Bachelor of Science in Geological Engineering

Program Overview and Information

The Bachelor of Science in Geological Engineering (BS GLE) merges geology and engineering, utilizing technical expertise to work with projects involving the Earth. With the application of engineering principles and earth science, Geological Engineers provide innovative solutions for issues related to the environment, sustainability, energy, and infrastructure. While relationships between the use of natural resources and the environment are becoming increasingly critical, Geological Engineers bridge the gap between society’s needs and nature. Learn more by visiting the Geological Engineering site.

Program Details

Students in BS GLE program must first meet progression requirements after the first year in the program. After meeting progression requirements, students take a variety of courses from other areas to build a broad foundational knowledge including:

  • Engineering Principles & Professional Issues
  • Math, Physical Science & Engineering Sciences
  • Geoscience Core
  • Geological Engineering Core
  • Technical Electives
  • Communication Skills
  • Liberal Studies
  • Fundamentals of Engineering Exam

Review the curriculum guide and GLE Advising Presentation to understand curriculum and degree requirements for the BS GLE.

Students pursuing the BS Geological Engineering (BSGLE) degree are encouraged to obtain a second major in Geoscience. The BSGLE degree program is set up so that students can obtain a second major Geoscience in a single 125-credit degree program. No extra credits are required to obtain the second major in Geosci along with the BSGLE.

Please check with your GLE academic advisor about adding the second major in Geoscience.

Admissions decisions for UW-Madison and the College of Engineering are made holistically by the Office of Admissions and Recruitment.

  • Prospective students interested in engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison should indicate an engineering major as the first choice major on his/her/their undergraduate application. For more information on applying to the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s College of Engineering, please visit the Office of Admissions and Recruitment.
  • Current UW-Madison students interested in switching to Engineering should review cross-campus transfer information.
  • Current undergraduate students outside of UW-Madison interested in transferring to the College of Engineering should review transfer student information.

For more information on applying to the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s College of Engineering, please visit the Office of Admissions and Recruitment.

A complete list of courses offered for undergraduate students through the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in Geological Engineering can be found on the course guide website by searching for courses in Geological Engineering. Keep in mind that this list includes all courses offered for undergraduate students through the department. Not all courses are offered regularly.

Students and their family often ask if BS GLE degree requirements can be completed in eight semesters. The answer to this question is yes, but this requires careful planning from the moment a student enrolls at the university. The below planning guide is meant as a starting place for students to understand how to plan courses, paying particular attention to courses which are only offered in Fall or Spring semesters.

BSGLE Curriculum Flowchart (Effective Spring 2019)

Graduates will be prepared to assume positions as Geological Engineers upon graduation. After proper training and exposure to a comprehensive education in our program, our graduates will demonstrate during the five years after graduation their ability to:

  1. Apply geological engineering principles, analyses, and synthesis to design and implement projects in the natural and built environment;
  2. Incorporate economic, environmental, political, ethical, social, safety, and global considerations to generate sustainable solutions in the natural and built environment;
  3. Exhibit strong communication, leadership, and teamwork skills;
  4. Serve others through professional responsibility and participation in professional and public activities and good citizenship; and
  5. Demonstrate a continuing commitment to and interest in their own and others’ education.

The Geological Engineering program will demonstrate that our students attain:
a. an ability to apply knowledge and principles of mathematics, science, and engineering to geological engineering problems;
b. an ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data;
c. an ability to design a system, component, or process to meet required needs within realistic economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, constructability, and sustainability goals;
d. an ability to function on multi-disciplinary teams;
e. an ability to identify, formulate, and solve geological engineering problems in space and time;
f. an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility;
g. an ability to communicate effectively;
h. the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context;
i. a recognition of the need for and the ability to engage in life-long learning;
j. a knowledge of contemporary issues as related to geological engineering; and
k. an ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice.


Fall 2017: 117 undergraduate students, Geological Engineering


Degrees conferred

Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering degrees conferred, 2017-2018:  41

Our department’s Geological Engineering program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET. You can verify our ABET accreditation by visiting:

ABET Accreditation Process and the Geological Engineering Program

ABET is a nonprofit, non-governmental organization that accredits applied science, computing, engineering, and engineering technology programs in colleges and universities throughout the United States. ABET accreditation is voluntary and achieved through a peer review process. The accreditation process provides assurance that a college or university program meets the quality standards established by the profession.

ABET was founded in 1932 under the name Engineers’ Council for Professional Development (ECPD). This council was an engineering professional body dedicated to the education, accreditation, regulation, and professional development of the engineering professionals and students in the United States. Since 1989 ABET has provided consulting services to accreditation boards around the Globe.

Why Accreditation Matters to our Students?
– Because ABET accreditation helps verify that the quality of the educational experience meets the standards of the profession.
– Because a degree from an ABET degree program helps increasing employment opportunities. For example, many employers, including the federal government, require graduation from ABET-accredited programs to be eligible for employment in certain fields. Also, multinational corporations are increasingly requiring graduation from an ABET-accredited program for overseas positions.
– Because accreditation is often required for eligibility for federal student loans, grants, and scholarships.
– Because many state professional boards require graduation from ABET-accredited programs as a minimum qualification for registration.