Professional Master’s Degree in Mineral Exploration

The Professional Master’s Degree in Mineral Exploration program is designed for working professionals who want to increase their knowledge and skills, while gaining a thorough up-date of advances across the spectrum of economic geology, mineral exploration techniques, and mining geosciences. The degree offers a curriculum that addresses fundamental and practical applications. Students recently completing a Bachelor’s degree will find this to be a focused program providing preparation for a career in mineral exploration. 

This non-thesis master’s degree program represents one of the most comprehensive professional training opportunities in economic geology in the world. The professors are recognized specialists in their fields and have extensive experience in research and industry.

Program Information


The non-thesis Professional Master’s Degree in Mineral Exploration requires a minimum of 30 credit hours. A minimum of 15 credit hours must be accumulated in five of the following core areas: mineral deposits, mineral exploration, applied geophysics, applied geochemistry, applied structural geology, petrology, field geology, and economic evaluation. An additional 15 credit hours may be selected from the course offerings of the Department of Geology and Geological Engineering and allied departments including Mining Engineering, Economics and Business, Geophysics, Chemistry and Geochemistry, Metallurgy and Materials Science, and Environmental Sciences. Selection of courses will be undertaken in consultation with the academic advisor.

Students may take up to 9 credit hours at the 400-level. All other credits towards the degree must be 500-level or above. A maximum of 9 credit hours may be independent study focusing on a topic relevant to the mineral exploration and mining industries. Independent study credits can also be awarded in recognition of internship projects.


Admission to the Professional Master’s Degree in Mineral Exploration program is restricted to individuals holding a four-year undergraduate degree in earth sciences. The admission is competitive. Applications will be reviewed by an admission committee comprising faculty members involved in the program delivery. Preference will be given to applicants with a minimum of two years of relevant professional experience.

Candidates for the degree of Professional Master’s in Mineral Exploration must have completed the following or equivalent subjects, for which credit toward the advanced degree will not be granted. These are general geology, structural geology, field geology, mineralogy, petrology, 2 semesters of chemistry, 2 semesters of calculus, 1 semester of physics, and an additional science course other than geology.


Part-time, on-the-job students:

In the on-the-job mode courses can be visited as a part-time student offering the possibility to complete the program at your own pace. Most block courses are offered once a year and special block courses are offered every two years. Block courses are 5-14 day short-courses offered as half-day lectures and labs on campus, field camps are 5-14 day full-day courses offered at the end of the Spring semester (May and June).

Full-time, resident students:

As a full-time student, the program can be completed in only one year and students may also take semester-long courses. Full-time students have the option to attend block courses as well as semester-long courses.

4+1 combined MS and BS:

Colorado School of Mines current Bachelor degree students may take advantage of the 4+1 combined degree program to fast track into a career in the mining industry. Find out more here.


Please contact the program coordinator Mary Doherty if you have any additional questions.