How do I become a Nuclear Engineer? (Split from Canadian Engineering Thread)

  1. can anyone guide me my way to become an nuclear engineer
  2. jcsd
  3. mathman

    mathman 6,522
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Many colleges and universities have nuclear science and/or engineering programs, at least at the graduate level. As an undergraduate, you would major in physics as an alternative.
  4. AD

    AD 73

    What country are you in?
  5. What is a major??
    is it the same as a bachelor degree?
  6. mathman

    mathman 6,522
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I am not sure what they call it in Australia. In the U.S. a major is simply the subject area you concentrate in while in college. In general it means that you are taking courses in that subject all through college, sometimes more than one at a time.
  7. guidence

    can you suggest me some names of universities and the way hoe could i enter or get admissions in it.please.
  8. guidence

    can you suggest me some names of universities and the way how could i enter or get admissions in it.please.
  9. enigma

    enigma 1,815
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member


    What country do you live in? Are you limited to universities in that country?

    I know that my alma mater, University of Maryland, has a nuclear engineering degree available. I'm sure there are plenty of others.
  10. mathman

    mathman 6,522
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Where do you live? What school level are you at now?
  11. What is a major

    Your major is the subject you are studying in order to get your degree in; e.g., if you are working toward a B.S. in biology, your major is biology.
  12. sorry to revive an old thread, but would taking a honours physics program somehow put me at a disadvantage if I wanted to do nuclear engineering? (versus taking a nuclear engineering bachelor's degree).
  13. Astronuc

    Staff: Mentor

    I wouldn't imagine so, at least not in the US. I would recommend contacting the Nuclear Engineering department of universities of interest, and inquiry with respect to one's situation.

    In the US, someone entering an MS program in Nuclear Engineering would probably have to take some remedial (upper level undergraduate) courses in reactor physics and perhaps plant design.

    Here are the universities with NE programs in Canada
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2009
  14. No, it won't put you at a disadvantage. I'd guess that at least half of the master's and phd nuclear engineers I know have bachelors degrees in physics.
  15. kab

    kab 2

    I majored in Nuclear Engineer at the University of Arizona. I will now pass on to you what my professors told me. About two years before I graduated, my thermodynamics instructor ask me what my major was. When I told him "Nuclear" he look at me and said "Big Mistake!" He had his Masters Degree in the same field and couldn't get employed. During my final semester before graduation, another professor told the class "I got news for you (the class) most of you will not be nuclear engineers." About 2 years after my graduation, the Nuclear Engineer dept. of the University of Arizona was closed. The training reactor TRIGA is scheduled for decommissioning. Me, I am now unplugging toilets and changing light bulbs at a hotel. I guess there is a sense of irony here. The hotel call us "Engineers". I studied for 4 years in college to unplug toilets.

    When building a house a real estate says the three most important rules are:

    When seeking employment in the nuclear field the three most important rules are:

    I've actually seen job postings for reactor operators where the education requirement was high school or GED (college didn't mean a thing), but the job experience requirement was a minimum of 10 years.

    If you REALLY want to be a nuclear engineer. I would VERY STRONGLY recommend getting into the nuclear navy program.

    Good Luck
  16. Astronuc

    Staff: Mentor

    The Naval nuclear program would be one way, but if one only has a high school diploma or GED and 10 of operations experience, then one's career will be pretty limited to operations. Most, if not all, senior reactor operators (SROs) I know have at least an undergrad degree, and some have naval experience. Most people with whom I work in the industry have MS or PhD. Most senior level technical management have PhDs.
  17. thanks a lot for the information, I was hoping that it would be alright. Would there even be any benefits of a physics degree over an engineering degree for nuclear engineering?
  18. Astronuc

    Staff: Mentor

    Depending on the area within nuclear engineering, possibly. If one is developing some of the nuclear methods, and looking at the radiation effects on materials, particularly from a theoretical standpoint, then I'd say there is an advantage to a physics degree. I started off in physics (nuclear and astro) and migrated to nuclear engineering. Several faculty members have physics or engineering physics backgrounds. In the development of numerical methods, a background in mathematical physics should be beneficial.
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