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Mining and Geological Engineering: Undergraduate Programs


The Department of Mining and Geological Engineering offers a Bachelor of Science in Mining Engineering, and that undergraduate degree program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET,

Expected Learning Outcomes: 

Program objectives defined by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET are those skills a practicing engineer can do 3-5 years after graduation. Outcomes are those skills a student has mastered at the time of graduation. Based on input from industry and alumni our program objectives are:

A practicing mining engineer:

1. Can tie the first principles of engineering with computer-based solutions to validate computer output, understand the difference between theoretical and practical solutions.

2. Can conduct economic and risk analyses; understand a business plan and responsibilities to customers, stockholders, and stakeholders.

3.  Can stay current with technology and industry practices.

4. Can effectively communicate with peers, front-line workforce, and management; possess the skills to be a team player.

5. Takes safety and environmental concerns into consideration in designs.

6. Can understand the human and social elements of a mining operation and its importance, dynamics, and sensitivity to internal stimuli as it drives the safety, costs, and productivity of the operation.

7. Possess the ability to organize, plan, and schedule projects to effectively manage resources and reach deadlines.

Our program learning outcomes are:

Outcome (A) - A Mining Engineering graduate from the UA will:

Demonstrate proficiency in mathematics through differential equations; physics including mechanics, thermodynamics and circuits; basic chemistry principals and laboratory techniques; basic geosciences; probability and statistics; including the ability to conduct experiments and analyze data.

Outcome (B) - A Mining Engineering graduate from the UA will:

Be able to complete a design project including elements that emphasize project management, supervision, and effective communication.

Outcome (C) - A Mining Engineering graduate from the UA will:

Be able to solve engineering analysis problems with increasing difficulty through the curriculum, including open-ended problems and the impact of the solution on safety and quality

Outcome (D) - Mining Engineering graduate from the UA will be able to:

Prepare technical reports (including team based) in written form including graphs and tables, and oral reports in prepared presentations; identify the need for information, locate the information, assess the quality of the information, and use the information effectively.

Outcome (E) - A Mining Engineering graduate from the UA will:

Demonstrate sensitivity to issues in humanity

Outcome (F) - A Mining Engineering graduate from the UA will:

Be involved in professional societies, outreach, or research.

Outcome (G) - A Mining Engineering graduate from the UA will have the ability to:

Integrate computers and software to solve engineering problems and have a working knowledge of mining equipment/tools.

Assessment Activities: 

Processes in Place to Assure Graduates Achieve Program Outcomes

The process for continuous improvement of undergraduate education consists of four major steps:

1.      Identify the goals and learning objectives and outcomes of our educational program.

2.      Determine how we are attempting to satisfy those outcomes.

3.      Assess if we are meeting the desired outcomes.

4.      Assess if our outcomes are meeting the desired objectives.

5.      Provide feedback to determine where resources should be focused to improve the program.

Several mechanisms are involved in the feedback process used to guide the assessment and change of our objectives. The items in bold are the most direct measures of our achievement of educational objectives.

1.      Industry Leadership Board

2.      Meetings with industry, government, NGOs, and alumni (state mine inspector, MSHA, FMI health, BLM, Labor Union)

3.      Feedback from employers for summer hires

4.      Near Term Alumni Survey (1 - 5 years out)

5.      Faculty meetings

6.      Academic Program Review (conducted every 7 years and includes external and internal reviewers)

 Results from the questions on the alumni survey are summarized below:

  • 62% used MineSight regularly; other software used included Vulcan, vNetPC, Mine 2-4D, Autocad, MS Project, Excel (Objectives 1 and 7)
  • 69% routinely do budgeting, financial, or risk assessment for projects (Objective 2)
  • 25% of the respondents had received post baccalaureate degrees or certifications since graduation (Objective 3)
  • 88% are currently members of SME (Objective 3)
  • 94% have taken training classes since graduation (Objective 3)
  • 94% work on project teams with multiple engineering disciplines or non-engineers (Objective 4)
  • 68% write complete project reports or contribute major sections (Objective 4)
  • 75% frequently make project presentations within their companies; 19% make frequent presentations to clients or others outside their companies (Objective 4)
  • 94% have safety or environmental factors in the projects they manage (Objective 5)
  • 69% have human or societal elements as factors in the projects they manage (Objective 6)
  • 75% have faced an ethical dilemma on the job; 94% felt they had a firm basis to resolve the dilemma (Objective 6)
  • 81% have served as project manager for a complete project or a significant part of a major project (Objective 7)

 Our alumni reported that:

  •  94% felt they were prepared for their first job
  • 94% were mostly or highly satisfied that their education met their career needs (avg rating = 4.6/5.0)
  • 94% said that a professional engineering license was not important for their current job; 25% had taken and passed the FE exam
  • 100% were members of SME as students
  • 88% participated at the San Xavier Mine as undergraduates
  • 50% participated in a research project with a faculty member as an undergraduate
  • 25% had worked internationally since graduation

When asked an open ended question about what they would change in their education, 25% wish they had taken better advantage of the hands on experience at the San Xavier Mine. Most replied that they wanted more experience with MineSight, Excel, AutoCad; more economics of day to day projects, and project valuation.

When asked an open ended question about what they do on the job that they wish had been included in the curriculum or with more detail: time and project management; more proficiency with mine design software and the mine design process; more open-ended problems that resemble professional practice; more metallurgy; how to be a better listener; how mining is affected by socio-economic factors.

Table 2-3: Improvement in meeting objectives after the 2005 curriculum changes.


Learning Objective

Criterion 3

2003 Survey – old curriculum

2009 Survey – new curriculum

1. Can tie the first principles of engineering with computer-based solutions …




2. Can conduct economic and risk analyses …




3. Can stay current with technology and industry practices




4. Can effectively communicate with peers, …




5. Takes safety and environmental concerns into consideration in designs




6. Can understand the human element of a mining operation …




7. Possess the ability to organize, plan, and schedule projects…


Not measured



The overall satisfaction of mining engineering alumni was 4.6/5 compared to 4.3/5 from our 2003 survey prior to our curriculum changes.

The Department of Mining and Geological Engineering uses several measures to determine the degree to which graduates have achieved the desired learning outcomes. The measures include:

1. Student performance in foundational courses

2. Course outcomes worksheets

3. Near Term Alumni Survey

4. Graduating Senior Surveys

5. Faculty review

6. ILB Audit Committee evaluation

Course Outcomes WorksheetsWe have designed a spreadsheet to record how every assignment, project, exam, laboratory exercise, etc. maps to our outcomes. Faculty members fill out the spreadsheet for each class at the end of every semester. We use this information to map our fulfillment of each outcome as High, Medium, or Low in each class. We can then see if we are adequately covering each outcome or if we need to revise assignments to provide more coverage of a particular outcome. Once the results for the entire course are tallied, the outcome with the highest percentage is taken as the top of the scale.

We create a database with the course grade information and are then able to look at class performance for each outcome in each class and for all classes in the curriculum. Over time we will be able to look at the performance for each outcome by student through graduation. With the program that reads SAPRs we are able to populate the database with transfer grades and foundation, general education, science, and engineering classes in addition to mining classes. As part of our continuous improvement process we set an initial goal of 80% of our students achieving a score of 75% (C) or better for each outcome for each class. As an example of the analysis we do for the mining engineering major classes by ABET outcome (Table 3-4) we see that with the exception of outcome c, we meet our initial threshold. The next step is to look at this type of analysis for each course in the curriculum (including foundation, general education, and engineering science) and for multiple years. 

Table 3-4: Analysis for 2007 for all mining engineering classes showing percentage of students achieving each grade threshold for each learning outcome. Goal is 80% of students score C or higher.



Grade of A

B and above

C and above

D and above

Grade of E






































As a result of the 2004 outcome assessment process we have identified the need to greatly strengthen students’ exposure to professional computer software such as mine planning software. We created a new course MNE 419 Mine Planning Software that teaches MineSite. The course is taught at the Mintec office in Tucson. After 2 years of teaching the course our feedback from students and instructors indicated the 419 course needed to be better integrated with MNE 434 Surface Mine Design and MNE 438 Underground Mine Design. We now include a laboratory component to use MineSite in each class. We are able to install MineSite on computers in a College teaching computer laboratory and use this room for the lab component of 434 and 438. We identified a strong need to strengthen the environmental component of the curriculum. We developed a new course on sustainable resource development in created a new track in the curriculum focusing on sustainable development, environmental, health, and safety issues. We identified a need to strengthen our students’ skills in project management, planning, time management, and team work. We are created a new capstone design course and after two years of feedback, modified the course to have more structure and more focus on project management, communication, and teamwork.

We re-designed our Senior capstone design course so that it extends over two semesters (the first semester will culminate in a project proposal, the second semester will culminate in a full project report). The emphasis in the first semester is on preparing professional proposals with a work plan that is economical and reflects the 16 week time limit. During the second semester, the teams will conduct research or project development, culminating in a final project report. The course is taught by two retired mining industry executives.

A summary of the assessment and changes to the curriculum are below:

  • Outcome G – needed to improve the use of computer software and modern engineering tools and satisfaction with the integration of social issues in our classes. Added a new course MNE 419 Mine Planning Software with support from Mintec. We now have 50 licenses of MineSight installed on university computers. Our students take a 40 hour course on MineSight. We integrate MineSight into our Surface and Underground Mine Design courses. We have installed a site license for VentSim on department computers and use this software in our MNE 426a Mine Ventilation course as well as senior design projects. We use RocScience geomechanics software in MNE 427 and 447 geomechanics classes. We make extensive use of Excel and Access in MNE 407 and 409.
  • Outcome D to find ways to improve students’ satisfaction with their professional communication skills, including information literacy and lifelong learning. Professional communication skills need to be used in all classes with a progressive experience similar to that of engineering design. The capstone design course should represent a level of professional communication on par with that in industry. We added two seminar courses which emphasize written communication and information literacy. We substantially increased the written and oral communication required in capstone design. The communication and project management skills in capstone design are taught and graded at a level expected for industry professionals.
  • Outcome E - incorporate social issues (outcome E) in our classes so students feel they have adequate exposure and sensitivity to the social issues confronting the industry sectors where they are likely to be employed. A new course in sustainable resource development was added to the curriculum in 2005. In addition, we schedule lectures on societal issues in our seminar series. 

During the 2004-2010 review period, we assessed these curricular changes and continued to modify individual courses, and course sequences based on our feedback processes. We have continued to refine our curriculum changes to address feedback from the faculty, students, and industry.

Updated date: Sat, 03/11/2017 - 13:39