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Study information

Minerals Processing (2023)

1. Programme Title:

Minerals Processing

NQF Level:


2. Description of the Programme (as in the Business Approval Form)

The MSc in Minerals Engineering provides graduates with a science or engineering background the opportunity to study the final stage of the mining cycle – separation of minerals and metal production. The programme is unique in the UK and provides advanced specialised training which has been shown to lead to excellent employment prospects in the mining industry. Taught modules are presented over two semesters and individual projects are undertaken throughout the summer vacation period.

It Is anticipated that students will have diverse backgrounds and differing levels of prior knowledge. To help you to succeed, the expected prior knowledge for each module will be made explicit and guidance on self-study, peer-learnng and use of online resources will given to help bridge gaps in knowledge.

Of particular benefit for potential students are general competencies in mathematics, heat and mass balances, and physical chemistry. Experience of group and individual problem solving will be useful as well as general professional skills in terms of report writing, presenting and self-study.

3. Educational Aims of the Programme

The modular programme aims to produce graduates who can practice effectively in the field of minerals processing. The programme provides appropriate training in applied sciences, specialist engineering and financial subjects. The latest innovative technologies and research will be presented within modules alongside traditional approaches and experts from industry will provide further insight into subject areas.

Mineral specific processes are introduced through case studies and industrial visits. Students will be able to develop their practical skills in a fully equipped mineral separation laboratory and analytical facilities and the programme will provide the opportunity to work directly in an industrial environment through workshops linked to lectures and laboratory practicals.

The importance of health and safety as well as issues associated with the mining industry in general and specific mineral process engineering aspects will be interweaved in all teaching during the programme.

Training is provided in the latest process design software which is used by both local and international consultancies. Group working is integrated into the programme and the individual research project enables the student to explore a specific area in detail either based at the Penryn campus or with an approved Company, University or Research Organisation worldwide.

4. Programme Structure

Your MSc Minerals Processing programme is a 1 year programme of study at National Qualification Framework (NQF) level 7 (as confirmed against the FHEQ). The programme is divided into units of study called ‘modules’ which are assigned a number of ‘credits’. The credit rating of a module is proportional to the total workload, with 1 credit being nominally equivalent to 10 hours of work.


5. Programme Modules

The following tables describes the programme and constituent modules.  Constituent modules may be udpated, deleted or replaced as a consequence of the annual programme review of this programme.  Details of the modules currently offered may be obtained from the College Web Sits:

Stage 1

Code Title Credits Compulsory NonCondonable
CSMM430Comminution, Flotation and Physical Separation15YesNo
CSMM431Extractive Metallurgy15YesNo
CSMM432Economics, Energy and Environment15YesNo
CSMM222Decision-making for Engineers and Scientists15YesNo
CSMM445Geometallurgy and Resource Modelling15YesNo
CSMM435Process Modelling, Design and Optimisation15YesNo
CSMM436Material Handling, Dewatering and Waste Management15YesNo
CSMM136Project Management15YesNo
CSMM118Project and Dissertation60YesYes

6. Programme Outcomes Linked to Teaching, Learning & Assessment Methods

On successfully completing the programme you will be able to: Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) will be accommodated & facilitated by the following learning & teaching and evidenced by the following assessment methods:

A Specialised Subject Skills & Knowledge

1 detailed knowledge of the latest techniques and equipment developments in mineral processing and metallurgy

2 understanding of how mineral processing and metallurgical techniques are applied in the production of a variety of minerals and metals

3 ability to undertake specific experimental techniques required for the evaluation of processing options for an ore

4. familiarity with laboratory techniques for geochemical and mineralogical analysis, and their application to minerals processing;

5. understanding of the principles of sampling theory and an ability to apply it in plant operations.

6. appreciation of the role of process mineralogy resource modelling and geometallurgy in improving processing plants and reducing variability and risk.

7. knowledge of flowsheet development and plant design and the ability to use design packages and to select and size equipment.

8. knowledge of process control principles and the ability to apply these to metallurgical processes.

9. professional responsibility towards the broader community, and of its expectations related to the industry and chosen discipline.

10.understanding of the basic principles of mineral economics, financial analysis and the factors affecting business decisions in the mining and minerals industry.

11. comprehension of the effect of mining on the environment,

Learning & Teaching Activities

Material is introduced by lectures and directed reading/research and students are given very clear guidance in how to manage their learning. Understanding is developed and consolidated in tutorial and by laboratory and private study exercises, carried out individually and in groups, both self-assessed and tutor marked to provide rapid feedback. Project work is used extensively to integrate material and make knowledge functional.

1-8 are developed within the minerals-related modules and provide specialist knowledge of the extractive minerals industry.

9, 10 and 11 are covered by a combination of the Economics, energy and the environment module and the Project Management module, as well as implicitly in other modules.

Assessment Methods

Direct assessment is through a range of formal written examinations, normally closed book, and marked coursework in the form of problem sheets, laboratory reports, reports/essays based on directed reading and research. Project work is assessed through a combination of supervisor's report, self and peer assessment and a formal assessment of final reports and presentations. The Individual Dissertation is assessed on the basis of the final written submission by both the supervisor and second examiner against clearly set out assessment criteria.

B Academic Discipline Core Skills & Knowledge

Intellectual skills – able to:

1 demonstrate a systematic and creative approach to problem solving.

2. apply appropriate mathematical methods, scientific principles and computer based methods to the modelling, analysis and solution of practical engineering problems.

3. create a complete design, product or service to meet a customer need, starting from negotiation of specifications, showing creativity and justifying all decisions.

4. take a holistic approach to design and problem solving.

5. assess and manage risks (e.g.: commercial, safety, environmental etc.).

6. take personal responsibility for acting in a professional and ethical manner.

Practical skills – able to:

7. select and use appropriate computer based tools for analysis, design and communication of designs.

8. select and use laboratory and field instrumentation appropriately and correctly.

9. work safely in laboratory, workshop environments etc., and promote safe practice.

Learning & Teaching Activities

All core skills are integrated into each module, and are developed steadily throughout the year. 1, 5 and 6 are especially relevant to the major research project and dissertation. 6 is further developed whilst the student seeks out his/her research project.

Assessment Methods

Analytical skills are assessed within many modules through a range of formal written  examinations and marked coursework in the form of problem sheets etc. However, these skills are primarily shown in project work. Modules may include many small-scale projects, assessed by practical work/results and reports. These lead into the individual dissertation project, assessed on the basis of practical work/results and final report by a supervisor and second examiner against clearly set out assessment criteria. The practical skills are assessed in part through laboratory reports throughout the modules, but mainly through project work in the second semester and final individual dissertation.

C Personal / Transferable / Employment Skills & Knowledge

1. communicate effectively and persuasively using the full range of currently available methods.

2. manage resources and time.

3. work in a team, which may be multi-disciplinary.

4. learn independently, plan and manage self-study time and tasks; accessing additional resources to provide sufficient independent study in support of the syllabus

5. identify own personal development needs and goals, reflecting on own performance and managing own personal development.

6. obtain and process information from a wide range of sources, which may be conflicting, analyse it critically and apply this information in engineering applications.

7. sort, manipulate and present data in a way that facilitates effective analysis and decision making.

8. make decisions in complex situations and evaluate the outcome;

Learning & Teaching Activities

Skills 1 and 2 are used throughout the programme. 1 is developed through regular written presentations of work, particularly in the main projects. 2 and 4-5 are initially developed in semester one through feedback from coursework assignments. 3 is developed through laboratory and project group work in many modules, including the mineral processing laboratories. 6-8 are similarly developed by a wide range of project and assignment work, culminating in the individual dissertation.

Assessment Methods

Assessment of key skills is mostly through items of coursework: written and oral presentations, and through project work. 1 and 4-5 are assessed implicitly in the continuous part of many module assessments. 2 is implicit in much of all students' study but is explicitly tested in the dissertation. 3 is implicitly assessed in group work as part of the Geometallurgy and resource modelling module. 6-8 are implicitly assessed in many modules including the individual Dissertation.


7. Programme Regulations

The programme consists of 180 credits with 90 credits taken at each stage where the programme is offered part time.  The pass mark for award of credit in an individual PG module is 50%.



This programme is accredited by a PSRB under licence from the Engineering Council. Therefore, the latest Engineering Council regulations on condonement apply to this programme. Please find further details in the TQA Manual here:

Assessment and Awards

The award will normally be based on at least 180 credits of which 150 or more must be at level M


The marking of modules and the classification of awards broadly corresponds to the following percentage marks:

Postgraduate Degrees

Distinction   70%+

Merit            60-69%

Pass            50-59%

Full details of  PGT programmes assessment regulations can be found in the Teaching Quality Assurance Manual (TQA) on the University of Exeter website.  Generic marking criteria are also published here.

Please see the Teaching and Quality Assurance Manual for further guidance.

8. College Support for Students and Students' Learning

Personal and Academic tutoring: It is University policy that all Colleges should have in place a system of academic and personal tutors. The role of academic tutors is to support you on individual modules; the role of personal tutors is to provide you with advice and support for the duration of the programme and extends to providing you with details of how to obtain support and guidance on personal difficulties such as accommodation, financial difficulties and sickness. You can also make an appointment to see individual teaching staff.

Students have access to good computing and library facilities at Tremough. Computer-based exercises and web-based learning materials are a feature of the programme, which can be accessed via the internet. IT Services provide a range of central services, including open and training clusters of PCs (available on a 24/7 basis) within the Centre. Network access is available from all rooms in the hall of residence on site. On the Tremough campus in Cornwall, the Learning Resource Centre contains a library of 70,000 volumes and some specialist collections. In addition, students have full access to the central University of Exeter library, including the electronic library resources.

Online Module study resources provide materials for modules that you are registered for, in addition to some useful subject and IT resources. Generic study support resources, library and research skills, past exam papers, and the 'Academic Honesty and Plagiarism' module are also available through the student portal (

Student/Staff Liaison Committee enables students & staff to jointly participate in the management and review of the teaching and learning provision.

10. Admission Criteria

All applications are considered individually on merit. The University is committed to an equal opportunities policy with respect to gender, age, race, sexual orientation and/or disability when dealing with applications. It is also committed to widening access to higher education to students from a diverse range of backgrounds and experience.

Candidates must satisfy the general admissions requirements of the University of Exeter.

11. Regulation of Assessment and Academic Standards

Each academic programme in the University is subject to an agreed College assessment and marking strategy, underpinned by institution-wide assessment procedures.

The security of assessment and academic standards is further supported through the appointment of External Examiners for each programme. External Examiners have access to draft papers, course work and examination scripts. They are required to attend the Board of Examiners and to provide an annual report. Annual External Examiner reports are monitored at both College and University level. Their responsibilities are described in the University's code of practice.  See the University's TQA Manual for details.

12. Indicators of Quality and Standards

Certain programmes are subject to accreditation and/or review by professional and statutory regulatory bodies (PSRBs).
The MSc Minerals Processing is accredited by the Institution of Materials Minerals and Mining (IOM3) as meeting the requirements for Further Learning for a Chartered Engineer (CEng) for candidates who have already acquired an Accredited CEng (Partial) BEng (Hons) undergraduate first degree. See for further information.
Accreditation is a mark of assurance that the degree meets the standards set by the Engineering Council in the UK Standard for Professional Engineering Competence (UK-SPEC).
Accreditation is awarded for a maximum of 5 years under each assessment exercise. The dates applicable to the current accreditation of this degree programme can be viewed on the Engineering Council list of accredited degrees:


14 Awarding Institution University of Exeter
15 Lead College / Teaching Institution College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences
16 Partner College / Institution
17 Programme accredited/validated by Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IoM3)
18 Final Award(s) MSc
19 UCAS Code (UG programmes) minerals
20 NQF Level of Final Awards(s): 7
21 Credit (CATS and ECTS) 180 credits (90 ECTS)
22 QAA Subject Benchmarking Group (UG and PGT programmes) Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences and Environmental Studies
23 Origin Date February 8th 2023 Last Date of Revision: March 8th 2024