Oct 03, 2022  
2016-2017 Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science Calendar-ARCHIVED 
2016-2017 Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science Calendar-ARCHIVED [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Geological Engineering

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Department Head   Dr. DJ. Hutchinson, PEng, FEIC
Chair of Undergraduate Studies   Dr. M. Diederichs, PEng, FEIC
Undergraduate Faculty Advisor   Dr. G. Fotopoulos, PEng,
Undergraduate Assistant   L. Zarichny 
Office   Miller Hall, Bruce Wing
Telephone   (613) 533-2597 
E-mail   zarichny@queensu.ca 
Departmental Web Site   http://www.queensu.ca/geol/   (also  www.geol.ca)

Geological Engineering is a broad and creative field of engineering which combines practical application of geological principles, concepts and techniques with engineering investigation, analysis and design, providing reliable and sustainable engineered solutions to human needs.

Geological Engineering at Queen’s University prepares students for the creative problem solving, analysis, interpretation and decision making necessary to tackle engineering challenges related to:

  • Design and application of advanced surface and subsurface investigation, field and lab data interpretation, advanced analysis and geological modelling in aid of engineering design;
  • Environmental engineering including subsurface water resource exploration and protection, ground contaminant remediation, sustainable mine/urban/industrial waste management/engineering;
  • Geotechnical engineering and construction on, with or through earth materials (rock and soil) including tunnels, caverns, mines, transportation infrastructure, foundations, dams, waste storage;
  • Geo-hazard assessment and risk mitigation including landslides, subsidence, earthquakes and floods;
  • Mineral and energy resource exploration, evaluation, development and sustainable management, including environmental protection and remediation before, during and after geo-resource extraction;
  • Applied Geophysics (eg. Seismics, electro-magnetics, gravity, laser, radar, etc) for remote probing (from the ground or from space) and visualization of the subsurface environment to facilitate geotechnical, geo-hazard, geo-environmental or geo-resource engineering.  

The academic plan provides an enhanced understanding of the geological model associated with a particular challenge from the list above allowing in-depth assessment and understanding of the engineering properties of earth materials, including natural variability within and between different environments, sensitivity of these materials to genesis and tectonic history, the changes to earth materials with time within an engineering context, and the impacts on the reliability and sustainability of design solutions.

The Geological Engineering plan offers a common second year curriculum, to provide students with a foundation in geological sciences, math and physics in addition to broad introductory exposure to a variety of geo-engineering problems and design approaches. The extensive and well-rounded core program offered in third and fourth year is augmented by a number of technical elective choices. This allows each student to gain in-depth specialization by taking several courses in an area of interest, geotechnical engineering, geo-environmental engineering, including mineral and energy exploration, or geophysics. Alternatively, a student can choose to build a breadth of knowledge across the discipline of Geological Engineering.

Geological Engineering Curriculum

It is recommended that students consult the academic advisor at least once in each year of their plan, to ensure that they are taking the required number of Technical Electives and Complementary Studies courses to fulfill the academic plan requirements as well as those of the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board. Students need to plan ahead to ensure that they take courses in the appropriate years along with the necessary prerequisites.

Revisions to the Geological Engineering plan are ongoing. There are separate sections for the Classes of 2017, 2018, and 2019. Please refer to the appropriate calendar for your year of graduation.

The Technical Elective (TE) List is given at the end of this section. Complementary Studies (CE) are discussed at the end of each year calendar entry. For the classes of 2018 and 2019, students may take elective courses (4 TE and 3 CE) in any of the elective slots available in the 3rd and 4th years of the plan. For the class of 2017, a total of 5 TE and 3 CE are required.

Field Work

Field work is an essential part of Geological Engineering training, both to gain field skills and to understand the sources and nature of the data to be used for analysis and design. Field trips and field projects are offered in each year of study because the Department wishes to provide the best experience-based education possible. Employers and alumni from the Department are universally enthusiastic about the value of this component of the Geological Engineering plan. In accordance with University policies, students will receive specialized instruction in field safety.

A field skills course, with trips around the Kingston area, is undertaken during the fall term of second year. A two-week Geological Engineering field school is held in the spring immediately following final exams. Students are expected to take this course at the end of their second year. This course requires teams of students to design and carry out geological and engineering site investigations related to specific geological engineering problems. Core field courses in fourth year deal either with engineering and design issues related to geo-environmental, geotechnical and resource management issues within the mineral industry, or with engineering site investigation design using applied geophysics.

The cost of field trips and courses, including transportation, accommodation and food (when it is supplied), will be borne by the student. A list of the field education costs for each course is provided on the departmental web page (http://www.queensu.ca/geol/undergrad/field-trips).

These costs are subject to change, and will be finalized by June 1 each year for the following academic year. These costs will be payable by the due dates listed in the table. Subsidies will be provided by the Department when funding permits.

Students may incur additional field trip costs for courses they elect to take as a part of their degree. Students should consult with course instructors regarding these costs before registering in courses with a field trip component.


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