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Schools with Explosives Engineering Programs: How to Choose

Explosives engineers primarily work within mines but can also find employment in general construction. Job duties can include designing explosives, maintaining site safety and investigating geological structures. Read on to get tips on selecting a school for your studies in this engineering field.

How to Choose an Explosives Engineering School

Explosives engineering programs are available at 4-year colleges and universities. Both undergraduate and graduate programs related to explosives engineering are available.

Summary of Important Considerations

  • Accreditation
  • Hands-on experience opportunities
  • Course offerings
  • Tuition rate

Accreditation

Prospective explosives engineers may consider schools with mining engineering programs, since 85% of explosives in the U.S. are used in the mining industry. Some mining engineering programs offer students a minor in explosives engineering. Students can find programs that are accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, which lists approved programs on its website.

Hands-On Experience Opportunities

Given the dangerous nature of explosives, the ability to gain hands-on experience through field research is important. Schools with explosives testing grounds on-site may be given priority over those that don't. Students can also find cooperative internship programs that offer explosives training.

Course Offerings

Coursework can focus on both the practical and scientific aspects of the primary areas of explosives, such as the following:

  • Design and technology
  • Demolition of buildings and structures
  • Drilling and tunneling techniques
  • Rock fragmentation

Tuition Rate

The cost of attendance is slightly more for engineering students than those in non-science programs due to items such as lab fees. Students may consider programs in their state of residence to avoid higher out-of-state tuition.

Explosives Engineering Program Overviews

Bachelor's in Mining Engineering with Explosives Engineering Minor

A mining engineering program needs to have a strong background in geology and underground construction practices. Many explosive engineering minors can be earned in as few as 20 credits. Coursework often includes a sequence that covers general principles of explosives and at least one course that covers the technological applications of the field. Other courses might include:

  • Mine systems
  • Thermodynamics
  • Strength of materials

Students may be required to complete a final project in which they design a mine. Programs may also require students to take the Fundamentals of Engineering exam during their senior year.

Master's in Explosives or Mining Engineering

Since there are only a few explosives engineering master's programs, a master's in mining engineering with a focus on explosives is a plausible option. Many schools offer concentration areas such as materials handling, mining safety or underground construction which can allow for explosives as the focus. Most programs can be completed over a 2-year period and give students the option of completing a thesis, independent study or comprehensive examination. Master's-level coursework may include:

  • Mineral economics
  • Advanced rock mechanics
  • Detonation theory

Ph.D. in Mining Engineering

Those wishing to specialize in explosives engineering as a researcher or university professor should consider earning a Ph.D. in mining engineering. The completion of a doctoral degree may require a campus residency of at least six months, some advanced courses, seminar work and original research in a specific area of explosives. Programs typically culminate in a comprehensive examination and dissertation. Ph.D. students might take courses in:

  • Mine design
  • Advanced rock mechanics
  • Geostatistical methods

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