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Master of Engineering in Geological Sciences

Contact: Savannah Williams (Graduate Programs Coordinator), 2124 Snee Hall, (607) 255-5466,

The one-year M.Eng. (Geological Sciences) degree program provides future professional geoscientists or engineers with the geoscience and engineering background they will need to analyze and solve engineering problems that involve Earth System variables and concepts. Individual programs are developed within three established options: Geohydrology, Environmental Geophysics, and Ocean Science and Technology (joint with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution [WHOI]).

Incoming students are expected to have a strong background in mathematics, the physical sciences, and chemistry and have a strong interest and substantial background in the geosciences. The 30 credit M.Eng. program is intended to extend and broaden this background to develop competence in a defined number of subject categories. Typical categories for the various options might include: 

  • Geohydrology: porous media flow, geology, geochemistry, and numerical modeling
  • Environmental Geophysics: geophysics, geology, porous media flow, and computer methods
  • Ocean Science and Technology: acoustical oceanography, observatory infrastructure, observatory cyberinfrastructure,
    optical oceanography, satellite remote sensing, observatory science and applications related to real-time data streams, and underwater vehicles

The courses a student selects in a category will vary depending on the student's background. No courses may be required in some categories, and the categories can be adjusted to the student's interest and needs. Alternatives to numerical modeling in the Geohydrology option could be economics or biochemistry, for example. To count toward the 30 credit degree requirement, courses must be at a graduate or advanced undergraduate level.

At least 10 of the 30 credits in the program must involve engineering design. Much of this requirement is normally met through a design project, which can account for over one-third of the program (12 of 30 credits) and must constitute at least 3 credits. The design project must involve a significant geoscience or technology component and lead to concrete conclusions or recommendations of an engineering nature. The project topic can be drawn from a student's nonacademic work experience which is then carried out or further developed with advice from a Cornell faculty member with expertise in the project area selected by the student. A design project in Geohydrology would normally involve groundwater flow and mass transport. A design project in Environmental Geophysics might involve implementation of a field survey using seismological, geoelectrical, or ground-penetrating radar methods to map subsurface stratigraphic or structural features that control groundwater flow or contamination at a site. A design project in Ocean Science and Technology might involve aspects in the design, implementation, or operation of ocean observing systems. Projects are presented both in written form and orally in a design seminar at the end of the year.

Additional Contact Information:

For more information about the M.Eng. options in Geohydrology and Environmental Geophysics, please contact Professor Lawrence Cathles, 2134 Snee Hall,

For more information about the M.Eng. option in Ocean Science and Technology, please contact Professor Charles Greene, 4120 Snee Hall,