A degree in metallurgical engineering involves the study, design, implementation
and betterment of processes that transform raw materials like ore (rock with
metal and minerals) into the various metal and mineral products that we use
on a daily basis.
This program has three basic areas: mineral processing extractive
metallurgy and physical metallurgy. Mineral processing consists of
getting mineral products out of the earth's crust, and then separating them
and reducing them in size. Extractive metallurgy involves the removal
of metals and minerals from raw material such as ores. Physical metallurgy
is the development of metal alloys that manufacturing and construction need
for their work.
Steve Cockcroft, a professor of metals and materials engineering, says
that his program "has all engineering students taking a common first year,
after which they choose which program to enter into."
Courtney Young is head of metallurgical engineering at Montana Tech. She
says that over the course of their studies, students can expect to take
courses in mineral processing; extractive metallurgy; physical metallurgy
and materials engineering; and welding metallurgy.
To be licensed as a professional engineer, you'll need at least a four-year
bachelor's degree. Many of these degrees actually take five years if you choose
to do a co-op program, which combines work terms with your class terms. Many
engineers go on to pursue master's degrees as well.
"Prospective students must enjoy chemistry and math, and [must] have
good grades, as well as good scores on ACT or SAT tests," says Young.
"It helps if the prospective student also has taken and done well in physics,
but not all high schools offer physics."
She adds that taking AP courses, including English, is also useful.
Those who major in the sciences always have lab expenses in addition to
the cost of tuition and textbooks.
Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see: Materials
Challenge of Materials
A look at materials, including metals
Principal Metals -- Properties
Information on more than 5,000 metals