Grad school for nuclear engineering.

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  • Thread starter Fusiontron
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  • #1
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I'm mostly looking into fusion but also traditional fission power systems. Good schools seem to be Michigan, Illinois, Cal, MIT maybe a few others. I go to the University of Maryland. Right now I have a 3.71 GPA, downward trending though 4.00 -> 3.55 -> 3.53 over the first three years. I got my first C this past semester, bombed the QM final after I had a solid B. I am majoring in MechE and physics. But I've well in the classes I've been most interested in: the theromfluids track, statistical mechanics, E&M. Problem is I've only finally been able to start doing any real engineering work, right now I'm doing some coding and working on a refrigeration system. I've made some decent connections for recs here. I guess my plan for the fall is to have a good semester GPA-wise and try to get some good preliminary results for this research I'm doing. I'm wondering if it is advised to take the GRE this summer and then again in the fall? Also, should I contact these schools directly for admissions info for the specific departments? I've heard you need to do the shotgun approach if you want to get into any PhD program. But I'm really trying to keep costs low. Feel free to recommend other programs as well, even international-I speak Spanish.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
266
2
I'm mostly looking into fusion but also traditional fission power systems. Good schools seem to be Michigan, Illinois, Cal, MIT maybe a few others. I go to the University of Maryland. Right now I have a 3.71 GPA, downward trending though 4.00 -> 3.55 -> 3.53 over the first three years. I got my first C this past semester, bombed the QM final after I had a solid B. I am majoring in MechE and physics. But I've well in the classes I've been most interested in: the theromfluids track, statistical mechanics, E&M. Problem is I've only finally been able to start doing any real engineering work, right now I'm doing some coding and working on a refrigeration system. I've made some decent connections for recs here. I guess my plan for the fall is to have a good semester GPA-wise and try to get some good preliminary results for this research I'm doing. I'm wondering if it is advised to take the GRE this summer and then again in the fall? Also, should I contact these schools directly for admissions info for the specific departments? I've heard you need to do the shotgun approach if you want to get into any PhD program. But I'm really trying to keep costs low. Feel free to recommend other programs as well, even international-I speak Spanish.

Top schools for Fusion engineering: University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, MIT (Uh oh http://www.bizjournals.com/boston/blog/mass_roundup/2013/05/mit-to-cut-nuclear-fusion-program.html), and UC Berkeley. Most major nuclear programs will have a course or two in it or some related research.

Overall, the top schools in nuclear engineering is here: http://grad-schools.usnews.rankings...ineering-schools/nuclear-engineering-rankings. Good programs outside the top ten are Oregon State University, Ohio State University, and RPI. There are a lot of good programs though, but you should really look for the professors who have good ongoing research programs in Nuclear Fusion and pick accordingly.

Also see this topic: https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?p=4393344#post4393344
 
  • #3
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MIT's tokamak is now offline? Too bad. I might have to go for physics grad school but my GPA is kind of low for that.
 
  • #4
266
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MIT's tokamak is now offline? Too bad. I might have to go for physics grad school but my GPA is kind of low for that.

University of Wisconsin-Madison and University of Michigan Ann-Arbor both have very good fusion engineering research/academic programs as well. MIT's fusion programs isn't the only good one available.
 
  • #5
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I know. It's just I knew about the problem with MIT's program back last fall, just it actually happened. I guess at this point I'm just gonna have to look through individual professors's research. My advisor said getting a recommendation from this one big name guy will give me a huge edge. Can you speak to this?
 
  • #6
266
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I know. It's just I knew about the problem with MIT's program back last fall, just it actually happened. I guess at this point I'm just gonna have to look through individual professors's research. My advisor said getting a recommendation from this one big name guy will give me a huge edge. Can you speak to this?

MIT still has a good core group of professors/researchers who do fusion research. Honestly I doubt loosing their reactor will affect the quality of their research.

I would highly advise you ask your current research adviser about good fusion engineering professors in addition to your own research. Also, look up recent papers or conference publications from professors and see if their research is truly interesting.

Do you know the big name guy? Have you work for him/her? Had conversations related to the subject of interest with him/her? Had a class where they were the teacher? This is important because a subpar recommendation from a big name/high impact person might not be as useful as a fantastic recommendation from someone not as well known.

Fusiontron said:
I'm wondering if it is advised to take the GRE this summer and then again in the fall? Also, should I contact these schools directly for admissions info for the specific departments? I've heard you need to do the shotgun approach if you want to get into any PhD program. But I'm really trying to keep costs low. Feel free to recommend other programs as well, even international-I speak Spanish.

I would take the GRE at least once this summer. It is something you SHOULD study for and try to do the best you can on it OVERALL. You need to score at least above 150 for the quant/qual (the higher the best on the quant) and at least a 4 on the writing for most nuclear engineering programs. Give yourself as much breathing room as you can. Take it twice if you need to, but remember spending 160+ dollars and 4+ hours of testing is not something worth doing twice if you can prevent it. A lot of nuclear engineering programs have their admissions info on their department websites, but contacting their graduate advisers (not professors) can't hurt. Nuclear Engineering graduate programs fund their PhD track graduate students as TAs first and then RAs once they are picked up as research assistant by a professor. Nuclear Engineering graduate programs usually are pretty well funded and most PhD track students get some kind of stipend and tuition wavier.

Also, feel free to contact me through PMs if you want more specific information.
 

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