With climate change comes an increase in geohazards such as flooding and unstable geological processes, so geotechnical engineering is becoming increasingly important. If you’re thinking about getting into this industry, where are the best places to study in the world? Check out our list of the top 3 places to learn the skills to become a geotechnical engineer.
University of California – Berkeley (UC-Berkeley)
The graduate civil engineering program here was ranked number one in 2010 by the US News and World Report. Each of the three degree programs in this field has a focus on geotechnical engineering, covering topics such as soil analysis, onshore and offshore engineering, earthquake engineering and site remediation. The Master of Science programme is nine months long, the Master of Engineering two years with a more technical focus and the PhD or Doctor of Engineering courses are for those wanting to teach or carry out research.
University of Illinois
The programmes here came second only to the UC-Berkeley department in the US. The Masters programme in Civil Engineering with a specialisation in Geotechnical Engineering involves topics such as clay consolidation, rock behaviours and tunnelling in soft ground, which can all be crucial for those in the oil, mining and infrastructure industries. The PhD is, again, for those wanting to teach in the field or perform their own research. There is also a one year programme available for those with some experience in the industry wanting to improve their theoretical knowledge, with modules including field geology and computational geomechanics.
University of Texas
The Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering in the University of Texas in Austin provides a comprehensive graduate course. There is a balance of experimental, analytical, theoretical and applied geotechnical engineering to give students a broad overview of each of the key areas, along with specialist, in-depth knowledge. Topics covered include geotextiles as a solution to geohazards, liquefaction and many case studies. Students get to assist with research and work with state-of-the-art equipment for a very hands-on approach to the subject.
However, you don’t have to go to the US if you want to study geotechnical engineering. Many UK universities, including Birmingham, Newcastle and Portsmouth, also offer postgraduate courses in geotechnical engineering, so if you don’t want to go too far afield, you don’t have to. A background in engineering, geology or the sciences is ideal for this sort of course, as you will need some level of technical and theoretical knowledge to deal with the demands of this challenging, yet rewarding, field.
<p>Benjamin Earl is a geotechnical engineering student currently blogging for Fugro Geoconsulting</p>