The nuclear engineer applies radiation and energy from nuclear sources to fields such as electricity generation, space craft propulsion, sterilization, food processing, industrial measurements and medical diagnostic and therapeutic treatments. Nuclear engineering is based on the principles of nuclear physics that govern radioactivity, fission and fusion; the production of heat and radiation in those processes; and the interaction of radiation with matter. The function of the nuclear engineer is to apply these principles to a wide range of challenging technological problems.
Degrees we offer
The Department of Nuclear Engineering offers the Master of Engineering, Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees. The department also offers courses and faculty supervision for students pursuing the Doctor of Engineering degree. Admission to nuclear engineering requires a bachelor's degree in engineering, chemistry, mathematics or physics. Some nuclear physics background is highly desirable. Mathematics through differential equations is required.
Degree programs that include a minor field of study are encouraged. This minor field would normally include graduate study in the area of the student's baccalaureate degree. If the baccalaureate degree is nuclear engineering, the student with the advice of his or her committee will select a suitable minor area of study. The department does not have a foreign language requirement for the Ph.D. degree; however, successful completion of a departmental qualifying exam is required.
In addition to its general degrees in Nuclear Engineering, the Department of Nuclear Engineering also offers specialized degrees in the areas of Health Physics (M.S. and Ph.D.), Nonproliferation (M.S.), and Nuclear Materials (M.S. and M.E.).
Research opportunities are varied, with emphasis on nuclear fuels, solid/ion interactions, particle transport, large-scale scientific computing, materials and extreme environments, reactor safety, design of advanced nuclear reactors, thermal hydraulics, computational fluid mechanics, reactor kinetics and control, plutonium disposition, space nuclear power systems, radiation interactions with living tissue, dosimetry and medical radionuclides.
The department offers a wide variety of facilities for instructional and research purposes. For more information on these facilities, click here.
Professional Educational Program in Health Physics
Students interested in doctoral level studies in health physics can pursue these through the Ph.D. program in nuclear engineering. In addition, a professional education program in health physics, leading to the Master of Science degree in health physics, is available in the department.
This area of specialized study in the Department of Nuclear Engineering is based strongly on the fundamental aspects of radiation effects on matter, internal and external dosimetry and environmental aspects of nuclear power. The curriculum is such that students are educated at a professional level in the field of radiation safety or health physics.
A student is required to spend the initial academic year taking formal course work in the Department of Nuclear Engineering and in other cooperating departments of the University. The summer is spent in opportunities providing on-the-job training in health physics as well as funded research projects suitable for the M.S. thesis. At least one additional semester is normally required to complete the course work and a research project for the Master of Science degree in Health Physics.