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Earn Your M.S. with a Specialization in Geotechnical Engineering

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Geotechnical Engineering

The online M.S. in Civil Engineering is a 32-credit hour program, completed in 21 months* while working full-time. Build the skills you need to ensure safety and stability of structures from the ground up with the Geotechnical Engineering track for our online M.S. in Civil Engineering. This option extends the skills taught in the first two modules of the program with an intensive focus on geologic media, soil-structure interactions, runoff and pollutants, foundation construction principles, and more.

You will apply key equations, analytical methods, and industry-standard software tools to solve real-world problems in the field and complete an open-ended design project which synthesizes principles taught in the curriculum.


*21-month program for students who start in the fall semester; spring starts can finish in 24 months.

Who This Track is For

The Geotechnical Engineering track is for undergraduate-qualified engineers who want to:

  • Develop advanced design and analysis skills for foundation and environment considerations, or change specialties;
  • Earn professional development credit that may be applied towards professional licensure in their state, and
  • Connect with a global network of engineering professionals as well as our industry-experienced faculty.

Working online through our best-in-class interface, you can finish this degree in as few as 21 months.

Benefits of the online M.S. in Civil Engineering

Courses for the Geotechnical Track

Course (credits)Description
Foundation Engineering (3)Focused primarily on subsurface exploration for foundation engineering, and analysis and design of shallow and deep foundations for buildings with respect to bearing capacity and settlement considerations.
Introduction to Soil Dynamics (3)Focuses on behavior of soils during seismic loading. Students will be exposed to the state of the practice geotechnical earthquake engineering design techniques. Specific topics include vibration of single- and multi-degree of freedom systems, wave propagation through soils, stress-strain behavior of cyclically loaded soils, liquefaction of soils, dynamic settlement of level ground sites, and dynamic deformation of slopes.
Structural Design of Pavements (3)Focuses on the design of rigid Portland cement concrete pavements and flexible asphalt cement concrete pavements and interaction of pavement components. Specific topics include determination of traffic and environmental loading on pavements, mechanical properties of pavement materials and their determination, AASHTO 1993 pavement design methods for flexible and rigid pavements, and the Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design Guide (MEPDG) approach for pavement design.
Geosynthetics (3)Introduces students to concepts and design methods involving the use of geosynthetics in geotechnical and transportation engineering applications. The course provides treatment of geotextiles, geomembranes and other geosynthetic products with application to geotechnical problems involving separation and filtration, reinforcement, erosion control, and waste containment, among others.
Capstone Design Experience (1)An independent capstone design experience that focuses on a real-world, open-ended design problem that applies the skills, knowledge, and techniques learned by the student during their graduate studies.
Soil-Structure Interaction (3)Introduces students to analytical and numerical solutions to soil-structure interaction problems. Includes methods of solution for beams and mats on elastic foundations; analysis and design of axially and laterally loaded piles and pile groups; and sheet piles and retaining walls. Nonlinear behavior of soils and piles will also be covered, and the students will be introduced to industry standard software such as LPILE and GROUP.
Unsaturated Soil Mechanics (3)Examines the mechanical and hydraulic behavior of unsaturated soils in contrast to saturated soil behavior. Topics include vadose zone processes leading to soil moisture variability, stress state variables, measurement of soil suction, soil water characteristic curve, seepage, shearing behavior, lateral earth pressure, bearing capacity, slope stability, and volume change due to wetting including heave and collapse behavior.