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DEGREE Geological Engineering, MS

Masters degree in geological engineering

As a master’s student in geological engineering, you’ll work with faculty mentors on challenges related to using earth’s resources while protecting the environment. In your research, you’ll apply the methods not only of geology, but also those of several engineering disciplines. And you’ll address engineering problems in which the geologic nature of a site or geologic processes constitute major design objectives or constraints.

At a glance

Civil and environmental engineering department

Professors of practice who mentor our students
civil engineering graduate ranking among public universities
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 September 1
Summer Deadline December 15
GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) Not required.
English Proficiency Test Every applicant whose native language is not English, or whose undergraduate instruction was not exclusively in English, must provide an English proficiency test score earned within two years of the anticipated term of enrollment. Refer to the Graduate School: Minimum Requirements for Admission policy:
Other Test(s) (e.g., GMAT, MCAT) n/a
Letters of Recommendation Required 3

Application Process and Requirements

All applicants must meet the Graduate School’s admission requirements to be considered for admission.  Departmental admission is by committee review.  Applications submitted after the fall deadline through March 15 will be reviewed if complete and will be considered for admission by the program is space is still available. To check if space is available, please email:

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


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) or a master’s degree with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 is required. Applicants from an international institution must demonstrate strong academic achievement comparable to a 3.00 for an undergraduate or master’s degree. The Graduate School will use your institution’s grading scale. Do not convert your grades to a 4.00 scale.


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.


Funded offers for MS (research) and PhD students, in the form of research assistantships, project assistantships, and/or teaching assistantships come directly from individual faculty members.   Please contact interested faculty before or after you have applied to inquire about assistantship opportunities. Funding is not guaranteed with admission.

Complete Application

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

Applicants must submit an online application to the UW–Madison Graduate School. See Graduate School Admissions to apply.

Statement of Purpose

Submit a statement of purpose of 1,000 words or less in the online application. This statement should cover your technical areas of interest, coursework emphasis, research experience, professional goals, faculty members you are interested in working with, and any other items relevant to your qualifications for graduate school.  See the Graduate School for additional guidelines for the Statement of Purpose (scroll to bottom of page).

Three Letters of Recommendation

Three letters of recommendation must be submitted through the online application. These letters should be from people who can judge the applicant’s academic, research, and/or work performance.  See the Graduate School for FAQs regarding these letters.

Academic Transcripts

Upload the most recent copies of your transcripts to the online application, from each institution attended.  Study abroad transcripts are not required if coursework is reflected on the degree granting university’s transcript. Unofficial copies of transcripts are used for departmental review. If the applicant is recommended for admission, then the Graduate School will follow-up with instructions for official transcript submission. Please do not send transcripts or any other application materials to the Graduate School or the Department unless requested.

Resume/Curriculum Vitae

Upload your most recent resume or curriculum vitae in the online application.

English Proficiency Score

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. Self-reported exam information is acceptable during departmental review; however, if you are recommended for admission, official test scores must be sent directly to the Graduate School from the testing body. See Graduate School Admission Requirements for more information on the English proficiency requirement. (NOTE: TOEFL scores may be sent electronically via ETS using institution code 1846)

Application Fee

A one-time application fee is required.  See the Graduate School frequently asked questions for fee information.  Fee grants are offered by the Graduate School on a limited basis and under certain conditions, as outlined here.  The department does not offer an application fee waiver due to the large volume of applications received.  However, if you are working with a specific faculty member, then they may offer you a fee voucher.


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.

We focus on eight cross-disciplinary research areas that involve collaborations with faculty and students from across the department, as well as other departments within and outside of the College of Engineering.

View our research

Minimum graduate school requirements

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

Curricular Requirements

Minimum Credit Requirement 30 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 16 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement Thesis Pathway: 16 credits must be graduate-level coursework.

Independent Study Pathway: 21 credits must be graduate-level coursework.

Refer to the Graduate School: Minimum Graduate Coursework (50%) Requirement policy:
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.00 GPA required.
Refer to the Graduate School: Grade Point Average (GPA) Requirement policy:
Other Grade Requirements n/a
Assessments and Examinations Thesis pathway: A faculty committee will conduct a final examination on the thesis research.

Independent Study pathway: A written report must be prepared based on the independent study project.
Language Requirements None.

Required Courses

MS degree candidates may choose from two options for their program of study:

Thesis Pathway1

All graduate students (including PhD dissertation students) must register for G L E 900 Seminar once per academic year.
Graduate-Level Coursework16
In consultation with advisor, students must complete at least 16 credits of graduate-level coursework (numbered 300 and higher).
Research or Thesis6
Master’s Research or Thesis
Additional Coursework6
In consultation with advisor, complete coursework to reach the minimum of 30 credit requirement.
Total Credits30

Independent Study Pathway1

All graduate students (including PhD dissertation students) must register for G L E 900 Seminar once per academic year.
Graduate-Level Coursework21
In consultation with advisor, students must complete at least 21 credits of graduate-level coursework (numbered 300 and higher).
Independent Work3
A written report must be prepared based on the independent study project.
Independent Work
Additional Coursework4
In consultation with advisor, complete coursework to reach the minimum of 30 credit requirement.
Total Credits30

These pathways are internal to the program and represent different curricular paths a student can follow to earn this degree. Pathway names do not appear in the Graduate School admissions application, and they will not appear on the transcript.

Admission Inquiries
3180 Mechanical Engineering Building
1513 University Ave., Madison, WI 53706
College of Engineering Admissions

Hiroki Sone, Director of Graduate Study

Jim Tinjum, GLE Program Director

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

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