Explosives Ph.D. program to be nation's first

Feb 13, 2014

Missouri S&T will begin planning their doctorate program in explosive engineering. The university is the first to have a program in the field after gaining approval from the Missouri Board of Higher Education this week.

University Director of Communications Andrew Careaga said the program will appeal to graduate students from the Rolla campus and prospective doctorate students nationwide. He said the field training Missouri S&T provides is a good sales pitch for students interested in fields like mining, construction and pyrotechnics.

They’re working in a real world experimental mine that that gives them the type of experience and training that they’ll need for their careers," Careaga said.

In his proposal for the doctorate program to the Missouri Board of Higher Education, Vice President of Affairs Steven Graham said there is a “national need” for engineers to replace an aging working class. The proposal said the doctorate program can produce engineers to replace the more than 5,000 engineers in the mining industry who will retire in the next decade.

“The degree is a logical outgrowth of Missouri S&T’s focus as a technological research university and recent expansion in explosives engineering, and is a logical step forward from the current success of the M.S. in explosives engineering," Graham said. "The degree is unique to the nation, if not the world.”  

Dr. Sam Kiger is an engineering professor at the University of Missouri and is also involved in planning some of the program’s courses. He said the 72-credit-hour program is a step forward for the university in bringing in new students and faculty alike.

“It establishes us as a leader in the area, and I can’t imagine a better qualified faculty than the one in the mining department at the University of Missouri S&T,” Kiger said.

Careaga and Kiger both said they admired professor Paul Worsey for his leadership in starting the program. Worsey and the faculty at Missouri S&T have led summer camps in explosives for students outside the university since 2005.

Missouri S&T started their undergraduate and minor program in explosive engineering in 2005. The university was also the first to offer a master's program in the field in 2010. Graham’s proposal for the program said the university more than doubled its faculty body between 2004 and 2012. The proposal also said there was a growing demand for an explosives engineering doctorate among graduate students and students pursuing a Ph.D. in mining engineering.

A news release on Missouri S&T’s page for the major says the university hopes to have the program in place for the summer 2014 semester and to graduate its first Ph.D. student by the end of the year.