in research with faculty in a wide variety of topics. One example is a collaboration with scientists from eight national labs and six universities at the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) in a project called Enhanced Geothermal Systems Collaboration (EGS Collab). This research collects data to better understand how fractures created in deep, hard rock environments can be utilized to capture geothermal energy.

Areas of research include:

• Energy and mineral resources
• Geomechanics
• Groundwater and environment
• Paleontology
• Petrology and Mineralogy
• Structure and Tectonics

For more information on department research, please visit our research page.

Program Offerings

• Bachelor of Science in Geological Engineering, BS
• Accelerated master’s in Geology and Geological Engineering, MS (earn your bachelor’s and master’s in as little as five years)
• Master of science degree in Geology and Geological Engineering, MS
• Doctor of philosophy degree in Geology, Geological Engineering, and Mining Engineering, PhD
• Minors: Geology, Geospatial Technology, and Geospacial Technology (undergraduate), Petroleum Systems

*The bachelor of science program in geological engineering is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET,, 415 North Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21201, Phone +1.410.347.7700.




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