Geological Engineering

The department of Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering is home to three separate programs, geological engineering, geology and geophysics, and petroleum engineering. Geotechnics is a part of the geological engineering program.

Geological engineering is the application of the knowledge and principles of geology to the solution of problems in engineering practice. These applications include the evaluation of geological conditions for natural hazard assessment, environmental protection studies, groundwater resource and pollution investigations, mineral and energy development, site selection of civil works facilities, and land use and environmental impact analysis.

The geological engineering laboratories are well equipped for research relating to physical and hydraulic properties of rock, groundwater hydrology, remote sensing, and geographic information systems. Computer applications are emphasized, and the department has a laboratory equipped with a variety of personal computer equipment for student use. A groundwater hydrology laboratory is equipped to conduct research in subsurface fluid flow and computer facilities are available for the modeling of flow through porous media.

Recent research projects in the GE program include:

  • Designing excavating tools for geomaterials on earth and in space.
  • Measuring the permeability of soils using satellites, drones and ground-based geophysics.
  • Evaluating earthquake hazards along the New Madrid fault.
  • Using satellite data to investigate aquifer depletion and land subsidence.
  • Studying blasting efficiency for enhancing productivity in the mining industry.
  • Predicting water pollution based on geologic and land use factors.
  • Developing a rock fall hazard rating system for Missouri highways.
  • Using LIDAR to research the rock raveling process.
  • Developing a virtual geotechnical database for the greater St. Louis Metropolitan Area.
  • Identifying areas suitable for managed aquifer recharge in the U.S. and Iraq.
  • Creation of a geologic GIS database for the St. Louis Metropolitan Area.
  • Detection of underground mines and caverns using geophysical methods.
  • Using drone data to find the locations to drill wells in fractured rock.
  • Applying mining methods to potential space mining applications, and reducing the size of asteroid on potential collision courses with earth.
  • Developing sustainable point of use drinking water systems in developing areas.
  • Using renewable energy systems to power active groundwater pumping and remediation systems.
  • Characterizing the reliability of wind and solar energy system prediction models.

The department maintains a computer learning center and Geographic Information Systems Laboratory with PCs, and a variety of peripheral devices such as scanners, digitizers, and printers. ArcGIS, ERDAS, IDRIS, AutoCAD Map and World, and other software packages are available for instruction and research. Applications of GIS and Remote Sensing Technology which are stressed include site characterization and selection, geologic hazards mapping, and terrain analysis. The department also offers graduate certificates in geotechnics, subsurface water resources, water resources, natural hazards, and space mining. The minimum Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) scores required for acceptance consideration in the Geology and Geophysics graduate program are Q = 148, Q+V = 300, and A(W) = 3.0.

Contact information, e-mail or visit our website at

MS Program requirements:

For students pursuing a thesis-based master's degree, the requirements are those of the campus, as given on Form 1 ( For students interested in a course-based (non-thesis) master's degree, the following study plan is required.

30 hr non-thesis MS-degree study plan for Geological Engineering

Non-thesis MS students must take at least one course in each of the three core geological engineering areas indicated below, and then must select one or more courses from each emphasis area. Substitutions for core geological engineering courses may be made on a case-by-case basis, especially if some of these courses have been completed as part of the undergraduate curriculum. 30 credit hours must be passed to earn the MS degree.

Core Geological Engineering Areas

(take all 3) = 9 hrs

GEO ENG 5443Subsurface Exploration3
GEO ENG 5331Subsurface Hydrology3
or GEO ENG 5381 Intermediate Subsurface Hydrology And Contaminant Transport Mechs
GEO ENG 5441Engineering Geology And Geotechnics3
or GEO ENG 6441 Geotechnical Construction Practice
or GEO ENG 6625 Applications in Geological Engineering

Engineering Geology and Geotechnics Emphasis Area

(choose 1-3 courses, at least one course must be in the Geological Engineering department) = 3 to 9 hrs

GEO ENG 5471Rock Engineering3
GEO ENG 6441Geotechnical Construction Practice3
GEO ENG 6477Discontinuous Rock3
GEO ENG 6625Applications in Geological Engineering3
CIV ENG 5715Intermediate Soil Mechanics3
CIV ENG 5716Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering3
CIV ENG 5729Foundation Engineering II3

Environmental and Hydrology Emphasis Area

(chose 1-3 courses) = 3 to 9 hrs

GEO ENG 5233Risk Assessment In Environmental Studies3
GEO ENG 5235Environmental Geological Engineering3
GEO ENG 5237Geological Aspects Of Hazardous Waste Management3
GEO ENG 5381Intermediate Subsurface Hydrology And Contaminant Transport Mechs3
GEO ENG 6235Advanced Concepts Of Environmental Geological Engineering3
GEO ENG 6237Advanced Geological & Geotechnical Design For Hazardous Waste Mgt3
GEO ENG 6331Advanced Subsurface Hydrology3

Engineering Geophysics Emphasis Area

(choose 1 to 2 courses) = 3 to 6 hrs

GEO ENG 5736Geophysical Field Methods3
GEO ENG 5761Transportation Applications of Geophysics3
GEO ENG 5782Environmental and Engineering Geophysics3
GEO ENG 6782Surface Waves (MASW) and Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR)3

Data Analysis Emphasis Area

(choose 1 to 2 courses) = 3 to 6 hrs

GEO ENG 5144Remote Sensing Technology3
GEO ENG 5146Applications Of Geographic Information Systems3
GEO ENG 5315Advanced Statistical Methods in Geology and Engineering3
GEO ENG 5556Renewable Energy Systems3
COMP SCI 5204Regression Analysis3
STAT 5260Statistical Data Analysis Using SAS3
STAT 5346Regression Analysis3
STAT 5353Statistical Data Analysis3
STAT 5814Applied Time Series Analysis3

*Additional substitutions may be made depending on availability, pre-requisites, and desired focus.
**These requirements will be viewed by the geological engineering graduate faculty at intervals no longer than three years.

GEO ENG 5000 Special Problems (IND 0.0-6.0)

Problems or readings on specific subjects or projects in the department. Consent of instructor is required.

GEO ENG 5001 Special Topics (LEC 0.0 and LAB 0.0)

This course is designed to give the department an opportunity to test a new course. Variable title.

GEO ENG 5085 Internship (IND 0.0-15)

Students working toward a doctor of engineering degree will select, with the advice of their committees, appropriate problems for preparation of a dissertation. The problem selected and internship plan must conform to the purpose of providing a high level engineering experience consistent with the intent of the doctor of engineering degree.

GEO ENG 5090 Geological Engineering Design (LEC 2.0 and LAB 1.0)

Geological engineering design is an open-ended project course requiring the collection of data, analysis and synthesis of that data and design of a socially acceptable, economical solution to the selected problem. Oral and written reports are required. Prerequisite: To be taken in the semester before graduation.

GEO ENG 5092 International Engineering and Design (LEC 3.0)

A multi-disciplinary engineering course focused on sustainable design and technology transfer to developing countries. Course includes elements of traditional capstone design classes. Experiential learning through competitions and/or field work is a major component of the class. Prerequisites: Senior standing, instructor approval, Geo Eng 5211, Geo Eng 5247. (Co-listed with Met Eng 4510 and Cer Eng 4510).

GEO ENG 5099 Research (IND 0.0-15)

Investigations of an advanced nature leading to the preparation of a thesis or dissertation. Consent of instructor required.

GEO ENG 5144 Remote Sensing Technology (LAB 3.0)

Principles of digital image processing including image enhancement and multispectral classification. Emphasis upon design and implementation of remote sensing systems and analysis of remotely sensed data for geotechnical and environmental investigations. Prerequisite: Geology 1110. (Co-listed with Geology 4310).

GEO ENG 5146 Applications Of Geographic Information Systems (LEC 2.0 and LAB 1.0)

Applications of Geographical Information Systems and remote sensing to environmental monitoring, mineral resource exploration, and geotechnical site evaluation. Prerequisite: Geo Eng 3175 or consent of instructor. (Co-listed with Geology 4821).

GEO ENG 5153 Regional Geological Engineering Problems In North America (LEC 3.0)

A physiographic approach to engineering materials and problems. Course emphasizes the distribution and engineering characteristics of soil and rock to construction and site problems and includes aggregates, foundations, excavations, surface and ground water, slope stability and arctic conditions.

GEO ENG 5172 Soil Science In Engineering Practice (LEC 3.0)

A study of the ways in which soils and geologic conditions influence engineered projects. Soil formation, soil chemistry and properties to include composition, organic component, ion exchange and water relationships as well as erosion control and revegetation will be covered. Prerequisite: Geo Eng 3175.

GEO ENG 5173 Geologic Field Methods (LAB 3.0)

Field practice in geologic mapping and interpretation in the Western United States using topographic base maps and aerial photos. Emphasizes the description and interpretation of stratigraphic sections, sedimentary and tectonic structures. Prerequisite: Two courses in either Geology or Geological Engineering.

GEO ENG 5174 Geological Engineering Field Methods (LAB 3.0)

Instruction in methods of field investigation required for geological engineering studies. Course will include procedures for qualitative and quantitative data collection for characterizing surficial geologic conditions, groundwater and surface water investigations, and other engineering activities. Written reports and field trip required.

GEO ENG 5211 Introduction to International Engineering and Design Lab (LAB 1.0)

The lab for multi-disciplinary design will be as follows: Students will develop a work plan to address design objectives and other considerations including scheduling, budgeting, environmental impacts, and life cycle design. Prerequisites: Senior standing, instructor approval, accompanied by GEO ENG 5247.

GEO ENG 5233 Risk Assessment In Environmental Studies (LEC 3.0)

This course will present the concepts required to assess the human health and environmental risks resulting from contaminants in soil and groundwater. Course topics include evaluation of data sets, exposure calculation, chemical fate and transport, and development of conceptual site models.

GEO ENG 5235 Environmental Geological Engineering (LEC 3.0)

Introduction to engineering geologic mapping for site selection for solid waste disposal facilities; landfill site selection, design, permitting, construction, operation, and closeout/reclamation. Prerequisites: Geo Eng 3175, accompanied or preceded by Civ Eng 3715.

GEO ENG 5237 Geological Aspects Of Hazardous Waste Management (LEC 3.0)

Nature and classification of hazardous wastes; federal and state regulation for treatment and disposal; geological characterization of facility sites; design of impoundments, storage and containment facilities; ground water monitoring and protection; site permitting and licensing planning. Prerequisite: Geo Eng 3175.

GEO ENG 5239 Groundwater Remediation (LEC 3.0)

A survey of conventional and innovative techniques for remediation of contaminated groundwater. Topics include groundwater cleanup standards, physico-chemical properties of groundwater and contaminants, fate and transport of contaminants in the subsurface, hydrogeologic site characterization, and selection process of a remedial technology. Various computer programs developed to assist in preliminary selection and design of remediation technologies will be used. Prerequisite: Geo Eng 5331.

GEO ENG 5247 Introduction to International Engineering and Design (LEC 2.0)

A multi-disciplinary design course focused on sustainable design and technology transfer to developing countries. Students will develop a work plan to address design objectives and other considerations including scheduling, budgeting, environmental impacts, and life cycle design. Prerequisites: Senior standing, instructor approval, accompanied by Geo Eng 5211.

GEO ENG 5276 Advanced Environmental Aspects Of Mining (LEC 3.0)

Applied and fundamental research issues pertaining to: permitting -- the legal environment of reclamation and environmental impact assessment; post-mining land-use selection and mine planning for optimum reclamation of all mines: metal, nonmetal, and coal; unit operations of reclamation: drainage, backfill, soil replacement, revegetation, maintenance, etc. Course project. (Co-listed with Min Eng 5742).

GEO ENG 5315 Advanced Statistical Methods in Geology and Engineering (LEC 3.0)

Application of statistical methods to study of geologic materials and practices, with emphasis on reliable interpretation of laboratory and field data for water, hydrocarbon, and mineral exploration, research, and engineering as well as other aspects of geological engineering. Prerequisites: Geo Eng 4115 or Stat 3111 or Stat 3113 or Stat 3115 or Stat 3117.

GEO ENG 5320 Groundwater Modeling (LEC 3.0)

This course is an introduction to advanced modeling techniques for understanding flow and transport in porous media under different hydrologic conditions. Emphasis is placed on both theoretical and practical modeling considerations. Computer demonstrations are incorporated. Practical applications are emphasized. Prerequisite: Civ Eng 3330 or Geo Eng 5331.

GEO ENG 5331 Subsurface Hydrology (LEC 3.0)

Introduction to the theory and engineering concepts of the movement of subsurface fluids. Hydraulic characteristics of earth materials, aquifer characterization, and flow prediction. Engineering problems related to subsurface fluids. Prerequisites: Geo Eng 1150 or equivalent, Math 1215.

GEO ENG 5332 Fundamentals of Groundwater Hydrology (LEC 3.0)

Focus on fundamental analysis and survey of groundwater hydrology with emphasis on practical geo-environmental and subsurface hydrology issues of interest to working professionals. Topics will include general hydrology, surface and subsurface intercconnection, basic groundwater flow and well test analysis, and a brief intro to contaminant transport.

GEO ENG 5381 Intermediate Subsurface Hydrology And Contaminant Transport Mechs (LEC 3.0)

A study of the physical/chemical properties of rocks and sediments in the subsurface environment. Emphasis is put on waterrock properties such as permeability, capillarity, and mechanical dispersion. Both microscopic and macroscopic approaches are used. Prerequisites: Civ Eng 3330 & Geo Eng 5331.

GEO ENG 5415 Soil Mechanics for Geoprofessionals (LEC 3.0)

The basic principles of soil mechanics necessary for professionals to practice in the field of geoconstruction. Topics related to the practical aspects of engineering include: soil classification, index properties, water flow through soils, compaction, compressibility, and shear strength. These basic principles will be applied to real world problems.

GEO ENG 5441 Engineering Geology And Geotechnics (LEC 3.0)

Study of procedures and techniques used to evaluate geologic factors for site selection and the design of engineered structures. Prerequisite: Geo Eng 3175.

GEO ENG 5443 Subsurface Exploration (LAB 1.0 and LEC 2.0)

Lectures and field and laboratory exercises in the use of geologic and geophysical techniques for evaluation of subsurface geology and resources. Prerequisite: Geo Eng 1150.

GEO ENG 5471 Rock Engineering (LEC 3.0)

Data requirements for design; engineering properties of rock; characterization of fractures and rock masses; stereonet analysis of discontinuities; graphic analysis of failure; ground stress distribution; tunnel construction methods; ground support principles; selection of tunneling equipment; and specifications for underground construction. Prerequisite: Geo Eng 3175.

GEO ENG 5556 Renewable Energy Systems (LEC 3.0)

Introduction to the theory and performance prediction of typical renewable energy systems such as, but not limited to, those based on energy from the sun, wind and water, and geothermal. The use of environmental data, including stochastic modeling, for renewable energy system (including wind turbine, photovoltaic, and geothermal) design is addressed. Prerequisites: Math 3304, Physics 2135, and preceded or accompanied by Geo Eng 4115 or any Probability and Statistics class. Junior or senior standing is required.

GEO ENG 5575 Aggregates And Quarrying (LEC 3.0)

Properties and uses of aggregates. Finding aggregate deposits and methods of extraction. Aggregate processing. Aggregate testing. Economics and politics of aggregates. Special topics in aggregates and quarrying. Prerequisites: Geo Eng 1150, Geo Eng 3175.

GEO ENG 5642 Military Geology (LEC 3.0)

This course will familiarize geologists, geophysicists, civil and geological engineers with the fundamental principles of physical geology, geohydrology and geomorphology as applied to military problems, such as development of fortitications, core infrastructure, water resources and combat engineering requirements. Prerequisite: Geo Eng 3175 or graduate standing.

GEO ENG 5736 Geophysical Field Methods (LEC 2.0 and LAB 1.0)

Imaging of selected subsurface features and engineering structures using various geophysical tools. Special emphasis is placed on ground penetrating radar and surface wave techniques. One field trip at student expense required. Prerequisite: Junior level standing or higher. (Co-listed with Geophys 5736).

GEO ENG 5761 Transportation Applications of Geophysics (LEC 2.0 and LAB 1.0)

Overview of geophysical and non-destructive test methods that are commonly used to investigate transportation structures and their foundations. Emphasis is placed on bridge system substructure, bridge system superstructure, pavement, roadway subsidence, subsurface characterization and vibration measurements. Prerequisite: Junior level standing or higher. (Co-listed with Geophys 5761 and Civ Eng 5750).

GEO ENG 5782 Environmental and Engineering Geophysics (LEC 2.0 and LAB 1.0)

An introduction to the theory and application of the gravity, magnetic, resistivity, self-potential, induced polarization and electromagnetic methods as applied to the solution of engineering and environmental problems. Prerequisite: Math 2222. (Co-listed with Geophys 5782).

GEO ENG 6000 Special Problems (IND 0.0-6.0)

Problems or readings on specific subjects or projects in the department. Consent of instructor required.

GEO ENG 6001 Special Topics (LAB 0.0 and LEC 0.0)

This course is designed to give the department an opportunity to test a new course. Variable title.

GEO ENG 6010 Seminar (RSD 1.0)

Discussion of current topics. Prerequisite: Graduate student.

GEO ENG 6040 Oral Examination (IND 0.0)

After completion of all other program requirements, oral examinations for on-campus M.S./Ph.D. students may be processed during intersession. Off-campus M.S. students must be enrolled in oral examination and must have paid an oral examination fee at the time of the defense/comprehensive examination (oral/ written). All other students must enroll for credit commensurate with uses made of facilities and/or faculties. In no case shall this be for less than three (3) semester hours for resident students.

GEO ENG 6050 Continuous Registration (IND 1.0)

Doctoral candidates who have completed all requirements for the degree except the dissertation, and are away from the campus must continue to enroll for at least one hour of credit each registration period until the degree is completed. Failure to do so may invalidate the candidacy. Billing will be automatic as will registration upon payment.

GEO ENG 6085 Internship (IND 0.0-15)

Students working toward a doctor of engineering degree will select, with the advice of their committees, appropriate problems for preparation of a dissertation. The problem selected and internship plan must conform to the purpose of providing a high level engineering experience consistent with the intent of the doctor of engineering degree.

GEO ENG 6099 Research (IND 0.0-15)

Investigations of an advanced nature leading to the preparation of a thesis or dissertation.

GEO ENG 6146 Advanced Remote Sensing And Image Processing (LEC 2.0 and LAB 1.0)

Quantitative methods of utilizing remote sensing technology for terrain analysis. Digital image processing of landsat and/or aircraft scanner data for mineral resource studies and geological engineering applications. Prerequisite: Geo Eng 5146. (Co-listed with Geology 6341).

GEO ENG 6235 Advanced Concepts Of Environmental Geological Engineering (LEC 3.0)

Application of the principles of geology to the solution of engineering problems in environmental protection and remediation. Topics will include the study of geologic processes and the evaluation of geologic materials as they affect the potential for groundwater contamination, susceptibility of soils to erosion, characterization of the geologic environment for site suitability and the analysis of the criteria necessary for the selection of technologies for minimizing environmental impact. Prerequisite: Graduate level course in environmental geologic studies.

GEO ENG 6237 Advanced Geological & Geotechnical Design For Hazardous Waste Mgt (LEC 3.0)

Geological and geotechnical design factors for hazardous waste management facilities and remedial actions (cleanup) of uncontrolled hazardous waste sites. Prerequisite: Geo Eng 5237 or consent of instructor.

GEO ENG 6331 Advanced Subsurface Hydrology (LEC 3.0)

Advanced treatment of selected topics in subsurface hydrology, including groundwater contamination, contaminant transport, land disposal of wastes, aquifer test analysis, injection well technology, etc. Applied hydrogeologic site analysis and flow and transport modeling through solution of selected case examples. Prerequisite: Geo Eng 5331 or equivalent.

GEO ENG 6332 Numerical Methods In Subsurface Flow (LEC 3.0)

Development of governing balance equations, constitutive laws and mathematical models of groundwater flow and contaminant transport in porous media. Solution of mathematical models by finite difference and finite element methods for various boundary and initial conditions. Prerequisites: Geo Eng 5331, Comp Sci 1970.

GEO ENG 6400 Practice Oriented Project (IND 3.0)

This class will consist of a single term project. Students will, in consultation with the instructor, pick a topic relevant to their studies, and produce a comprehensive, in depth, professionally written report, including a literature review on the state of the practice on that topic. Prerequisites: Limited to students enrolled in the Masters of Engineering (M.E.) in Geotechnics Program.

GEO ENG 6407 Inca Civilization Geotechnical Engineering Practices (LEC 3.0)

An in-depth study of geotechnical engineering practices in the mountains of Peru, including the Cuzco-Machu Picchu corridor, with emphasis on the inter-relationships between tectonics, geology, geomorphology, climate, hydrology, agriculture, quarrying, construction practices, irrigation, culture and history. A week-long field trip to Peru during Spring Break is required at student's expense. Prerequisite: Geo Eng 1150 or Civ Eng 3715 or Geo Eng 5471 or equivalent; Graduate standing. (Co-listed with Civ Eng 6760).

GEO ENG 6441 Geotechnical Construction Practice (LEC 3.0)

Advanced level lecture topics on procedures used for site characterization, standards for earthquake grading and construction, including embankments, building pads, retention structures, roads, levees, and earthen dams. Specific emphasis on preparation of documents involved in such work and engineer's responsibilities. Prerequisite: Geo Eng 5441.

GEO ENG 6477 Discontinuous Rock (LEC 3.0)

Nature and properties of discontinuous rock masses, genesis and properties of joints, role of joints in rock shear strength, slope of stability of jointed rock, fracture flow hydrogeology. Modeling of the mechanical behavior of fractured rock. Prerequisite: Min Eng 4823 or Geo Eng 5471.

GEO ENG 6625 Applications in Geological Engineering (LEC 3.0)

Content is focused on practical aspects of geological engineering. Geotechnical, environmental and geohydrologic case studies are presented to illustrate concepts and relate theory to applications.

GEO ENG 6736 Advanced Geophysical Methods (LEC 1.0 and LAB 2.0)

Geophysical field data will be acquired at selected study sites with the objective of imagine the shallow subsurface and/or built structures. Registrants will process and interpret the acquired non-invasive imaging data using ground truth as a constraint. Prerequisite: Graduate Standing.

GEO ENG 6782 Surface Waves (MASW) and Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) (LAB 1.0 and LEC 2.0)

Geological engineering applications of surface wave and ground penetrating radar methods are emphasized. Field data will be acquired, processed and interpreted. Prerequisites: Geo Eng 1150 or Civ Eng 3715 or equivalent, and graduate standing.

GEO ENG 6784 Advanced Engineering And Environmental Geophysics (LEC 3.0)

An introduction to the theory and application of the gravity, magnetic, resistivity, self-potential induced polarization, seismic, electromagnetic and GPR methods as applied to the solution of engineering and environmental problems. Prerequisite: Admittance into USAES-S&T Co-operative Degree Program. (Co-listed with Geophys 5251).

Graduate Faculty members are listed under the specific discipline most closely allied with their graduate faculty status which may not necessarily reflect the department in which current appointment is held.

Neil L Anderson, Professor1,2
PHD University of Calgary
Acquisition processing.

Jeffrey D Cawlfield, Professor1,2
PHD University of California-Berkeley
Director of Freshman Engineering. Probabilistic modeling and geo-statistics, ground-water and contaminant transport analysis, and computer applications in geological engineering.

Leslie Sour Gertsch, Associate Professor
PHD Colorado School of Mines
Rock mechanics, mechanical mining and excavating, mine design and rock fragmentation.

Katherine R Grote, Associate Professor
PHD University of California, Berkeley
Application of geophysical techniques for hydrological site characterization with emphasis on vadose zone processes, investigation of agriculture practices for improved water management.

Norbert H Maerz, Associate Professor1,2
PHD University of Waterloo
Program Head. Rock mass classification, rock engineering, slope stability, joint genesis, computer applications and image processing.

Phillip Mulligan, Assistant Professor
PHD Missouri University of Science and Technology
Mining, explosives, and rock properties.

J David Rogers, Associate Professor1,2
PHD University of California-Berkeley
Seismic hazards, geotechnical engineering, dam safety and earth structures.

Taghi Sherizadeh, Assistant Professor
PHD University of Arizona

Ryan G Smith, Assistant Professor
PHD Stanford University
Geophysics, remote sensing hydrology, GIS and data analytics.

Superscripts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 in the faculty listing refer to the following common footnotes:
1 Registered Professional Engineer
2 Registered Geologist
3 Certified Health Physicist
4 Registered Architect
5 Board Certified, American Academy of Environmental Engineers
6 LEED AP Certified