Professional Master's Program

Program Description

The Professional Science Master's in Economic Geology (PSM/EG) is a post-graduate education and training program designed to provide geologists with the technical and leadership skills required by mineral industries around the globe. Candidates are usually professionals who have a Bachelor's degree in Geosciences or a related field and a job in the minerals industry but wish to obtain further education and training that will allow them to compete globally with other professionals for career-track positions leading to management opportunities.  

The PSM/EG covers a broad spectrum of mining-related activities, from discovery to production, to mine closure. This program emphasizes technical aspects but also includes essential business and management components.

The program can be completed in two semesters if the student is efficient and can focus entirely on completing the degree, but flexibility is available to pursue the degree over a somewhat longer period of time while working locally part-time.

The PSM/EG has degree requirements that differ from those of a conventional MS degree in Geosciences. The course requirements are not identical, and the PSM/EG requires a written research report in lieu of a formal thesis.                                                                                          

The PSM/EG degree program offers four different emphasis areas (degree tracks) that can be tailored to the individual interest of the student. The PSM/EG involves two semesters of residence at the University of Arizona. During this period, students attend semester-long classes and short courses that are appropriate to the emphasis area and complete a research project that is supervised by a faculty advisor and two additional research committee members.

The four emphasis areas (degree tracks) are identified below:

  1. Exploration geology: For those students interested in pursuing a career in discovering new ore deposits, generally working in teams dominated by geoscientists.
  2. Development geology: For those geologists who will be testing the feasibility of deposits, bringing newly discovered deposits into production, and expanding existing operations, typically as a member of a multi-disciplinary project team.                
  3. Mining geology: For those geologists who will be contributing to the efficient mining and processing of ore at operating mines, generally as a member of the professional staff at an operating mine.
  4. Environmental geology: For those geologists who will be applying geologic science to the environmental aspects of the mining industry, such as permitting new mines or monitoring and controlling water quality and supply in the vicinity of active and closed mining operations, typically as a member of an environmental team at a mine site, a member of a corporate environmental staff, or an employee of an environmental consulting firm.

The mining industry relies on contributions from a variety of areas of expertise, which subjectively can be assigned to four broad subject areas. For the purposes of defining course requirements for students in the Lowell Program in Economic Geology, the figure below identifies the subject areas as (1) exploration and development; (2) mining and processing; (3) economics, business, and people; and (4) health, environment, and safety. These four subject areas encompass the entire mining cycle.


Economic Geology subject areas


                                        Structural diagram of the Lowell Program subject areas

Regardless of which area of emphasis (degree track) a student chooses, we expect him or her to sample courses from at least three of the four subject areas. The balance of courses in each subject area varies according to his or her desired career path (area of emphasis) and personal interests. This flexible structure is intended to provide students with a richer inter-disciplinary education, which we believe is essential to shaping a more successful professional.

Course offerings change over time, but current courses that qualify in each of the subject areas are as follows:

Exploration and Development Mining
and Processing
Economics, Business,
and People
Health, Environment, and Safety
Introduction to  Geochemistry (GEOS500) Mining Methods (MNE 220) Foundations of Business for Scientists (BNAD 510) Field Hydrology   (HWR 513A)
Field Studies Geophysics (GEOS 516) Mineral Processing Methods (MNE 511) Project Management (MIS 578) Mine Examination and Evaluation (MNE 530)
Regional Structural Geology (GEOS 523) Mine Planning Software (MNE 519) Mining and Public Land Law (LAW 640) Hydrology (HWRS 531)
Regional Tectonics (GEOS 525) Geomechanics (MNE 527) Global Capital Markets (MNE 697A) Risk Ecosystem for Environment        (HWRS 543A)
Orogenic Systems (GEOS 527) Surface Mine Planning and Design (MNE 536) Basic Concepts in Mining Economics (MNE 697C) Environmental Isotopic Hydrology and Low Temperature Geochemistry (GEOS 563)
Geophysical Exploration and Engineering (GEOS 548) Underground Mine Design (MNE 539) International Minerals Trade (MNE 697E) Advanced Watershed Hydrology (HWRS 567)
Thrust Belts and Synorogenic Sediments (GEOS 556) Geometallurgy (MNE 418/518) Applied Valuations  of Mineral  assets and projects (MNE 697F) Natural Resources Law and Economics (HWRS 576)
Volcanology: Physical Processes and Petrologic Applications (GEOS 570 R, L)     Introduction to Social and Environmental Assessment           (MNE 697K)
Advanced Ore Deposits (GEOS 646)*      
Geologic Best Practices and Project Stages (GEOS 543C)*      

For details on any of the classes listed above, please go to Catalog or (with UArizona credentials) Browse Catalog