Major in Engineering Geology

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The Major in Engineering Geology is a four-semester programme for studying the interactions between man, engineered structures and geology.

D-ERDW - MSc in Earth Sciences - Major in Engineering Geology

Students learn to understand, characterize and predict the behaviour of rocks and soils under near-surface loading conditions such as in surface excavations, tunnels, dams, and below roads, buildings and bridges. In addition, students learn how to identify, characterize and cope with natural slope instabilities (landslides, rock falls, mud flows, etc.) and become familiar with fundamental and applied issues of geological waste disposal. More specifically, students attain the ability to characterize the site geology in the form of a comprehensive geological-geotechnical model. Students learn how to design and execute a targeted site investigation program, how to assemble, interpret and synthesise diverse and often highly-fragmented geological and technical data, and how to transfer such data into an appropriate and scientifically-valid model as required for engineering analysis and design.


This Master Programme is designed for students from both the Earth and Environmental Science as well as from Geological Engineering fields. The compulsory courses cover the core skills of Engineering Geology and include fundamentals (rock and soil mechanics, groundwater hydraulics), methods and tools (lab and field investigation methods), and integration courses (engineering geology of underground constructions, landslides, and geological repositories) as well as a two and a half month industry practical.

Courses are organised into topical blocks (modules) of 12 ECTS. The Engineering Geology Major has four compulsory modules and additional elective courses from the complete offerings of the ETH Zurich and of the University of Zurich. Recommended courses are suggested but students also receive personalized advice in order to customize their program according to their career goals.

MSc in Earth Sciences – Major in Engineering Geology
Total 120 ECTS

Required Modules:

A) Fundamentals
B) Methods
C) Integration
D) Industry Practical (internship)

Elective Courses 28 ECTS
GESS Courses 2 ECTS
MSc Project Definition and MSc Proposal 10 ECTS
Engineering Geological Seminar 2 ECTS
Master Thesis 30 ECTS

Engineering Geological Seminar

The Engineering Geological Seminar is mandatory for students majoring in Engineering Geology. The seminar includes external guest lectures, literature study and the preparation of a research plan for the MSc project. Preparation of a research plan requires understanding of research methods, concepts and tools. In addition students will make contacts with researchers and practitioners, and get an understanding of the international engineering geology community.

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