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Is transitioning from chemical to nuclear engineering a good idea?

  1. May 25, 2010 #1
    I’d like to be a nuclear engineer. I live in South Carolina and I’ve been accepted into Clemson for chemical engineering and also NC State for nuclear. I hear a lot of people have gotten their bachelors in something else and then get their masters in nuclear.

    Since I plan on getting a masters in nuclear engineering anyway I'm not sure if it’s worth taking on the increased debt of out of state tuition. At 26, I feel really old to be doing a bachelors degree and the debt is a much bigger concern at my age than it would be if I were 18.

    So, is it worth it? Would I be at that big of a disadvantage if I got my bachelors in chemical or would there be enough of a benefit from the bachelors in nuclear to make it worth the extra debt? Would it be more difficult landing a job with the bachelors in chemical? It’s right down to the wire now but I still have a couple of days to change my mind.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 25, 2010 #2


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    Clemson and NCSU are both good schools for engineering.

    As to whether one should major in Chem E or Nuc E, that's a personal decision. If one is going on to a graduate program in Nuc E, then it probably would be a good idea to do an undergrad program in NE, in order to get the nuclear courses.

    If one is more interested in the chemical engineering aspects of nuclear systems, then one might consider a Chem Eng undergraduate program, and then one could take some remedial courses, typically in nuclear reactor physics during the graduate program.

    Of course, one could do undergrad in NucE and take Chem Eng courses. I'd recommend comparing the Chem Eng programs at Clemson and NCSU.

    University of SC in Columbia has a small nuclear engineering program.
  4. May 26, 2010 #3

    Well NC States Nuclear program is pretty good from what I have heard(I go there). I don't know if you knew this, but they offer a minor in chemical engineering. You could do Nuclear and take some chemE classes that your interested in/or could help out with the Nuclear stuff. Like Astro said, if you plan on doing a M.S. in Nuclear, you might as well do it for undergrad. It will make things easier for you.
  5. May 26, 2010 #4
    Thanks for the replies. The only real reason I was considering Chem E was the cost of out of state tuition.

    After spending more time going back and forth with the aid offices at both schools it seems out of state tuition at NC State will not be that much more than in state tuition at Clemson.
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