The course is composed of three major topical units. The first unit deals with environmental laws that pertain to mining operations. The second unit deals with managing workforces. The third unit is an overview of the Mine Health and Safety Regulations administered by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). Each of the three units functions as a "mini-course" with its own homework and tests. The final grade in the course is based on a simple average of the three mini-course scores.

This course will tend to be different than most Engineering courses in that it tends to be based very little on the application of equations and formulas and more on ideas and applications. In general the mathematical rigor of the course is trivial, however, the need to remember ideas and then determine how they apply to a situation will be critical.

Both environmental and health and safety regulations are imposed within a dynamic governmental framework where ideas and materials current one year may become outdated or even reversed the next year. As such the course attempts to familiarize you with the regulatory structure, the general laws that currently govern, the most accepted compliance techniques and alternatives, and sources to follow to remain current as details shift and change in the future.