Analysis of the mining engineering faculty pipeline

M. M. Poulton

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

6 Scopus citations


Universities are not immune from the large number of retirements facing the mining industry. Department heads anticipate that we will need to replace all of the senior mining engineering faculty in the U.S. by 2020. Long term studies of Ph.D. completion times and success rates indicate that in Engineering disciplines in the U.S., the ten year completion rate is 65% at best and the four year completion rate is less than 8%. We do not have accurate data on completion rates and times for mining or metallurgical engineering Ph.D. students in the U.S. but students self-report their expected completion times are around 4 years. National data on doctoral students indicate that younger, full time students with sufficient financial support have a higher probability of success in completing their degrees in a timely manner. Students in Eastern U.S. mining engineering programs are on average 32 years old, 85% are full time, and the gap between support and cost of attendance is $5,000 per year. Students in Western U.S. programs are on average 38 years old, 78% are full time, and the financial gap is $8,483. Further, it appears that domestic graduate students are not very geographically mobile. The current demand for new faculty is higher in Western programs but the longer term retirements are higher in Eastern programs. While all Ph.D. students who responded to the 2010 survey indicated an interest in a faculty position at some point in their careers, very few were applying for the open positions. Over the past 35 years for which data could be obtained, the maximum number of Ph.D. students enrolled in mining engineering in the U.S. is 115 with a maximum of 27 degrees granted in one year. On average 89 students are enrolled in doctoral programs in mining engineering in the U.S. with average degree production of 15 Ph.D.s per year.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2012 SME Annual Meeting and Exhibit 2012, SME 2012, Meeting Preprints
Number of pages6
StatePublished - 2012
Event2012 SME Annual Meeting and Exhibit 2012, SME 2012 - Seattle, WA, United States
Duration: Feb 19 2012Feb 22 2012

Publication series

Name2012 SME Annual Meeting and Exhibit 2012, SME 2012, Meeting Preprints


Other2012 SME Annual Meeting and Exhibit 2012, SME 2012
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySeattle, WA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geology
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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