An M.S. degree in geotechnical engineering can be earned in 1 to 2 years of study. Students receiving financial assistance through research or teaching assistantships usually require 1.5 to 2 years to complete the M.S. program, while full-time students without assistantships can complete the degree in 1 to 1.5 years. Students who do not already hold a Bachelor's degree in engineering are required to complete additional, specified undergraduate courses: this will extend the time required to complete the graduate degree.

Students who wish to earn an M.S. degree within 12 months can do so by choosing the Graduate School Report Option. Without an appointment on a research or teaching assistantship, such students can complete four courses in the fall and spring semesters plus two courses in the summer. The project and report can be completed during the academic breaks and summer.

The time required for completion of the Ph.D. program by full-time students is a minimum of 2 to 3 years beyond the M.S. degree. The average time to complete a Ph.D. in geotechnical engineering is about 3.5 to 4 years. The time to completion is longer for part-time students and students who decide to pursue individual interests beyond the defined minimum requirements.