Geological Science and Engineering

Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering
Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering

Prospective Undergraduate Students Queen's Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering

BASc Geological Engineering program at Queen's UniversityFirst year Geological Engineering Students: Select your DisciplineHigh School Students: Apply Now to Geological Engineering at Queen's University


World-Class ProfessorsLearn about field studies and how our students gain real field experience in GeologyStudent Spotlights from Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering

What is Geological Engineering?

Geological Engineers connect earth sciences with engineering – they apply geosciences, mathematics, physics, and chemistry to solve engineering challenges in fields such as civil engineering and construction, mining and energy resource exploration and development, environmental engineering, forensic engineering, and forestry, amongst others.

The work of Geological Engineers often supports and directs the work of other engineering disciplines. For example, Geological Engineers will conduct geological and geotechnical studies to assess the suitability of locations for civil engineering, environmental engineering, mining operations, and oil and gas projects. They will be part of impact studies for facilities and operations that impact the surface environment and subsurface. The recommendations of Geological Engineers will often impact the construction and operation of these projects. Any engineering project that interacts with the Earth or Earth materials in any way requires the input of Geological Engineers.

Geological Engineers plan, design, and implement geotechnical, geological, geophysical, hydrogeological, and environmental data acquisition from manual ground-based methods, shallow and deep drilling, geochemical sampling, advanced geophysical techniques, and satellite surveys.

Geological Engineers are also involved in analyzing past and future ground behaviour, creating geological models (maps, sections, 3D, and 4D virtual models) at all scales, and conducting ground characterization programs for specific engineering requirements. These analyses lead Geological Engineers to prepare recommendations and reports on factors that could affect the foundations of construction, mining, and civil engineering projects, such as rock excavation, pressure grouting, hydraulic channel erosion control, the settlement of buildings, the stability of slopes and fills, the probable effects of landslides and earthquakes, groundwater flow, as well as assessment and remediation of contamination.

The Geological Engineer is also part of the design teams who develop underground and surface excavation projects, solutions to surface hazards, surface and subsurface storage of resources and waste, and groundwater remediation or resource management. Geological Engineers also conduct resource exploration campaigns, mine evaluation and feasibility studies, and contribute to the ongoing safety, efficiency, and sustainability of an active mining project. Likewise, they inform the environmentally sound and sustainable extraction practices of mineral and energy resources from subsurface deposits.

Geological Engineers play a critical role in the site investigations for, the engineering designs of, and the monitoring to confirm Earth System solutions that ultimately improve our quality of life.

Queen's University Geological Engineering; Natural Hazard Engineering; Mineral and Energy Exploration Engineering; Applied Geophysics; GeoEnvironmental Engineering and Sustainability; Infrastructure Engineering


Dynamic Career Opportunities

Our graduates are sought after not only for their deep and broad knowledge base but also for their exceptional field skills and their familiarity with state-of-the-art analysis and design tools and technology. We strongly emphasize interaction and student-faculty dialogue in our courses and departmental affairs. The Queen’s Geological Engineering Degree is very well respected among Canadian and international employers.

Queen’s Geological Engineering grads are employed across Canada and around the world in summer and permanent positions by environmental firms, construction consultants, the oil and gas sector, geophysical investigation teams, the mineral resources and mining industry, government offices, NGOs, and a vast number of related sectors.

A Queen’s Geological Engineering Degree also provides a firm basis on which to enter a wide range of graduate studies and research institutions to undertake more advanced projects and to pursue research careers.

Geological Engineers perform some or all of the following:

  • Plan, develop, and co-ordinate programs of geotechnical, geological, geophysical or hydrogeological data acquisition, analysis, and mapping to assist in the development of engineering, mining, petroleum, groundwater, and waste management projects or for regional development
  • Analyze and prepare recommendations and reports for construction or improvements to foundations of civil engineering projects such as rock excavation, pressure grouting, and hydraulic channel erosion control
  • Design means to safely excavate and stabilize the surrounding rock and soil in underground excavations and surface construction, in addition to managing water flow within and from these excavations
  • Perform a critical role in all aspects of investigation, design, construction, and monitoring for all forms of underground infrastructure including tunnelling, mining, hydropower projects, shafts, deep repositories and caverns for power, storage, industrial activities, and recreation
  • Design monitoring systems, analyze ground response (natural and induced) and prepare recommendations and reports on settlement of buildings, stability of slopes and fills, and probable effects of landslides and earthquakes to support construction and civil engineering projects
  • Conduct theoretical and applied study of groundwater flow and contamination and develop prescriptions for site selection, treatment, and construction
  • Design means to manage and protect groundwater or surface water resources and remediation solutions in the event of contamination
  • Plan, develop, co-ordinate, and conduct theoretical and experimental studies in mining exploration, mine evaluation, and feasibility studies relative to the mining industry
  • Conduct surveys and studies of ore deposits, ore reserve calculations, and mine design
  • Contribute expertise related to mineral resources, geotechnical design, monitoring, and environmental management to a developing or ongoing mining operation
  • Design and execute geophysical investigations from surface, in boreholes, or from space to analyze ground conditions, composition, and structure at all scales
  • Design, develop, and implement computer applications for geophysics, geochemistry, geology, mapping, and related fields to support other geological engineering work
  • Supervise technologists, technicians, and other engineers and scientists
  • Move up into management positions where open-ended problem solving skills are essential
  • Engineering law or finance careers (with additional training) armed with a firm foundation of open ended decision making, creative thinking, and logic


Why Geological Engineering at Queen's?

Geological Engineering at Queen’s is a well-established, thriving, and dynamic program with a long tradition of excellence. Our program prepares you for creative problem solving, analysis, interpretation, and decision making necessary to tackle engineering challenges related to many areas of Geological Engineering.

Geological Engineering at Queen’s is unique in that, in addition to being fully accredited by the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board leading you to a Professional Engineering (PEng) license, our program also prepares you for eligibility as a Professional Geoscientist (PGeo). The Geological Engineering Program at Queen’s belongs to the Department of Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering, which is a unique department that offers complimentary programs in both Sciences and Engineering. This is one of our primary strengths that fosters collaboration and interaction between Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering students and faculty.

We are a friendly department where you will get to know your classmates and professors well and have a say in program development.

There are many opportunities in the Geological Engineering program to gain field experience that is essential for Geological Engineers. These opportunities allow students to apply the knowledge and skills acquired in the classroom in a real world setting and help them secure a job during the summer months and after graduation. Most students gain over 200 hours of experience on various field trips.

Our Department is also equipped with state-of-the-art laboratory facilities that are primarily used for research. Students in the Geological Engineering program have opportunities to learn about and gain experience with using some of the equipment. Our laboratory facilities include the Queen’s Advanced Geomechanics Testing Laboratory, Applied Geophysics Lab, Stable Isotope and ICP/MS lab, X-Ray Diffraction and Clay Mineral Lab, and Computational Geomechanics Lab, to name a few.

We take great pride in our strong alumni network of Geological Engineers and Geological Scientists from our Department who work across Canada and around the world in industry, research, and many other careers. Our Department’s Geo-Alumni Resource Network (GARNET) Program connects current students with recent alumni for career mentorship opportunities.

Study Geological Engineering in one of the Top 2 Applied Earth Departments in Canada as Ranked by Mclean's Magazine


Program Details

Degree: Bachelor of Applied Science (BASc) - Geological Engineering

Queen's Geological Engineering offers an exciting career in earth engineering starting with a core program in physics, mechanics, and mathematics combined with geology, geophysics, geochemistry, site investigation, and design applied to geotechnical, geoenvironmental, and resource engineering.

Areas of specialization include geotechnical engineering, geoenvironmental engineering, applied geophysics, and mineral and energy exploration.

Program Information/Major Map

1st Year Discipline Night Presentation 2021 (6.4MB)

1st Year Discipline Night Presentation 2020 (15.4MB)

1st Year Discipline Night Handout 2021 (1.5MB)


Financial Support

The Department of Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering and Queen's offer a wide range of scholarships and bursaries to undergraduate students.

Admission Awards

There are many awards available to students applying for undergraduate studies at Queen's. View a complete list of awards and applications on the Queen's University Student Awards website.

Named Admission Bursaries

There are many named bursaries available to students applying for undergraduate studies at Queen's. View a complete list of bursaries on the Queen's University Student Awards website.

Work Study

The Work Study Program is intended to supplement the resources of students who have the greatest financial difficulty and the fewest financial options by giving them priority for certain part-time jobs (generally on campus) while they are studying at Queen's.

Summer Work and Research Opportunities

There are many summer work and research opportunities for undergraduate students in the Department of Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering, in the broader Queen’s community, and in other companies and organizations. Many companies visit our Department and Queen’s throughout the year to recruit students for summer and full-time employment. The Department also organizes opportunities for current students to connect with industry through our GARNET Mentorship Program and other events. Full-time undergraduate students are also invited to apply for NSERC funded Undergraduate Summer Research Assistantships (USRAs) for summer research opportunities with faculty in our department.

Queen's Undergraduate Internship Program (QUIP)

The Queen’s Undergraduate Internship Program (QUIP) provides students with a 12-16 month work experience. QUIP internships are paid, professionally supervised, career-related positions designed to offer second or third year students the opportunity to learn about current advances, practices, and technologies in business and industry. Domestic and international opportunities are available for students in the BSc Geological Sciences program.

Due to the longer work term (compared to a 4-month co-op), employers are highly motivated to maximize their time and investment. This means that QUIP students are offered the opportunity to manage more extensive and significant projects. Geological Sciences students who participate in QUIP often return to finish their degree with an employment offer from their Internship employers.


Please contact our Undergraduate Program Assistant, or our Geological Engineering Undergraduate Chair, Dr. Mark Diederichs.

Student and instructors at Queen's University in Geological Engineering out in the field, in a mine, and on a field trip