Doctor of Philosophy in Geological Engineering (PhD)
Our program delivers an interdisciplinary experience, combining principles of geotechnical engineering, hydrogeology and geology, to provide a versatile set of skills needed to solve a wide range of practical problems related to engineering interactions with the earth environment.
Faculty members in the Geological Engineering program have research interests in the following general areas:
- landslides, debris flows, runout analysis, hazard assessment
- groundwater hydrology, groundwater contamination & remediation, reactive transport modeling, environmental geochemistry
- rock mechanics & rock engineering, open pit & underground mine design, tunnelling
Other research areas include geotechnical engineering, environmental geology, economic geology and applied geophysics. Students are encouraged to consult individual faculty members for information about current research areas.
Contact the program
Admission Information & Requirements
In order to apply to this program, the following components may be required.
All applicants must complete an online application form and pay the application fee to be considered for admission to UBC.
Minimum Academic Requirements
The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies establishes the minimum admission requirements common to all applicants, usually a minimum overall average in the B+ range (76% at UBC). The graduate program that you are applying to may have additional requirements. Please review the specific requirements for applicants with credentials from institutions in:
Each program may set higher academic minimum requirements. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission as it is a competitve process.
English Language Test
Applicants from a university outside Canada in which English is not the primary language of instruction must provide results of an English language proficiency examination as part of their application. Tests must have been taken within the last 24 months at the time of submission of your application.
Minimum requirements for the two most common English language proficiency tests to apply to this program are listed below:
Other Test Scores
Some programs require additional test scores such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Test (GMAT). The requirements for this program are:
Letters of Reference
A minimum of three references are required for application to graduate programs at UBC. References should be requested from individuals who are prepared to provide a report on your academic ability and qualifications.
Statement of Interest
Many programs require a statement of interest, sometimes called a "statement of intent", "description of research interests" or something similar.
Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.
This program has not specified whether applicants should reach out to faculty members. Please review the program website for additional details.
Permanent Residents of Canada must provide a clear photocopy of both sides of the Permanent Resident card.
In 2012 the new Earth Sciences Building was completed. The $75 million facility was designed to inspire collaboration and creativity across disciplines.
Deadline to submit online application. No changes can be made to the application after submission.Transcript Deadline
Deadline to upload scans of official transcripts through the applicant portal in support of a submitted application. Information for accessing the applicant portal will be provided after submitting an online application for admission.Referee Deadline
Deadline for the referees identified in the application for admission to submit references. See Letters of Reference for more information.
January 2021 Intake
Application Open Date01 April 2020
September 2021 Intake
Application Open Date01 October 2020
Tuition & Financial Support
|Fees||Canadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / Diplomat||International|
|Installments per year||3||3|
|Tuition per installment||$1,698.56||$2,984.09|
|Tuition per year|
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
|Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible)||$3,200.00 (-)|
|Other Fees and Costs|
|Student Fees (yearly)||$944.51 (approx.)|
|Costs of living (yearly)||starting at $16,954.00 (check cost calculator)|
All fees for the year are subject to adjustment and UBC reserves the right to change any fees without notice at any time, including tuition and student fees. Tuition fees are reviewed annually by the UBC Board of Governors. In recent years, tuition increases have been 2% for continuing domestic students and between 2% and 5% for continuing international students. New students may see higher increases in tuition. Admitted students who defer their admission are subject to the potentially higher tuition fees for incoming students effective at the later program start date. In case of a discrepancy between this webpage and the UBC Calendar, the UBC Calendar entry will be held to be correct.
Applicants to UBC have access to a variety of funding options, including merit-based (i.e. based on your academic performance) and need-based (i.e. based on your financial situation) opportunities.
Program Funding Packages
All full-time students who begin a UBC-Vancouver PhD program in September 2018 or later will be provided with a funding package of at least $18,000 for each of the first four years of their PhD. The funding package may consist of any combination of internal or external awards, teaching-related work, research assistantships, and graduate academic assistantships. Please note that many graduate programs provide funding packages that are substantially greater than $18,000 per year. Please check with your prospective graduate program for specific details of the funding provided to its PhD students.
Scholarships & awards (merit-based funding)
All applicants are encouraged to review the awards listing to identify potential opportunities to fund their graduate education. The database lists merit-based scholarships and awards and allows for filtering by various criteria, such as domestic vs. international or degree level.
Teaching and Research Assistantships
Student service appointments are intended to help qualified graduate students meet the cost of their studies at the University. Student appointments may involve part-time duties in teaching, research, or other academic activities.
Financial aid (need-based funding)
Canadian and US applicants may qualify for governmental loans to finance their studies. Please review eligibility and types of loans.
All students may be able to access private sector or bank loans.
Foreign government scholarships
Many foreign governments provide support to their citizens in pursuing education abroad. International applicants should check the various governmental resources in their home country, such as the Department of Education, for available scholarships.
Working while studying
The possibility to pursue work to supplement income may depend on the demands the program has on students. It should be carefully weighed if work leads to prolonged program durations or whether work placements can be meaningfully embedded into a program.
Tax credits and RRSP withdrawals
Canadian residents with RRSP accounts may be able to use the Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP) which allows students to withdraw amounts from their registered retirement savings plan (RRSPs) to finance full-time training or education for themselves or their partner.
Please review Filing taxes in Canada on the student services website for more information.
Applicants have access to the cost calculator to develop a financial plan that takes into account various income sources and expenses.
7 students graduated between 2005 and 2013: 1 graduate is seeking employment; for 1 we have no data (based on research conducted between Feb-May 2016). For the remaining 5 graduates:
Sample Employers Outside Higher EducationSchlumberger Technology Corp.
BGC Engineering Inc.
Crux Engineering Group (CEG)
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher EducationEngineer
Senior Geotechnical Engineer
Senior Geotechnical Consultant
PhD Career Outcome SurveyYou may view the full report on career outcomes of UBC PhD graduates on outcomes.grad.ubc.ca.
DisclaimerThese data represent historical employment information and do not guarantee future employment prospects for graduates of this program. They are for informational purposes only. Data were collected through either alumni surveys or internet research.
Enrolment, Duration & Other Stats
These statistics show data for the Doctor of Philosophy in Geological Engineering (PhD). Data are separated for each degree program combination. You may view data for other degree options in the respective program profile.
This list shows faculty members with full supervisory privileges who are affiliated with this program. It is not a comprehensive list of all potential supervisors as faculty from other programs or faculty members without full supervisory privileges can request approvals to supervise graduate students in this program.
Ameli, Ali (Numerical Analysis, Climate Changes and Impacts, Hydrological Cycle and Reservoirs, Ground Water and Water Tables, Groundwater Ecohydrology, Hydro-geological Engineering, Watershed Management, Applied Hydro-geochemistry, Environmental Tracer, Groundwater-Surfacewater & land Interaction, Green Infrastructure)
Beckie, Roger ( Ground hydrology, geotechnical engineering)
Eberhardt, Erik (landslides, rockslides, tunnelling, mining, rock mechanics, geotechnical engineering, Rock Mechanics & Rock Engineering)
Mayer, Ulrich (hydrogeology, low-temperature geochemistry, groundwater contamination, groundwater remediation, mine waste management)
|2019||Dr. Rahjoo investigated the mechanics of rock fracturing, strength and deformation, and developed models for the behaviour of fracturing rocks. With tunnels and mines heading towards greater depths, this knowledge is critical for safe and stable excavations. His findings contribute to the advancement of rock mechanics and rock engineering.|
|2019||Dr. Javadi studied the waste rock piles that mining companies pile up following excavation. She developed numerical models to investigate and understand flow rates, and the chemistry of the water that discharges from stockpiled waste. These models can help industry make more informed decisions to manage the potential effects of contaminated water.|
|2018||Dr. Snauffer applied machine learning techniques to assessments of snow in British Columbia. He built an artificial neural network using gridded data products and a snow model to better estimate snow water equivalent across the region. This work will lead to improved avalanche and runoff forecasts as well as new tools for water resources managers.|
|2017||Dr. Aaron developed new techniques to understand the mechanisms governing flow-like landslides, as well as methodologies to predict their motion. This research has resulted in practical tools that can be used to protect society from certain landslide hazards.|
|2017||Dr. Severin's research focused on the impact of geological faults on both displacement and stress heterogeneity within large open pit mines. He was responsible for a unique experiment using radar to monitor slope movement and his work will help the safe design and application of open pit mining.|
|2017||Reactive transport is a powerful tool to help understand water and rock interactions and processes related to groundwater and soil contamination. Dr. Rasouli's doctoral research was focused on the development and application of multicomponent diffusion and electrochemical migration models for reactive transport in porous media.|
|2016||Dr. Dorador studied the fragmentation process of block caving, an underground mining method. He developed a new approach to estimate block size distribution at drawpoints. His research contributes to the design of block cave mining projects during early stage engineering.|
|2015||Dr. Wyllie's research involved two aspect of rock fall hazards. First, actual rock fall events were carefully documented to provide data for calibration of rock fall computer models. Second, an improved rock fall protection net has been developed which minimizes the absorption of impact energy and reduces construction costs for these structures.|
|2013||Dr. Zangeneh examined the influence of geology on the design of hydraulic fracturing, to improve extraction from natural gas reservoirs. She developed procedures to design effective hydraulic fractures, and to mitigate against induced seismicity. Her study will help operators to maximize oil and natural gas extraction in a safe and sustainable manner.|
|2012||Dr. Starzyk investigated the controls governing the interaction of surface water and groundwater along a stream. Through a combination of field work and numerical modelling, her work improves our ability to understand and predict the interaction between groundwater and streams.|
Sample Thesis Submissions
Further Program Information
Geological Engineering applies earth sciences principles to engineering problems. Research interests include
- landslides, debris flows, engineering geology, slope stability
- groundwater hydrology, groundwater contamination and remediation, reactive transport modeling, environmental geochemistry
- rock engineering, rock slopes, and tunneling
Other research areas include geotechnical engineering, environmental geology, engineering geology, economic geology, and applied geophysics. The specific fields of study may involve geomorphology and terrain analysis, groundwater hydrology, natural hazards, slope stability, petroleum and coal geology, coalbed methane, mineral prospecting and valuation, and other similar subjects.