Program in Geological Engineering



  • Catherine A. Peters

Executive Committee

  • Ian C. Bourg, Civil and Environmental Eng
  • Michael A. Celia, Civil and Environmental Eng
  • John A. Higgins, Geosciences
  • Ning Lin, Civil and Environmental Eng
  • Adam C. Maloof, Geosciences
  • Satish C. Myneni, Geosciences
  • Catherine A. Peters, Civil and Environmental Eng
  • James A. Smith, Civil and Environmental Eng
For a full list of faculty members and fellows please visit the department or program website.

Program Information

Geological engineering is the application of science to problems involving the Earth, its physical environment, earth materials, and natural resources. Geological engineering problems are increasingly important to humankind, and the well-trained Earth scientist-engineer will be uniquely positioned to solve these problems and find the best ways to use the earth's resources while protecting the environment. For example, the geological engineer is involved with exploration and use of Earth's water, energy, and mineral resources, as well as in the acquisition and utilization of the data necessary to shape environmental policy and practice. Princeton's Program in Geological Engineering combines studies in engineering and earth sciences, with focus on applications of geology, geochemistry, and geophysics.

Depending upon the selection of electives, the program prepares students for graduate study or practice in geology, geochemistry, geophysics, oceanography, water resources, engineering and environmental geology, and civil and environmental engineering. The program is a cooperative effort of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Department of Geosciences, and the program committee is drawn from those departments. The student may be a candidate for either the B.S.E. or the A.B. degree.

Students with interests in this interdepartmental approach are encouraged to consult the program director. Further information may be found under the listings of the two departments.

Program of Study

Participants in the program will satisfy the degree requirements for their department as well as the course and independent work requirements for the program. A coherent course of study will be developed in conjunction with the program adviser and the departmental representative and will include geosciences and engineering courses outside the student's department. Specific program requirements are listed below.

Program Requirements

All program students must take:

1. B.S.E. mathematics, physics, and chemistry requirements.

2. Four program-approved courses at or above the 300 level that constitute a coherent sequence (for additional details, see the geosciences and civil and environmental engineering department descriptions). At least two of these courses must be from a department different from that in which the student is concentrating.

3. A two-semester senior thesis on a geological engineering topic approved by the program committee.

To remain a member of the program in good standing, students must maintain at least a B- average in their technical subjects. To be awarded the program certificate upon graduation, students must achieve a minimum grade average of B- in program courses. Program courses may not be taken on a pass/D/fail basis.

Certificate of Proficiency

Students who have met the program requirements will receive a certificate of proficiency upon graduation.


CEE 102A Engineering in the Modern World (also
EGR 102A
MAE 102A
) Fall HA

Lectures and readings focus on bridges, railroads, power plants, steamboats, telegraph, highways, automobiles, aircraft, computers, and the microchip. Historical analysis provides a basis for studying societal impact by focusing on scientific, political, ethical, and aesthetic aspects in the evolution of engineering over the past two and a half centuries. The precepts and the papers will focus historically on engineering ideas including the social and political issues raised by these innovations and how they were shaped by society as well as how they helped shape culture. Two lectures, one preceptorial. Instructed by: M. Littman

CEE 102B Engineering in the Modern World (also
EGR 102B
MAE 102B
) Fall SEL

Lectures and readings focus on bridges, railroads, power plants, steamboats, telegraph, highways, automobiles, aircraft, computers, and the microchip. We study some of the most important engineering innovations since the Industrial Revolution. The laboratory centers on technical analysis that is the foundation for design of these major innovations. The experiments are modeled after those carried out by the innovators themselves, whose ideas are explored in the light of the social environment within which they worked. Two lectures, one three-hour laboratory. Instructed by: M. Littman

CEE 105 Lab in Conservation of Art (also
ART 105
EGR 105
) Not offered this year SEL

This course examines how environmental factors (acid, rain, ice, salts, biota) damage sculpture and monuments made of stone and masonry, paintings on wood, and sculptures in bronze. It examines campus buildings that illustrate each type of damage and uses a visit to the Cloisters Museum to learn how those medieval buildings are protected. Lectures on structure and properties of materials and mechanisms of attack. Labs include quantifying water movement through stone, damage from freezing and salts, strength of mortars, protective effects of sealants and consolidants, effect of moisture on wood. Two lectures and one three-hour laboratory. Instructed by: Staff

CEE 205 Mechanics of Solids Fall SEN

This course teaches fundamental principles of solid mechanics. Equilibrium equations, reactions, internal forces, stress, strain, Mohr's circle, and Hooke's law. Analysis of the stress and deformation in simple structural members for safe and stable engineering design. Axial force in bars, torsion in shafts, bending and shearing in beams, stability of elastic columns, strain transformation, stress transformation, combined loadings, design project. Two lectures, one precept. Prerequisites: MAT 104, PHY 103. Instructed by: S. Adriaenssens

CEE 207 Introduction to Environmental Engineering (also
ENV 207
) Fall SEN

The course introduces the students to the basic chemical and physical processes of relevance in environmental engineering. Mass and energy balance and transport concepts are introduced and the chemical principles governing reaction kinetics and phase partitioning are presented. We then turn our focus to the application of these principles in environmental engineering problems related to water and air pollution. Two 80-minute lectures. Prerequisite: CHM 201 and MAT 104 (can be taken concurrently) or instructor's permission. Instructed by: I. Bourg

CEE 208 Mechanics of Fluids (See MAE 222)

CEE 242 The Experience of Modernity: A Survey of Modern Architecture in the West (See ART 242)

CEE 262A Structures and the Urban Environment (also
ARC 262A
EGR 262A
URB 262A
ART 262
) Spring LA

Known as "Bridges", this course focuses on structural engineering as a new art form begun during the Industrial Revolution and flourish today in long-span bridges, thin shell concrete vaults and tall buildings. Through critical analysis of major works, students are introduced to the methods of evaluating engineered structures as an art form. Students study the works and ideas of individual engineers through their basic calculations, their builder's mentality and their aesthetic imagination. Illustrations are taken from various cities and countries demonstrating the influence of culture on our built environment. Two lectures, one preceptorial. Instructed by: M. Garlock

CEE 262B Structures and the Urban Environment (also
ARC 262B
EGR 262B
URB 262B
) Spring SEL

Known as "Bridges", this course focuses on structural engineering as a new art form begun during the Industrial Revolution and flourishing today in long-span bridges, thin shell concrete vaults, and tall buildings. Through laboratory experiments students study the scientific basis for structural performance and thereby connect external forms to the internal forces in the major works of structural engineers. Illustrations are taken from various cities and countries thus demonstrating the influence of culture on our built environment. Two lectures, one three-hour laboratory. Instructed by: M. Garlock

CEE 267 Materials for Energy Technologies and Efficiency (See ENE 267)

CEE 302 Practical Models for Environmental Systems (See ENV 302)

CEE 304 Environmental Engineering and Energy (also
ENE 304
ENV 300
) Not offered this year

The course covers the environmental and geological engineering principles relevant to the entire energy supply chain from mining and extraction of fuels, to power production, to disposal of wastes and sequestration of greenhouse gases. Both conventional and renewable energy are considered. Students will learn the engineering principles and practices to address environmental challenges and to find the best ways to utilize earth systems to our advantage. This course is a requirement for the Geological Engineering certificate program. Two lectures. Prerequisites: CHM201 and MAT104 or permission of the instructor. Instructed by: C. Peters

CEE 305 Environmental Fluid Mechanics (also
GEO 375
ENE 305
) Not offered this year SEN

The course starts by introducing the conservation principles and related concepts used to describe fluids and their behavior. Mass conservation is addressed first, with a focus on its application to pollutant transport problems in environmental media. Momentum conservation, including the effects of buoyancy and earth's rotation, is then presented. Fundamentals of heat transfer are then combined with the first law of thermodynamics to understand the coupling between heat and momentum transport. We then proceed to apply these laws to study air and water flows in various environmental systems, with a focus on the atmospheric boundary layer. Instructed by: E. Bou-Zeid

CEE 306 Hydrology: Water and Climate Spring SEN

Analysis of fundamental processes in the hydrologic cycle, including precipitation, evapotranspiration, infiltration, streamflow and groundwater flow. Two lectures, one preceptorial. Prerequisite: MAT 201, may be taken concurrently. Instructed by: J. Smith

CEE 307 Water, Energy, and Ecosystems Not offered this year SEL

This three-week course, offered as part of a four-course study abroad semester, takes place at Princeton Univeristy's Mpala Research Centre in central Kenya. The course will provide an introduction to the principles of hydrological sciences via the development and application of instrumentation for characterizing surface/subsurface hydrological dynamics in field settings. Lectures and field activities will address the theory of operation, design, and implementation of methods used to quantify hydrological patterns and processes. Prerequisite: MAT 201. Instructed by: Staff

CEE 308 Environmental Engineering Laboratory Not offered this year SEL

Designed to teach experimental measurement techniques in environmental engineering and their interpretations. General considerations for experimental design and data analysis will be covered. Key techniques used to measure the physical, chemical and biological attributes of environmental media will be taught through various hands-on modules that cover flow and transport of contaminants in the atmosphere, hydrologic measurements of soil-moisture dynamics in response to precipitation events, and measurements of solar and wind energy resources. One three-hour laboratory, one lecture. Prerequisites: CEE207 and CEE306 or Permission of Instructor. Instructed by: D. Weiss

CEE 311 Global Air Pollution (also
CHM 311
GEO 311
ENE 311
) Spring

Students will study the chemical and physical processes involved in the sources, transformation, transport, and sinks of air pollutants on local to global scales. Societal problems such as photochemical smog, particulate matter, greenhouse gases, and stratospheric ozone depletion will be investigated using fundamental concepts in chemistry, physics, and engineering. For the class project, students will select a trace gas species or family of gases and analyze recent field and remote sensing data based upon material covered in the course. Environments to be studied include very clean, remote portions of the globe to urban air quality. Instructed by: M. Zondlo

CEE 312 Statics of Structures Spring SEN

Develops notions of internal forces and displacements. Instructs how to design and analyze structures. Presents fundamental principles of structural analysis, determination of internal forces, deflections under the static load conditions. Introduces the bending theory of plane beams and the basic energy theorems. Developed the theory of the first order for continuous girders, frames, arches, suspension bridges, trusses, including both statically determinate and indeterminate structures. Presents basic principles for construction of influence lines and determination of extreme influences. Two lectures, one preceptorial. Prerequisite: CEE205. Instructed by: B. Glisic

CEE 321 Resource Recovery for a Circular Economy (See ENE 321)

CEE 323 Modern Solid Mechanics (See MAE 223)

CEE 334 Global Environmental Issues (also
SPI 452
ENV 334
ENE 334
) Fall SEN

This course examines a set of global environmental issues including population growth, ozone layer depletion, climate change, air pollution, the environmental consequences of energy supply and demand decisions and sustainable development. It provides an overview of the scientific basis for these problems and examines past, present and possible future policy responses. Individual projects, presentations, and problem sets are included. Prerequisites: AP Chemistry, CHM 201, or permission of instructor. Instructed by: D. Mauzerall

CEE 353 Chemistry of the Environment (See ENV 353)

CEE 360 Earth's Atmosphere (See GEO 361)

CEE 361 Matrix Structural Analysis and Introduction to Finite-Element Methods (also
MAE 325
MSE 331
) Fall QCR

CEE 361 presents the typically decoupled fields of Matrix Structural Analysis (MSA) and Finite Element Methods (FEM) in a cohesive framework. The first half of the semester covers the following MSA topics: derivation of truss, beam, frame, hinge elements; assembly and partitioning of the global stiffness matrix; equivalent nodal loads. The second half of the semester covers the following FEM topics: numerical approximation methods, strong and weak forms of boundary value problems, steady-state heat conduction, linear-elasticity for membranes, plates, shells. MATLAB is used for coding. Prerequisites: CEE205/MAE223, or permission of instructor. Instructed by: S. Bagrianski

CEE 362 Structural Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering Not offered this year SEN

Analysis of forces and deformations in structures under dynamic loads. Idealization as discrete parameter systems. Single and multiple degrees of freedom. Response analysis under free vibration, harmonic, impulsive and random dynamic loads. Time and frequency domains. Earthquake phenomena from the engineering point of view. Seismic waves and power spectra. Measurement of strong ground motion. The concepts of response spectra, structural response to earthquakes, design criteria, and seismic safety. Prerequisite: 361 or instructor Instructed by: Staff

CEE 364 Materials in Civil Engineering (also
ARC 364
) Spring SEL

An introductory course on materials used civil and environmental engineering. Lectures on structure and properties of construction materials including concrete, steel, glass and timber; fracture mechanics; strength testing; mechanisms of deterioration; impact of material manufacturing on the environment. Labs on brittle fracture, heat treatment of steel, strength of concrete, mechanical properties of wood. One lecture, one three-hour laboratory. Prerequisites: CEE 205. Instructed by: C. White

CEE 365 Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering Spring

General introduction to the engineering properties of soils; soil classification and identification methods; site exploration; sampling; laboratory and in-situ testing techniques; permeability and seepage; soil consolidation and settlement; shear strength; lateral earth pressure; bearing capacity; slope stability; basics of foundation design; and tunneling. Students will have an opportunity to perform Finite Element Modeling (FEM) as part of the class project. Two lectures. Prerequisite: CEE 205. Instructed by: R. Sandiford

CEE 366 Design of Reinforced Concrete Structures Fall SEN

Materials in reinforced concrete. Flexural analysis and design of beams. Shear and diagonal tension in beams. Short columns. Frames. Serviceability. Bond, anchorage, and development length. Slabs. Special topics. Introduction to design of steel structures. Two 90-minute lectures. Prerequisite: CEE 205. Instructed by: M. Hopper

CEE 370 Sedimentology (See GEO 370)

CEE 375 Independent Study Fall

Independent Study in the student's area of interest. The work must be conducted under the supervision of a faculty member and must result in a final paper. Permission of advisor and instructor are required. Open to sophomores and juniors. Must fill out Independent Study form. Instructed by: B. Glisic

CEE 376 Independent Study Spring

Independent research in the student's area of interest. The work must be conducted under the supervision of a faculty member, and must result in a final paper. Students must obtain prior approval of a faculty member to serve as research advisor, and Hand in to E-211 E-Quad the Independent Research Proposal Project form signed by your advisor and the dept representative. Open to sophomores and juniors. Instructed by: B. Glisic

CEE 377 Sustainable Cities in the US and India: Technology & Policy Pathways (See ENV 377)

CEE 390 Innovation in Practice: Pathways and People (See EGR 390)

CEE 417 Environmental Microbiology (See GEO 417)

CEE 418 Extraordinary Processes (See VIS 418)

CEE 424 Introductory Seismology (See GEO 424)

CEE 427 Fundamentals of the Earth's Climate System (See GEO 427)

CEE 428 Cleaner Transport Fuels, Combustion Sensing and Emission Control (See ELE 428)

CEE 440 Elements of Conceptual Design and Analysis of Structures Fall SEN

The course presents a methodology to understand/analyze complex structures based on a careful study of the flow of forces, structural shapes and structural systems. This methodology, which is especially useful in the conceptual design phase, is developed with tools such as Graphic Statics and Maxwell's Theorem. 2D shapes (beam grids or slabs) and 3D shapes (domes, vaults, cylinder, shells, cable nets) are studied. The learning is based on real structures (e.g. modern iconic footbridges to classic structures). Instructed by: M. Garlock

CEE 455 Mid-Infrared Technologies for Health and the Environment (See ELE 455)

CEE 460 Risk Analysis Spring QCR

Fundamentals of probabilistic risk analysis. Stochastic modeling of hazards. Estimation of extremes. Vulnerability modeling of natural and built environment. Evaluation of failure chances and consequences. Reliability analysis. Decision analysis and risk management. Case studies involving natural hazards, including earthquakes, extreme wind, rainfall flooding, storm surge, hurricanes, and climate change, and their induced damage and economic losses. Not open to freshmen. Prerequisites: Basic probability and statistics course. Instructed by: N. Lin

CEE 461 Design of Large-Scale Structures: Buildings Spring SEN

This course will focus on the structural design of buildings and is open to students of engineering and of architecture who meet the prerequisites. The course will culminate in a major building design project incorporating knowledge and skills acquired in earlier course work. Structural design is considered from concept development to the completion of detailed design while incorporating appropriate engineering standards and multiple realistic constraints. Open to Seniors Only. Prerequisites: both CEE 312 and CEE 366, or permission from the instructor. Instructed by: R. Garlock

CEE 462 Design of Large-Scale Structures: Bridges Not offered this year SEN

The design of bridges is considered from the conceptual phase up to the final design phase. The following issues are addressed in this course: types of bridges, design codes, computer modeling of bridges, seismic analysis and design, seismic retrofit design, inspection, maintenance and rehabilitation of bridges, movable bridges, bridge aerodynamics, organization of a typical engineering firm, marketing for engineering work. Several computer codes are used in this course. Prerequisite: CEE 366 or CEE 361, or instructor's permission. Instructed by: Staff

CEE 463 A Social and Multi-Dimensional Exploration of Structures (also
LAS 463
) Not offered this year

The class has pedagogical objectives related to the spatial relations of dimensions and time (sustainability and society). It develops the students' skills in drawing, model making, writing, oral communication, and advanced engineering analysis. The course is focused on a study of one theme that changes every year. Within each theme engineering calculations of designs will be made through advanced analyses. The social context will be studied, a site visit will be made during break week, models of a few significant works will be created and placed on display as part of a small exhibition. Prerequisites: CEE205 and CEE312 Instructed by: M. Garlock

CEE 467 Design and Behavior of Steel Structures Not offered this year

Topics in the design and analysis of steel structures are covered such as geometric properties and stresses of built-up shapes, columns (including plate buckling), beams, tension members, beam-columns. Instructed by: M. Garlock

CEE 471 Introduction to Water Pollution Technology (also
GEO 471
URB 471
) Fall SEN

An introduction to the science of water quality management and pollution control in natural systems; fundamentals of biological and chemical transformations in natural waters; identification of sources of pollution; water and wastewater treatment methods; fundamentals of water quality modeling. Two lectures, field trips. Open to juniors and seniors, and graduate students only. Prerequisites: Student should have some background in chemistry and an interest in water pollution problems. Instructed by: P. Jaffé

CEE 472 Hydrometeorology and Remote Sensing Not offered this year SEN

The structure and evolution of precipitation systems are examined, including the dynamical and microphysical processes that control the spatial and temporal distribution of precipitation. The fundamentals of remote sensing of aerosols, clouds and precipitation are introduced. Related topics in hydrology and hydraulics are covered. Two lectures. Not Open to First Year Undergraduates. Instructed by: J. Smith

CEE 474 Special Topics in Civil and Environmental Engineering Not offered this year SEN

This class is an introduction to physical computing using the Arduino platform, with the goal of developing environmental sensors that talk to the internet over cellular networks. You will learn to develop computer code and wire electronics, as well as learn the nuts and bolts of the internet, including linux utilities, mysql, python, and sms. Not Open to Freshmen. Instructed by: Staff

CEE 475 Cities in the 21st century: The Nexus of the Climate, Water and Energy Spring

This course is a mixture of lectures, readings, and individual student work focused on urban challenges in the 21st century, particularly the ones related to energy, water and climate. The first lecture of the week will be dedicated to the discussion of a paper, while the second lecture will introduce the students to mathematical and physical laws and concepts that will be needed for the upcoming paper to be read and discussed. Two students will present and lead the discussion of each paper. Then, each student will perform a final project consisting of a literature review and a research component to advance their independent work skills. Instructed by: E. Bou-Zeid

CEE 477 Engineering Design for Sustainable Development (also
ENE 477
) Spring SEN

This course will focus on the sustainable design of urban water infrastructure. Students will use software packages and other design tools to design water/wastewater distribution and treatment systems, including new processes that incorporate energy and resource recovery. The projects are considered from concept development to detailed design with special considerations on sustainability and resilience. Prerequisite: CEE 207 and CEE471 or equivalent with instructor's permission. Open to Seniors and Graduate students only. Instructed by: Staff

CEE 478 Senior Thesis Fall/Spring

A formal report on research involving analysis, synthesis, and design, directed toward improved understanding and resolution of a significant problem in civil and environmental engineering. The research is conducted under the supervision of a faculty member, and the thesis is defended by the student at a public examination before a faculty committee. The senior thesis is equivalent to a year-long study and is recorded as a double course in the spring. Instructed by: B. Glisic