Curators approve nation’s first Ph.D. in explosives engineering

Dr. Paul Worsey (center) instructs students at Missouri S&T's Experimental Mine Facility.

Dr. Paul Worsey (center) instructs students at Missouri S&T’s Experimental Mine Facility.

A pioneering program in explosives engineering at Missouri University of Science and Technology is poised to expand to the doctoral level. The University of Missouri System Board of Curators voted to approve the degree program at its Nov. 21 meeting. The program now must be approved by the Coordinating Board of Higher Education.

This isn’t the first milestone for the school in explosives engineering. Missouri S&T was the first university in the nation to offer undergraduate and post-graduate minors in the field in 2005, and in 2010, the university added a master’s degree to its explosives engineering program.

“We are very pleased the curators approved this advanced degree in explosives engineering,” says Missouri S&T Chancellor Cheryl B. Schrader. “The degree was designed to ensure that S&T graduates have the competencies and advanced skills employers look for — and that our graduates can quickly move into managerial, teaching or research positions.”

The new Ph.D. degree will help Missouri S&T fill critical shortfalls in government and industry. In the mining industry alone, more than 5,000 engineers will retire in the next decade.

Explosives engineers work in mining, construction and demolition industries, among others. Some 6 billion to 7 billion pounds of explosives are used every year in the U.S., 85 percent in providing raw materials for a variety of uses and 12 percent for new construction.

The Missouri S&T explosives engineering program is directed by Dr. Paul Worsey, professor of mining engineering, and is a part of the university’s mining and nuclear engineering department. The 72-hour Ph.D. program will require a dissertation and explosives engineering core courses and electives. Much of the field work and research will be conducted on the property of the university’s Experimental Mine Facility in Rolla.

Information about the explosives engineering program at Missouri S&T can be find online.