Geotechnical Engineering

7 minute read
Geotechnical Engineering

What does a degree in Geotechnical Engineering mean to you? Well, if you choose to pursue a career in the same, you’ll discover the extent to which Geotechnical Engineers shape, build, maintain and expand societies. The impact of their work on our society is truly profound and can be seen in almost every aspect of our modern world; from grand cityscapes of the metropolitan areas to the highways upon which we routinely drive. So, if you are looking for degree courses after 12th Science, then you can consider Geotechnics as a great option. But, before you make a decision, let us help you become familiar with the different aspect of the course.

What is Geotechnical Engineering?

Geotechnical Engineering or Geotechnics is an engineering branch that deals with rock and soil behaviour in an engineering perspective. This branch of Science incorporates engineering geology and ground engineering. Moreover, the field involves assessing slope stability and risk of rockfall, landslides and avalanches. Geotechnics uses scientific methods and engineering principles to gather and interpret the physical properties of the ground for the constructional purpose. 

The term ‘Geotechnical Engineering’ is used to describe both the theoretical and practical application of the disciplines. Geotechnical engineers work closely with geologists and architects to complete an on-sight project — be it designing and planning of construction site, evaluating its conditions, mapping down a plan or working on its implementation.

Credits – ISSMGE

What Does a Geotechnical Engineer Do?

Since Geotechnical engineering is concerned with the engineering behaviour of earth materials it comprises of tasks that investigate the subsurface conditions and materials, their design, retaining structures like dams, embankments etc, monitoring site conditions, foundation construction, evaluation of the stability of natural slopes, assessment and prevention of risks from natural hazards like rockslides, earthquakes etc all come under the work of a Geotechnical Engineer. Apart from site investigations their work also involves taking samples and testing them to analyze the data for use further in other processes. They decide if a site is safe for construction of a specific type or not. The job of a geotechnical engineer is quite important because the lives of so many people depend on the projects and constructions they take up. They also help in making places resistant to earthquakes, floods and other natural disasters which can potentially save a lot of lives and resources.

Work Space of Geotechnical Engineers

Geotechnical engineers mostly spend time in offices but they occasionally have to do on – site inspections and visits which do not take a lot of time but may differ from place to place. Some places that come under the workspace of geotechnical engineers and where they usually get to work are given below-

  • Colleges and universities
  • Construction sites
  • Electrical utility companies
  • Engineering consulting firms
  • Mining companies
  • Municipal, regional and federal governments
  • Oil and gas exploration, production and transportation companies
  • Petroleum services companies
  • Public and private research organizations
  • Real estate development companies

Geotechnical Engineering as a Degree

Education in Geotechnical Engineering is offered at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. During the coursework, students learn about several geological processes and examine the engineering behaviour of earth materials in order to understand the construction practices that involves measuring the chemical properties, evaluating the stability of the area and designing earthworks and laying the foundation for construction.

This multidisciplinary program includes specialised domains such as Soil and Rock Mechanics, Hydrogeology, Geophysics and Engineering Geology (which is a discipline of Civil Engineering). For those who are planning to enter and work in a range of engineering career within the construction, environmental and extractive industries, a career in Geotechnical Engineering is highly pursued after. The program is a blend of robust curriculum and cutting edge technologies to provide students with the world-class educational infrastructure and prepare them for the industry. Workshops are central to the programs to provide students with an exposure to the latest industry-relevant computational tools, practical training and group or individual exercises.

Also Read: Scope of Civil Engineering

You take any type of Civil Engineering, it is strongly rooted in Science and Mathematics and a high level of proficiency in these subjects is required to pursue a Geotechnical Engineering course. Most of the universities ask for strong academic grades in Mathematics and Science subjects in order to specialise in Civil Engineering branches. Besides this, you need a proof of English-language proficiency by giving IELTS, TOEFL or PTE exam if you are planning to study abroad.

The curriculum for the bachelor’s degree program includes coverage of science, mathematics, mechanics and other engineering aspects and the course lasts for 3 to 5 years. Master’s degree programs on the other hand, lasts for a duration of 1 to 3 years specifically designed to provide advanced preparation.

Some of the popular courses have been listed below:

  • BSc (Hons) in Engineering Geology and Geotechnics 
  • BE (Hons)/Mathematics – Civil and Geotechnical Engineering (Dual major)
  • BE (Hons)/Mathematics – Mining and Geotechnical Engineering (Dual major)
  • MS in Geotechnics
  • MSc in Applied Geotechnics 
  • MGeol in Engineering Geology and Geotechnics 
  • MS in Geotechnical Engineering 
  • MS in Civil Engineering – Geotechnical Engineering
  • MSc/Diploma/Certificate in Geotechnical Engineering
  • MSc/Diploma/Certificate in Geotechnical Engineering and Management 
  • Master of Engineering Science: Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
Credits – Tensar1

Top Universities

If you want to make a beaming career that best suits your aspirations and provides you with a good platform, then, getting enrolled in one of the best universities in the world is a great idea. So, we have curated a list of some of the top universities that can equip you to meet the increasing demand of Geotechnical engineers and will give your career the right push in the perfect direction: 

Colleges in India

The top colleges in India which provide Geotechnical Engineering course are given below –

  • Indian Institute of Technology Bombay
  • S. R. M. Institute of Science and Technology
  • Indian Institute of Technology Madras
  • Lovely Professional University
  • Indian Institute of Technology Delhi
  • Delhi Technical University
  • Andhra University College of Engineering
  • Chandigarh University
  • Government College of Technology, Coimbatore
  • Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur
  • Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee
  • Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai
  • National Institute of Technology, Mangalore
  • College of Engineering, Pune
  • Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad

Eligibility Criteria

Eligibility is very important and has to be taken into consideration for those who aspire to study geotechnical engineering.  We have provided the eligibility criteria for the students below –  


  • Candidates should have passed class 12th examination from a recognized board.
  • Most colleges require at least a minimum of 50% aggregate marks.
  • The student must have physics, chemistry and mathematics as core subjects in 12th class.  

Post graduate

  • The candidate should have a B.E. or B. Tech degree in any of the following – Civil engineering, Civil Infrastructure Engineering, Architecture Engineering, Geo-Informatics Engineering, Geoinformation technology or Structural Engineering from a recognized university.
  • The candidate should have scored at least 60% aggregate in the graduation degree.
  • Entrance exam scores are considered in some colleges. So a good entrance score would help a lot.

Scope / Career prospects

Construction and planning of new cities, buildings and other structures are always going on in a developing country like India. Geotechnical engineers are involved in site supervision, an inspection of soil, rocks, bedrock, project analysis, design and construction of foundation and other necessary structures. So if you are interested in civil engineering and also seem to have an interest in managerial work geotechnical engineering is the right career choice for you because site work, supervision, design, cost estimation and project management are some of the things you will be doing as a geotechnical engineer. Organizations involved in the construction of commercial buildings, public structures and other manmade structures, construction firms, consultancies, infrastructure development recruit geotechnical engineers. Companies involved in mining, extraction of petroleum and natural gas also need geotechnical engineers. Hence government and private sector jobs in India and abroad are plentiful and easily available for them.  

Is Geotechnical Engineering a Good Career?

Being a Geotechnical engineer, you would be endowed with certain responsibilities that would require for you to build a network with the clients and professionals and nurture them. You would take charge of the site and regulate the functions. From working in the public or private sector, small firms or large companies to becoming entrepreneurs, it is a field for excellent growth and opportunities both in India and abroad. 

Take a look at the major job avenues that might intrigue you after completing your degree in Geotechnical Engineering: 

  • Geotechnical Engineer
  • Transportation Engineer
  • Environmental Engineer
  • Construction Manager
  • Public Health Engineer 
  • Urban Planning Engineer
  • Civil Engineer
  • Site Civil Engineer
  • Technical Officer
  • Business Analyst
  • Business Operations Manager

Graduates in Geotechnics have ample of opportunities in Municipal Corporations, Railways, Highway Authority, PWD, MRC, Government Port Trusts, Construction firms, Mining firms, Consultation Agencies and Development firms.

Historically, humans have relied on assumptions about soil conditions when building structure with Geotechnical Engineering being more of an art than a science. But over the years, builders have moved to a more scientific approach. When we look at the marvels of modern technology, Karl Terzaghi is a prominent figure. His work ushered the world into the new scientific revolution that led to the development of modern construction techniques we use today. So if you are someone, who aspires to join Geophysical Engineering service, then a career in Geotechnical Engineering is rightly made for you. Need career guidance? Talk to our experts at Leverage Edu who can help you identify the right university to kick-start your career. 

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