Prospective Graduate Students

We are pleased to learn of your interest in our Geotechnical Engineering (GE) graduate program in the Department of Civil, Architectural & Environmental Engineering (CAEE) at the University of Texas (UT) at Austin. We look forward to receiving your official application.

What is the ranking of the UT geotechnical engineering program?

Our CAEE graduate program is consistently ranked in the nation's top 2 - 3 civil engineering graduate programs in the United States, and our yearly tuition is lower than any other program in the top 20 (Best Civil Engineering Programs). While geotechnical programs are not ranked separately, we feel that we have one of the top programs in the U.S., and believe many national and international geotechnical engineering faculty and consulting engineers would agree with that statement. 

Why study geotechnical engineering at the University of Texas?

By all measures, The University of Texas at Austin is one of the best and largest public universities in the United States. Our campus provides a diverse and stimulating academic environment that is a great place to study, and Austin is frequently listed as one of the best cities in the United States (Forbes – Is Austin, Texas, the Best City in America?). As noted above, our graduate program is consistently ranked in the nation's top 2 - 3 civil engineering programs in the country. We currently have 7 full-time tenure/tenure-track geotechnical engineering faculty. Our instructional and research programs maintain a good balance between the experimental, computational, and applied aspects of geotechnical engineering that will prepare you for a career in engineering practice or academia. Our greatest strength derives from the talents of our amazing graduate students. In a typical year, we have around 50 – 60 graduate students pursuing Masters and Doctoral degrees in our Geotechnical Engineering program. On average, approximately 1/2 of our graduate students are U.S. citizens, while 1/2 are international students. Graduates of our program are highly sought after by leading geotechnical consulting firms, academic institutions, and other employers.

What graduate geotechnical engineering degree plans are offered?

We offer Master of Science (M.S.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Civil Engineering degree programs. Our M.S. program is focused on preparing students for geotechnical engineering practice while exposing them to geotechnical engineering research. For more information about our M.S. program, visit the department degree options page. Our Ph.D. program is more research-oriented and focused on advancing the state-of-the-art in geotechnical engineering. However, we educate students to become great leaders in both academia and practice. The course program is flexible and tailored to fit the interests and aspirations of the individual student via consultation with an academic advisor and Ph.D. committee. For more information about the Ph.D. program, visit the department degree options page. Some of our Ph.D. graduates go into engineering practice, while others pursue careers in research and/or teaching. Currently, nearly forty of our graduates hold faculty positions at universities around the world. Recent graduates have engaged in diverse research projects, ranging from fundamental studies to theoretical analyses to more applied research.

How do I apply?

Please register for a UT EID account to start your application process. All applicants to the graduate program must apply using the Cockrell School of Engineering graduate application. Please follow the instructions on the Cockrell School of Engineering webpage. Do not use the ApplyTexas application.  Applicants must select “Geotechnical Engineering” as the specific area of research when filling out the application. 

What are the requirements for admission?

We receive about 100 applicants to our geotechnical engineering graduate program every year. We are only able to admit about 15% – 25% of those applicants each year. In evaluating a student's application to the geotechnical engineering graduate program, the geotechnical faculty will consider all aspects of the student's credentials. This includes the reputation of the schools from which prior degrees were earned, academic performance in those programs, scores on entrance examinations (e.g., GRE and TOEFL), references, and the applicant's stated goals. Exceptional applicants seeking the Ph.D. degree can be admitted directly to the Ph.D. program without completing a master's degree. However, it is common for Ph.D. candidates without an M.S. degree to earn one in our program prior to earning their Ph.D. For more information, click here.

Please note that we cannot make any decisions about potential admission into our program until we receive your complete, official application from the UT graduate admission office.

How much does it cost?

The estimated cost for attending UT as a full-time graduate student, including tuition and other costs, are listed in As noted above, graduate tuition at the University of Texas is extremely affordable in comparison with other top Civil Engineering programs. In fact, our graduate tuition is lower than any other program currently ranked in the top 20. 

What is the deadline for the application?

Please note that it is highly recommended that your application be completed by December 15 for admission in the Fall semester of the following year (by far, our most common option) or September 1 for admission in the Spring semester. However, you should be aware that we typically do not provide financial support to students admitted for the Spring semester, as most of our financial support is reserved for students who are admitted in the Fall semester.

Please note that we cannot make any decisions about potential admission into our program, or funding opportunities related to specific professors/projects until we receive your complete, official application from the UT graduate admission office.

Will I receive financial assistance?

Financial aid available to students ranges from fellowships, to graduate research assistantships (GRAs), to teaching assistantships (TAs). Those appointed as GRAs or TAs receive a monthly living allowance/stipend (approximately $1,800 - $2,300/month) as well as resident status for in-state tuition. Furthermore, tuition for GRAs and TAs is either completely paid for or significantly paid for.  Financial aid offers are made on the basis of scholarship and promise for outstanding achievement. The applicant's grade point average, score on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), prior research and/or work experience, and letters of recommendation are the primary means used for selecting new students to receive financial aid. Click here for more information.

Please note that we cannot make any financial aid decisions for new applicants until after we have reviewed all applications for a given semester. This review process typically takes place from January - March each year for students who apply for admittance in the Fall semester.

What are the areas of research in geotechnical engineering at UT?

Our faculty includes seven full-time professors in geotechnical engineering: Prof. Brady Cox, Prof. Chadi El Mohtar, Prof. Robert B. Gilbert, Prof. Krishna Kumar, Prof. Ellen Rathje, Prof. Kenneth H. Stokoe, and Prof. Jorge Zornberg. Visit our Research Spotlights sections and our faculty page for more information on our research areas, which cover a wide spectrum of geotechnical engineering.

While we encourage you to contact us if you are interested in our specific areas of research, please know that we cannot make any financial support offers until we receive your complete, official application from the UT graduate admission office.

I have more questions

You can find a wealth of information on the university's website. You can access application materials and apply at the Cockrell School of Engineering admissions page. More specific information about the Geotechnical Engineering program can be accessed on our website. Additional information about our Department of Civil, Architectural & Environmental Engineering can be accessed at

If you have application-related/non-technical questions about our graduate program, please contact our graduate program coordinator.

If you have technical questions about our geotechnical engineering graduate program, please contact Prof Jorge Zornberg.