Central Appalachian Regional Education and Resource Center (CARERC)

Mining Safety & Health (MS, PhD)

The U.S. has made great strides in reducing the incidence of occupational diseases, injuries, and fatalities since the passage of the Federal Coal Mine Safety and Health Acts of 1969 and 1977. Another major step was taken forward in 2006 when Congress passed the Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act (MINER Act). The 2006 legislation amended the prior law to require mine-specific emergency response plans in underground coal mines, added new regulations regarding mine rescue teams and sealing of abandoned areas, required prompt notification of mine incidents, and enhanced civil penalties. o maintain this progress and protect the lives of working men and women, the United States will need experts trained in mine safety and health to serve in industry, government, and academia. Accordingly, the CARERC Mine Health and Safety (MHS) training program seeks to

  1. Offer M.S.- and Ph.D.-level training that produces mining professionals who will lead successful practitioner and research careers in mining, environmental, and minerals-related settings;
  2. Provide opportunities for supervised research and field experiences for mine health and safety trainees;
  3. Provide this training with an interdisciplinary approach that prepares trainees to practice as members of an occupational/environmental health and safety team; and
  4. Provide a resource for lifelong learning and developing skills to deal with future mine hazards.

The program is administered by the University of Kentucky Graduate School. Rick Honaker, Ph.D., Department Chair and Director of Graduate Studies in Mining Engineering, provides departmental oversight of the program. Joseph Sottile, Ph.D., serves as MHS program director. Dr. Sottile is a tenured Professor of Mining Engineering and serves the Department as its Director of Undergraduate Studies. He also serves on the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) Mining Sector Council and the Kentucky Mine Equipment Review Panel. He has won the UK Mining Engineering Outstanding Teaching Award five times and was the 2012 recipient of the Stephen McCann Memorial Education Excellence Award. Additional distinguished faculty members include those listed here

Faculty Member Appointment(s) Areas of Expertise
Honaker, Rick, Ph.D.1 Professor & Chair Coal Preparation, Mineral Processing, Advanced Physical Processing, Fine Particle Processing, Automation and Control, Applied Surface Chemistry, Introductory Mining
Katen, Kenneth, M.S. Part-time Instructor Mine Law and Safety, Safety Management, Industrial Hygiene, Hazard
Lineberry, G.T., Ph.D.4 Professor; Associate Provost for Faculty Advancement4 Mine Health and Safety, Mine Plant Machinery, Mining Operations
Lusk, Braden, Ph.D. Associate Professor Blasting, Explosives, Blast Mitigation, Public Relations, Mine Operations and Management
Novak, Thomas, Ph.D. Professor and Alliance Coal Academic Chair Electrical Systems, Mine Ventilation, Mine Health & Safety, Mine Ignition Prevention; Communications and Tracking Systems
Perry, Kyle, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Blast Mitigation, Mine Seals, Mine Construction, Rock Mechanics
Silva, Jhon, Ph.D.2 Assistant Professor Ground Vibration, Geotechnology, Surface Mining, Slope Stability
Sottile, Joseph, Ph.D.1 Professor; Director of Undergraduate Studies Mine Power Systems, Electrical System Safety
Tao, Daniel, Ph.D. Professor, Mining Engineering Foundation Distinguished Chair Surface and Colloidal Chemistry, Coal Preparation/cleaning, Mineral Beneficiation, Metal Surface Treatment, Dewatering/filtration, Column Flotation, Solid Waste Disposal/utilization, and Waste Water Treatment
Wedding, William Chad, Ph.D.3 Assistant Professor Mine Ventilation, Computational Fluid Dynamics applied to Mine Ventilation

While not a distinct track within the College of Engineering and its Department of Mining Engineering, the Mine Health and Safety training program includes curricula for both master’s- and doctoral-level training. These are integrated into the CARERC’s broader transdisciplinary program that includes occupational and environmental health nursing, ergonomics, occupational injury prevention, occupational medicine, and occupational epidemiology.

Three master program degrees are available from the Department. The two Master of Science in Mining Engineering (M.S. Min.E.) degrees are useful to those students who plan a career in research, problem solving, or teaching. They are a prelude to the doctorate. The Master of Mining Engineering (M. Min. E.) is a professional degree intended for students who want more course work and study to help them with an industrial or professional career. The M. Min. E. is not intended to lead to doctoral studies. All students in the MHS Training Program will enroll in the M.S. in Mining Engineering, with thesis. This degree requires a minimum of 24 semester hours of course work plus a thesis. In no case will independent work, taken as MNG 780 or MNG 790 and used for part of the thesis, be counted as part of the 24 hours required. The thesis must be actively supervised by a member of the Graduate Faculty and must be orally defended. At UK, full-time graduate students take a minimum of 9 credit hours per semester.

The Doctor of Philosophy in Mining Engineering is the terminal degree for those interested in research, problem solving, and university teaching. It is comprised of a period of residency, course work, and original research that contributes to the body of knowledge. The Ph.D. course work should complement the intended area of expertise to be developed. The candidate and his or her advisor should develop a coherent set of courses, the successful completion of which would signal readiness for the Qualifying Examination, for review and approval by the student’s advisory committee. Because the Ph.D. subsumes a master’s degree, the list of courses for which a student is held responsible in the master’s degree also pertains to Ph.D. coursework. See http://www.engr.uky.edu/mng/students/graduate/masters/course-requirements/.

Typically, both M.S. and Ph.D. students receive support in the form of teaching or research assistantships. All qualified MHS Trainees who maintain adequate progress will be funded throughout their respective degree programs.

The required curriculum is designed to be completed within four semesters by full-time students, both M.S. and Ph.D. If the candidate does not have a B.S. degree in Mining Engineering, he/she will need to complete four additional courses to demonstrate competency in basic mining engineering concepts.

Core Courses Title Credit Hours
CPH 620Occupational and Environmental Health II3
CPH 698Occupational Safety and Health: Field Surveys3
CPH 699ProSeminar in Occupational Health and Safety0 - 1
MNG 599Topic in Mining Engineering: Advanced Mine Safety Management3
MNG 771Seminar in Mining Engineering1
Undergraduate Courses Title Credit Hours
MNG 264Mining Methods3
MNG 463Surface Mine Design and Environmental Issues3
Any two of the following four courses (minimum of 6 cr.hrs.):
MNG 301Minerals Processing3
MNG 341*Mine Ventilation3
MNG 431Mining Engineering Economics2
MNG 551*Rock Mechanics4
* Recommended for MHS Trainees
Course Number Title Credit Hours
CPH 601Environmental Health3
CPH 610Injury Epidemiology and Control3
CPH 617Environmental/Occupational Epidemiology3
CPH 622Toxic Agents and Their Implications in Public Health3
CPH/PHR 665 or TOX 600Ethical Issues in Clinical Research or Ethics in Scientific Research2 – 3
CPH 711Chronic Disease Epidemiology3
CPH 718Special Topics in Epidemiology: Scientific Report Writing3
CPH 728Special Topics in Occupational/Environmental Health: Advanced Agricultural Health 3
MNG 551Rock Mechanics4
MNG 599/699Topic in Mining Engineering: Advanced Mine Systems Analysis3
MNG 599/699Topic in Mining Engineering: Automation & Control3
MNG 611Mine Power System Protection3
MNG 621Instrumentation for Blasting & Blast Mitigation3
MNG 641Advanced Mine Ventilation3
MNG 699Topics in Mining Engineering: Geotechnical Analysis Techniques3
MNG 780Special Problems in Mining Engineering0 – 6
MNG 790Special Research Problems in Mining Engineering0 – 6
SOC 534Sociology of Southern Appalachia3
STA 580Biostatistics I3

Opportunities for Research: All M.S. and Ph.D. students in the Mine Health & Safety training program have opportunities to work on research projects and obtain support; e.g.,

  • Pilot Grants – The CARERC seed grant program, with awards ranging from $10,000 to $15,000.
  • Graduate and Staff Research Positions – We anticipate that most doctoral students, after completing the first two years of study supported by stipends, will be funded as Graduate Research Assistants and work with a funded research project.
  • Teaching Assistantships (TA) – Teaching assistants are involved in assisting the instruction of laboratory courses, grading assignments and major projects, and in occasionally substituting for professors on travel.
  • External Grants – When appropriate, students in the later stages of their dissertation work will be encouraged to apply for external funding.
  • Graduate Fellowships – The Mining Engineering Foundation supports two to three non-service, full-time fellowships per year. These are competitive fellowships and are valued at approximately $30,500 for M.S. students and $34,900 for Ph.D. students. Because of CARERC’s Appalachian focus, it is anticipated that students in the Mine Health & Safety Training Program will fare well in this internal competition.

Admission: Candidates for enrollment must meet Departmental requirements for graduate study, which are governed by the rules of the UK Graduate School. Enrollment in either master's degree program is open to qualified applicants with an undergraduate degree in mining engineering or other engineering and science fields. Normally, it is expected that applicants will have graduated from an engineering program accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). For applicants from non-U.S. universities, from related but non-engineering disciplines, and from institutions that do not have accredited engineering programs, an assessment will be made of the comparability of educational background to that prescribed and appropriate remedial course work established as a provision for admission. A grade point average of 2.80/4.00 is normally required on all undergraduate work. Persons with undergraduate degrees in fields other than mining engineering are required to make up deficiencies in undergraduate mining engineering courses. Applicants for admission must have a combined score on the verbal and quantitative portions of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) in excess of 300 (1,000 on the prior scale). Scores on the analytical portion are also considered. Foreign applicants whose native language is other than English must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and score at least 550 before they can be admitted. The GRE average in the Department is above 312 (1250 on the prior scale). See http://www.engr.uky.edu/admissions/