Academics

 

Master of ScienceGeotechnical Engineering

Eligibility and Admissions
Students studying Geotechnics (GEO) earn a Master of Science in Civil Engineering through Northwestern University's Graduate School. To be admitted to the M.S. program in Geotechnics, the student must meet either of the following two requirements:

•A B.S. degree in an area of engineering or

•A non-engineering science degree, but with course work covering:

•Mathematics through differential equations

•Fluid mechanics

•First-year college-level chemistry & physics

•Statics and dynamics

•Mechanics of materials

These course requirements for admission may be met at Northwestern, but credits from these courses cannot be applied to the graduate degree.  In addition, each applicant must meet the usual requirements of The Graduate School and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.  These are detailed in the Admissions section of this departmental website.

 

Course Work
Students in GEO may select from courses listed below, and are expected to take a minimum of 10 courses plus research and thesis post-BS for the MS degree.  These courses may be supplemented with those in Mechanics and Environmental Geotechnics.  A (no credit) Geotechnics Seminar is offered during winter and spring quarters and is a required registration.

 

Geotechnics (including Environmental Geotechnology) Courses

Core Program: (units to be determined by adviser): From courses listed below

 

  1. BulletCIV ENG 355 Engineering Aspects of Groundwater Flow

 

  1. BulletCIV ENG 358 Air Photo Interpretation

 

  1. BulletCIV ENG 395 Special Topics in Civil and Environmental Engineering

 

  1. BulletCIV ENG 450-1,2,3 Soil Mechanics I, II, III

 

  1. BulletCIV ENG 451 Engineering Properties of Soils

 

  1. BulletCIV ENG 453 Rock Mechanics

 

  1. BulletCIV ENG 454 Constitutive Models for Soils

 

  1. BulletCIV ENG 458 Soil Dynamics

 

  1. BulletCIV ENG 495 Selected Topics in Civil Engineering

 

  1. BulletRequired (no-credit) seminar during all quarters

 

  1. BulletCIV ENG 515-1, 2, 3 Geotechnics Seminar


Electives: From the areas listed below

 

  1. BulletEnvironmental Engineering and Science

 

  1. BulletMechanics of Materials and Solids

 

  1. BulletStructural Engineering and Materials

 

  1. BulletChemistry

 

Total minimum required units:    10

 

Thesis
Students specialize in geotechnics primarily by performing research in this area. This research is incorporated into an M.S. Thesis.  See Research for descriptions of recent research projects.

 

Doctor of PhilosophyGeotechnical Engineering


 

Eligibility and Admissions
Students studying Geotechnics earn a Doctor of Philosophy in Civil Engineering through Northwestern University's Graduate School. To be admitted to the Ph.D. program in Geotechnics, the student must either hold a Master of Science in Engineering or a non-engineering degree with some course work covering mathematics through differential equations, fluid mechanics, first-year college-level chemistry, and statics and dynamics. These course requirements for admission may be met at Northwestern, but credits from these courses cannot be applied to the graduate degree. In addition, each applicant must meet the usual requirements of The Graduate School and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.  These are detailed in the Admissions section of this departmental website.

 

Course Work
Ph.D. students are required to take 18 courses post-BS, or 12 courses post external M.S. course work (excluding thesis).  These courses should be taken to broaden the student's background in geotechnics and to complement and support the student's research. All students in geotechnis must take the following courses: Advanced Soil Mechanics I, II, III, Foundation Engineering, Earth Retaining Structures, Air Photo Interpretation, Soil Properties, Rock Mechanics, Soil Dynamics, Underground Construction, Ground Improvement, and/or Engineering Aspects of Groundwater Flow. These are the only required courses for Ph.D. students who have not taken them or their equivalent.


Preliminary Exams
Written and oral preliminary exams and one qualifying exam are administered as part of the course of study. These preliminary exams are typically taken after one year of Ph.D. study. For the written portion, the student is examined in mechanics of materials/statics & dynamics as well as three topic areas from geotechnics. The oral exam is administered by a committee of faculty selected by the student in consultation with their research advisor.  Once the student has decided upon a research topic, a formal proposal defense is required for the qualifying examination.


Dissertation
Students in the geotechnics program must perform innovative, high quality research and write a dissertation.   See Research for descriptions of recent research projects.