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Underground Construction & Tunneling


Degrees Offered

  • Master of Science (Underground Construction & Tunneling), Thesis
  • Master of Science (Underground Construction & Tunneling), Non-Thesis
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Underground Construction & Tunneling)

Program Description

Underground Construction and Tunneling (UC&T) is an interdisciplinary field primarily involving civil engineering, geological engineering and mining engineering, and secondarily involving mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, geophysics, geology and others. UC&T deals with the design, construction, rehabilitation and management of underground space including caverns, shafts and tunnels for commercial, transportation, water and wastewater use. UC&T is a challenging field involving complex soil and rock behavior, groundwater conditions, excavation methods, construction materials, structural design flow, heterogeneity, and very low tolerance for deformation due to existing infrastructure in urban environments. Students pursuing a graduate degree in UC&T will gain a strong and interdisciplinary foundation in these topics.

The graduate degree program in UC&T is offered jointly by the Departments of Civil & Environmental Engineering (CEE), Geology & Geological Engineering (GEGN), and Mining Engineering (MN). UC&T faculty from each department are collectively responsible for the operations of the program. Participating students reside in one of these departments, typically the home department of their advisor.

Program coursework is selected from multiple departments at CSM (primarily CEE, GEGN, MN) and is approved for each student by the student’s advisor and graduate committee. To achieve the M.S. degree, students may elect the non-thesis option based upon coursework and an independent study report tied to a required internship. Students may alternatively select the thesis option comprised of coursework and a research project performed under the guidance of a UC&T faculty advisor and presented in a written thesis approved by the student’s thesis committee. 

Ph.D. students are expected to complete a combination of coursework and novel, original research under the guidance of a UC&T faculty advisor and doctoral committee, which culminates in a significant scholarly contribution to a specialized field in UC&T. Full-time enrollment is encouraged and leads to the greatest success, although part-time enrollment is permissible for working professionals. All graduate students must complete the full-time, on-campus residency requirements described in the general section of the Graduate Bulletin.

Program Requirements

M.S. Non-Thesis Option:  
Coursework - 27.0 credit hours  
Independent Study* - 3.0 credit hours  
UC&T Seminar - 0.0 credit hours  
Total Hours - 30.0  

 *M.S. non-thesis students are expected to complete an internship of approximately 3 months in duration (with a design firm, contractor, owner, equipment manufacturer, etc., and preferably on a UC&T job site). During the internship, each student completes a project-focused independent study related to an aspect of the internship. This is determined in consultation with the faculty advisor and internship sponsor. The independent study culminates with a project report and presentation. If an internship is not available or if the student has sufficient industry experience (determined by advisor and committee), the student may complete an industry-focused research project with a UC&T faculty member and industry partner. The research project culminates with a written report and final presentation.

M.S. Thesis Option:  
Coursework - 24.0 credit hours  
Research (minimum) - 6.0 credit hours  
UC&T Seminar - 0.0 credit hours  
Total Hours - 30.0  

M.S. Thesis students must write and successfully defend a thesis report of their research. Ideally, M.S. thesis research should be industry focused and should provide value to industry UC&T practice.

Ph.D. Option  
Coursework (beyond B.S. degree) - 42.0 credit hours  
Independent Study* - 3.0 credit hours  
Research (minimum) - 24.0 credit hours  
UC&T Seminar - 0.0 credit hours  
Total Hours - 72.0  

 Students must also successfully complete qualifying examinations, write and defend a dissertation proposal, and write and defend a doctoral dissertation. Ph.D. research is aimed at fundamentally advancing the state of the art in UC&T. Ph.D. students are expected to submit the dissertation work for publication in scholarly journals and disseminate findings throughout industry periodicals.

*Ph.D. students are expected to complete an internship of approximately 3 months in duration (with a design firm, contractor, owner, equipment manufacturer, etc., and preferably on a UC&T job site). If an internship is not available or if the student has sufficient industry experience (determined by advisor and committee), the student may complete an industry-focused research project via independent study with a UC&T faculty member and industry partner culminating with a written report and presentation.

Required Coursework    

The following 21 credit hours are required for the M.S. (thesis and non-thesis) and Ph.D. degrees.

GEGN468ENGINEERING GEOLOGY AND GEOTECHNICS4.0
MNGN504TUNNELING3.0
MNGN508ADVANCED ROCK MECHANICS3.0
MNGN509EXCAVATION PROJECT MANAGEMENT2.0
CEEN512SOIL BEHAVIOR3.0
CEEN520EARTH RETAINING STRUCTURES / SUPPORT OF EXCAVATIONS3.0
CEEN523ANALYSIS AND DESIGN OF TUNNELS IN SOFT GROUND3.0

 All M.S. and Ph.D. students are required to attend the UC&T seminar series (0 h); no registration is required.

 M.S. non-thesis and Ph.D. students must complete an internship-related project, registering as an independent study in the home department of the faculty advisor (CEEN 599, GEGN 599, or MNGN 599). This requirement may be waived for students with sufficient UC&T industry experience.

Elective Coursework

The following courses may be taken as electives to complete the M.S. and Ph.D. course requirements. Students may petition for other courses not listed below to count towards the elective requirement. In addition, M.S. or Ph.D. students may petition one of the following courses to substitute for a required course if one of the required courses is not offered during the student’s course of study or if a student has sufficient background in one of the required course topics. All petitions must be made to the student’s advisor and thesis committee.

Course List

CEEN415 FOUNDATIONS 3.0
CEEN506 FINITE ELEMENT METHODS FOR ENGINEERS 3.0
CEEN510 ADVANCED SOIL MECHANICS 3.0
CEEN541 DESIGN OF REINFORCED CONCRETE STRUCTURES 3.0
CEEN599 INDEPENDENT STUDY 1-6
GEGN466 GROUNDWATER ENGINEERING 3.0
GEGN573 GEOLOGICAL ENGINEERING SITE INVESTIGATION 3.0
GEGN581 ANALYTICAL HYDROLOGY 3.0
GEGN672 ADVANCED GEOTECHNICS 3.0
GEGN673 ADVANCED GEOLOGICAL ENGINEERING DESIGN 3.0
GEGN599 INDEPENDENT STUDY 1-6
MNGN424 MINE VENTILATION 3.0
MNGN506 DESIGN AND SUPPORT OF UNDERGROUND EXCAVATIONS 3.0
MNGN507 ADVANCED DRILLING AND BLASTING 3.0
MNGN524 ADVANCED MINE VENTILATION 3.0
MNGN590 MECHANICAL EXCAVATION IN MINING 3.0
MNGN599 INDEPENDENT STUDY 1-6

Thesis Committee Requirements

Students must meet the general committee requirements listed in the graduate bulletin. In addition, the student’s advisor or co-advisor must be a UC&T faculty member. For Ph.D. students, at least two committee members must be members of the UC&T faculty.

Prerequisites

Students will enter the UC&T programs with a variety of backgrounds. Because the UC&T degrees are engineering degrees, the required prerequisite courses for the UC&T programs include basic engineering coursework, and specifically: (1) Strength of Materials or Mechanics of Materials, and (2) Fluid Mechanics. These prerequisite courses may be completed during the first semester of the graduate program if approved by the UC&T program faculty. The required coursework includes graduate level soil and rock mechanics as well as aspects of structural analysis and groundwater engineering. It is permissible for students to take these courses without having completed undergraduate courses in soil mechanics, rock mechanics, structural analysis and groundwater engineering. However, students may choose to complete undergraduate courses in these topics prior to or concurrently during enrollment in the required graduate program courses. The prerequisite courses do not count towards the requirements of the M.S. or Ph.D. degrees. Students should consult with UC&T faculty for guidance in this matter.

Director

Michael Mooney, Grewcock Distinguished Chair & Professor

Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering

Marte Gutierrez, J.R. Paden Distinguished Chair & Professor

Panos Kiousis, Associate Professor

Michael Mooney, Grewcock Distinguished Chair & Professor

Shiling Pei, Assistant Professor

Department of Geology & Geological Engineering

Jerry Higgins, Associate Professor

Paul Santi, Dept Head & Professor

Wendy Zhou, Associate Professor

Department of Mining Engineering

Ray Henn, Adjunct Professor

Hugh Miller, Associate Professor

Priscilla Nelson, Department Head & Professor

Ugur Ozbay, Professor

UC&T Core Faculty

Marte Gutierrez, Civil & Environmental Engineering

Ray Henn, Mining Engineering

Jerry Higgins, Geological Engineering

Michael Mooney, Civil & Environmental Engineering

Ugur Ozbay, Mining Engineering

Wendy Zhou, Geological Engineering