Master's Degree in Geotechnical Engineering

Master's Degree in Geotechnical Engineering

The Master's Degree in Geotechnical Engineering provides students with the training to pursue professional and academic careers in the fields of geotechnical engineering, hydrogeology, geophysics and earthquake engineering. Students develop specialist knowledge of geophysics and earthquake engineering and acquire the skills to predict, evaluate and reduce seismic hazards.

This master's degree allows for a Double Degree between the Master's Degree in Mining Engineering (MME) and the Master's Degree in Geotechnical Engineering (MGE).

Academic year starts in Fall semester (Fall): September
Spring semester (Spring): February
Duration 2 years
Study load 120 ECTS (including the Master's Final Thesis)
Minimum academic progress The minimum academic progress for first year students is 15 ECTS. Students must complete the master's program in up to 3 years (full-time) or 6 years (part-time) depending on dedication.
Delivery On-campus
  • Part-time
    At least 15 ECTS (and up to 60 ETCS) enrolled on the first year, and up to 72 ECTS the rest of the years
  • Full-time
    At least 15 ECTS and up to 40 ECTS
Language Spanish & English
Places 45
Official degree Master's Degree in Geotechnical Engineering by the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (recorded in the Spanish Ministry of Education's degree register)
  • Geotechnical Engineering
  • Groundwater hydrology
  • Earthquake Engineering & Geophysics (not available for the 2023-2024 academic year)
Double degree agreements

When pre-enrolling to the degree, students must choose their dedication:

  • Full-time
  • Part-time

More information about fees and payment options

More information about grants and loans

Academic coordinator Jean Vaunat

Specific admission requirements

In order to gain admission to the Master's Degree in Geotechnical Engineering the following requirements must be met.

  • University degree
    • Holders of an official bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering, Public Works Engineering or Environmental Engineering
    • Holders of an official bachelor's degree in Environmental Sciences or Geology.
    • Holders of an official diploma or former undergraduate degrees in Civil Engineering, Environmental Sciences, Public Works Engineering or Geology.
    • Students on double-degree programmes that include the Master's Degree in Geotechnical Engineering under the continuity system.
    • Holders of other qualifications, in accordance with the provisions of Section 4.2.3 of Order CIN/309/2009, dated February 9th
Students pending obtaining the degree that gives access to the master's degree

UPC undergraduate students who, despite not having obtained the bachelor’s degree, have pending the TFG and, at most, up to 9 ECTS (including credits pending recognition or transfer) or who have completed their studies, but are waiting to achieve, if possible, transversal competence in a third language. Under no circumstances will students who access this route be able to obtain a master's degree if they have not previously obtained a bachelor's degree.

Candidates from other universities who are enrolled in all the credits to complete the studies that give access to the master's degree can apply for access. Acceptance will be conditioned to the fulfillment of the general and specific access and admission requirements at the time of formalizing the registration.

You will find all the information about the general Access requirements to UPC master's programs here.

Admission criteria

The following factors or parameters are considered for admission to the Master's Degree in Geotechnical Engineering:

  • Weighted average mark factor or parameter (40%)
    It is the result of summing the values obtained by multiplying the marks of the courses passed by the number of credits in each of them and dividing it by the number of credits passed (as stated in the UPC's regulations).
  • CV adequacy factor or parameter (50%)
  • Additional former education factor or parameter (10%)
    Adequacy to the academic or professional competencies established in the Master's Degree is advisable.

You can check the results of the evaluation and selection of the applications for admission resolutions for the current academic year here.

Pre-enrolment and enrolment

Check here the general admission requirements for UPC masters and information on pre-registration: calendar, how to apply for admission, how to reserve a place if the resolution is favourable, etc.

Training objectives

The Master's Degree in Geotechnical Engineering aims to train professionals and academics at the highest level in field engineering, underground hydrology, geophysics and seismic engineering. From a professional point of view, it seeks to respond to the growing demand for experts associated with the increase in the construction of infrastructures closely related to the field, with the interest in knowing about water resources and how to manage them, as well as in the behaviour of pollutants with regard to the soil. It also aims to train specialists in the field of geophysical and seismic engineering, so that they are able to evaluate, predict and reduce seismic risk.

Professional opportunities

Graduates of the master's degree are generally employed as managers or as experts working on teams in areas and activities related to geotechnical engineering.

  • Management and planning of geotechnical works.
  • Management and planning of water resources.
  • Modelling, assessment and management of geological resources.
  • Assessment and reduction of seismic risk.
  • Assessment and reduction geological risk.
  • Assessment and reduction of hydrogeological risk, including soil contamination.
  • Land survey campaigns.
  • Energy resource prospecting campaigns.
  • Planning and management of waste storage solutions.
  • Civil engineering, geotechnical, geological and seismic consulting.
  • Hydrology and hydrogeology consulting.
  • Doctoral studies in civil, geotechnical, geological and earthquake engineering.
  • Doctoral studies in hydrology and hydrogeology.


Generic competencies

Generic competencies are the skills that graduates acquire regardless of the specific course or field of study. The generic competencies established by the UPC are capacity for innovation and entrepreneurship, sustainability and social commitment, knowledge of a foreign language (preferably English), teamwork and proper use of information resources.

Specific competencies

On completion of the master's degree, graduates will be able to:

  • Apply scientific and technological concepts in analysing and solving problems.
  • Characterise the geological environment and its interaction with civil works.
  • Interpret laboratory tests and field observations to identify the mechanisms responsible for the Earth's response.
  • Plan laboratory experiment programmes.
  • Make, use and interpret models in analysing and solving problems.
  • Observe, interpret, quantify and mathematically model the various processes that govern the Earth's response.
  • Perform, present and defend, to a university examination board, an original, individually prepared exercise consisting of a study or project in the field of geotechnical engineering that brings together the competencies acquired in their education, adopts advances and new developments in the field and contributes innovative ideas.
Specialisation in Geotechnical Engineering

If they specialise in this area, they will be able to:

  • Apply their knowledge of soil and rock mechanics in the study, design, construction and operation of foundations, embankments, slopes, tunnels and other structures.
  • Apply advanced scientific and advanced technological concepts in analysing and solving complex geotechnical engineering problems.
  • Carry out studies of land and urban area management, including the construction of tunnels and other underground railway infrastructure.
Specialisation in Groundwater Hydrology

If they specialise in this area, they will be able to:

  • Evaluate and manage the environmental impact of waste storage and soil and subsoil contamination.
  • Calculate, evaluate and regulate surface water and groundwater resources.
  • Plan and implement hydraulic installations, including transport, distribution and storage facilities for solids, liquids and gases and water treatment and urban, industrial and hazardous waste management plants.
  • Environmentally evaluate projects, plants and facilities.
  • Evaluate and manage geological resources, including groundwater and mineral and thermal springs.
Specialisation in Earthquake Engineering and Geophysics

If they specialise in this area, they will be able to:

  • Apply their knowledge of soil and rock mechanics in the study, design, construction and operation of foundations, embankments, slopes, tunnels and other constructions over or through land, whatever their nature and state and whatever the purpose of the work.
  • Design civil structures considering seismic loads.
  • Design remedial solutions.
  • Assess seismic risk. Consider and design risk reduction measures.
  • Identify all types of structures and materials.
  • Design, plan, implement and maintain civil structures and buildings.
  • Analyse structures by applying software design and advanced structural design methods.
  • Assess structural integrity.

For more information on course groups, coordinators and codes check the printer version of the curriculum.



First & second years
Fall semester
Mandatory common courses
250800 - Continuum mechanics 5
250801 - Modelling in geoengineering 5
250802 - Geology for engineering 5
250803 - Modelling of flow and transport in porous media 5
250804 - Soils mechanics 5
250805 - Rock mechanics 5
Elective common courses
250808 - Geographic information systems 5
Spring semester
Mandatory common courses
250407 - Groundwaves generation & propagation 5
Elective common courses
250807 - Numerical modelling tool in geoengineering 5
250809 - Seminars 5
Fall & spring semesters
250838 - Master's thesis 30

Specialty courses



Specialty in geotechnical engineering
Fall semester
Specialty mandatory courses
250811 - Foundations & earth retaining structures 5
250420 - Geotechnical design & construction 5
Specialty elective courses
250813 - Quaternary geology 5
250818 - Constitutive equations of materials 5
250820 - Numerical models in geotechnical engineering 5
Spring semester
Specialty mandatory courses
250810 - Advanced soil mechanics 5
250812 - Underground excavation 5
250421 - Geomechanics of breakage 5
Specialty elective courses
250521 - Slope stability 5
250815 - Modern monitoring techniques for ground movements 5
250816 - Unsaturated soil mechanics 5
250819 - Soil behaviour & advanced modelling 5
Specialty in groundwater hydrology
Fall semester
Specialty mandatory courses
250531 - Modelling of soil & groundwater contamination 5
Specialty elective courses
250826 - Reactive transport 5
250828 - Hydrometeorological processes & their interactions with the ground 5
Spring semester
Specialty mandatory courses
250823 - Aquifers balance & recharge 5
Specialty elective courses
250422 - Interaction between groundwater & civil works 5
250825 - Environmental isotope techniques in groundwater hydrology 5
250829 - Groundwater & environment 5
Untaught courses
250821 - Aquifer mechanics 5
250822 - Stochastic methods in hydrology 5
250824 - Hydrogeochemical modelling 5
250827 - Stochastic modelling of transport in heterogeneous media 5
Specialty in earthquake engineering
Fall semester
Specialty mandatory courses
250830 - Sismology 5
250831 - Geophysical prospection 5
250833 - Seismic hazard assessment 5
Specialty elective courses
250703 - Composite materials structures 5
250839 - Statistics applied to civil & earthquake engineering 5
Spring semester
Specialty mandatory courses
250520 - Earthquake engineering 5
250476 - Seismic risk assessment & reduction 5
Specialty elective courses
250835 - Static & dynamic structural analysis 5
250471 - Bridges 5
Untaught courses
250834 - Advanced methods in seismic damage evaluation 5
250837 - Advanced seismic resistant design 5

Students enrolled at UPC for the Master's Degree in Geotechnical Engineering can access the following information:

The Master's Thesis is an original exercise to be done individually and presented and defended before a university panel consisting in a project in the sphere of the specific geotechnical engineering technologies synthesising and integrating the competences acquired on the course.

This program has been awarded the following quality label: