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Engineering Employability of nuclear engineering PhD

  1. Aug 5, 2011 #1

    Pengwuino

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    What is everyones opinion on the future employability of a PhD in nuclear engineering? I am planning on going to Georgia Tech's nuclear engineering department and I'm curious as to the employability in industry of such a field. I am hoping to work on fusion/plasma physics and I assume industry jobs are few and far between in terms of directly working with fusion. However, I may move into fission if the idea of fusion looks too bleak. So assuming one develops the typical skills needed in industry, what kind of employability would a PhD in such a field (fusion or fission) have in the somewhat near future?

    I would love a research position at a national lab, but I suspect those types of positions are like string theorists trying to find tenure positions in academia - not too likely :)
     
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  3. Aug 8, 2011 #2

    Chronos

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  4. Aug 8, 2011 #3

    Astronuc

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    A PhD in engineering or physics, particularly one with a well-rounded education, should be very employable. Energy production and energy conversion are critical areas for any society, particularly modern industrial societies.

    There are numerous areas in nuclear energy/engineering that need to be addressed. But more importantly is to have a diversified set of skills in thermodynamics, computational fluid dynamics, mechanics of materials, and radiation physics.

    It's a matter of solving various partial differential equations, often nonlinear, and often coupled, particularly if one is doing multiphysics.
     
  5. Aug 8, 2011 #4
    I would strongly suggest taking a few industry internships aimed at graduate students. This will get your foot in the door, but you won't be employed for Fusion any time soon.
     
  6. Aug 9, 2011 #5

    Pengwuino

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    Hey when did these replies come up!

    Anyhow, I'm starting to get the feeling that even PhDs aren't so much about what the topic you do as they are about all the skills you learn along the way.
     
  7. Aug 9, 2011 #6
    Especially in Nuclear Engineering.
     
  8. Aug 9, 2011 #7

    Astronuc

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    Actually, it's a bit of both. The skills are important/critical and generic. Bascially if you can solve problems and generate IP, one has job security. Or one can start one's own company.

    It does help to do one's research in a hot topic (a specific piece of technology), but technologies come and go, and it's best to have a skill set that lasts, and which can be further develop to keep apace with changes in science and technology.

    Also, what one does in terms of a revenue stream doesn't preclude doing research for fun and amusement on the side.

    So it's best to be diversified/well-rounded, and good at problem solving.

    Know thy mathematics and physics!
     
  9. Aug 9, 2011 #8

    Astronuc

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    That could be arranged if one does well.
     
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