Subsurface Engineering, M.Sc.

The master's program in Subsurface Engineering is an interdisciplinary course of study that covers civil engineering and geosciences in particular, but also aspects of mechanical engineering, and focuses on all aspects of subsurface utilization. The new master's program uses combined expertise in tunneling, geosciences, geothermal energy and computational engineering that has been developed over many years at the Ruhr University Bochum (and is probably unique in this form worldwide). The program comprises 4 semesters. It has an international orientation and is held in English.

The responsible Faculty of the study program is the Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering. It is co-ordinated by a coordination team composed of both participating faculties (Civil and Environmental Engineering (BI+UI), Geosciences (GEO)).

The Examination Office and the Student Advisory is located at the Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

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SubSurf program flyer


The Study Program at a Glance

Those who want to study this degree programme should have a fundamental basic knowledge of the natural sciences (mathematics, physics, chemistry), mechanics/fluid mechanics and computer science/programming and enjoy experimental work in the laboratory or field, mathematical calculations and computer simulations. If you also have perseverance when it comes to theoretical basics, mathematical equations, calculation approaches and programming codes, the Master Subsurface Engineering is the right choice for you.

Applicants can be admitted to the Master’s programme if they have a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent degree in civil engineering, geosciences or a related engineering discipline.

Evidence of English language proficiency (level B2 or higher certified with the IELTS or TOEFL exams) is required if the bachelor's program was not taught entirely in English.

The program comprises 4 semesters. It has an international orientation and is held in English. The curriculum contains in the complete 1. semester and in parts of the 2. and 3. semester courses amounting to 33 CP, which are obligatory for all students. From the second semester on, the program is divided into two specializations:

  • Geotechnics and Tunneling (GT)
  • Subsurface Characterization and Utilization (SCU)

Both specializations are characterized by elective catalogs, from which a total of 48 credit points must be taken in the 2. and 3. semesters. Additionally, a catalog of electives is offered, which require a total of at least 9 credit points. The 4. semester is dedicated to the master thesis with a scope of 30 CP.

The compulsory courses in the 1. semester impart core competences in the fields of geology, hydrogeology and numerical calculation methods, which are later required for all specializations. The specialization phase in the 2. and 3. semester allows students to specialize either in geotechnical engineering and tunneling or in subsurface characterization and utilization. In the 4. semester, a master's thesis is written on a basic or application-oriented research topic in the field of subsurface engineering.

As a prerequisite for writing a master's thesis (30 CP), students need 75 CP. A total of 120 CP is mandatory for the master's degree.

After graduating from the master's program, students should be able to independently perform engineering services in the field of underground construction from planning to execution (tunnel, landfill, gallery, canal construction) or measurement and laboratory investigations of the subsurface as well as planning of energy and environmental uses of the subsurface. In addition, they should be able to continue scientific works in this field.

Graduates of Subsurface Engineering can work in the following fields:

  • in tunnelling
  • in geotechnical engineering offices and construction companies
  • in the field of renewable energies
  • in the field of underground exploration
  • in the field of exploitation of underground raw materials

Details on the application and enrolment can be found here.

Contact Student Counseling SubSurf


Dipl.-Ing. Jörg Sahlmen

Phone: +49(0)234 32-22103
Fax: +49(0)234 32-14696

Office hours:
By appointment!

Ruhr-University Bochum
Faculty of Civil and Environmental

Building IC 6-91
Universitätstraße 150
44780 Bochum

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