When reviewing geotechnical engineering programs, be sure to select one accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), a national accrediting organization for engineering, technology and applied science programs. Accredited programs in geotechnical engineering are generally considered civil engineering programs.
Top 10 Civil Engineering Schools
Civil engineering degrees are offered by these universities.
|College/University||Location||Institution Type||Degrees Offered|| Undergraduate Tuition
|University of California - Berkeley||Berkeley, CA||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||$13,431 (In-state); $38,139 (Out-of-state)|
|University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign||Champaign, IL||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||$15,054 (In-state); $30,214 (Out-of-state)|
|Stanford University||Stanford, CA||4-year, Private not-for-profit||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral, Graduate Certificate||$46,320|
|University of Texas - Austin||Austin, TX||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||$9,806 (In-state); $34,676 (Out-of-state)|
|Georgia Institute of Technology||Atlanta, GA||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||$12,204 (In-state); $32,396 (Out-of-state)|
|Purdue University - West Lafayette||West Lafayette, IN||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||$10,002 (In-state); $28,804 (Out-of-state)|
|University of Michigan - Ann Arbor||Ann Arbor, MI||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||$13,856 (In-state); $43,476 (Out-of-state)|
|Massachusetts Institute of Technology||Cambridge, MA||4-year, Private not-for-profit||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||$46,704|
|Carnegie Mellon University||Pittsburgh, PA||4-year, Private not-for-profit||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||$50,665|
|Cornell University||Ithaca, NY||4-year, Private not-for-profit||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||$49,116|
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
School Selection Criteria
Students interested in geotechnical engineering programs may want to keep these considerations in mind.
- Look for schools with geotechnical or civil engineering student organizations, such as the American Society of Civil Engineers, that provide networking and team project opportunities where students can learn about the latest research.
- To prepare students for their future careers, look for faculty who have expertise in a variety of interest areas, such as dams, geosynthetics or offshore structures.
- Programs should be accredited by the national accrediting organization for engineering: the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).
- Many programs allow students to gain experience through internships.
Bachelor's Degree Programs
Students pursuing a bachelor's degree program begin their major coursework by taking engineering science and mathematics classes offered to other civil engineering majors. In the final two years, the program focuses on geotechnical engineering topics. Many programs also require the completion of a senior project or an internship.
Master's Degree Programs
A master's degree program in geotechnical engineering typically offers students the option of completing either a thesis or a technical report to graduate. Some programs also give students the option to choose a coursework-only option.
Students interested in pursuing careers as scientific researchers in geotechnical engineering will need to earn a doctoral degree. Ph.D. requirements typically include comprehensive oral and written exams, as well as the completion of a dissertation or thesis based on original research. Areas of focus at the doctoral level include deep excavation design and the interaction between a building, its foundation and the underlying soil during an earthquake. Doctoral candidates may incorporate other engineering sciences and mathematics into their dissertations.
Many institutions offer undergraduate and graduate degrees in civil engineering, so students may want to consider other factors when choosing a program, such as location, tuition costs, and the expertise of the faculty. Other things to consider include networking opportunities through student organizations and whether the program is accredited.