Geology, Geological Engineering, and Mining Engineering, PhD

Contact Information

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

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

Geological Engineering Faculty

Professor Stetler; Associate Professors Katzenstein and Sawyer; Assistant Professor Li; Professors Emeritus Davis and Rahn.

Geology and Paleontology Faculty

Professors L. Anderson, Duke, Masterlark, M. Price, and Uzunlar; Associate Professor Pagnac; Assistant Professors Baran, Keenan, Ustunisik, and Ward; Lecturer C. Price; Professors Emeritus Fox, Lisenbee, Martin, Paterson, and Redden.

Mining Engineering Faculty

Professor Roberts; Associate Professors Brickey and Tukkaraja; Senior Lecturer McCormick; Lecturers Allard and Bowron; Adjunct Faculty Chancellor; Professor Emeritus Kliche.

Adjunct Faculty

M. Anderson, Benton, Iles, McCormick, Nielsen, and Valder.

Staff

Research Scientist Roggenthen and Tung; Energy Resources Initiative Director Soeder; Coordinator and Instructor Pellowski; Museum of Geology Associate Director and Instructor Shelton.

PhD in Geology, Geological Engineering, and Mining Engineering

Students must elect to pursue a specialization in Geology, Geological Engineering, or Mining Engineering. Those interested in paleontology at the PhD level enroll in the Geology Specialization. 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

    Department-wide expectations for Geology and Geological Engineering graduate programs are designed to target the following program outcomes in the context of the GGE Strategic Plan and greater professional community:

    • Students will have technical expertise.
    • Students will be effective communicators.
    • Students will engage in meaningful professional service.
    • Students will impact the profession.

    For information on outcomes for the Mining Engineering and Management Department, visit their Graduate Programs Page.

    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)

    Although a particular baccalaureate degree is not required for admission, 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

    Although a particular baccalaureate degree is not required for admission, 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

    PhD 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 or MS program in Mining 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:

    GEOL 700 Developing and Planning Research (required the first fall semester of enrollment) 
    GEOL 808 Fundamental Problems in Engineering and Science 

    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).
    GEOL 808 Fundamental Problems in Engineering and Science

    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:
     
    GEOL 808 Fundamental Problems in Engineering and Science

    In addition, the program of study must include at least fifteen (15) 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. After the successful completion of both exams, the student will be admitted to PhD candidacy. Detailed information on both examinations is outlined in the Geology and Geological Engineering Graduate Handbook  (available only via on-campus or VPN connection), The Mining Engineering Graduate Handbook, and in the Graduate Education Policies GEP VIII. PhD Degree Requirements.

    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. 

    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 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

    For the Geology and Geological Engineering specializations, any physical specimens (and associated documentation) collected, prepared, and cited in a thesis or dissertation are to be deposited in the Museum of Geology as part of the student’s work. Guidelines (available only via on-campus or VPN connection) and forms are available.



    See Course Catalog for More Information