Geological Engineering

Geological Engineering Program

General Office: Head Hall, Room H-124
Mailing Address:

Dr. Katy Haralampides, P.Eng

Director, Geological Engineering Program
Department of Civil Engineering
University of New Brunswick
P.O. Box 4400, Fredericton, NB
Canada, E3B 5A3

Phone: (506) 453-5125
Fax:  (506) 453-3568

General Information

Geological Engineers play key roles in the exploration, protection, and responsible development of Earth’s water, mineral, and hydrocarbon resources. They also ensure that structures such as bridges, dams and buildings are designed for long term stability and safety, taking geological conditions and hazards into account. The profession is distinct amongst engineering disciplines for the opportunities it affords for travel and work in the natural environment, and for the atmosphere of adventure and discovery that accompanies geological exploration at all scales.

Geological engineers require skills and tools to “see” beneath the surface and predict the behaviour of highly variable earth materials. To this end, they draw on the field methods, powers of observation, analytical techniques, and remote sensing tools employed by geoscientists, and incorporate engineering approaches to materials testing, modelling, structural design and risk assessment. They must integrate a wide variety of data with knowledge of geological and geotechnical processes in order to make informed recommendations and decisions. As team players, frequently working with geologists or civil engineers, geological engineers also require good communication and people skills.

Examples of engineering works with significant geological engineering components include mines, dams, bridges, building foundations, highways, slope stabilization projects, landfill and wastewater treatment sites, waterways and port facilities. Geological engineers also conduct environmental impact assessments, develop and protect groundwater resources, and remediate contaminated sites. In the oil and gas and mining industries, they are responsible for locating and evaluating resources hidden far below the Earth’s surface and for developing hydrocarbon reservoirs and mineral deposits efficiently and responsibly.


The Geological Engineering Program is delivered jointly by the Department of Civil Engineering and the Department of Earth Sciences at UNB and offers three options: Geoenvironmental, Geotechnical, and Mineral Resources. Each option is built on a common core of courses which provides education in the basic sciences and engineering principles required for the profession as well as exposure to important aspects of oral and written communications, engineering design, economics, law, and professional practice. Skills in field work and team work are developed through two geoscientific field schools and through a capstone team design project. Students tailor their program of study through the choice of technical and complementary studies electives and, most significantly, by their choice of a program option.

The Geoenvironmental Option involves additional environmentally-oriented courses in civil engineering, geochemistry, biology and geology. Graduates are thus better trained to work in the environmental field on projects such as environmental impact assessments, waste disposal, and the management of surface and ground water quality and supplies.
The Geotechnical Option involves additional courses on the behaviour of earth materials and their impacts on people and infrastructure. Courses designated for this option prepare the student for assessments of geological hazards and groundwater supplies and for involvement in the design of major structures such as bridges, off-shore installations and waste-disposal facilities.

The Mineral Resources Option involves additional courses that address applied scientific, economic and environmental aspects of the discovery, extraction, utilization, and management of mineral deposits.

The Geological Engineering BScE degree program entails 163 credit hours for the Geoenvironmental Option, 160 credit hours for the Geotechnical Option, and 161 credit hours for the Mineral Resources Option in classes plus an additional 10 credit hours taken in the form of two field camps that are held in the spring or late summer outside the normal teaching terms. The program is intended for completion within 8 terms. Students should pay special attention to the course sequences and prerequisites when selecting their courses for any term. Some upper year courses are offered in alternate years. Advice concerning course selection and sequencing should be sought from the Director of the Geological Engineering Program.

Graduates of this program will be eligible for registration in Canadian associations of professional engineers.

Common Core

PHYS 1081 Foundations of Physics for Engineers
CE 1023 Statics for Engineers
CHEM 1982 General Applied Chemistry
CHEM 1987 General Applied Chemistry Lab
CE 2023 Mechanics of Materials
CE 2113 Soil Mechanics I
CE 2703 Introduction to Fluid Mechanics
CE 2913 Numerical Problem Solving
CE 2973 Civil Engineering Design I
CE 3713 Hydraulics & Hydrology
CE 3963 Engineering Economy
CE 3983 Civil Engineering Design II
CE 3603 Construction Engineering I
CS 1003 Programming and Problem Solving for Engineers
ENGG 1001 Engineering Practice Lecture Series
ENGG 1003 Engineering Technical Communications
ENGG 1015 Introduction to Engineering Design and Problem Solving
ENGG 4013 Law and Ethics for Engineers
GE 1026 Geology Lab for Geological Engineers
GE 2022 Engineering Geology
GE 4993 Senior Team Design
GE 5753 Engineering Hydrogeology
ESCI 1001 The Earth: Its Origin, Evolution and Age
ESCI 2142 Mineralogy and Petrology
ESCI 2211 Sedimentology I: Process, Product and Stratigraphy
ESCI 2321 Structural Geology I
ESCI 2602 Principles of Geochemistry
ESCI 2703 Field School
ESCI 3131 Origin of Igneous and Metamorphic Rocks
ESCI 3411 Rock Mechanics
ESCI 4512 Applied Geophysics II
GGE 1001 Introduction to Geodesy & Geomatics
MATH 1003 Introduction to Calculus I
MATH 1013 Introduction to Calculus II
MATH 1503 Introduction to Linear Algebra
MATH 2513 Multivariable Calculus for Engineers
STAT 2593 Probability and Statistics for Engineers

Geoenvironmental Option

  1. Compulsory Courses
    BIOL 2003 An Introduction to Ecology
    CE 3403 Environmental Engineering
    ESCI 3442 Environmental Geology
    ESCI 3631 Geochemistry of Natural Waters
    ESCI 3713 Environmental Geology Field School
  2. Complementary Studies Electives (9 ch)
  3. Technical electives (8 ch): Suggested technical electives are listed below. Other courses may be selected subject to the approval of the GE Program Director.
    CE 5212 Pavement Design I
    CE 5432 Wastewater Treatment and Pollution Control
    ESCI 4501 Applied Geophysics I
    CE 5421 Water Quality and Treatment
    ESCI 4452 Environmental Impact Assessment
    GGE 3342 Remote Sensing

Geotechnical Option

  1. Compulsory Courses
    CE 3123 Foundation Engineering I
    GE 4412 Applied Rock Mechanics
    ESCI 3322 Structural Geology II
    ESCI 3703 Field School
  2. Complementary Studies Electives (9 ch)
  3. Technical electives (8 ch): Suggested technical electives are listed below. Other courses may be selected subject to the approval of the GE Program Director.
    CE 5132 Foundation Engineering II
    CE 5212 Pavement Design I
    ESCI 4501 Applied Geophysics
    CE 5623 Project Management
    GGE 3342 Remote Sensing

Mineral Resource Option

  1. Compulsory Courses
    ESCI 3322 Structural Geology II
    ESCI 3482 Mineral Resources, Economics and the Environment
    ESCI 3703 Field School
    ESCI 4461 Economic Geology or ESCI 3492 Petroleum Geoscience 
    ESCI 4501 Applied Geophysics I
  2. Complementary Studies Elective (9 ch)
  3. Technical electives (6ch: Suggested technical electives are listed below. Other courses may be selected subject to the approval of the GE Program Director.
    CE 5212 Pavement Design
    CE 3123 Foundation Engineering I
    GE 5153 Environmental Geotechnics
    CE 5623 Project Management
    GGE 3342 Remote Sensing

Complementary Studies Electives

A complete Geological Engineering program requires 9 credit hours of complementary studies electives. Course selections are subject to Program Director’s approval, and also must meet the Faculty of Engineering General Regulations for Complementary Studies requirements. At least one of the electives must be chosen from one of the following disciplines. Anthropology, Classics, Literature, History, Philosophy, Political Science, and Sociology.