A surveying engineering degree is an academic program that focuses on the principles, techniques, and applications of surveying, geomatics, and spatial data management. It combines elements of civil engineering, land surveying, and geospatial sciences to train students in the field of surveying engineering. Here is a detailed overview of what a Surveying Engineering degree entails:

  • Core Engineering Courses: Students pursuing a surveying engineering degree typically start with foundational courses in mathematics, physics, and engineering sciences. These courses provide a strong basis in engineering principles and problem-solving skills.
  • Surveying and Geomatics Courses: The curriculum includes specialized courses that cover surveying techniques, geodesy, land surveying laws and regulations, remote sensing, photogrammetry, and GIS (Geographic Information Systems). Students learn how to use surveying instruments and technologies such as total stations, GPS (Global Positioning System), LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging), and GIS software for data collection, analysis, and map creation.
  • Geospatial Data Analysis: Students gain knowledge and skills in analyzing geospatial data, including spatial data modeling, coordinate systems, map projections, spatial statistics, and data visualization. They learn to process and interpret data collected from various sources, such as satellite imagery, aerial photographs, and field surveys.
  • Land Development and Planning: Students learn about land development principles, subdivision design, site planning, and land-use regulations. They understand how surveying engineering plays a crucial role in land development projects, including infrastructure planning, property boundary determination, and land parcel management.
  • Professional Practice and Ethics: The curriculum emphasizes professional ethics, legal aspects of surveying, and standards and practices established by professional organizations. Students learn about the ethical responsibilities associated with land surveying and geomatics professions, including adhering to industry standards and regulations.
  • Fieldwork and Practical Experience: Many surveying engineering programs include fieldwork components to provide hands-on experience. Students participate in land surveys, data collection exercises, and use of surveying equipment in real-world settings. This practical experience helps develop skills in measurement techniques, data analysis, and problem-solving in the field.
  • Capstone Projects: As a culmination of their studies, students often undertake capstone projects that involve solving complex surveying and geomatics problems. These projects may involve conducting a survey, analyzing geospatial data, or designing a land development plan. Capstone projects provide students with an opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills to a real-world problem and showcase their abilities to potential employers.
  • Professional Licensure: Graduates of surveying engineering programs are often eligible to pursue licensure as Professional Surveyors (PS) or Professional Engineers (PE) after gaining the required professional experience and passing the licensing exams. Licensure requirements vary by state but typically involve completing a specified number of years of experience under the supervision of a licensed professional.

A surveying engineering degree prepares students for careers as surveying engineers, land surveyors, GIS specialists, geospatial analysts, or professionals in related fields. Graduates have the knowledge and skills to work in various sectors, including land development, infrastructure projects, environmental management, geospatial analysis, and surveying consulting firms.

Types of Degrees
There are different types of degrees available in the field of surveying engineering, each offering a distinct level of education and specialization. Here are the common types of degrees in surveying engineering:

  • Associate Degree in Surveying Engineering Technology: An associate degree typically takes two years to complete and provides a foundational understanding of surveying engineering principles and practices. This degree prepares students for entry-level positions in surveying, drafting, or as surveying technicians. Coursework typically covers topics such as surveying techniques, measurements, geomatics, computer-aided drafting, and land surveying laws.
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Surveying Engineering or Surveying and Geomatics Engineering: A bachelor’s degree usually takes four years to complete and offers a comprehensive education in surveying engineering. This degree provides in-depth knowledge and practical skills in surveying, geomatics, geodesy, and land development. Coursework typically includes surveying methods, geospatial analysis, remote sensing, GIS, land surveying regulations, land development principles, and engineering fundamentals.
  • Master’s Degree in Surveying Engineering or Geomatics Engineering: A Master’s Degree in Surveying Engineering or Geomatics Engineering is an advanced academic program that builds upon the foundational knowledge gained at the undergraduate level. This degree offers a deeper understanding of surveying engineering principles, advanced techniques, and research methodologies. Students pursuing a master’s degree typically engage in more specialized coursework and research projects. The program typically takes around two years to complete on a full-time basis.
  • Doctoral Degree in Surveying Engineering or Geomatics Engineering: A doctoral degree, or Ph.D., is the highest level of academic achievement in surveying engineering. This degree is typically pursued by individuals interested in advanced research and academic careers. Doctoral programs focus on conducting original research, contributing to the field’s knowledge, and preparing students for leadership positions in academia or industry. The duration of a Ph.D. program varies but generally takes several years to complete.

Several universities in the United States offer excellent programs in surveying engineering. The following institutions are widely recognized for their strong surveying engineering programs:

  • University of California, Berkeley: The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UC Berkeley offers a top-ranked program in surveying and geomatics engineering. The curriculum covers various aspects of surveying, GIS, remote sensing, and geospatial analysis.
  • Purdue University: Purdue University’s School of Civil Engineering is known for its exceptional surveying engineering program. Students receive comprehensive training in surveying methods, geodetic surveying, GIS, and advanced geospatial technologies.
  • University of Florida: The University of Florida’s Department of Civil and Coastal Engineering offers a highly regarded surveying and geomatics engineering program. Students gain expertise in land surveying, geospatial data analysis, mapping, and GIS applications.
  • Michigan Technological University: Michigan Tech’s School of Technology provides a well-regarded program in surveying engineering. Students benefit from hands-on training, fieldwork opportunities, and coursework covering land surveying, geodesy, GIS, and geospatial analysis.
  • Pennsylvania State University: Penn State’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering offers a strong surveying engineering program. Students learn about surveying techniques, geospatial data analysis, GIS applications, and land development principles.
  • University of Maine: The University of Maine’s School of Forest Resources offers a reputable program in surveying engineering. The curriculum covers land surveying principles, GIS, remote sensing, and geospatial analysis, with a focus on natural resource management.
  • Texas A&M University: Texas A&M’s Department of Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution offers a well-regarded program in surveying engineering. Students gain knowledge and skills in surveying methods, geodesy, GIS, and land development.


See which schools are the most and least expensive.

Read about Tuition