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Nuclear Engineering paths

  1. Sep 8, 2008 #1
    Hello all, currently I am a second year chemistry major (minoring in nuclear engineering). I am wondering if I would be qualified to be accepted to a graduate school in nuclear engineering without changing my major? My University does not off nuclear engineering as a major unfortunately (only minor and graduate). I'm also contemplating switching to chemical engineering (won't set me back much, and I would have some engineering classes under my belt before hand). Thoughts or comments?

    This was suppose to be in the academic section. If I can figure out how to delete this thread I will, and repost in academic.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 8, 2008 #2
    I'm no nuclear engineer, but from what I've seen, it seems that nuclear engineering grad programs tend to be accepting to those without nuclear engineering as an undergrad degree. I think that these people tend to come from physics and mechanical engineering though. Since your school does have the nuclear grad program, I'd say just take as many courses with them as possible (even more than minimum for the minor if you can). This way, you'll have a good foundation for later studies.
  4. Sep 8, 2008 #3


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    It is possible for someone with a BS in physics or engineering to enter a graduate program in nuclear engineering. Usually some upper level remedial courses may be necessary.

    Does the undergraduate program at the current university have any course in transport or diffusion theory, preferably neutron diffusion? I was in a physics program at one university, and they offered a nuclear reactor (neutron diffusion) theory course, but through the chemical engineering department.

    In addition to nuclear reactor theory and radiation physics, one is expected to have some background in introductory EE, Mech Eng (thermodynamics, fluid mechanics), and CivEng/Structural Eng (mechanics of materials).
  5. Sep 9, 2008 #4
    Thanks for the responses.
    At my school the minor program is consisted of the graduate nuclear engineering courses. Astronuc, I'll look more closely into the descriptions and make sure I have atleast the fundamentals of what you have suggested. The more I think about it, the better switching to chemical engineering sounds. I have made an appointment with a nuclear engineering advisor, hopefuly all goes well (I have had a lot of positive and a lot of negative experiences with academic advisors, hah).
  6. Sep 9, 2008 #5


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    My experience with academic advisers has been mixed.

    One of the hot areas in nuclear engineering is water chemistry and corrosion (in a high temperature/pressure environment). Vendors (the suppliers of technology), utilities and service companies are desparate for anyone with experience in materials and corrosion. It's not a trivial problem since there are a huge number of cation species, radiolytic reactions, and electro-chemical reactions. There are enormous challenges associated with advanced systems, particularly the Supercritical Water Reactor (SCWR) concepts. At the moment there is essentially no experience on corrosion of various advanced materials at the proposed temperatures in a radiation field (neutrons and gammas).
  7. Sep 19, 2008 #6
    UPDATE: Spoke with an advisor and she recommended to major in engineering physics (Specializing in nuclear engineering). The more that I think about it, the better it sounds (taking physics, math and mechanical and nuclear engineering courses) for graduate school.
    Unfortunately I do not know anyone who is in or graduated with and engineering physics degree.
    Right now I am just concerned over the chances of being accepted into a nuclear engineering graduate program as compared with a mechanical engineering degree. The engineering physics program looks interesting (and I am glad she brought it up because I had no idea it existed) but I do not want to go into it if it will hurt me later on.
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