Students working with equipment at the Millennium Science Complex.
 

Geotechnical and Materials Engineering

The Geotechnical and Materials Engineering program includes several important disciplines of civil engineering associated with the characterization, behavior, design, and management of natural particulate materials, infrastructure materials, and pavements. Graduate students may focus their coursework and research in one of these areas:

Geotechnical Engineering incorporates the characterization and behavior of natural particulate materials for the development of engineered systems and includes the study of soil mechanics, geochemistry, soil mineralogy and foundation design. The Geotechnical group seeks to understand the fundamental phenomena of soil behavior, beginning at the levels of nano- and micro-scale particle interaction, and apply that knowledge to predict macro-scale material response for geotechnical structure design as well as for the development of engineered soil systems.

Materials Engineering involves the design and development of construction materials to meet specific properties and performance criteria. In addition to mechanical properties, durability, sustainability, and cost of materials are of paramount importance and must be optimized. Students use a variety of advanced experimental and computer modeling techniques to characterize and simulate the microstructure, properties, and degradation of materials such as portland cement concrete, asphalt concrete, fiber-reinforced composites, metals, wood, and aggregates. Typical research subjects could include development of high performance, recycled, and energy efficient materials; characterization and modeling damage progression in materials due to service loads (e.g., traffic), extreme events (e.g., blast), and natural deterioration (e.g., steel corrosion); and rehabilitation and strengthening of existing structures using novel repair materials.

Pavement Engineering includes the characterization, design and analysis of pavement materials, including asphalt concrete, portland cement concrete, aggregate bases, and subgrade soils. Pavement design includes the selection and specification of appropriate materials, layer thicknesses, surface conditions, and drainage features for the needed traffic and environmental conditions. The pavement engineering program also includes pavement asset management, which incorporates a system approach to the long-term inspection, evaluation with both destructive and nondestructive testing, maintenance, rehabilitation, and resource allocation for the pavement performance. 

Program Requirements

In addition to the requirements listed below, all Geotechnical and Materials Engineering graduate students are expected to actively participate in the group's graduate seminar series. Graduate students should pick a track in Geotechnical Engineering, Materials Engineering, or Pavement Engineering. For each degree, the adviser must approve the final course plan.

Master of Science Degree in Civil Engineering: Geotechnical Engineering Track

6 credits of Soil Mechanics and Behavior
6 credits of Foundation Engineering
3 credits of Pavement Engineering
9 credits of Electives
6 credits of CE 600 (Research)

30 Credits Total*

Soil Mechanics and Behavior
CE 512 Soil Mechanics
CE 511 Engineering Characteristics of Soils

Foundation Engineering
CE 513 Advanced Foundation Engineering
CE 544 Behavior and Design of Reinforced Concrete Members

Pavement Engineering
CE 581 Pavement Management and Rehabilitation
CE 582 Pavement Design and Analysis

Suggested Electives

Engineering Mechanics
MNG 431 Rock Mechanics
E MCH 446 Mechanics of Viscoelastic Materials
E MCH 500 Advanced Mechanics of Materials
E MCH 507 Theory of Elasticity and Applications 
E MCH 531 Theory of Plasticity and Applications
E MCH 546 Theory of Viscoelasticity and Applications

Modeling
E MCH 560 Finite Element Analysis
A B E 513 Applied Finite Element, Finate Difference, and Boundary Element Methods

Statistics
STAT 500 Applied Statistics
STAT 501 Regression Methods
STAT 511 Regression Analysis and Modeling

Soils and the Environment
SOILS 507 Soil Physics
GEOSC 543 Environmental Geology
GEOSC 513 Soil Environmental Chemistry
MNG 445 Environmental Concerns in Mining Industry

*Students are also expected to participate in the graduate seminar series.

Master of Science Degree in Civil Engineering: Materials Engineering Track

6 credits of Materials Characterization
3 credits of Pavement Design or Management
6 credits of Engineering Design and Mechanics
6 credits of Modeling and Experimental Techniques
3 credits of Electives
6 credits of CE 600 (Research)

30 Credits Total*

Materials Characterization
CE 584 Concrete Materials and Properties
CE 583 Bituminous Materials and Mixtures
CE 511 Engineering Characteristics of Soils

Pavement Design or Management
CE 582 Pavement Design and Analysis
CE 581 Pavement Management and Rehabilitation

Engineering Design and Mechanics
CE 513 Advanced Foundation Engineering
CE 597 Composites for Civil Infrastructure
CE 544 Design of Reinforced Concrete Structures
CE 549 Bridge Engineering

CE 512 Soil Mechanics II
MATSE 549 Composite Materials
E MCH 507 (or 540) Theory of Elasticity
E MCH 546 Theory of Viscoelasticity
E MCH 532 Fracture Mechanics

Modeling and Experimental Techniques
MATH 541 (or 455 or 456) Numerical Analysis
ABE 513 (or E MCH 560) Finite Element Analysis
STAT 500 (or 501 or 511) Applied Statistics and Regression Methods

E MCH 506 Experimental Stress Analysis
E MCH 533 Scanned Image Microscopy
E MCH 523 Ultrasonic Nondestructive Evaluation
MATSE 511 (or 514) Characterization of Materials (SEM, TEM, XRD, etc.)

Electives: Chose in consultation with your adviser 

*Students are also expected to participate in the graduate seminar series.

Master of Science Degree in Civil Engineering: Pavement Engineering Track

6 credits of Pavement Engineering
6 to 9 credits Pavement Materials
3 to 9 credits of Mechanics and Design
3 to 9 credits of Numerical Modeling
6 credits of CE 600 (Research)

30 Credits Total*

Pavement Engineering
CE 581 Pavement Management and Rehabilitation
CE 582 Pavement Design and Analysis

Pavement Materials
CE 511 Engineering Characteristics of Soils
CE 583 Bituminous Materials and Mixtures
CE 584 Concrete Materials and Properties

Mechanics and Design
CE 512 Soil Mechanics
CE 513 Foundation Design
E MCH 446 Mechanics of Viscoelastic Materials
E MCH 500 Advanced Mechanics of Materials
E MCH 507 Theory of Elasticity and Applications 
E MCH 546 Theory of Viscoelasticity and Applications

Numerical Modeling
CE 563 Systems Optimization using Evolutionary Algorithms
CE 566 Uncertainty and Reliability in Civil Engineering
E MCH 560 Finite Element Analysis
A B E 513 Applied Finite Element, Finate Difference, and Boundary Element Methods
STAT 500 Applied Statistics
STAT 501 Regression Methods
STAT 511 Regression Analysis and Modeling

*Students are also expected to participate in the graduate seminar series.

Master of Engineering Degree

24 credits of Track-Specific Course Requirements
6 credits of Technical Electives

Master of Science Degree

24 credits of Track-Specific Course Requirements
6 credits of Thesis Research (CE 600)

Doctorate Degree

For the Ph.D. degree, a minimum of 30 credits are suggested, although the number of credits may vary. Final requirements will be determined in the consultation with the adviser, and with the candidacy exam committee. A typical plan might include:

12-24 credits Track-Specific Course Requirements
0-12 credits of Technical Electives
6 credits of Thesis Research (CE 600)

Courses Offered

C E 435 - Foundation Design
C E 436 - Construction Engineering Materials
C E 497 - Geotechnical and Materials Engineering Capstone Design
C E 511 - Engineering Soil Characteristics
C E 512 - Soil Mechanics 
C E 513 - Advanced Foundation Design
C E 581 - Pavement Management and Rehabilitation 
C E 582 - Pavement Design and Analysis 
C E 583 - Bituminous Materials and Mixtures 
C E 584 - Concrete Materials and Properties 
C E 590 - Colloquium 
C E 597 - Special Topics Courses offered by Group Faculty 
C E 598 - Geotechnical and Materials Engineering Graduate Seminar

Technical Electives and Other Courses

Technical electives allow students to develop breadth by obtaining expertise in related fields outside the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, or in other areas of civil engineering. Suggested courses are included in the M.S. Course Requirements for each track.

 
 

About

The Penn State Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, established in 1881, is internationally recognized for excellence in the preparation of undergraduate and graduate engineers through the integration of education, research, and leadership.

Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering

212 Sackett Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-1408

Phone: 814-863-3084