Ph.D. in Geo-Engineering
Geo-engineering is an interdisciplinary field in which modern engineering meets earth science. The University's geo-engineering faculty have been at the forefront of numerous Nevada-based and worldwide engineering projects that require insight into the planet's natural features or the mineral resource extraction process.
Program at a glance
Admissions cycles: Fall, spring
Application deadlines: Feb. 1, Sept. 15
Assistantship types available: Contact the department
Graduate director: Robert Watters
Why choose this Ph.D. in geo-engineering?
This program comprises faculty and resources from the University's Department of Geological Sciences and Engineering and the Department of Mining Engineering. It offers a broad range of possible dissertation research topics, including soil and rock slope stability, rock mechanics, geologic fracture mechanics, volcano hazards, urban geo-engineering, aerospace remote sensing, pure and applied geomathematics/geostatistics, mine ventilation, materials handling, and surface and underground mine design.
Possible fields of specialization for students include:
- Applied geophysics
- Geologic hazards
- Mine ventilation
- Open pit and underground stability
- Planetary geology
- Remote sensing
- Rock mechanics
- Rock slope instability processes
- Rock mass characterization and design
- Structural analysis
- Structural geology
- Waste containment
The University is also home to the Nevada Seismological Laboratory, which uses a statewide network of seismographic stations to investigate the sizes, frequency and distribution of earthquakes in the region. To learn more about the University's earth science research, visit the Department of Geological Sciences and Engineering research page.
In terms of careers, there is no shortage of possible endeavors geological engineers may pursue, including:
- Mine development and planning
- Oil and gas production
- Groundwater studies
- Highway construction
- Railway construction
- Dam construction and irrigation projects
- Residential or commercial structures
- Landfill management
How do I apply?
Applicants must meet the University's Graduate School admission requirements and submit their application through the Graduate School. For entry into the geo-engineering Ph.D. program, the department requires a combined GRE score of 1,200 or higher for the verbal and quantitative sections and an undergraduate degree in any branch of the geological sciences, physical sciences or engineering. To attain full graduate student standing in the program, at least 30 credits of undergraduate work in geology or related fields must be complete.
Prospective students must submit the following when applying:
- Copy of Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores - sent directly to the University Graduate School, with unofficial copies sent separately to the Department of Geological Sciences and Engineering
- Three letters of recommendation certifying ability to perform graduate-level work at the Ph.D. level - sent directly to the department
- A two-page personal statement of interest stating why the University of Nevada, Reno is their school of choice, why they wish to pursue the desired degree, and what specialties and/or faculty the applicant is interested in - sent directly to the department
- Copies of GRE scores, transcripts and TOEFL scores (if applicable) - sent directly to the department
The admissions committee gives comparable weight to each item in the application package, so applicants will not be denied admission based solely on their GPA or GRE scores. Applicants should contact prospective faculty advisors to discuss their interests prior to applying. Applicants are also encouraged to visit the University to see the department and meet with their prospective faculty adviser.
Completed applications and all materials must be received by the department no later than:
- Feb. 1 for fall semester admission
- Sept. 15 for spring semester admission
To ensure full consideration, GRE scores and official transcripts should arrive at the University Graduate School well before these deadlines. The applicant's personal statement and letters of recommendation should be sent by these deadlines to:
Department of Geological Sciences and Engineering/172
Mackay School of Earth Sciences and Engineering
University of Nevada, Reno
Reno, NV 89557
Phone: (775) 784-6050
Fax: (775) 784-1833
Is funding available?
Please contact individual department faculty members in the Department of Mining Engineering and the Department of Geological Sciences and Engineering for specific funding opportunities, as grant submission and awards are ongoing.
Ready to begin at the University of Nevada, Reno? You can apply now. If you'd simply like to learn more about the program, please contact:
Dr. Robert Watters, P.E., P.G.
Geo-Engineering Program Director
Contact College of Science
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