Utah CMES: Ground-breaking studies that lead to career success
Source: University of Utah, CMES

“With its focus on basic science and engineering, the College of Mines and Earth Sciences is uniquely situated to address … complex problems of the environment and energy resources, and in doing so, the College provides a pathway to improving the quality of lives for all of us.”

– Professor Barbara Nash, Professor of Geology and Geophysics

None of us are strangers to Earth’s complex environmental issues. With colossal strain on the world’s finite resources and the growing dangers of shifting climate patterns, it’s our duty to unravel the origin, transformation and responsible use of our planet’s natural assets.

Earth science is interdisciplinary at the most fundamental level. It’s a subject that draws on engineering, the humanities and, of course, major principles of science, calling for a multidimensional approach from explorers of the subject. The College of Mines and Earth Sciences (CMES) at the University of Utah promises exactly that.

Harbouring 18 accredited degrees in Atmospheric Sciences, Earth Sciences, Geology and Geophysics, Geological Engineering, Metallurgical Engineering, and Mining Engineering at undergraduate and postgraduate-level, this institution promotes development and discovery to protect the natural world.

If you nurture environmental curiosity and a passion for science and math, your talent will be well placed at Utah’s CMES. With rapidly-evolving and growing career opportunities in environmental fields, your priority will be to develop a solid foundation within the physical sciences.  That’s why this college provides a strong, versatile background that can be applied to many careers. It instils a detailed understanding of how our planet’s many varied systems impact human activity, as well as how we influence the wider natural world.

Source: University of Utah, CMES

So what opportunities will be open to you as a graduate of Utah’s CMES?

Atmospheric Sciences

Students build on understanding the critical roles of the atmosphere in order to help solve complex topics that affect our society, such as climate change; poor air quality; hazardous weather including wildfires and hurricanes; improving monitoring of the environment;  and enhancing energy production from solar and wind resources.

You’ll investigate the atmosphere and all processes it embodies, mastering the mathematics, chemistry and physics behind Earth’s intricate weather systems.

Potential Careers:

  • Broadcast Meteorologist
  • National Weather Service
  • Military Meteorologist
  • Scientist/Engineer, Environmental Consulting Firm
  • Insurance and Agriculture Industry role
  • NASA, Bureau Land Management
  • Airforce Weather Service
  • State Agency (e.g. Transportation and Air Quality)

Median Salary: US$85,000

Source: University of Utah, CMES

Geology and Geophysics

Covering everything to do with the composition, material, structure, processes and history of our planet, geology encompasses several specialist fields, including geochemistry, geomorphology and palaeontology. Then there’s geophysics; the study of the Earth by quantitative physical methods. Think the Earth’s interior, crust, atmosphere and magnetosphere.

Potential Careers:


  • US Geological Survey, US National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management Scientist
  • State Geological Surveys
  • County and City Geologist

Private Industry

  • Environmental Geology
  • Engineering Geology
  • Natural Resources
  • Geophysics and Remote Sensing


  • University Professor
  • K12 Educator

Median Salary: US$82,000

Source: University of Utah, CMES

Metallurgical Engineering

This discipline is all about transforming earth materials into useful products. Professionals of this field are constantly seeking ways to minimize waste, maximize efficiency, boost performance and facilitate recycling. It covers mineral processing (mineral/metal concentration), physical metallurgy (adapting metal for technological needs) and extractive metallurgy (chemical separation).

Potential Careers:


  • Aerospace Manufacturing
  • Automotive Part Manufacturing
  • Biomedical Part Manufacturing
  • Consulting
  • Electronics Manufacturing
  • Energy-Related Industries
  • Metal Extraction
  • Metal Refining
  • Mineral/Powder Production
  • Research
  • Quality Control


  • National Labs
  • Nuclear Regulatory Commission
  • Department of Defense
  • Department of Energy

Other (Preparatory Degree for)

  • Law
  • Medicine
  • Business

Median Salary: US$87,000

Source: University of Utah, CMES

Mining Engineering

Professionals in mining engineering apply their diverse scientific and technical skillset to the extraction of the Earth’s mineral deposits. Modern mining emphasizes social and environmental responsibility, safe working conditions, and the implementation of new technologies including robotics, UAVs, and automation using advanced GPS systems.

Supported by the ability to analyze real-time data, today’s mining engineers have the tools to make improved operational decisions. Mining engineers plan, maintain, and oversee mining operations so they are safe, sustainable and economically feasible. As a result, there are many potential career paths for students graduating in mining engineering.

Potential careers:

  • Mine Design
  • Mine Production
  • Corporate Management
  • Mine Product Marketing
  • Mine Reclamation
  • Mine Health and Safety
  • Mine Equipment Sales and Service
  • Government Agencies

Median Salary: US$82,000

Source: University of Utah, CMES

Companies that actively seek Utah CMES students for internships and full-time employment include: Rio Tinto, Freeport McMoRan, Kinross Gold, Newmont, Barrick, Freeport McMoRan, Caterpillar, Bowie Energy, Foresight Energy, Simplot, Dominion Energy, and Komatsu Mining Co. Graduates of the mining engineering program are in high demand by industry with near 100% job placement at graduation.

“As Utah’s flagship university, the University of Utah offers a transformative and exceptional educational experience,” says university president Ruth V. Watkins.

“The U is a world-class research and teaching institution built on a legacy of innovation, collaboration, community engagement and service… There is so much to discover here at the U, including degree programs designed to inspire, transform and launch you into a successful future,” she concludes.

“It is our goal to provide you with the academic experience – whatever your career path – that empowers you to master your passions and unique talents to create a meaningful life and serve the community, the state and the world.”

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