Earth Resources Development Engineering

Earth Resources Development Engineering (ERDE)

A Mines degree prepares you for leadership in the mining industry or in academia.

The new Earth Resources Development Engineering (ERDE) graduate program in the Mining Engineering Department offers students interdisciplinary curricula options that augment a fundamental understanding of mining engineering.

ERDE is catered towards students who wish to specialize in emerging technical and social issues in Earth Resources Development Engineering, including, but not limited to topics such as mining and sustainable development, mining related data science, and mining and the environment.

The Earth Resources Development Engineering (ERDE) specialty is for those who wish to specialize in interdisciplinary fields that include understanding emerging technical and social issues in Earth Resources Development Engineering.  This specialty is open to students with mining or non-mining engineering undergraduate degrees who are interested in scholarship and research on topics including, but not limited to, mining and sustainability, mine closure and reclamation engineering, corporate social responsibility, artisanal and small-scale mining, underground construction and tunneling engineering, mining and the environment, modeling and design in earth systems and processes, geothermal, explosive engineering, mine and construction management, mining related data science, earth observation for mine environmental monitoring and design and application of sensor networks, Internet of Things (IoT), robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) for autonomous mine systems.  Because of the interdisciplinary nature of this degree program, students will be required to take three core classes in the Mining Engineering Department and then choose courses related to their area of interest offered by mining, as well as other departments across campus.

Current Research

Alpha Foundation Award

Alpha Foundation has awarded a grant to an interdisciplinary team at Mines for their project entitled AFC820-54 – Lifting the Veil: Fusing RaDAR and Sound to Provide Enhanced Perception in Obscured Environments. The team involves Dr. Andrew Petruska, from the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Dr. Hao Zhang from Department of Computer Science, Dr. Paul Sava from Department of Geophysics and Dr. Sebnem Duzgun from the Department of Mining Engineering.

They will develop a technology to provide mine search and rescue staff with situation awareness by lifting the veil of the conditions (the combination of dust, smoke and pitch-black,) and provide them with an augmented reality display of the surrounding environment. For this technology development, they will adopt the miniaturized mm-wave RaDAR developed for the self-driving car industry, machine-learning enabled acoustic imaging, and state-of-the-art data-fusion and simultaneous localization and mapping techniques. They will reconstruct a 3D representation of the space, which will be visualized on a light-weight wearable display, e.g., a HoloLens, allowing the responders see around their environment as if it were well-lit and smoke-free.

They will leverage the inherent mapping capability of the approach to provide a level-plan view of the traversed environment to the user. This map can further provide details that delineate between explored/cleared areas and the remaining passages as well as information about the locations of rescue-shelters, call boxes and escape routes. This technology will enable faster, safer and more effective disaster response for mine rescue operations. Not only will it allow the responders to search the environment more rapidly, but it will also enable them to detect unexpected hazards before they become imminent threats. One day it may enable autonomous systems to navigate these occluded environments effectively and enable disaster response to focus on the rescue in search-and-rescue.

DOE Research

Energy Department Awards $5.5 Million to Apply Machine Learning to Geothermal Exploration Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $5.5 million for 10 new projects to apply machine learning techniques to geothermal exploration and production.
Artificial Intelligence for Autonomous underground mine mapping-Object detection from LIDAR and RGBD cameras Remote Sensing and Geoinformatics for target mineral and pollutant detection from hyperspectral images Predictive maintenance for mine equipment Geothermal exploration current DOE funding

NSF Research

Responsible Mining, Resilient Communities (RMRC) is an interdisciplinary, multi-institution, and global research collaboration funded by the US National Science Foundation. Our goal is to co-design socially responsible and sustainable mining practices with communities, engineers, and social scientists.

U.S. Department of State

Technology, Training and Capacity Building in Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining in Peru.

Program Requirements

Master of Science – Thesis (MS-T). Students in the ERDE MS-T program must take a minimum of 15 credit hours from within the Mining Engineering Department. These must include the required core courses listed below unless waived by the Master’s Thesis Committee.

Master of Science – Non-Thesis (MS-NT). Students in the ERDE MS-NT program must take a minimum of 15 credit hours of course work from within Mining Engineering Department. These must include the required core courses listed below unless waived. A maximum of 9 semester hours of 400 level courses can be applied to the course credit hours required.

Mines’ Combined Undergraduate / Graduate Degree Program

Students enrolled in Mines’ combined undergraduate/graduate program (meaning uninterrupted registration from the time the student earns a Mines undergraduate degree to the time the student begins a Mines graduate degree) may double count up to six hours of credits which were used in fulfilling the requirements of their undergraduate degree at Mines, towards their graduate program. Any 400+ level courses that count towards the undergraduate degree requirements as “Elective Coursework” or any 500+ level course, may be used for the purposes of double counting at the discretion of the graduate advisor. These courses must have been passed with a “B-” or better, not be substitutes for required coursework, and meet all other University, Department, Division, and Program requirements for graduate credit.

Doctor of Philosophy

Maximum of 48 semester credit hours of course work, where a maximum of 30 units can be transferred from a M.S. degree program. The student’s Graduate committee must approve the transfer of these units. A minimum of 9 credit course hours must be taken in the Mining Engineering Department. These must include the required core courses listed below unless waived. A maximum of 9 semester hours of 400 level courses can be applied to the credit hours required.


Other PhD Requirements
  • A minimum of 18 hours of course work must be completed at the Colorado School of Mines. A minimum of 9 credits beyond the Master’s degree must be completed in the Mining Engineering Department. Exceptions may be approved by the PhD Dissertation Committee.
  • Those with an MS in an appropriate field may transfer a maximum of 30 credit hours of course work towards the course work requirement, subject to the approval by the Advisor and doctoral committee.
  • The doctoral dissertation thesis must be successfully defended before the doctoral committee.
  • Assessment Exam, usually taken at the end of the first year in the PhD program.
  • Minimum GPA requirement: 3.0/4.0.
  • Thesis Proposal Approval.
  • Comprehensive Exams, oral mandatory, written may be waived at the discretion of the Doctoral Committee.

Students entering the ERDE graduate program for either the master’s or doctoral degree are expected to have completed the equivalent of an undergraduate ABET-accredited BS degree in some discipline of engineering. Deficiencies, if any, will be determined by the Department of Mining Engineering on the basis of a student’s academic record and experience. For specific information on prerequisites, students are encouraged to refer to the Mining Engineering Department’s Graduate Handbook, available from the Department of Mining Engineering or on the web site.

Required Curriculum

The Earth Resources Development Engineering (ERDE) specialty is for those who wish to specialize in interdisciplinary fields that include understanding emerging technical and social issues in Earth Resources Development Engineering.

Graduate Courses

The Master of Science in Earth Resources Development Engineering has two MS degree options (thesis and non-thesis). For the PhD degree, students holding an MS degree in a relevant field may transfer, with the approval of the doctoral committee, a maximum of 30 credit hours of graduate course work towards the required credit hours for the PhD degree. The doctoral dissertation must be successfully defended before the approved doctoral committee.

Time Tables and Suggested Courses

Coming soon!

Grad Student Handbook

Download our handbook and get a jumpstart on your program plan.

In 2024, the year of our 150th anniversary, we will celebrate Colorado School of Mines’ past, present and possibilities. By celebrating and supporting the Campaign for MINES@150 you will help elevate Mines to be an accessible, top-of-mind and first-choice for students, faculty, staff, recruiters and other external partners. The Mining department’s goals for Mines@150 include upgrading facilities, scholarships, and continuing to build on student experiences both in the classroom and out in the field. When you give, you are ensuring Mines becomes even more distinctive and highly sought-after by future students, alumni, industry, and government partners over the next 150 years. We look forward to celebrating Mines’ sesquicentennial with you and recognizing the key role you play in making the MINES@150 vision a reality through your investments of time, talent and treasure. Give now