Online Mining Engineering and Technology Degree Program Overviews

A master's degree in mining engineering is a logical next step for working professionals in the mining industry who want to advance to a position with more authority. It is also an option for people seeking a career in mining who already have a science or engineering degree. Though rare, master's degree programs in mining engineering are available online.

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Essential Information

Only a small number of schools offer any kind of mining technology and mining engineering programs, and even fewer offer distance education options for the majors. Mining technology associate's degree programs are not available online, but a few mining engineering master's degree programs are available with and without thesis options to individuals who hold an undergraduate degree in a science or engineering discipline. These master's degrees may require some on-campus attendance for lab components options.

The curriculum of online mine engineering master's degrees focuses on designs for multiple types of surface and subsurface mines, and the geological principles necessary to plan a safe and productive extraction site. Courses may also cover the most recent developments in mine safety.


Online Master of Engineering in Mining Engineering and Technology Overview

Online Master of Engineering in Mining Engineering programs aim to teach students how to solve problems at existing mines, run both surface and underground mining operations, design mines and equip a mining operation. Enrollment requires a bachelor's degree in engineering or one of the hard sciences and GRE scores above a given school's admission threshold.

Program Information and Requirements

An online master's degree program in mining engineering may be completed totally online unless the program has a lab requirement, which has to be completed on-campus. Pre-recorded lectures, readings and assignments are accessible via a school's website at the convenience of students. Student-professor interactions are handled through online forums, e-mail or the phone. Assignments and classes have to be completed by specified deadlines. A master's degree is typically earned in 2-3 years.

Students need a multimedia-capable computer with Internet access to take part in an online mining engineering program. Schools may use an educational content administration software system or streaming video to delivery content. An institution may archive courses for easy review.

List of Common Mining Engineering Courses

Master's degree programs in mining engineering are generally divided into required core courses, elective courses and a design project or thesis. Some programs may offer a non-thesis option.

Rock Mechanics Course

This course explores the properties of rock with particular emphasis on its load-bearing capabilities. Topics covered in the course include elasticity and non-elasticity, wall stability, stress characteristics and testing methods.

Surface Mining Course

The planning, construction and operation of different types of surface mines are the central focus of this course. Coursework examines strip, open pit and placer mines and quarries and the equipment needed for each.

Underground Mining Course

Students investigate the process of designing, digging and running safe and viable underground mines. They consider room-and-pillar arrangements, ventilation and lighting in the design portion and the types of equipment an underground mine needs in the construction and operation portion.

Mine Safety Course

Students consider in greater depth the need for structural integrity and air quality assurance in mining operations. Coursework explores advanced design principles and technologies under development.

Career Information for Mining Engineering Graduates

An online master's degree in mining engineering prepares graduates to become mine safety engineers and mining and geological engineers. It may be particularly helpful to engineers and other professionals in the mining industry who want to advance to supervisory or research and development positions. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that rising demand for minerals, coupled with retirements in the industry, will contribute to a 15% growth in employment for mining engineers over the years 2008-2018. Payscale.com reports that as of May 2010, mining engineers with 1-4 years of experience earned a median salary of $56,817-$67,704.

Continuing Education Information

Mining engineers who want to teach at the postsecondary level or devote all of their attention to academic research can consider earning a doctoral degree in mining engineering. As of June 2010, Ph.D. mining engineering programs are not available online.

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