Our graduate students come from diverse backgrounds; a BS or MS in Civil Engineering with emphasis in Geotechnical Engineering and Geomechanics is not necessary to apply.


For full course descriptions, please visit the CU Boulder Course Catalog

Suggested List of Courses for GEGM One-Year MS Coursework-Only Degree (select 5 in Fall, 5 in Spring):

There are other courses available in Civil Engineering, Geological Sciences, Applied Mathematics, etc.

Fall (choose 5): 

  • CVEN 5511 (Introduction to Finite Element Analysis) or CVEN 5537 (Numerical Methods in Civil Engineering)
  • CVEN 5708 (Soil Mechanics)
  • CVEN 5718 (Mechanics and Dynamics of Glaciers)
  • CVEN 5798 (Dynamics of Soils and Foundations)
  • CVEN 5818 (Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering)
  • APPM 5350 (Methods in Applied Mathematics: Fourier Series and Boundary Value Problems)

Spring (choose 5):

  • CVEN 5131 (Continuum Mechanics and Elasticity)
  • CVEN 5628 (Seepage and Slopes) or CVEN 7718 (Engineering Properties of Soils)
  • CVEN 5728 (Foundation Engineering)
  • CVEN 5768 (Introduction to Rock Mechanics)
  • CVEN 5788 (Computational Modeling in Geotechnical Engineering)
  • CVEN 5831 (Wave Motion)
  • APPM 5360 (Methods in Applied Mathematics: Complex Variables and Applications)

Graduate level courses in Geotechnical Engineering and Geomechanics not currently taught:

  • CVEN 5678 Soil Improvement and Earth Retaining Structures
  • CVEN 5688 Geoenvironmental Engineering
  • CVEN 5738 Applied Geotechnical Analysis
  • CVEN 5748 Design of Earth Structures
  • CVEN 5758 Flow Processes in Soils
  • CVEN 5778 Advanced Rock Mechanics


Prerequisites for Graduate Admission

Before taking graduate courses the following minimum undergraduate course requirements must be satisfied:

1. Mathematics and calculus courses through differential equations and linear algebra.

2. Courses in statics, mechanics of materials, fluid mechanics, geology, soil mechanics and foundation engineering.

Transfer Credits

For the Master of Science program the Department will accept up to 9 hours graduate credit from other institutions toward the minimum course requirements if not used toward another degree.

For the Doctoral program up to 15 semester hours of 5000 level or above course work may be transferred from another institution and applied towards the 30 hours minimum course work requirement. For a student who has obtained his/her M.S. degree at the University of Colorado Boulder, up to 21 semester hours of 5000 level or above course work may be transferred.

Degree Requirements

The graduate program in Geotechnical Engineering and Geomechanics (GEGM) leads to the degrees of Master of Science and/or Doctor of Philosophy. Students studying toward the MS degree are required to complete 30 semester hours. MS students can pursue three tracks, including: (1) a coursework only option where the student takes 30 semester hours of coursework (10 courses) that can be completed in one year; (2) a combination of 24 semester hours of coursework (eight courses) and a six semester hour MS thesis; or (3) a combination of 27 hours of coursework (nine courses) and a three-semester hour MS project. All tracks feature an exit committee meeting which can be formed with the guidance of the student’s advisor.

The PhD degree requires 30 semester hours of additional coursework beyond the MS degree, 30 hours of research credits, and a dissertation. All PhD students must have a faculty advisor. There are three main exams that a PhD student must pass. First, you must pass the Preliminary Exam offered at the end of the spring semester. After passing the Preliminary Exam, you should form a committee with the guidance of your advisor. Next, you must pass the Comprehensive Exam, which involves the defense of your research proposal and an oral or written examination, depending on the requirements of the committee. Finally, the you must prepare a written dissertation, and present the dissertation in a public defense.

David Jubenville Endowed Student Award Fund

"To provide annual awards to graduate students in the College of Engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder who are pursuing careers in geotechnical engineering, in memory of David Jubenville."

This fund was established in memory of David Jubenville to promote his legacy of engineering achievement and support the intellectual curiosity of promising students who are pursuing studies in the field of geotechnical engineering. An instructor at CU Boulder, Jubenville was a leader in the field, a consummate professional, and had a wonderful sense of humor.

If you would like to contribute to the David Jubenville Endowed Student Award Fund, please visit the giving fund page.


  • 2022-2023: Brayden Curry, Master’s student
  • 2021-2022: Nicholas Cipoletti, Master's student.
  • 2020-2021: Jacob Klingaman, PhD student.