Skip To Content

MSCE Program - Geotechnical Engineering Emphasis

The MSCE geotechnical engineering emphasis prepares graduates to work as practicing geotechnical engineers.


The geotechnical engineering curriculum consists of 45 quarter units of coursework, which is equivalent to 30 semester units. This coursework consists of required courses, elective courses, and a master's project or thesis, as described below:

Required Courses (21 Units)

  • CE 531 . Advanced Soil Mechanics I (4)
  • CE 532 . Advanced Soil Mechanics II (4)
  • CE 533/L . Subsurface Exploration and Characterization/Laboratory (3/1)
  • CE 502 - Applied Probability Concepts in Civil Engineering (4)
  • GSC 415/L . Engineering Geology II (3/1)
  • CE 690 . Research Methods (1)

CE 531, CE 532 and CE 533/L are intended to be completed during the first year of graduate study.

Elective Courses (16-20 units)

Students who choose to do a master's project will need to complete 20 units of electives, while those who choose to do a master's thesis will need 16 units. Select these electives from the following list:

  • CE 534 . Advanced Foundation Engineering (4)
  • CE 536 . Earth Slope Engineering (4)
  • CE 538 . Rock Mechanics (4)
  • CE 540 . Earth Retaining Structures (4)
  • CE 542 . Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering (4)
  • CE 588 . Pavement Design (4)
  • CE 599 Special Topics for Graduate Students (1-4)
  • Up to 8 units of approved coursework outside of geotechnical engineering

Elective courses may include up to 4 units of approved 400-level courses that are relevant to the program of study, so long as these or equivalent courses have not already been used for credit toward an undergraduate degree.

Approved courses include the following:

  • CE 424 Foundation and Retaining Wall Design (4)

See the University Catalog for more details on each of the above courses.

Master's Project or Thesis

Each student must complete either a master's project CE 695 for a total of 4 units) or a master's thesis (CE 696 for a total of 8 units).

Program of Study

Each graduate student must meet with his or her academic advisor to develop a written course of study that outlines the specific courses the student will take to complete the MSCE degree. The approved program of study must be submitted before completing the first quarter.

The following forms and information will be useful in preparing your program of study:

Academic Advisors

Initial academic advisers are assigned as based on the first letter of the student's last name

  • A-E: Dr. Kitch
  • F-L: Dr. Cho
  • M-Q: Dr. Yeung
  • R-Z: Dr. Andrei

Once you have selected a thesis or project adviser, that person will become your academic adviser.

Social Media

Sharing on Twitter Facebook Sharing on youtube Linkedin