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M.S. in Geotechnical Engineering SE82

The M.S. degree program is intended to provide students with additional fundamental knowledge as well as specialized advanced knowledge in geotechnical engineering over and above that available in the B.S. degree in Structural Engineering at UC San Diego (SE 181, SE 182, and SE 184). Students seeking to pursue the M.S. in geotechnical engineering should have an undergraduate degree in Structural or Civil Engineering. Furthermore, students are required to take  SE 181 and SE 182, or their equivalents at another university, as a prerequisite to pursuing the M.S. degree in geotechnical engineering. Exceptions to this will not be granted, though SE 182 may be taken concurrently with other M.S. coursework with instructor and advisor approval. The M.S. degree program includes required core courses and technical elective courses.  M.S. students must complete 48 units of graduate course credit for graduation (12 courses). Students must obtain approval from their advisor and the SE Graduate Affairs Committee on proposed coursework to complete the degree. Although there are no foreign language requirements with the M.S. program in geotechnical engineering, CCGA recognizes that foreign language competence may be an important element of graduate education of doctoral programs. Two M.S. degree plans are offered – the M.S. Comprehensive Examination Plan and the M.S. Thesis Plan. All M.S. students will be assigned a Faculty Mentor upon entering the M.S. program who can provide guidance on selecting between these plans. Students may switch Faculty Mentor after the first quarter. Students must choose between the M.S. Comprehensive Examination Plan and the M.S. Thesis Plan by the end of the second quarter of study.

The focus on soil-structure interaction is facilitated by incorporating faculty research findings obtained using the unique experimental facilities at UCSD into the set of geotechnical courses provided, as well as allowing students to take structural electives available in the department. The M.S. in Geotechnical Engineering is meant to provide the necessary expertise required to practice. It is offered to both students who would like to directly continue their studies after their undergraduate degree in structural or civil engineering.

There is a strong demand for geotechnical engineers in Southern California, and the coursework and mentoring opportunities in this M.S. program will help put students on the right career trajectory to succeed.

The M.S. students in Geotechnical Engineering must complete 12 courses as a part of their degree. Students are required to complete the 4 core courses, and must take at least 4 geotechnical electives. The remaining 4 courses can be geotechnical or structural engineering electives as well as geology courses offered by Scripps Institution. Opportunities to engage in research through a M.S. thesis will be available and can be counted as two courses. 

In addition to the 48 units, students must complete three quarters of SE290 to meet graduation requirements, but they do not have to be taken consecutively. Students are strongly recommended to take SE 290 every quarter. 

All students are assigned an academic advisor to help with formulating a course/academic plan. It's highly recommended that students interested in the thesis option to take a course by the faculty they want to work with before they ask to work on research.

The M.S. in Geotechnical Engineering Comprehensive Plan
Download the M.S. in Geotechnical Engineering Comp Plan Fillable Form

Requirement

Comprehensive option (units)

Core Courses

SE 241 Advanced Soil Mechanics (4

SE 242 Advanced Foundation Engineering (4

SE 250 Stability of Earth Slopes & Retaining Walls (4

SE 248 Engineering Properties of Soils (4)

Geotechnical Technical Electives

Four Geotechnical Electives (16)

Other Technical Electives

Four from Other Technical Elective (16)

Total units

48


The M.S. Comprehensive Examination Plan requires 48 units (12 courses) of regular coursework. The comprehensive examination must be taken no later than the end of the 8th week of the quarter for which the student intends to graduate. In the core courses instructor selects one problem on the midterm or final exam (could be project/long HW) to be the “comprehensive exam” problem. A separate Pass/Fail score is assigned to this problem. (Problem may still count toward the total exam score.) Minimum passing score is 60/100. A passing score must be obtained in all four courses. 

The M.S. in Geotechnical Engineering Thesis Plan

This program requires the student to be accepted by a SE Faculty Member (Research Advisor).  Please contact the Graduate Academic Advisor once you have written approval from a SE Faculty member stating they will be your research advisor.

Download the M.S. in Geotechnical Engineering Thesis Plan Fillable Form

Download the M.S. Thesis Guide

Requirement

Thesis option (units)

Core Courses

SE 241 Advanced Soil Mechanics (4

SE 242 Advanced Foundation Engineering (4

SE 250 Stability of Earth Slopes & Retaining Walls (4

SE 248 Engineering Properties of Soils (4)

Geotechnical Technical Electives

Three Geotechnical Electives (12)

Other Technical Electives

Two from Other Technical Elective (8)

Thesis Research

SE 299. Graduate Research (12)

Total units

48


The M.S. Thesis Plan is designed for students with an interest in research prior to entering a professional career or a doctoral degree program. For this plan, 36 units (9 courses) of regular coursework are required, along with 12 units of graduate research (SE 299) for work on an M.S. thesis. The thesis defense is the final examination for students enrolled in the M.S. Thesis Plan and must be taken no later than the end of the 8th week of the quarter for which the student intends to graduate. The thesis must be defended in a public presentation with an oral examination conducted by a committee composed of three faculty members. A complete copy of the thesis must be submitted to the committee at least two weeks prior to the defense. 

Core Courses:
SE 241 - Advanced Soil Mechanics SE 250 - Stability of Earth Slopes & Retaining Walls
SE 242 - Advanced Foundation Engineering SE 248 - Engineering Properties of Soils
Geotechnical Electives:
SE 207 - Rock Mechanics SE 244 - Numerical Methods in Geomechanics
SE 207 - Soil Dynamics SE 244 - Numerical Methods in Geomechanics
SE 222 - Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering SE 247 - Ground Improvement
SE 243 - Soil-Structure Interaction SE 271 - Solid Mechanics for Structural & Aerospace Engineering
Other Technical Electives:
 
SE 181 - Geotechnical Engineering SE 182 - Foundation Engineering
SE 201A - Advanced Structural Analysis SE 203 - Structural Dynamics (Prerequisite: SE 201A)
SE 206 - Random Vibrations (Prerequisite: SE 203) SE 211 - RC/PC Design
SE 212 - Steel Design SE 213 - Bridge Design
SE 220 - Seismic Isolation and Energy Dissipation (Prerequisite: SE201A) SE 221 - Earthquake Engineering (Prerequisite: SE 201A)
SE 223 - Advanced Seismic Design of Structures SE 224 - Structural Reliability and Risk Analysis
SE 235 - Wave Propagation in Elastic Media SE 272 - Theory of Elasticity
SE 274 - Nonlinear Finite Element Methods SE 276A - Finite Element Methods in Solid Mechanics I
SE 276B - Finite Element Methods in Solid Mechanics II SE 276C - Finite Element Methods in Solid Mechanics III
SIO 225 - Physics of Earth Materials SIO 226 - Introduction to Marine Geophysics
SIO 227A - Introduction to Seismology SIO 227B - Advanced Seismology
SIO 239 - Introduction to the Rheology of Solid Earth  

 


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