Geology and Geological Engineering

Program Description

A Bachelor of Science degree in Geological Engineering is the basis for careers concentrating on the interaction of humans and the earth. Geological Engineers deal with a wide variety of the resource and environmental problems that come with accommodating more and more people on a finite planet. Geologic hazards and conditions must be recognized and considered in the location and design of foundations for buildings, roads and other structures; waste disposal facilities must be properly located, designed and constructed; contaminated sites and ground water must be accurately characterized before cleanup can be accomplished; water supplies must be located, developed and protected; and new mineral and energy resources must be located and developed in an environmentally sound manner. Geological Engineers are the professionals trained to meet these challenges.

The Geological Engineering curriculum provides a strong foundation in the basic sciences, mathematics, geological science and basic engineering along with specialized upper level instruction in integrated applications to real problems. Engineering design is integrated throughout the four year program, beginning in Design I (Freshman year) and ending with the capstone design courses in the senior year.

The program leading to the degree of Bachelor of Science in Geological Engineering is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET,

Students have the background to take the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam, the first step in becoming a registered Professional Engineer.

Graduates follow five general career paths:

Engineering Geology and Geotechnics. Careers in site investigation, design and stabilization of foundations and slopes; site characterization, design, construction and remediation of waste disposal sites or contaminated sites; and assessment of geologic hazards for civil, mining or environmental engineering projects.

Ground-Water Engineering. Careers in assessment and remediation of ground-water contamination, design of ground-water control facilities for geotechnical projects and exploration for and development of ground-water supplies.

Petroleum Exploration and Development Engineering. Careers in search for and development of oil and gas and their efficient extraction.

Mineral Exploration and Development Engineering. Careers in search for and development of natural deposits of metals, industrial materials and rock aggregate.

Geological Science. Students are also well prepared to pursue careers in basic geoscience. Graduates have become experts in fields as divergent as global climate change, the early history of the Earth, planetary science, fractal representation of ground-water flow and simulation of sedimentary rock sequences, to name a few. Careers are available in research and education.

The curriculum may be followed along two concentration paths with slightly different upper division requirements. Both concentrations are identical in the first two years as students study basic science, mathematics, engineering science, and geological science. In the junior year those students pursuing careers in ground-water engineering, engineering geology and geotechnics, or geoenvironmental engineering applications follow the Environmental, Engineering Geology and Geotechnics, and Ground-Water Engineering Concentration. Students anticipating careers in resource exploration and development or who expect to pursue graduate studies in geological sciences follow the Mineral and Petroleum Exploration Engineering Concentration.

At all levels the Geological Engineering Program emphasizes laboratory and field experience. All courses have a laboratory session, and after the junior year students participate in a field course, which is six weeks of geologic and engineering mapping and direct observation. The course involves considerable time outdoors in the mountains and canyons of Utah and southwestern Colorado.

At the senior level, students begin to focus on a career path by taking course sequences in at least two areas of geological engineering specialization. The course sequences begin with a 4 unit course in the fundamentals of a field of geological engineering which is followed by a 3 unit design-oriented course that emphasizes experience in direct application of principles through design projects.

Combined Undergraduate/Graduate Programs

Several degree programs offer CSM undergraduate students the opportunity to begin work on a Graduate Certificate, Professional Degree, or Master Degree while completing the requirements for their Bachelor Degree. These programs can give students a head start on graduate education. An overview of these combined programs and description of the admission process and requirements are found in the Graduate Degrees and Requirements section of the Graduate Catalog.

Professor and Department Head

Wendy Bohrson


David A. Benson

Zhaoshan Chang, Charles F. Fogarty Endowed Chair

Alexei Milkov, Director of Potential Gas Agency

Thomas Monecke, Co-Director of CMRS

Piret Plink-Bjorklund

Paul M. Santi, Director of CMS

Kamini Singha, Associate Dean of ESP

Stephen A. Sonnenberg, Charles Boettcher Distinguished Chair in Petroleum Geology

Lesli J. Wood, Associate Department Head, Weimer Distinguished Chair

Associate Professors

Yvette Kuiper

Bruce Trudgill

Alexis Navarre-Sitchler, Ben Fryrear Endowed Chair for Innovation and Excellence

Wendy Zhou

Assistant Professors

Kevin Cannon

Danica Roth

Gabriel Walton

Research Professors

Marsha French

Richard Goldfarb

Zane Jobe, Director of the Chevron Center of Research Excellence

David Leach

Reed M. Maxwell

J. Fredrick Sarg

Research Assistant Professor

Mary Carr

Research Associate Professor

Katharina Pfaff

Teaching Professor

Christian V. Shorey

Professors Emerita

Eileen Poeter

Professors Emeriti

John B. Curtis

Thomas L.T. Grose

John D. Haun

Jerry D. Higgins

Murray W. Hitzman

Neil F. Hurley

Keenan Lee

Samuel B. Romberger

Keith A. Turner

John E. Warme

Robert J. Weimer

Richard F. Wendlandt

Associate Professors Emeriti

L. Graham Closs

Timothy A. Cross

Gregory S. Holden