Missouri university to award nation's first master's degrees in explosives

Friday, December 3, 2010 | 8:06 a.m. CST; updated 5:42 p.m. CST, Saturday, December 4, 2010

ROLLA — The nation's first master's degrees in explosives engineering will be handed out this month at Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla.

The university said the program was approved last year and is part of Missouri S&T's mining and nuclear engineering department. Fifteen graduate students are enrolled in Missouri S&T's explosives engineering program.

The degrees will be handed out to three students on Dec. 18.

Missouri S&T started offering a minor in explosives engineering at the undergraduate level in 2005.


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Ellis Smith December 3, 2010 | 1:09 p.m.

It's nice that the first degree will be awarded at the December graduation ceremony. May graduation ceremonies at MS&T are much like graduation ceremonies at other universities and colleges, but our December "ceremony" has always been special. December events are more like "family house parties" than graduation ceremonies.

And what do our alumni and the parents and relatives of graduating seniors think about that?


(Report Comment)
Louis Schneebaum December 3, 2010 | 1:14 p.m.


(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith December 3, 2010 | 1:40 p.m.


For some years now, at both the May and December graduation exercises we do something unique.

All persons receiving degrees* must wear gowns (same as anywhere else), but our graduates have the option of either wearing a standard mortarboard ("cap") or wearing an OSHA-approved hard hat. When the hat is worn, the tassel is attached to the hat. Both men and women may wear hard hats, and they do not need to be receiving an engineering degree to do so.

Hats may be "tastefully" decorated; there are strict rules about what sorts of pictures or writing may be displayed - and what may NOT be displayed (after all, there are families present!). Some hat wearers shell out serious bucks for professionally decorated hats.

The number of students who choose this option varies from graduation to graduation, but statistics indicate that up to 30% of our graduates take the "hat" option.

We are the only ones we know of who does this, but that doesn't mean someone else may not do it too (for example, Georgia Tech, Colorado School of Mines, Michigan Tech, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Cal Poly San Obispo, etc.).

*-Well, maybe not us old farts who may be there to receive honorary degrees.

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