The graduate program provides an environment rich in research and education opportunities. Primary focus areas include geomechanics (soil & rock), earth structures, foundation engineering, earthquake engineering, environmental geotechnics, geological engineering and the emerging area of geotechnical composites. Recent research activities include laboratory and in-situ testing of soils, computer analysis and design of earth structures, surface characterization, interface engineering and design, liquefaction analysis, geologic hazards, and geological engineering. Throughout, emphasis is placed on fundamental understanding of geo-material properties and behavior and on applications of modern numerical methods and other techniques in engineering practice.

There are typically 30 to 40 students in the program with 5 to 10 working toward Ph.D. degrees. Each graduate student develops a program of coursework with the assistance of an advisor. Assistantships and fellowships are available for graduate students in the form of teaching assistantships, research assistantships, and fellowships. Via Fellowships are available for outstanding students, and provide a very high level of financial support.

Job Opportunities for our graduates are excellent. Our students are in great demand because of the strength of our course offerings, and because employers recognize that we integrate practice, research, and education to create a comprehensive professional experience. Salaries are high, often come with signing bonuses, and our graduates receive multiple job offers.

For more Information, contact Professor Thomas Brandon, Geotechnical Engineering Graduate Admissions Coordinator:

Via Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
200 Patton Hall
Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, VA 24061-0105.
Phone: 540-231-4454
Fax: 540-231-1620

Master of Science – General Degree Requirements

The M.S. degree requires completion of 30 semester hours of coursework. The graduate catalog provides a discussion of the specific requirements. Geotechnical engineering students normally obtain a Master of Science by the non-thesis option which can be completed through coursework and project and report, or by completing coursework only. The project is a research topic selected in conjunction with one of the faculty with the general goal of contributing to the geotechnical profession through publication of a report or scholarly paper. Thesis research is generally more involved than the non-thesis project and report.

Graduate Courses in Geotechnical Engineering

Doctor of Philosophy – General Degree Requirements

The Ph.D. requires a minimum of 90 semester hours of graduate study (beyond the bachelors degree) and a dissertation. The dissertation documents a specific research topic and is a unique contribution to society and is prepared under the guidance of a faculty advisor and a thesis committee. The advisor and committee assist in developing a program of coursework that meets the objectives of the student. Typically, a Ph.D. requires 3 or more years of graduate study and research. To be considered a Ph.D. candidate, the student must first successfully complete an oral and written Comprehensive Examination. This is usually taken in the second year of study.

Persons interested in pursuing Ph.D. should contact Graduate Admissions Coordinator, or faculty member(s) with a research program in the area(s) of interest.