Engineering Ideas for Tomorrow -- College of Engineering 1997 Annual Report
Geological Engineering Program
College of Engineering 1997 Annual Report -- Engineering Ideas for Tomorrow

Bezalel C. Haimson (Director)
225 Materials Science and Engineering Building
1509 University Avenue
Madison, WI 53706-1595
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Tel: 608/262-2563
Fax: 608/262-8353
Colorado Landslide Some geological engineers, such as Assistant Professor Michele Cooke, study landslides. Pictured is a landslide in Hinsdale, Colorado, (40K JPG).

Integrating two disciplines

Geological engineering integrates two disciplines: geology and engineering. Geologists study the Earth--its origins, composition and evolution. Engineers apply scientific principles to practical ends, such as the design and building of structures. Geological engineers help find the best ways to solve Earth-related technical problems while at the same time protecting the environment.

Areas of emphasis

The Geological Engineering Program (GLE) is interdisciplinary, utilizing faculty in the College of Engineering, as well as in geology and geophysics (College of Letters and Science). Specific areas of study include the following: designing structures in soil and rock for foundations, dams, tunnels and other caverns; mitigating geologic hazards such as earthquakes, landslides and volcanos; and protecting the environment through remediation of polluted sites, proper waste disposal, erosion control and groundwater quality maintenance. Geological engineering is a BS, MS and PhD program. The program is fully accredited by the Accreditation Board of Engineering & Technology.

Geological Engineering Program expands

The GLE Program is experiencing considerable growth. Having begun in 1988 with just two students, it now has 60 students with more than 20 percent women. During the 1996-97 academic year, 19 students received their BS in geological engineering. The program has nine part-time and three full-time faculty members with the addition of Asst. Professor Michele Cooke in the fall of 1996. Cooke earned her PhD from Stanford University, an MS in civil engineering from Stanford and a BS in geological engineering from Princeton University. She teaches courses in engineering geology and rock fracture mechanics. Additionally, program facilities are improving; the rock mechanics lab is being modernized as part of the Materials Science & Engineering Building renovation.

The GLE graduate program, begun three years ago, now has 12 students, including three new MS and PhD candidates for the '97-'98 academic year.

Excellent prospects for graduates

With strong skills in geoenvironmental engineering, groundwater technology, rock mechanics and geotechnical engineering, graduates can expect employment with consulting firms, the petroleum industry, federal and state laboratories and agencies, and others. With few exceptions, the graduates will spend part of their working time outdoors enjoying nature. GLE students can opt for a second major in geology, since the credits in geology required for the GLE degree often satisfy the BS degree in geology. Employers have told the College of Engineering that they get a bargain by hiring GLE graduates since one graduate can fill two positions: that of a rock/soils/groundwater engineer and that of a geologist.

Copyright © 1997 University System Board of Regents

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Date last modified: Thursday, 02-Oct-1997 12:00:00 CDT
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1997 Annual Report Contents