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Program in Geological Engineering


James A. Smith

Executive Committee

Michael A. Celia, Civil and Environmental Engineering  

Satish C. B. Myneni, Geosciences  

Jean-Hervé Prévost, Civil and Environmental Engineering  

Ignacio Rodríguez-Iturbe, Civil and Environmental Engineering  

James A. Smith, Civil and Environmental Engineering  

The Program in Geological Engineering combines studies in engineering and the earth sciences and is designed for the student interested in the varied engineering applications of geology, geochemistry, and geophysics. The well-trained Earth scientist-engineer is increasingly important as humankind steps up its use of the land surface and oceans. In this respect the geological engineer is involved with exploration and exploitation of Earth's water, energy, and mineral resources, as well as in the acquisition and utilization of the database necessary to shape environmental policy and practice.

Depending upon the selection of electives, the program provides professional training 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, highways, airports, harbors, automobiles, aircraft, computers, and the microchip. Historical analysis provides a basis for studying urban problems by focusing on scientific, political, ethical, and aesthetic aspects in the evolution of engineering over the past two 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. M. Littman, D. Billington

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

Lectures and readings focus on bridges, railroads, power plants, highways, airports, harbors, automobiles, aircrafts, computers, and the microchip. The laboratory centers on the scientific analyses that are the bases for 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 contexts within which they worked. Two lectures, one three-hour laboratory. M. Littman, D. Billington

CEE 105 Lab in Conservation of Art (also ART 105/EGR 105)   Spring STL

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. G. Scherer

CEE 205 Mechanics of Solids   Fall STN

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, circle of Mohr, combined loadings, design project. Two lectures, one class. Prerequisites: MAT 104, PHY 103. S. Adriaenssens

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

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 critical analysis of major works, students are introduced to the methods of evaluating structures as an art form. Students study the works and ideas of individual structural artists through their elementary calculations, their builder's mentality and their aesthetic imagination, and examine contemporary exemplars that are essential to the understanding of 21st century structuring of cities with illustrations taken from various cities. Two lectures, one preceptorial. M. Garlock, D. Billington

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

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 connect external forms to the internal forces in major works of structural engineers. They examine contemporary exemplars that are essential to the understanding of 21st century structuring of cities with illustrations taken from various cities in the U.S. and abroad. Two lectures, one three-hour laboratory. M. Garlock, D. Billington

CEE 263 Rivers and the Regional Environment   Not offered this year QR

River basins are the fundamental frameworks for examining the natural environment and its interaction with the works of society. These works, exemplified by major dams, are the basis for the agricultural and industrial development of a modern society. The course will explore the history, science, and engineering of water resource development and the design of large-scale structures related to that development. Two lectures, one preceptorial. D. Billington, J. Smith

CEE 302 Advanced Analysis of Environmental Systems (see ENV 302)

CEE 303 Introduction to Environmental Engineering (also ENV 303/URB 303)   Spring STN

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. These principles are applied to environmental engineering problems related to water and air pollution. Finally, these local problems are analyzed in the context of global environmental change. Two 90-minute lectures. Prerequisite: CHM 201 or MSE 104 or instructor's permission. C. Peters

CEE 305 Environmental Fluid Mechanics (also GEO 375)   Fall STN

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. E. Bou-Zeid

CEE 306 Hydrology   Spring STN

Analysis of fundamental processes affecting the dynamics of the hydrologic cycle. These include precipitation, evaporation, infiltration, runoff, and groundwater flow. Governing equations will be developed and applications will be considered for a range of hydrologic systems. Concepts and techniques for design of water projects will also be covered. Three lectures. Prerequisite: MAT 201, may be taken concurrently. J. Smith

CEE 307 Field Ecohydrology (also EEB 305)   Spring STL

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. K. Caylor

CEE 308 Environmental Engineering Laboratory   Spring STL

Designed to teach experimental measurement techniques in environmental engineering and their interpretations. Analytical techniques to assess biodegradation of wastes, lake eutrophication, non-point source pollution, and transport of contaminants in surface and groundwater, as well as hydrologic measurements to determine river and groundwater discharges, and soil-moisture dynamics in response to precipitation events will be conducted. One three-hour laboratory plus one lecture per week. Prerequisites: 303 or permission of instructor. P. Jaffé

CEE 312 Statics of Structures   Spring STN

Presents the fundamental principles of structural analysis, determination of internal forces and deflections under static load conditions, and introduces the bending theory of plane beams and the energy theorems. The theory of the first order is applied to beams, frames, arches, suspension bridges, and trusses, including both isostatic and hyperstatic structures. Graphic statics is used to better understand the "flow" of forces. Covers basic principles for construction of influence lines and determination of extreme influences. Two lectures, one preceptorial. Prerequisite: CEE 205. B. Glisic

CEE 323 Modern Solid Mechanics (see MAE 223)

CEE 334 Global Environmental Issues (also WWS 452/ENV 334)   Spring STN

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. D. Mauzerall

CEE 350 Introduction to Differential Equations (see APC 350)

CEE 360 Physics of the Ocean and Atmosphere (see GEO 361)

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

Basic concepts of matrix structural analysis. Direct stiffness method. Axial force member. Beam bending member. Formation of element stiffness matrix. Assembling of global stiffness matrix. Introduction of boundary conditions. Solution of linear algebraic equations. Special analysis procedures. The finite-element method. Introduction and basic formulation, heat diffusion, plain stress and plain strain elasticity problems. Plate bending problems. The use and implementation of structural analysis and finite element computer codes using MATLAB is emphasized throughout the course. Prerequisite: 205 or instructor's permission. J. Prévost

CEE 362 Structural Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering   Spring STN

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. Faulting and seismic waves. Measurement of strong ground motion. Influence of geology. The concept of response spectra, structural response to earthquakes, and design criteria and seismic safety. Prerequisite: 361 or instructor's permission. E. Vanmarcke

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

Lectures on structure and properties of building materials including cement, concrete, steel, asphalt, and wood; fracture mechanics; strength testing; mechanisms of deterioration (corrosion, freeze-thaw cycles, pollution). Labs on brittle fracture, heat treatment of steel, strength of concrete, mechanical properties of wood. G. Scherer

CEE 365 Soil Mechanics   Spring STL

General introduction to physical and engineering properties of soils. Soil classification and identification methods. Soil exploration, sampling, and in situ testing techniques. Permeability, seepage, and consolidation phenomena. Bearing capacity, equations, stress distributions and settlements. Slope stability and lateral pressures. Prerequisite: 205 or instructor's permission. J. Prévost

CEE 366 Design of Reinforced Concrete Structures   Fall STN

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:205. M. Garlock

CEE 370 Sedimentology (see GEO 370)

CEE 375 Independent Study   Fall

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. Open to sophomores and juniors. Permission of advisEr and instructor is required. C. Peters

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. Open to sophomores and juniors. Permission of adviser and instructor is required. C. Peters

CEE 417 Environmental Microbiology (see GEO 417)

CEE 424 Introductory Seismology (see GEO 424)

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

CEE 460 Risk Assessment and Management   Fall QR

Fundamentals of integrated risk assessment and risk-based decision analysis. Stochastic models of natural and manmade hazards. Evaluation of failure chances and consequences. Decision criteria; acceptable risk. Risk control based on event tree, fault tree, system reliability, and random processes in space and time. Issues in risk-based regulation, liability, and insurance. Case studies involving energy-related technologies, the environment, civil infrastructure, and financial risk. Prerequisite: ORF 245, MAT 202, or instructor's permission. E. Vanmarcke

CEE 461 Design of Large-Scale Structures: Buildings   Fall STN

The design of large-scale buildings is considered from the conceptual phase up to the final design phase. The following issues are addressed in this course: types of buildings, design codes, design of foundations, choice of different structural systems to resist vertical and horizontal loads, choice between different materials (steel versus concrete), design for wind and earthquake loading, construction management, financial and legal considerations are examined in detail. Several computer codes for analysis and design of buildings are used in this course. Prerequisite: 366 or instructor's permission. Staff

CEE 462 Design of Large-Scale Structures: Bridges   Spring STN

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 for analysis and design of bridges are used in this course. Prerequisite: 366 or instructor's permission. T. Zoli

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

An introduction to the science and engineering 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 90-minute lectures and field trips. P. Jaffé

CEE 472 Hydrometeorology and Remote Sensing   Fall STN

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. Three lectures. Prerequisite: instructor's permission. J. Smith

CEE 474 Special Topics in Civil and Environmental Engineering (also ENV 474)   STN

A course covering one or more advanced topics in civil and environmental engineering. Subjects may vary from year to year. Three classes. M. Garlock

CEE 477 Engineering Design for Sustainable Development   Fall STN

Students will design several features of a LEED-certified building project. Features that will be considered include ground source heat pumps; ventilation; photovoltaics (PV); insulation; glazing; green materials; and storm water management systems, including a green roof, porous parking lots, and the gray water usage. Ventilation will be designed considering the potential for vapor emissions from building materials. Energy software will be used to determine the carbon footprint of alternative designs. Two 90-minute lectures. Prerequisite: 306 or 307 or instructor's permission. R. Harris

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. C. Peters