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Our transdisciplinary partnerships, state-of-the-art facilities, and top-notch research and teaching faculty produce advanced mining and minerals engineers and researchers who can help solve critical challenges facing the world.


Grad student working on rare earth elements


In collaboration with the Virginia Tech Graduate School, the Department of Mining and Minerals Engineering offers a range of degrees that position our graduates for high-impact careers.

The Master of Engineering combines real-world industry projects and professional mentorship with course work. It serves students with a bachelor's degree or advanced undergraduates who want to increase their earning potential and make themselves more desirable to employers. An optional certificate in data analytics prepares graduates to optimize industry production and reduce environmental impacts. Scholarships are available. For more information, contact Erik Westman.

The Master of Science degree serves students pursue a special area of interest, gain independent research experience, or prepare of a particular career track. The degree requires at least 20 hours coursework and a maximum of 10 hours in research, and completion of a thesis.

The Doctor of Philosophy degree is intended for exceptional students with a strong interest in scholarship and a desire to do independent research to meet critical global challenges. This program requires students to complete 60 credit hours of research and 30 credit hours of coursework. General requirements for the degree are set by the College of Engineering.

Undergraduates can apply for the department's accellerated B.S./M.S. degree program, which reduces time to a master's by about a year. For more information, contact Graduate Program Director Emily Sarver or Academic Advisor Michelle Crotto.

Note that all Masters applicants should review the requirements for MS and MEng degrees in the MME Graduate Program Manual. MEng is typically a self-funded degree, though students may be eligible for scholarship support.

Research areas

Our graduate students are engaged in a wide range of research, including sustainable mineral and energy resource development, occupational health and safety, mine ventilation and mine fire modeling, optimizing separation processes, coalbed methane and shale gas recovery, and advanced instrumentation and monitoring methods for underground mines.


Graduate assistantships, which are available to most M.S .and Ph.D. candidates and typically include a stipend for living expenses and a waiver of tuition costs. Other financial support is available through the Graduate School

  • Application fee waivers are sometimes available for prospective applicants for research degrees (PhD, MS)
  • Our students also receive academic and career support from a committed and experienced academic advisor and are mentored by faculty and industry partners. 
  • International students can access a range of resources to help with VISAs, language barriers, social support, and employment assistance.
  • The MEng degree is typically a self-funded degree, though students may be eligible for scholarship support.

State-of-the-art facilities

Specialized laboratories on campus such as the new Holden Hall and our off-campus Plantation Road laboratory complex facilitate research into rock mechanics, ground control, health and safety systems, critical mineral processing, applied surface and colloid chemistry, recycling, conservation and the environment, mining ventilation, modeling/simulation, automation and control, carbon sequestration and management, and reservoir engineering.

Research centers

The department's Center for Advanced Separation Technologies, Virginia Center for Coal and Energy Research, and the newly-opened Center for Autonomous Mining provide facilities for specialized grant-funded research and development for academia, industry, and government.

Becoming a student

Admissions requirements, tuition and fees, and the application process are administered through the Graduate School. Please note the following:

  • GRE scores are optional for MME Graduate Program applicants (PhD, MS, MEng). All applications are evaluated in their entirety. GRE scores are not required. If an applicant opts to submit scores, they will be reviewed along with other materials. If an applicant does not submit scores, they will not be disadvantaged in the review process.
  • MME typically does not consider applicants for summer terms; applications should be submitted for regular Fall or Spring semesters.
Mining and Minerals Engineering Graduate Student Manual
All graduate students are expected to familiarize themselves with this manual which provides information that will be helpful in their graduate studies. The manual supplements the Graduate Policies and Procedures and Course Catalog (available from the Graduate School).
MME Graduate Manual (Rev Fall 2022).pdf