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Geological Engineering Degree

Program Offerings

• Bachelor of science degree in Geological Engineering
• Accelerated master’s in Geology and Geological Engineering (earn your bachelor’s and master’s in as little as five years)
• Master of science degree in Geology and Geological Engineering
• Doctor of philosophy degree in Geology, Geological Engineering, and Mining Engineering
• Minors: Geology, Geospatial Technology, and Petroleum Systems.
• Certificates - Geospatial Technology (undergraduate and graduate) and 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.

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, slope stability, environmental site design, and mineral and petroleum exploration and production.

Geological engineering is a relatively rare degree program offered by only 13 universities in the country. The degree bridges the gap between the science of geology and multiple engineering disciplines including mining, civil, petroleum, and environmental engineering.

The GEOE program at South Dakota Mines prides itself on providing a hands-on field-based education. Students spend a large amount of instruction time in the field through lab and design courses, as well as a GEOE specific, six-credit field course. It is this significant field experience and wide breadth of expertise that sets geological engineering graduates apart from other engineering fields.

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.

Job duties of a geological engineer might include:
• Assessing the quality of rock, soil, water and other site conditions
• Completing site analyses and foundation designs
• Assisting in the design of structures
• Conducting lab analyses of earth materials
• Assisting in the design of safe and efficient mines
• Delineating and extracting energy resources
• Modeling and protecting groundwater and surface water resources
• Mitigating against geologic hazards
• Providing solutions to problems related to land reclamation, water and air pollution, and sustainability

First-Year Courses

• Introduction to Geology, Geological Engineering and Mining Engineering
• Chemistry
• Calculus
• English Composition
• Physics
• Intro to CADD
• Geology for Engineers

Course Curriculum

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Internships and Co-ops

At South Dakota Mines, 77% of students land internships or co-ops in their field, earning an average salary of $20.00/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 2019-2020 geological engineering graduate from Mines was $59,374. The placement rate is 90%.


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 won’t have to wait for graduate school to 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. For more information on department research, please visit our research page.




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