University General Course Catalog 2024-2025 (DRAFT) 
    May 30, 2024  
University General Course Catalog 2024-2025 (DRAFT)

Mineral Resource Engineering, Ph.D.

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The faculty of Mining and Metallurgical Engineering Department along with the Geological Engineering faculty of the Department of Geological Sciences and Engineering offer an interdisciplinary Ph.D. degree in Mineral Resources Engineering. Applications for this program may be submitted to either department.

Potential dissertation research topics for students from Mining and Metallurgical Engineering include, but are not limited to:

  • rock mechanics,
  • ground control,
  • mine design,
  • mine ventilation,
  • health & safety,
  • mine automation and robotics,
  • geothermal energy,
  • mineral processing and extractive metallurgy.

Potential dissertation research topics for students from Geological Scienes and Engineering include, but are not limited to:

  • soil and rock slope stability,
  • rock mechanics,
  • geologic fracture mechanics,
  • volcano hazards,
  • urban geo-engineering,
  • aerospace remote sensing,
  • pure and applied geomathematics/geostatistics, and
  • planetary geomechanics.

The Mineral Resources Engineering, Ph.D. Program has three areas of concentrations:

  • mining engineering,
  • geological engineering, and
  • metallurgical engineering.

Contact Information

Javad Sattarvand, Ph.D., Graduate Program Director
(775) 784-6608

Mailing Address:
University of Nevada, Reno
Department of Mining and Mineral Resources Engineering,
Mail Stop 0173
1664 N. Virginia Street
Reno, NV 89557

Program Objectives/Student Learning Outcomes

Mineral Resource Engineering students will be able to:

  • contribute to state-of-art knowledge in the earth sciences and engineering disciplines, such as mining, metallurgical and geological engineering.
  • think out-of-the-box and come up with novel solutions to existing problems.
  • write research proposals, reports and quality research articles.
  • demonstrate effective communication skills through research presentations and teaching at the undergraduate level.
  • demonstrate networking skills by attending conferences and professional meetings.

Admission Requirements

General Admissions Requirements

Students must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university to be accepted as a graduate student. For full graduate standing, at least 30 units of undergraduate work in geology and/or related fields must have been completed.

To be considered for admission, students must meet the following minimum university requirements:

  • Grade-point average (GPA): Four-year undergraduate GPA of 2.75 for applicants to a M.S. degree program, or 3.0 GPA for a Ph.D. degree program.
  • Minimum TOEFL score (if applicable): 550, with scores sent directly to the university. Note that 600 is recommended because students below a 600 must then pass a bridge test upon entering the university.

Prospective applicants should have a degree in any branch of the geological sciences, physical sciences or engineering. Degree requirements for this program are listed in the Graduate School section of this catalog; contact either department office or the geological engineering faculty for more details.

Additional Admission Requirements

For admission to the Department of Geological Sciences and Engineering, prospective students must also submit the following:

  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE): Combined score of 1200 or higher in the verbal and quantitative sections (V + Q ≥ 1200) — sent directly to the UNR Graduate School, with unofficial copies also sent separately to the Department
  • Three letters of recommendation certifying ability to perform graduate-level work at the desired level (M.S. or Ph.D.) — sent directly to the Department
  • A two-page personal statement of interest stating why UNR is their school of choice, why they wish to pursue the desired degree (M.S. or Ph.D.), and what specialties and/or faculty the applicant is interested in — sent directly to the Department
  • Copies of transcripts and TOEFL scores (if applicable) — sent directly to the Department

The Admissions Committee gives comparable weight to each item submitted as part of the application package so an applicant will not be denied admission based solely on his/her GPA or GRE scores. It is advisable for applicants to contact prospective faculty advisors to discuss their interests prior to applying. A physical visit to UNR to see the Department and meet with the prospective faculty advisor can also be critical to a successful application for graduate study.

Application Deadlines and Addresses

  • For fall semester admission, complete applications (i.e., the items listed above) must be received by the Department no later than January 1st
  • For spring semester admission, completed applications must be received by the Department no later than September 15.
  • GRE scores and official transcripts are sent directly to the UNR Graduate School to arrive there well before these stated deadlines
  • The applicant’s personal statement and letters of recommendation are to be sent by these deadlines to:

Department of Geological Sciences and Engineering, Mail Stop 172
Mackay School of Earth Sciences and Engineering 
University of Nevada, Reno 
Reno, NV 89557 
(775) 784-6050 
Fax: (775) 784-1833

I. Program Requirements

The Ph.D. degree requires 72 units including 30 units of 700-level course work.

A. Seminar (2 units)

One unit in each of two semesters.

B. Electives (45 units)

Selection of elective courses must be approved in advance by each student’s advisory committee. Courses outside MINE may be included here with advisory committee permission.

C. Comprehensive Examination (1 unit)

May not be used towards the 30 units of 700-level coursework requirement.

D. Dissertation (24 units)

II. Total Units (72 units)

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