Study options

Geoengineering, Master of Science (Technology)

As one of the top-ranked programmes in its field, the Master’s Programme in Geoengineering provides world-class education in the disciplines of geotechnics, rock mechanics and highway engineering. Programme graduates play a key role in urbanisation and circular economy, with their expertise helping to alleviate climate change and reduce the use of natural resources. Thanks to their highly appreciated knowledge and skills, as well as the programme’s close collaboration with the industry, graduates tend to find great job opportunities with ease.
Students conduct geoengineering field exercises in Otaniemi.

Degree:

Master of Science (Technology)

Application period:

1.12.2021 – 3.1.2022

Language of instruction:

English

Duration:

2 years, full-time

Eligibility:

Relevant Bachelor's degree

Field of study:

Technology and Engineering

Credits:

120 ECTS

Organising school:

School of Engineering

Tuition fees:

For non-EU/EEA citizens, €15000/y (Master’s studies)

The application period has closed

Description

As one of the top-ranked programmes in its field, the Master’s Programme in Geoengineering provides world-class education in the disciplines of geotechnics, rock mechanics and highway engineering. Programme graduates play a key role in urbanisation and circular economy, with their expertise helping to alleviate climate change and reduce the use of natural resources. Thanks to their highly appreciated knowledge and skills, as well as the programme’s close collaboration with the industry, graduates tend to find great job opportunities with ease.

As raw materials – used in construction materials, household items, energy, groundwater and basically all common goods – originate in the earth, experts in soils, rocks and their use are in high demand. Large construction projects, in particular, require engineers capable of designing the foundations, roads, excavations and tunnels, to name a few. The Master’s Programme in Geoengineering gives its students a great variety of relevant skills and knowledge. Geoengineering graduates have:

  • Extensive expertise in one or more of the fields: geotechnical engineering, rock engineering or highway engineering, with courses chosen by the students to suit their needs and interests.
  • Numerical modelling skills. Graduates can choose a study path giving them world class skills in advanced computational modelling.
  • Deep understanding of tools and software. Graduates know the underlying logic and basic functions of the most frequently used tools and computer programmes within the industry.
  • Co-operational and communications skills. Graduates are active team players and skilled team leaders who cope well with pressure in even the fastest-paced environments.
  • Experience from the field. Graduates have hands-on experience related to real-world construction and testing.

Upon graduation from the Geoengineering programme, graduates possess a comprehensive view of the lifespan of geotechnical structures, from the initial investigations, to design, construction, maintenance and recycling.

Language of instruction

The language of instruction is English. More information and guidelines on the languages of the degree and instruction available in the university's website here.

Tuition fees and scholarships

Aalto University’s tuition fee for master’s programmes taught in English is 15 000 euros per academic year. Tuition fees apply to citizens of countries other than those of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.

Aalto University has a scholarship programme to support non-EU/EEA citizens who study in a fee-charging degree programme. The scholarship may cover 100% or 50% of the tuition fee.

More information on tuition fees and scholarships at Aalto University is available at the Scholarships and Tuition Fees webpage.

Structure of studies

The Master’s Programme in Geoengineering is organised by the School of Engineering and comprises a total of 120 ECTS credits. The two-year programme consists of:

  • Major studies (60 ECTS)
  • Master’s thesis (30 ECTS)
  • Elective studies (30 ECTS)

The major studies are comprised of compulsory first-year common studies (30 ECTS) and elective advanced studies (30 ECTS). This allows students to flexibly choose a more theoretically advanced path, a more applied and practical approach, or a combination of both.

At the beginning of their studies, students define their Personal Study Plans (PSP) together with an academic advisor. The primary purpose of the PSP is to ensure that the studies support the student’s interests and are completed in a logical order.

Personal Study Plan (PSP)
The Personal Study Plan (PSP) is a practical tool to define a student’s own study path, i.e. compiling an optimal selection of courses, aligned with the student's interests and programme requirements. The PSP is also a useful tool for keeping up with studies as it shows the stage at which students are with their studies and sets concrete milestones for them to follow.

For more information on the courses, please visit the programme's section on Into - student portal.

The master’s thesis (30 credits) is a piece of applied research conducted independently by the student. Its key goal is to solve a problem relevant to the field of study, based on existing scientific knowledge and in compliance with the principles of responsible conduct of research. Master’s theses are written on topics related to the advanced studies of the programme, agreed upon between the student and the supervising professor. A master’s thesis may be, for example, a research and development project carried out for an industrial partner outside the university, or it can be connected with an ongoing research project of the department. Completing a master’s thesis usually takes six months of full-time work.

Most of the final project topics are acquired from construction and consultancy companies and authorities in different fields of geoengineering, thus giving also valuable contacts for any student planning a career in the industry. For students with academic career prospects, completing the final project within a research group in Aalto University or in another research organisation is also a viable option. In Geoengineering, the great majority of master’s thesis subjects are sponsored by the industry, governmental organisations or research projects with gratification paid to the student undertaking the work.

Specialisations

The teachers in the geoengineering programme are well recognised in Finland and abroad for both their scientific and applied expertise. Many of them have been involved in challenging engineering designs and projects and they are maintainin strong industry links. It guarantees that students are provided with up-to-date courses and knowledge close to the needs of the companies. As the programme professors actively pursue research, they don’t hesitate to introduce new knowledge in their teaching, keeping geoengineering graduates at the cutting edge of development. Furthermore, the daily studies include multiple learning methods like flipped classroom teaching, experiments in the above-standard laboratory facilities, field investigations (usually with machinery from industry, sometimes even with explosives), hands-on projects for the industry, visits to construction sites, and even certain projects carried out in tunnels under the campus or through virtual reality.

Working with foundations and ground improvement requires knowledge of soil types, mines and tunnels call for expertise in rock, and the construction of transportation routes needs highway engineers. Thus, in the Master's Programme in Geoengineering, students may choose to specialise in:

Geotechnical Engineering
Sound geotechnical knowledge is the foundation of all construction. The main topics of interest in geotechnical engineering are the mechanical, hydraulic and thermal properties of soil and how they affect designs. In particular, students learn to select the foundation type, design foundations and other geotechnical structures, take into account soil-structure interaction and decide on ground improvement. The programme also introduces knowledge related to off-shore engineering and the influence of cyclic loading on soil behaviour, mainly due to the growing interest in wind energy.

An essential feature of geotechnical expertise is the knowledge of mineral-based materials and their sustainable use. The integral part of the skills of geotechnical engineering graduates is the familiarity with modern design methods, including design based on numerical methods and reliability, built upon an in-depth knowledge of soil behaviour and computer methods.

Highway Engineering
Airports, ports, highways, streets, low-volume roads, rails, subways and other high traffic areas form a crucial part of societal infrastructure. As such, they have a profound impact on everyday life and the functioning of the entire society. Highway engineering education focuses on the structural and geometric design of roads and pavements and the material science of bituminous materials. This provides students with the understanding of how to select paving material and design structures for each application based on solid engineering criteria and sustainability. Students will also learn the methods to maintain and rehabilitate structures to prolong their service life.

Rock Engineering

Rock engineering involves using the bedrock as an underground space and as a mineral and energy source. The core fields of rock engineering are rock mechanics, excavation techniques, construction and geosciences. These are the tools required for designing optimal structures in the rock and carrying out plans in a safe and economical way without endangering the environment. Rock engineers are involved with tunnelling projects in the planning phase by designing the layout and reinforcement of the rock structures. In the construction phase, they materialise the plans for challenging rock excavation projects.

The content of studies depends largely on the choice of specialisation. However, here are some examples from the wide course selection to give an overview of how extensively the programme educates its students:

  • Advanced Soil Mechanics (5 ECTS)
  • Numerical Methods in Geotechnics (5 ECTS)
  • Environmental Risk Analysis (5 ECTS)
  • Engineering Geology (5 ECTS)
  • Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation (5 ECTS)
  • Foundation Engineering and Ground Improvement (5 ECTS)
  • Rock Excavation (5 ECTS)
  • Rock Mechanics (5 ECTS)
  • Project Course in Geoengineering (5 ECTS)

For more detailed information, visit our programme's section on Into, the Aalto University student portal.

Internationalisation

International opportunities

Geoengineering students are actively encouraged to spend a semester abroad, studying at one of the top-tier international partner universities of Aalto University. Another typical internationalisation path goes through the several multinational companies that are partners of the geoengineering programme.

Aalto University is international by nature, welcoming thousands of degree and exchange students from abroad each year. These students join the diverse Aalto community not only through studies, but also multiple free time events, activities and celebrations around the campus. Programme administrators, active student tutors and student support services work rigorously to help international students integrate into the Nordic culture and welcome them at home in Finland.

Further study opportunities

The programme qualifies for doctoral studies. Typically, 1–3 students start their postgraduate studies in geoengineering in Aalto University every year. The selection is competitive and an MSc degree with good grades in a relevant field is a prerequisite for applicants.

Career opportunities

Thanks to the programme’s outstanding links with the industry, geoengineering graduates work closely with industry companies and experts already during their studies. The boundary between the industry and geoengineering studies is kept low to best serve the learning experiences of students as well as the future careers of graduates. For example, in 2017-2018 around 90% of the MSc theses were sponsored by the industry and virtually all the graduates were able to find a job related to their expertise. Overall, the companies are extremely active in attracting geoengineering graduates as they represent a scarce and unique talent, highly sought after in Finland and Estonia, as well as in Europe and around the world.

Geoengineers hold key positions in areas related to construction engineering, design and consulting to management, teaching and research, and usually find themselves working as:

  • Designers and other professionals at consultancy and industry-leading companies
  • Founders or experts at industry-challenging startups
  • Experts in governmental organisations
  • Researchers in research institutions
  • Academics and teachers

Aalto University has well-established career services through which you can get employed in Finland and abroad. Aalto students tend to find good positions with ease upon graduation. An active entrepreneurship community is also present at Aalto, which can help as a springboard for founding your company. Finally, if an academic career is of interest, the Master’s programme in Geoengineering is a great foundation for doctoral studies.

Research focus

https://www.aalto.fi/en/department-of-civil-engineering

Co-operation with other parties

For their elective studies, students can freely choose among courses offered by any of the schools of Aalto University. Some of the most favoured multidisciplinary options are combining structural engineering or traffic management with a geoengineering degree. There are also some collaboration opportunities between the programme and other universities around themes like circular economy and sustainability.

Aalto University is well-known for bridging disciplines of business, arts, technology and science. The lively campus and freedom to choose elective courses across the university bring students from different fields under one roof. This spontaneous multidisciplinary environment sparks new ideas, gathers enthusiasts around them and gives birth to friendships, networks, and every so often, startups.

Applying to master’s programmes

Get to know us

Hear students' thoughts on the Master's Programme in Geoengineering.

Terhi Seppälä

The master’s programme in Geoengineering has been much like the groundwork itself ­– it has given me a strong basis upon which I can build my expertise during my career.

Geoengineering student Terhi Seppälä Aalto university

Kristiina Vasilopoulos

What better way is there to learn something than to have an actual person who works on the same kinds of problems every day giving you advice and comments on your work?

Geoengineering student Kristiina Vasilopoulos Aalto University

Student Francisco Oliviera became familiar with Aalto through an exchange semester

Now Francisco Oliviera is graduating from the Geoengineering Master’s programme and works as a Geotechnical Designer.

Francisco Melo Oliveira

Join the webinar for Geoengineering

Do you want to hear more about the Geoengineering masters programme? In this webinar the programme representatives will introduce the programme and answer your questions regarding the studies in the programme. All registrants will receive a recording of the webinar.

Join the webinar on 27 October!
Picture: Unto Rautio
A construction worker reparing a drilling rig on the Otaniemi campus.

Geotechnical Engineering

Sound geotechnical knowledge is the foundation of all construction. The main topics of interest in geotechnical engineering are the mechanical, hydraulic and thermal properties of soil and how they affect designs. In particular, students learn to select the foundation type, design foundations and other geotechnical structures, take into account soil-structure interaction and decide on ground improvement. Additionally, an essential feature of geotechnical expertise is the knowledge of mineral-based materials and their sustainable use. The integral part of the skills of geotechnical engineering graduates is the familiarity with modern design methods and in-depth knowledge of soil mechanics.

Road construction site next to Helsinki metro line

Highway Engineering

Airports, ports, highways, streets, low-volume roads, rails, subways and other high traffic areas form a crucial part of societal infrastructure. As such, they have a profound impact on everyday life and the functioning of the entire society. Highway engineering education focuses on the structural and geometric design of roads and pavements and the material science of bituminous materials. This provides students with the understanding of how to select paving material and design structures for each application based on solid engineering criteria and sustainability. Students will also learn the methods to maintain and rehabilitate structures to prolong their service life.

Two work vehicles in an underground tunnel with cables.

Rock Engineering

Rock engineering involves using bedrock as an underground space and as a mineral and energy source. The core fields of rock engineering are rock mechanics, excavation techniques, construction and geosciences. These are the tools required for designing optimal structures in the rock and carrying out plans in a safe and economical way without endangering the environment. Rock engineers are involved with tunnelling projects in the planning phase by designing the layout and reinforcement of the rock structures. In the construction phase, they materialise the plans of challenging rock excavation projects.

 

Webinar | Geoengineering

Master’s Programme in Geoengineering provides world-class education in the disciplines of geotechnics, rock mechanics, highway engineering and construction. In this webinar, the programme director tells more about the studies and the future career possibilities.

Watch the webinar recording
Students conduct geoengineering field exercises in Otaniemi.

Chat with Aalto students

Are you wondering what it is like to study at Aalto University? Or what student life is like at Aalto’s vibrant Otaniemi Campus or at the Mikkeli Unit? Come chat with our students about all things Aalto!

Chat with our students!
Aalto students walking at campus during summer

Admission requirements

Aalto University's student selection process is competitive and paper-based. Applications that pass the eligibility check (administrative evaluation) conducted by Aalto University Admissions Services proceed to the school's programme-specific academic evaluation.

The following are used as criteria for academic evaluation 2023:

Academic performance
What is evaluated: Grades of the previous degree
Admission requirements: Grades average equivalent to Finnish grade 3.0 on 1-5 scale gives 1 point. Grades average equivalent to Finnish grade 5 on 1-5 scale gives 5 points. Grade average below grade 3.0 gives 0 or 0.5 points.
Evaluated documents: Transcript(s) of records, degree certificate(s)

Relevance of previous studies
What is evaluated: Contents and scope of previous studies compared to demands/
contents of study option applied to
What we look for in an applicant: We check whether the applicant has taken courses that allow him to successfully study Geoengineering at Aalto. In particular, we check whether there are enough courses related to mathematics and computations, as well as basics of mechanics, strength of materials and similar. We are also looking for basics of geology, geotechnics / soil mechanics and some civil engineering oriented courses.
Evaluated documents: Transcript(s) of records, degree certificate(s)

Recognition and quality of institution
What is evaluated: Recognition and quality of the applicant's previous institution
Admission requirements: Previous degree from a recognized institution
Method of demonstrating competence: The quality of the university is checked based on national and international rankings. Typically, Finnish universities of Applied Sciences are getting 3-4 points. International universities ranked higher than top 1000 get 4 or 5 points, while those ranked below top 10000 get zero.

Suitability
What is evaluated: Suitability of programme for applicant + communication skills + other areas as determined by the programme
What we look for in an applicant: Based on motivation letter and cv we evaluate candidate approach for the study and discipline, and we check whether the candidate expectations are realistic.
Evaluated documents: Motivation letter

Other areas of competence
What is evaluated: Work experience + learning gained otherwise or demonstration of skills such as publications, contests, non-formal learning, extra degrees etc.
What we look for in an applicant: We check for special qualities of the candidate. This is, however, less important than other areas of evaluation.
Evaluated documents: Extra materials: Curriculum vitae, letter of references, proof of employment, publications
 

Study-option-specific documents requested

The documents requested from all applicants are listed here (https://www.aalto.fi/en/study-at-aalto/applying-to-masters-programmes). In addition, applicants to the Geoengineering programme are requested to provide the following study-option-specific documents:
●    Motivation letter*
The motivation letter should be written in English. The maximum length of the motivation letter
is about 4000 characters.

●    Curriculum Vitae (CV)*

*The lack of this document will adversely affect the evaluation of the application.

Motivation letter

Wojciech Solowski

Wojciech Solowski

Associate Professor
T214 Civil Engineering

Contact information

Wojciech Solowski

Professor, Programme director

wojciech.solowski (at) aalto.fi

Katri Koistinen

Planning officer (content and studies of the programme)

katri.koistinen (at) aalto.fi

Aalto University, Admission Services

For enquiries regarding the application process, obligatory application documents or English language proficiency, please contact Admission Services at

[email protected]

The application period has closed

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