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South Dakota School of Mines & Technology

— Science and Engineering since 1885 —

South Dakota School of Mines & Technology

    South Dakota School of Mines & Technology
   
 
  Nov 19, 2017
 
 
    
2017-2018 SDSM&T Academic Catalog

Geology, Geological Engineering, and Mining Engineering, Ph.D.


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Contact Information

Dr. Laurie Anderson
Department of Geology and Geological Engineering
Mineral Industries 303
(605) 394-2461
E-mail: Laurie.Anderson@sdsmt.edu

Dr. Lance Roberts
Department of Mining Engineering and Management
Mineral Industries 235B
(605) 394-2344
E-mail: Lance.Roberts@sdsmt.edu

Geology Faculty

Professors L. Anderson, Duke, Masterlark, Price, and Uzunlar; Associate Professor Pagnac; Assistant Professors Baran and Ustunisik; Professors Emeritus Fox, Lisenbee, Martin, Paterson, and Redden; Adjunct Faculty Benton and McCormick.

Geological Engineering Faculty

Professor Stetler; Associate Professors Katzenstein and Sawyer; Assistant Professor Li; Professors Emeritus Davis and Rahn; Adjunct Faculty M. Anderson, Iles, Roggenthen and Valder.

Mining Engineering Faculty

Professor Roberts; Associate Professor Brickey; Assistant Professor Tukkaraja; Senior Lecturer McCormick; Lecturer Allard; Adjunct Faculty Chancellor.

Ph.D. in Geology, Geological Engineering, and Mining Engineering

Students must elect to pursue a specialization in Geology, Geological Engineering, or Mining Engineering. Each specialization has different background and program requirements. The available coursework and current faculty expertise support the following areas of concentration.

  1. Energy Resources
  2. GIS, Geoinformatics, and Remote Sensing
  3. Groundwater and Environment
  4. Paleontology
  5. Petrology and Mineral Resources
  6. Structure, Tectonics, and Geodynamics
  7. Geomechanics
  8. Mine Planning and Optimization
  9. Mine Management
  10. Mine Ventilation
  11. Deep Water Mining
  12. Mineral Economics

Graduate Programs Outcomes

A graduate of the Ph.D. in Geology/Geological Engineering/Mining Engineering is expected to:

•         Demonstrate knowledge of concepts and terminology of the discipline

•         Explore and evaluate scientific and technical literature

•         Analyze, interpret, and evaluate scientific and/or engineering data and methods

•         Communicate effectively (in writing and orally)

•         Act professionally and ethically

•         Impact the profession with research

Background Requirements for Ph.D.

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required of all applicants. The TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE exam is required for students whose native language is not English. Many factors contribute to the success of an application, including the goals statement, coursework, grades, test scores, work experience, recommendations, and availability of a faculty member in the student’s anticipated research area. In general we prefer to see a GPA of 3.0 or above and GRE scores greater than the 50th percentile. Different specializations have different background coursework requirements, as described below.

 

Background Expected for Geology Specialization (including Paleontology)

Incoming students are expected to have substantial preparation in general science, math, and geological sciences; successful applicants will ideally have completed the subjects listed below.  The student’s graduate committee may require that deficiencies important to the student’s area of interest be remedied by taking additional undergraduate courses that will not count towards the graduate degree requirements.

  • Calculus I and II
  • Statistics
  • General Chemistry I and II
  • General Physics I and II, or General Biology I and II
  • Stratigraphy/Sedimentation
  • Petrology
  • Structural Geology
  • Field Geology
 
Background Expected for Geological Engineering Specialization

Incoming students are expected to have substantial preparation in science, math, geological sciences, and engineering; successful applicants will ideally have completed most of the subjects listed below.  The student’s graduate committee may require that deficiencies important to the student’s area of interest be remedied by taking additional traditional undergraduate courses that will not count towards the graduate degree credit requirements.

  • Calculus I, II, and III
  • Differential Equations
  • General Chemistry I and II
  • General Physics I and II
  • Stratigraphy/Sedimentation
  • Petrology
  • Structural Geology
  • Statics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Fluid Mechanics, or Rock Mechanics
Background Expected for Mining Engineering Specialization
  • Calculus I, II, and III
  • Differential Equations
  • General Chemistry I and II
  • General Physics I and II
  • Statics and Dynamics
  • Fluid Mechanics

Ph.D. Degree Requirements

Admission to the Ph.D. program in Geology and Geological Engineering is normally limited to qualified students who have already earned an M.S. degree in geology, geological engineering, paleontology, or a related field. Students holding an M.S. but with extensive undergraduate deficiencies may be placed into the M.S. program in Geology and Geological Engineering until these deficiencies are remedied. Students with a B.S. degree who apply to the Ph.D. program will be admitted to the M.S. program in Geology and Geological Engineering until they have accumulated sufficient course credits for an M.S. degree, after which they will be transitioned to the Ph.D. program.

Geology and Geological Engineering, Paleontology, or Mining Engineering M.S. students in good standing may convert to the Geology, Geological Engineering, and Mining Engineering Ph.D. program by submitting a standard application for the Ph.D. program to be reviewed by the Geology and Geological Engineering or Mining Engineering faculty.  The applicant is required to submit at least one recommendation letter from the current M.S. advisor and the future Ph.D. advisor (if they are different).  Accepted students will follow Ph.D. requirements and submit an Intent to Transfer form to the Office of Graduate Education.

Curriculum

A minimum of seventy-two (72) credit hours are required beyond the B.S. degree. At least thirty-six (36) of these credits must be for coursework. No more than 36 credits may be from 500-level courses or lower. Up to twenty-four (24) course credits and six (6) research credits from the M.S. degree can be applied toward the total required credits if the student’s committee agrees.

The candidate’s committee is responsible for assisting the student in developing a program of study that prepares the student for his/her intended field as well as provides general knowledge for the discipline.  It is recommended that six (6) to twelve (12) hours of coursework be taken outside the department.

Geology Specialization


The candidate’s committee is responsible for assisting the student in developing a program of study that prepares the student for his/her intended research focus.  The following courses are required for the Geology specialization:

  (required the first fall semester of enrollment)

  

In addition, the program of study must include at least one GEOL/GEOE course emphasizing field methods, one GEOL/GEOE course emphasizing analytical methods, and one GEOL/GEOE course emphasizing computational methods.  The student’s advising committee determines the courses that meet these criteria.

Geological Engineering Specialization


All Ph.D. students in the Geological Engineering specialization are expected to focus in one of the three areas of groundwater/environmental, geomechanics, or energy/mineral resources.

The candidate’s committee is responsible for assisting the student in developing a program of study that prepares the student for his/her intended research focus. The following courses are required for the Geological Engineering specialization:

GEOE 700 - Developing and Planning Research   (required the first fall of enrollment)

  

In addition, the program of study must include at least one GEOL/GEOE course emphasizing field methods, one GEOL/GEOE course emphasizing analytical methods and one GEOL/GEOE course emphasizing computational methods.  The student’s advising committee determines the courses that meet these criteria.

Mining Engineering Specialization


The candidate’s committee is responsible for assisting the student in developing a program of study that prepares the student for his/her intended research focus.  The following courses are required for the Mining Engineering specialization:

MEM 700 - Developing and Planning Research  (required the first fall of enrollment). 

MEM 790 - Seminar   

GEOL 808 - Fundamental Problems in Engineering and Science 

In addition, the program of study must include at least twelve (12) credits of MEM electives.  Other electives can be MEM or out of department.

Ph.D. EXAMINATIONS


When the student has substantially completed the required 36 credits of coursework for the PhD, and before work on the dissertation research commences in earnest, the student must complete a combined examination composed of two parts.  The first part is the Qualifying exam, which is a course-work based exam to test and demonstrate the doctoral student’s proficiency in the foundational material of his or her discipline.  The second part is a “Comprehensive and Admission-to-Candidacy Exam,” which is a wide-ranging exam to demonstrate the doctoral student’s readiness to pursue doctoral research; it includes the submission and defense of the doctoral research proposal.  After the successful completion of both exams, the student will be admitted to Ph.D. candidacy.  The final defense must take place no earlier than 12 months after admission to candidacy.

The student must make a request to the student’s committee to take the Qualifying and Comprehensive examinations no later than two months prior to the examination.  Both exams must also be scheduled with the Graduate Office; students should review its policies regarding the scheduling and reporting of qualifying and comprehensive exams well in advance to ensure that all requirements are met.  The department requires that the qualifying examination must take place within one working week.  The comprehensive examination must be held no sooner than five working days and no later than 10 working days after the completion of the qualifying exam.

If the student has not completed all requirements for the Ph.D. degree by the fifth year following the comprehensive examination, his/her active candidacy status will be automatically terminated and the comprehensive examination must be repeated.

The qualifying examination


The qualifying examination will consist of a written examination covering the student’s field of study and related subjects.  It will be prepared by the student’s advisory committee, with potential suggestions from any faculty member from whom the student has taken a graduate course.  The examination may be scheduled for spring and fall semesters only, and may not take place during the last week of classes or the week of final examinations.

The results of the qualifying examination must be determined prior to the comprehensive examination and should be reported to the student as soon as possible following the completion of the exam.

The qualifying examination will consist of three parts, all of which must be completed within one working week.  Each part will be three hours in length. Students may not be required to take more than one part per day.

General 33%
Specific Topic 1 33%
Specific Topic 2 33%

 

 

 

For students in the Geology Specialization, the General part of the qualifying exam will include General Geology.  Specific topics will be chosen by the student with approval by the student’s committee; examples are listed below.  A student may propose hybrid fields with other disciplines if approved by his or her graduate committee.

  • Structural Geology
  • Sedimentation/Stratigraphy
  • Paleontology
  • Igneous/Metamorphic Petrology
  • Economic Geology/Mineral Exploration
  • Geophysics/Geodynamics
  • Geospatial/Geocomputation
  • Petroleum Geology
  • Groundwater/Hydrology

For students in the Geological Engineering Specialization, the General part of the qualifying exam will include Geological Engineering, Geology, and Fundamentals of Engineering.  Specific topics will be chosen by the student with approval by the student’s committee; examples are listed below.  A student may propose hybrid fields with other disciplines if approved by his or her graduate committee.

A student may substitute successful completion of the Fundamentals of Engineering (F.E.) examination for one of the three (3) parts. 

  • Groundwater
  • Engineering Geology
  • Petroleum Engineering
  • Mineral Exploration/Production
  • Hydrology and Hydraulic Engineering
  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry
  • Rock Mechanics
  • Geotechnical Engineering

For students in the Mining Engineering Specialization, the General part of the qualifying exam will include Mining Engineering and Fundamentals of Engineering.  A student may substitute successful completion of the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) examination for the General part of the exam.  Specific topics will be chosen by the student with approval by the student’s committee; examples are listed below.  A student may propose hybrid fields with other disciplines if approved by his or her graduate committee.

  • Rock Mechanics/Geomechanics
  • Mine Ventilation
  • Mine Planning
  • Geostatistics
  • Rock Fragmentation
  • Mineral Economics
  • Engineering Geology

The Comprehensive Examination and Admission to Candidacy


The comprehensive examination consists of the oral presentation and defense of the student’s dissertation research proposal.  All Ph.D. students are required to prepare a research proposal for the research to be accomplished for the dissertation.  The proposal must be given to the student’s committee at least one month before the qualifying examination takes place, so that the candidate’s committee may review the proposal to evaluate whether it is defendable.  If not, then the student will have an opportunity to resubmit, although this may alter the final dates of the qualifying and comprehensive examinations.  After the proposal has been pre-approved by the committee, the student will petition the Graduate Office to formally schedule the examinations.

The comprehensive exam will last approximately three hours.  The student will prepare a 20-30 minute oral presentation of the dissertation proposal to begin the examination.  This presentation is open to the public.  After the presentation, the student’s committee may examine the candidate orally on the proposal itself, on science or engineering topics related to the work to be completed, or on topics from the qualifying examination.  The oral examination section must include the student’s full committee, and may also be attended by any department faculty, but is closed to the public.  The examination is passed if the student demonstrates that the research proposal is workable and worthy of a dissertation, and that he or she possesses the requisite scientific and technical knowledge needed to successfully complete the research.

Graduate Education policies stipulate that satisfactory completion of the comprehensive examination requires that no more than one member of the graduate student advisory committee votes against passing.  If the student passes with conditions, such as failure to pass a part of the examination, the committee shall inform the student promptly as to how and when the conditions may be removed.  If, in the opinion of 2 or more members of the graduate student advisory committee, the student has failed the comprehensive examination, another such examination may not be attempted during the same semester.  After failure to pass a second time, work toward the doctorate can be continued only with the consent of the graduate student advisory committee, the Council of Graduate Education, and the dean of graduate education, pending successful future completion of the comprehensive examination.

Additional Graduate School policies pertaining to PhD examinations are located in the SDSMT Catalog .

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