Mines News

Release Date Tuesday, September 1, 2020

South Dakota Mines Adds New Programs to Boost Research, Enhance Graduate Opportunities

RAPID CITY, SD (Sept. 1, 2020) — In order to expand research capabilities and offer advanced training in electrical engineering (EE), South Dakota Mines has added a Ph.D. program in EE. The university also added a minor in Science, Technology, and Society (STS) and a specialization in biochemistry.

The South Dakota Board of Regents (BOR) approved the changes in early August.

“Adding a doctorate in EE allows Mines faculty to pursue more advanced and larger research grants and projects,” says Thomas Montoya, Ph.D., interim head of the EE department at South Dakota Mines. “The EE department anticipates growing both our graduate student numbers as well as research expenditures as the doctoral program develops,” Montoya says. “The goal of the electrical engineering doctoral program is to provide students with an education in advanced electrical engineering topics and mentoring in research skills to produce experts/scholars as well as leaders for academia, government and industry.” 

Research emphasis areas for EE include autonomous systems/vehicles, robotics, computer vision, control theory, electronic materials, organic electronic devices such as OLED and solar cells, wireless communications and networking, antennas, applied electromagnetics, power systems and the smart grid. Currently, Mines EE undergraduates earn an average starting salary of $63,127 and have a placement rate of 100%.

The BOR also approved a new minor in STS. This degree is an interdisciplinary field of study that explores how science and technology shape the world. Graduates of the program go into a variety of careers, from public policy to law.

“The addition of an STS minor provides students majoring in other degrees the opportunity to supplement their scientific and technical training with interdisciplinary coursework in the humanities and social sciences,” says Allison Gilmore, Ph.D., head of the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences. “The STS curriculum also furthers the South Dakota Mines commitment to bring interdisciplinarity, collaboration and respect for the human dimensions of technological innovation to our students as they prepare to address the scientific and engineering challenges of the 21st century.”

Gilmore adds, “Confronting issues from climate change to biodiversity loss to sustainability involves not only continual progress in science and engineering, it demands an understanding of the historical origins of current problems, effective communication across cultures and audiences, and an examination of the ethical implications of our choices. As such, the STS minor provides essential training for our STEM students, as they strive to connect scientific and engineering innovation to real-world problems and analyze the impact of those innovations on communities across the globe.”

The BOR gave approval to the addition of a specialization in biochemistry that is designed for students interested in a career in a health field such as medical, dental or pharmacy. It will be taken by chemistry majors interested in the application of chemistry concepts to biological systems. It will require courses in biochemistry, genetics and molecular biology.

“The biochemistry specialization will create synergy in curriculum development among chemistry, biology and pre-professional health sciences programs of our department,” says Zhengtao Zhu, Ph.D., interim department head/associate professor in the Department of Chemistry Biology and Health Sciences. “The biochemistry specialization will help recruit students who are interested in industry and research in areas such as health professions, biotechnology and life science.”

College Factual has ranked South Dakota Mines No. 1 in the nation on Return on Investment for best engineering school for the money out of 302 similar institutions.


About South Dakota Mines  

Founded in 1885, South Dakota Mines is one of the nation’s leading engineering, science and technology universities. South Dakota Mines offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees and a best-in-class education at an affordable price. The university enrolls 2,418 students with an average class size of 24. The South Dakota Mines placement rate for graduates is 97 percent, with an average starting salary of more than $68,685. For these reasons  South Dakota Mines is ranked among the best engineering schools in the country for return on investment. Find us online at www.sdsmt.edu and on FacebookTwitter, LinkedInInstagram and Snapchat.

Contact: Lynn Taylor Rick, (605) 394-2554, Lynn.TaylorRick@sdsmt.edu

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