Geological Engineering Schools Colleges & Universities

Geological engineering schools prepare students to understand how best to use the earth's natural landscapes to build infrastructure, safely and effectively mine its minerals and energy sources, and preserve our environment.

Your Guide to Degrees in Geological Engineering: Many infrastructure features we take for granted everyday are geological wonders. The Golden Gate Bridge, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, skyscrapers or huge mineral mines...without geological engineers, they wouldn't exist, and life would be very different.

Geological engineering is the study of how we humans interact with, and can best use, the earth. They understand how to evaluate sites to determine their viability; they can carefully track and safely address potential hazards, such as earthquakes or floods, in order to protect people from them; they are knowledgeable about harnessing the earth's energy resources; and the know-how to best protect the earth's natural resources.

Attending Geological Engineering Schools: In order to work in any specialty, an engineer would need to complete the following:

  • • A bachelor's degree in engineering from a school accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET); this often takes 4-5 years to complete
  • • An internship of four years involving practical, on-the-job experience under the supervision of a professional engineer
  • • A rigorous licensure process that involves a two-stage written exam, in order to earn the Professional Engineer (PE) designation

Additionally, if you'd like to work in a research or academic position, a graduate degree will likely be required.

Geological engineering colleges will provide coursework in standard engineering courses, such as math, and physical and life sciences, as well as general engineering principles. Specialization work will come into play in the latter portion of your degree program, and might include civil or mechanical engineering study, geography, fault mechanics, surveying, geomechanics, and environmental science. You should also expect to do a considerable amount of work in the field, digging for ore or fossils, or surveying geological sites.

If you're interested in geological engineering schools, it helps to be adept at math and science, concerned about the earth and the environment, good at working in teams, and good at communicating with others. After all, you'll need to be effective at reporting findings and making recommendations to others.

What You Can Do With a Geological Engineering Degree: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics--although there were only a little more than 6,000 mining and geological engineers in the U.S. in May 2009--demand for them is expected to grow by 15 percent, which is faster than the average for all occupations over the 2008-2018 period.

That's because there is a relatively small number of geological engineering colleges, so that few new specialists in this field are turned out each year. That combined with the relatively high number of practitioners who are baby boomers and will soon retire, as well as the increasing demand for minerals and new energy sources, will drive higher demand in the coming years.

The best chances for employment, the BLS says, will be in jobs that require frequent travel, or even living abroad.

The firms or industries that employ the greatest numbers of geological engineers are:

  • • Architectural or engineering firms
  • • Coal mines
  • • Mineral ore mines
  • • Petroleum extraction firms--the top-paying industry for this occupation
  • • State governments

Engineers can also look forward to some of the highest-paying entry-level jobs in the economy. In May 2009, the median annual wage for mining and geological engineers was $79,440.

To learn more about degrees in geological engineering, explore programs here on

The writer Jessica Santina is a freelance writer and editor with 12 years' experience in media, marketing, and publishing, and 9 years' experience as a college writing instructor.


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