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Environmental Engineering undergrad to Nuclear Engineering grad school.

  1. Aug 16, 2010 #1
    How feasible would this be? I'll be an Environmental Engineering sophomore this coming semester and was wondering how a path to Nuclear Engineering for graduate school would look like, if the path exists at all. I suppose that I could switch to Mechanical Engineering (having done most of the basic core like UP1 and 2, Cal 1, Chem1 and 2 already) since that may contain better prospects, but I really like Environmental Engineering so far. What are the prerequisites for applying to most nuclear engineering grad programs? Are there certain additional courses I can take to help meet some of these requirements(like modern physics and such?) or do most grad schools look for nuclear engineering undergraduates for consideration into their graduate programs? Thanks in advance for any help
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 16, 2010 #2
    I was in the same boat as you about a year ago, I couldn't decide between environmental or nuclear engineering. I ended up going into chemical engineering because Its extremely versatile and I can see it being applicable in both fields.

    If you cant get into a Nuke undergrad program, Mechanical or Chemical is probably your next best choice if you want to pursue nuclear engineering. It seems to me that most schools have their environmental program rooted in the civil engineering department. At my school, its part of the chemical department, if that's the case for you, then you'll probably be fine.
  4. Aug 18, 2010 #3
    Yeah, it's rooted in the Civil Engineering department.
  5. Aug 18, 2010 #4


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    Generally a graduate nuclear engineering program is a continuation of an undergrad nuclear engineering program. An engineering major coming from another scientific or engineering discipline would be expected to take some remedial courses to fill in the holes of knowledge.

    In the nuclear engineering undergrad programs, there are basic core courses in mechanical engineering, e.g., thermodynamics, solid mechanics, heat transfer, and fluid mechanics. One could also take electives in corrosion, power systems, turbomachinery, and material science/engineering.

    Then there is the set of core nuclear engineering courses, normally introductory nuclear physics, reactor physics, radiation physics (e.g., shielding and radiation effects on materials), and usually a power plant design course. There are also numerous electives, e.g., nuclear plant safey, fuel cycle economics, fusion engineering, . . . .

    Some people may take a course in environmental aspects of nuclear energy, or radiation protection.

    In my undergrad program, our curriculum had a requirement for EE - including circuit analysis (basic EE course), and electromechanics (transformers, generators and motors). I also took an elective in control theory (in EE). There was also a control theory course offered in the Aerospace Engineering department.

    In a graduate engineering course, one would be expected to take a more advanced course in reactor physics, which would include more advanced level of reactor dynamics. The prerequiste is an undergraduate course in reactor physics.

    For anyone going into nuclear engineering, or aerospace or mechanical, I'd recommend picking up a skill set including CAD/CAE, FEA (finite element analysis), and CFD (computationall fluid dynamics). Usually one gets CAD experience in an undergrad program.
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