Mining is a dynamic  sector that requires highly sophisticated machinery and processes. Providing critical raw materials for a wide range of applications, it’s a larger industry than many people realize. Mining operations produced around $90.4 billion in non-fuel minerals in 2021, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, 

Aspiring engineers looking for compelling career options may want to consider geological engineering. This guide can help you learn more about the requirements for an online mining engineering degree so you can decide if geological engineering aligns with  your career goals.

What is a Master’s in Mining and Geological Engineering?

A Master of Science degree in mining and geological engineering is a multidisciplinary program that covers broad subjects such as environmental studies, geology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, and economics. By studying for a master’s in geological engineering, you’ll acquire theoretical and practical knowledge of the mining processes, which includes related environmental and management considerations. An online mining engineering degree can also help you understand the main subject areas of geology and mining, such as geomechanics, mine planning, mineral processing, and ventilation.

As a mining engineering student, you’ll learn about minerals such as coal, oil, metal ores, semi-precious stones, and diamonds. You’ll also deal with substances such as limestone, clay, and granite. You’ll gain a thorough awareness of the nature of the minerals, rocks, and soil involved in mining, and you’ll also be trained to source recycled raw materials in cost-effective and ecologically-friendly ways.

Generally, you’ll learn the best practices for mining, air quality monitoring, equipment inspections, and safety regulations, as your main objective is to ensure safe removal of minerals by designing processes as efficiently as possible.

Why Get a Master’s in Mining and Geological Engineering Degree?

By enrolling in a master’s degree program in geological engineering, you’ll be qualified to work in various fields. Opportunities encompass a wide range of professions involved in overcoming the challenges in resource processing and extraction. Additionally, completing an online mining engineering degree will equip you with extensive knowledge and practical experience needed to advance your career in the mining industry. Finally, mining organizations need geological and mining engineers to locate sites and establish the best practices to extract minerals while responsibly adhering to safety and sustainability regulations.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, your top employers as a mining or geological engineer are the following:

  • Engineering services
  • Metal ore mining
  • Coal mining
  • Government
  • Oil and gas extraction

Due to the multidisciplinary aspect of this degree, there are also sub-disciplines you can explore as a mining and geological engineer. You may opt for any of the following careers if you want to pursue a different specialization:

  • Geologist
  • Petroleum Engineer
  • Geothermal Engineer
  • Mining Safety Engineer

How Much Does a Mining and Geological Engineering Degree Cost?

The cost of acquiring a master’s level online mining engineering degree can range from $10,000 to $30,000 and up, depending on where you enroll. In addition to your tuition, this cost may cover other fees, such as housing for residential students, supplies, and other fees. Several factors may also affect your expenses, including the university ranking, on or off-campus living, and whether you’re a resident of the state where a state university is located.

Some universities may also include additional options that increase the cost, such as health plans, device purchases, and the use of recreational facilities. One benefit of enrolling in an online master’s degree program is the reduced cost. You don’t have to pay for the use of physical facilities, nor do you need to pay for on-campus living. On top of these benefits, you can also save on transportation costs and use the money for other essentials (e.g., food and learning materials).  

Master’s in Mining and Geological Engineering Degree Salary and Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average annual salary for mining and geological engineers was $97,090 in 2021. However, the lowest 10 percent of employed mining and geological engineers earned less than $48,690, while the highest 10 percent earned more than $162,720. Mining engineering salaries can vary widely depending on the sector of the industry and location.

For example, in May 2021, the average annual salaries for mining and geological engineers in the top industries in which they worked are as follows:

  • Oil and gas extraction: $131,020
  • Government: $127,030
  • Coal mining: $98,850
  • Metal ore mining: $95,300
  • Engineering services: $95,300

After completing an undergraduate degree, a master’s in geological engineering salary could range from approximately $50,000 – $114,000 with an average of $78,292.

Employment for mining and geological engineers is projected to grow by 4 percent from 2020 to 2030, which is slower than the average for all other occupations. Despite this fact, there are an average of about 400 job openings for mining and geological engineers projected for each year, over the decade.  Due to tough competition among candidates and a limited number of jobs, a mining engineering salary is higher than the average salary of other professions related to the energy and construction industries.

Common Courses in Master’s in Mining and Geological Engineering Degree Programs

A highly competitive mining engineering salary may convince you to pursue a master’s in geological engineering. However, before deciding to enroll in an online mining engineering degree, there are still a few things that you need to consider. On top of the promising master’s in geological engineering salary you may get after completing your degree, you still need to assess whether this program is aligned with your personal and professional interests.

Here are some common courses you need to take once you enroll in an online master’s in mining and geological engineering program:

  • Hydrogeology and environmental geology
  • Economic geology of petroleum, coal, and mineral resources
  • Sedimentology, stratigraphy, and paleontology
  • Geomorphology and glacial geology
  • Petrology and geochemistry
  • Geophysics and tectonics

Taking an online mining engineering degree also requires you to work on interdisciplinary geological projects involving several research areas, such as integrated basin analysis, surface mining and reclamation, and underground coal gasification.

FAQs About Master’s in Mining and Geological Engineering Degrees and Programs

What is the job outlook for master’s in mining and geological engineering graduates?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of mining and geological engineers is projected to increase by 4 percent from 2020 to 2030.  This is slower than the average for all other occupations. However, despite this limited number, an average of 400 mining and geological engineering jobs are projected each year over the decade. It’s also crucial to note that because of the tough competition among candidates and the limited number of jobs, a mining engineering salary is higher than the average salary of other energy and construction industries-related professions.

What are some jobs that require a master’s in mining and geological engineering degree?

Here are some jobs that require a master’s in mining and geological engineering degree:

  • Geological Engineer       
  • Project Engineer              
  • Geotechnical Engineer
  • Geophysical Engineer
  • Metallurgical Engineer  
  • Mining Superintendent

How long does it take to get a master’s in mining and geological engineering degree? 

If you’re planning to become a mining and geological engineer, you’ll want to consider the typical time needed to finish a master’s in geological engineering. A Master of Science degree program on its own typically ranges between one to two years, depending on the specializations you’re planning to take and other factors, such as employment or your intended full-time or part-time study arrangement.

Level Up Your Mining and Geological Engineering Profession

By pursuing an online mining engineering degree, specifically a master’s in mining and geological engineering, you’ll gain the technical and practical knowledge needed to advance your career in the mining industry and select the specialization you want. A master’s degree is not just an extension of your bachelor’s. It will require you to dedicate financial resources, time, and a strong determination to complete a graduate course online.It’s important to thoroughly evaluate your reasons for enrolling in an online master’s in geological engineering program. If you still need more information to assess the pros and cons or compare different online mining engineering degrees from various universities, here’s an overview of online engineering schools and the different state engineering schools you can explore.

Scroll to Top