# Decision on which college to attend; nuclear engineering interest

• Schools
Both sons were offered a full-tuition scholarship at UAH and at the University of Alabama. Son 2 is going to accept at UAH and wants to do a double major in Aerospace and Mechanical.
Here's the dilemma: Son 1 really wants to major in nuclear engineering, which would require him turning down the scholarship @ UAH and going to a Penn State, which will cost much $$. I am encouraging him to take the scholarship and major in mechanical engineering ( if he does this, he will either minor or double major in Physics, he also has about 30 AP credits). I encouraged him to look at the online minor in nuclear engineering ( 15 credits) at Kansas state which you can take if you are in school at any college in an engineering discipline. I told him if he does this , he can try to get a job at a nuclear plant or other pertinent employer and seek a graduate degree in nuclear, his employer may help him pay for. Is this all too complicated, should I just tell him to go for the nuclear degree and worry about paying for it later?? I am worried if he declines the scholarship then decides he want to change his major, he is stuck. He has to decide by May 1st and we are all stressed out! ## Answers and Replies donpacino Gold Member How much money is much$$?

In my limited experience if you are going for an engineering major, chances are you will be able to secure a good paying job upon graduation. Therefore you will easily be able to pay off a reasonable amount of debt within a few years.

I graduated with an ee degree and \$40k of debt 1 year ago. I was able to pay of 18k this past year by living frugally with a great job. Going to a school and taking a major that I liked was worth it. I had the option of going to school for free, however It was not the program I was looking for. I am 100% glad I chose the path that I did.

As far as the minor in nuclear engineering goes, that might be a lot of extra work to add onto a mechanical engineering degree. However it will still be possible.

If your son really wants to do nuclear engineering at PSU, I say tell him to go for it.

I can confidently tell you that many mechanical engineering majors get into grad school for nuclear engineering. At my school, the nuclear engineering department is a subsection of the mechanical engineering department. This is because nuclear engineers manage heat and energy from nuclear reactions and convert it to useful work. Mechanical engineers do the same thing! A mechanical engineer could specialize in nuclear engineering, but a nuclear engineer would be limited to nuclear engineering. It's a specialty degree. Make sure your son knows this...

Basically, mechanical engineering would be much more fun and safe. He could definitely work or do research as a nuclear engineer with a mechanical engineering degree. Honestly, a nuclear engineer would NOT be more qualified at the undergraduate level. Let him make his own decision but make sure he knows this.