Jun 23, 2024  
2023-2024 Catalog 
2023-2024 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Metallurgical/Mineral Processing Engineering, M.S.

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Department Head: Dr. Jerry Downey
  (406) 496-4578
  ELC 215

Field of Study

Metallurgical/Mineral Processing Engineering deals with all aspects of metal and non-metal processing and manufacturing. Mineral processing engineers have the responsibility of accepting ore mined from the earth, comminuting the ore until liberation occurs, and then removing the valuable minerals in the form of concentrates. Extractive metallurgical engineers extract the valuable metals from the concentrates, remove impurities from the metals using aqueous or thermal chemistry, and then market the purified metal as a commodity. Physical metallurgical engineers accept various purified metals and alloy them to control a number of characteristics including strength and corrosion resistance. Materials engineers control the same characteristics but pertaining to plastics, composites, glasses, ceramics, etc. Finally, welding engineers join the various materials together but with minimal destruction of the integrity of the metals and materials.

Degree Program

M.S. degrees in Metallurgical/Mineral Processing Engineering can be obtained by two options. Option A, the thesis option, requires 20 course credits, 8 thesis credits, and 3 seminar credits. Option B, the non-thesis option, requires 34 course credits and 3 seminar credits. Curricular programs will be established by the student and the graduate advisor in consultation with the graduate advisory committee. The student must demonstrate competence in both oral and written communication, advanced mathematics, and use of computers.

Graduate research may be pursued with an Option in Metallurgical Engineering (Option A or B) or Option in Mineral Processing Engineering (Option A or B). Recent thesis topics have included (1) Dual Ecosystem Enhancement by Slag Remediation of ARD, (2) Selective Recovery of Valuable Metals from Acid-Rock Drainage, (3) Decontamination of Stainless Steel by Melt Refining/Slagging, (4) Arsenic Removal by Modified Ferrihydrite, (5) Simultaneous Ferrous Oxidation/Copper Reduction in Membrane Systems, (6) Alkaline Sulfide Leaching of Gold, (7) Selenium and Thallium Removal by Zero Valence Iron, and (8) Nanopolysilicon Powder Formation.

Off-campus research is encouraged. The degree requirements are the same as those described above for in-house research thesis projects. This allows students to pursue a thesis research project at their place of employment. Selection of a student to participate in the off-campus research option is dependent upon specific criteria, i.e.,

  1. The student must already be employed by the company;
  2. The student must be able to attend in residence at least one semester in order to complete course requirements. Some courses can be completed on-line or self-study;
  3. There must be a qualified on-site thesis instructor;
  4. The thesis research project must be well defined and acceptable to the graduate student’s advisory committee;
  5. A student must be registered every semester that he or she is working toward fulfillment of the degree requirements;
  6. The student must be able to travel to Montana Tech at least once to present a seminar; and
  7. The thesis defense must be conducted on campus, and the student must follow the guidelines for thesis defense.
Seminar Requirements:

T.C. 5150 - Graduate Writing Seminar  or equivalent, ENGR 5940  Graduate Seminar (twice).


The final examination for the thesis-option students will consist of an oral presentation and defense of the thesis. Questions may be asked on any topic related to the thesis or course work taken as part of the graduate program. The presentation will be open to all interested parties, but the defense of the thesis will be open only to the graduate committee.

The final examination for the non-thesis-option students will consist of a written and/or an oral examination. The committee chairman will administer a written examination formulated by the committee. The oral examination will draw questions from the written examination plus any of the course work that is part of the graduate program.

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