Jul 17, 2024  
2023-2024 Academic Catalog 
2023-2024 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Geology, Geological Engineering, and Mining Engineering: Mining Engineering Specialization, PhD

Contact Information

Dr. Kelli McCormick, Program Coordinator
Mining Engineering and Management Department
Mineral Industries 235A
(605) 394-1971
E-mail: Kelli.McCormick@sdsmt.edu 

Department Website

Students are responsible for checking with their advisors for any program modifications that may occur after the publication of this catalog.

PhD in Geology, Geological Engineering, and Mining Engineering - Mining Engineering Specialization

Students must elect to pursue a specialization in Geology , Geological Engineering , or Mining Engineering. Each specialization has different background and program requirements.

Degree requirements

Distribution of credits

Mining Engineering Specialization

Core requirements: 3 credits
Research or project requirements: 20-36 credits
Elective requirements: 33-49 credits
Total credits: 72

At least 36 of the required 72 credits must be taken at the 600-level or above.

Students may apply 24 coursework credits and 6 research credits from a previous MS degree toward the PhD requirements, subject to approval by the student’s committee.

Research requirements

The completion of a doctoral dissertation, approved by the student’s graduate advisory committee and the Dean of Graduate Education, is required for this degree.

*At least 20 credits of MEM 898D are required for the degree. No more than 36 credits of 898D may be counted toward the degree.

Elective requirements

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.

A minimum of 33 elective credits are required, including:

  • 33-49 credits of electives required. At least 15 credits of electives must have a MEM prefix.


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: a qualifying examination and a comprehensive examination. After successful completion of both exams, the student will be admitted to PhD candidacy. Detailed information on both examinations is outlined in the Mining Engineering Graduate Handbook and in the Graduate Education Policies GEP VIII. Ph.D. Degree Requirements 

If the student has not completed all requirements for the PhD 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.

Qualifying examination

The qualifying examination will consist of a written examination covering the student’s field of study and related subjects.

Comprehensive examination and admission to candidacy

The comprehensive examination consists of the oral presentation and defense of the student’s dissertation research proposal. All PhD students are required to prepare a research proposal for the research to be accomplished for the dissertation.

Dissertation defense

A dissertation defense and a final oral examination are required for this degree. The final defense must take place no earlier than 12 months after admission to candidacy.

Additional requirements

In addition to these degree-specific requirements, the student must also meet the requirements and policies applied to all graduate degrees  by the Council of Graduate Education.

Objectives and Outcomes

Student Outcomes:

  1. Demonstrates knowledge of concepts and terminology of the discipline
  2. Critically explores and evaluates scientific and technical literature
  3. Analyzes, interprets, and evaluates scientific and/or engineering data and methods
  4. Communicates effectively
  5. Acts professionally and ethically
  6. Impacts the Profession