Graduate programs in the field of mining geology are usually interdisciplinary programs that combine geological and engineering concepts and principles. These programs go by various names, but generally fall into the category of mining engineering or geological engineering. Here we discuss some of these programs in depth to help students decide which program may be the best fit.
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Types of Graduate Programs in Mining Geology
Master of Science in Mining/Geological Engineering
Students interested in mining geology can pursue a Master of Science (MS) in Mining Engineering or an MS in Geological Engineering. These degree programs may range from about 30 to 36 credits and may offer additional areas of specialization, such as mining geological engineering, engineering geology/geotonics or groundwater engineering. Some programs may require a thesis, while others offer a thesis and non-thesis option, where non-thesis students are required to complete a final report, additional coursework or a comprehensive exam. Coursework for these degree programs may cover topics in mining geology, rock mechanics, mine design, geological data analysis and research.
Master of Engineering in Geological Engineering
Although not as common, students may earn a Master of Engineering (MEng) in Geological Sciences or Mining, Geological and Geophysical Engineering. The more general MEng in Geological Sciences program may be around 30 credits, can be completed in 1 year and may offer specific areas of emphasis, like applied and environmental geophysics and remote sensing. The MEng in Mining, Geological and Geophysical Engineering may be a better fit for students interested in mining geology and offers additional areas of emphasis in geomechanics, mineral processing, sustainable resource development, mine information and production technology and mine health and safety. These programs may be offered online, is available part-time and can be completed in 18 to 24 months (part-time).
Doctor of Philosophy in Mining/Geological Engineering
Similar to the MS program, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programs are available in mining engineering or geological engineering. These programs may require as much as 72 credits for those with a bachelor's degree and may offer additional areas of concentration, such as mine management, mineral economics, deep water mining, geomechanics and mine planning and optimization. At the doctoral level, it is common for students to have to complete qualifying and comprehensive exams, as well as a dissertation. Due to the various specializations and research interests of students, coursework for these programs vary, but students may take courses in research methods, remote sensing technologies, issues in engineering, modeling and data visualization.
Common Entrance Requirements
In general, students applying to degree programs in mining or geological engineering need to have at least a bachelor's degree, and some of these programs may prefer to see bachelor's degrees in engineering, math, physics or another related field. Many of these programs expect students to have a minimum GPA of a 3.0 and some programs may require the GRE, while others do not or may waive the scores in special circumstances. Some doctoral programs may require specific prerequisite coursework from areas like calculus, chemistry, geology and mathematics. Students applying to these programs may need to include documents such as their official transcripts, letters of recommendation and resume or CV with their application. At the doctoral level, students may also need to include potential faculty mentors and any prior work experience.
Students interested in mining geology can pursue MS, MEng or PhD degree programs in related fields. These programs usually include various research opportunities and conclude with a final project such as a thesis, comprehensive exam, report or dissertation.