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DEGREE Geological Engineering, PhD

Doctoral degree in geological engineering

As a PhD student in geological engineering, you’ll collaborate with faculty from a variety of disciplines as you deepen your expertise through applied research. You’ll also enhance your ability to design within the constraints of geology or geologic processes.

At a glance

Civil and environmental engineering department

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environmental engineering graduate ranking among public universities

Learn more about what information you need to apply.

Please consult the table below for key information about this degree program’s admissions requirements. The program may have more detailed admissions requirements, which can be found below the table or on the program’s website.

Graduate admissions is a two-step process between academic programs and the Graduate School. Applicants must meet the minimum requirements of the Graduate School as well as the program(s). Once you have researched the graduate program(s) you are interested in, apply online.

Fall Deadline December 15
Spring Deadline October 1
Summer Deadline December 15
GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) Required.*
English Proficiency Test Every applicant whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English must provide an English proficiency test score and meet the Graduate School minimum requirements (https://grad.wisc.edu/apply/requirements/#english-proficiency).
Other Test(s) (e.g., GMAT, MCAT) n/a
Letters of Recommendation Required 3
*

GRE scores will not be required for Spring 2022-Fall 2023 admission due to challenges taking the exam during the COVID-19 pandemic.

All applicants must meet the Graduate School’s admission requirements to be considered for admission. The application deadline for fall term is December 15; the application deadline for spring term is October 1st.

In addition, applicants must also meet the department’s more stringent admission requirements listed below to be considered for admission:

  • Grades: A minimum undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 (on a 4.00 scale) on the equivalent of the last 60 semester hours (approximately two years of work) is required for domestic applicants. A strong academic performance comparable to an average of B or above grades for all undergraduate course work is required for international applicants.
  • Degree: A bachelor’s degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program or from a recognized international institution is preferred or bachelor’s degree in physical sciences. Admission to the program requires approval of the admissions committee.
  • A complete graduate application is required before an application will be reviewed by the faculty. A complete graduate application contains the following:
  • Graduate School Application Form and application fee: Applicants must submit an online application to the UW–Madison Graduate School. See Graduate School Admissions to apply.
  • Statement of purpose: A statement of purpose for graduate study must be submitted through an applicant’s online UW–Madison Graduate School application. Please limit this important document to 1,000 words.
  • Letters of recommendation: Three letters of recommendation must be submitted through an applicant’s online UW–Madison Graduate School application.
  • Transcripts: Upload the most recent copies of your transcripts to the electronic application, from each institution attended.  Study abroad transcripts are not required if coursework is reflected on the degree granting university’s transcript. If the application is recommended for admission then we will follow-up with instructions for official transcript submission.
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Scores: Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test scores are required for most applicants.
  • English proficiency scores: Applicants whose native language is not English, or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English, must provide an English proficiency test score. Scores are accepted if they are within two years of the start of the admission term. See Graduate School Admission Requirements for more information on the English proficiency requirement.
    • GRE and TOEFL scores may sent to institution code 1846 from ETS.

Tuition

Tuition and segregated fee rates are always listed per semester (not for Fall and Spring combined).

View tuition rates

Graduate School Resources

Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and restrictions related to funding.

Program Resources

Financial support is available through fellowships, project/program assistantships (PA), research assistantships (RA), and teaching assistantships (TA). Faculty will contact successful applicants directly regarding funding opportunities. Admission is not a guarantee of funding.

Civil and environmental engineers are changing the world. Aging infrastructure. Climate change. Clean water and air. Natural hazards. Energy. These are just a few of the grand challenges facing civil and environmental engineers, and our research is leading the way toward sustainable solutions.

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Minimum graduate school requirements

Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.

Minimum Credit Requirement 51 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 32 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement 26 credits must be graduate-level coursework. Details can be found in the Graduate School’s Minimum Graduate Coursework (50%) policy (https://policy.wisc.edu/library/UW-1244).
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.00 GPA required.
This program follows the Graduate School’s GPA Requirement policy
(https://policy.wisc.edu/library/UW-1203).
Other Grade Requirements n/a
Assessments and Examinations Doctoral students are required to complete a qualifying exam to demonstrate a sufficient depth and breadth of knowledge in their major to pursue original research, usually after the first year of study. Students must consult with their advisor and/or the exam coordinator in the major area of study for the schedule and specific procedures.

Doctoral students are required to take a comprehensive preliminary/oral examination after they have cleared their record of all Incomplete and Progress grades (other than research and thesis). In order to qualify for the preliminary examination, students must have completed 32 credits in residence and their Ph.D minor/certificate.

Deposit of the doctoral dissertation in the Graduate School is required.
Language Requirements No language requirements.
Breadth Requirement Doctoral students must complete a doctoral minor or Graduate/Professional certificate. Students will discuss minor (Option A, External or Option B, Distributed) and certificate (Option C) options with the faculty advisor. Courses must be approved before, or by the time, the student has completed 6 of the total credits for the minor or certificate.

The academic program for each doctoral student is planned on an individual basis with their advisor.

Basic requirements for a Ph.D. degree in geological engineering include: (1) Ph.D. major coursework; (2) qualifying examination; (3) Ph.D. minor/breadth coursework; (4) preliminary examination; (5) dissertation research; and (6) final oral examination (dissertation defense).

The Graduate School minimum Ph.D. credit requirement is 51 credits. 32 credits and the breadth requirement must be completed prior to achieving dissertator status (for students who have earned an M.S. degree, credits accumulated for the M.S. can be applied toward this requirement). Students must register for G L E 900 Seminar once per academic year.

Geological Engineering Program Admissions
glegradadmission@engr.wisc.edu
3182 Mechanical Engineering Building, 1513 University Ave., Madison, WI 53706

Jim Tinjum, Director of Graduate Study
jmtinjum@wisc.edu
2214 Engineering Hall 1415 Engineering Drive Madison, WI 53706

View the Graduate Guide for program-specific information on admission, coursework, policies, rules and regulations.

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