Overview of a Bachelor's Degree in Mining Engineering
There are several institutions across the United States that offer bachelor's degree programs in mining engineering. Each program provides a unique set of coursework, but all cover many of the core principles and concepts of the field. Most programs offer hands-on learning experiences so students can be better prepared to enter the profession. Here we discuss admission requirements, common coursework, and career options for mining engineering programs.
Admission Requirements for Mining Engineering Programs
Students applying to undergraduate programs in mining engineering must meet each school's particular requirements for bachelor's degree programs. Typically this includes holding a high school diploma or its equivalent, possibly with documentation of some additional life experience. Some schools may also require specific entrance test scores and/or GPAs. Students looking to transfer into the program from another school may have separate GPA requirements and need to be in good academic standing with their previous institution.
Common Coursework for Mining Engineering Programs
Most mining engineering bachelor's degree programs cover topics that prepare future engineers with the proper mining techniques and management skills that they need to design and oversee a mine. Here are a few of the most common courses found in these programs.
A mine surveying course may come with a lab component as students learn the principles of surveying on various planes. Students in these courses practice collecting data and measurements and then making the subsequent calculations. Students may utilize Global Positioning System (GPS) and/or computer aided mine design packages, such as SURPAC or VULCAN, in their data analysis.
In mining methods courses students dive into the various techniques used in different kinds of mines. Topics in these courses may cover surface drilling and blasting, mining equipment, mine design and mining terminology. These courses may be split into surface and underground mining methods courses.
Students in this course learn all of the ins and outs of operating a mine. They look at the organizational structures of mines, the various health, safety and environmental responsibilities and standards and topics in mine administration. Mine management courses are also designed to improve students' leadership and communication skills.
Some mineral processing courses may come with a lab component as students learn to prepare and process different minerals. These courses look at the various concepts in physics, such as magnetic and gravity separation, that are used to process these minerals. Students may also discuss topics of mineral concentration, contaminants and resource recovery.
Students in a mineral economics course study the economic factors and concepts that affect mining. Topics include cash flow, time value of money, tax investments and risk analysis. Students apply all of these different concepts to the evaluation of mineral projects and equipment.
How to Choose a Bachelor's Degree Program in Mining Engineering
Due to the nature of the field, students should look for mining engineering programs that provide the much needed hands-on experiences. Some programs may provide this experience through field trips to mines, interactive labs and internship opportunities. Students should also consider programs that may offer specific areas of emphasis that align with their interests, such as mineral processing or quarry options. Some programs also offer professional development opportunities that further prepare students for their career by providing networking opportunities and/or gaining valuable work experience.
Career Options for a Degree in Mining Engineering
Most graduates with a bachelor's degree in mining engineering become mining engineers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that mining and geological engineers (including mining safety engineers) made an annual median salary of $93,720 in 2016. The BLS also predicted the job growth for these professionals to be 7% from 2016 to 2026. Below are some additional careers those with a degree in mining engineering may consider.