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Programs PhD in Nuke

  1. Jan 4, 2010 #1
    I've been reading physics forums for a while, but now I need the advice so ... newly registered!

    I am about to finish a dual major in chem E and bioengineering, both ABET accredited, and want to get into Nuclear Engineering for a PhD.

    That being said, I have several concerns, that I would appreciate comments on:
    - job market for PhDs - I am interested in reactor design and/or materials
    - I am an international student (undergrad in the US, though), which knocks out Navy and half the jobs
    - My background is probably not as strong as an EE, ME, or NE undergrad.

    Also, I have some questions regarding which nuclear programs would be best for me. I expect to graduate with a 3.40 cumulative and 3.5+ engineering GPA. I will have had research and internships, but nothing in nuclear. So far, I have looked at the following options, which I think I might have a good shot at, what do you think?
    - U Tenn
    - Rolla
    - PSU
    - V Tech

    Do you know which programs would take international students?
    Should I take more electives related to Nuclear Engineering (like corrosion) or spend my time on research, work, studying for the GRE, and raising my grades?

    Thank you!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 4, 2010 #2


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    Staff Emeritus
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    Most, if not all, universities should accept international students.

    For materials, I'd recommend - PSU, NCSU, UIUC, Michigan, Wisconsin, UC Berkeley, U of Florida (Gainesville). MIT also has a strong nuclear materials program.

    GPA of 3.4/3.5 should be OK. One might consider an MS program to get up to speed in nuclear engineering. This would allow one to do the basic coursese in reactor physics, radiation effects on materials, heat transfer and fluid dynamics, and plant design - in addition to doing advanced courses in materials.

    Corrosion would be a good course to take. Become familiar with Zr alloys, stainless steels and nickel-bearing (primarily Inconels and Incoloys) alloys.

    Strive to improve grades, study for the GRE, and do research if there is an opportunity.
  4. Jan 4, 2010 #3
    Slightly off topic, but do nuclear engineering graduate programs accept chemistry students?
  5. Jan 4, 2010 #4


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    They could. Usally the requirement is a 4-yr degree in science from an accredited university. One would have to check with the specific department and university.

    At one university I attended, the nuclear reactor physics course was taught in the dept of Chemical Engineering. The course was taken as an option in Nuclear Physics in a BS Physics program. I was majoring in physics but switched to nuclear engineering at a different university.
  6. Jan 4, 2010 #5

    Thanks! I had not looked closely at Florida, it is very interesting. The other schools you mentioned, I haven not considered since I feel like I am at the lower end of their requirements.

    NCSU is interesting too, but I recently learned that half their graduates end up in the Navy as instructors or researchers, so that might not work out for internationals.

    It seems like there is very little funding for MS students. Also, chemical engineers usually have to take fluids, heat, and some sort of plant design so hopefully I wont have to do too much remedial work.
  7. Jan 4, 2010 #6
    Perhaps the US Navy, but how about your own country's military? And before you give up on the US Navy, check with a recruiter. I know of several foreign nationals serving in the US Military. US citizenship becomes a rapid option with military service. That option occurs around six year point. I think if you decide against US Citizenship, you must resign at decision time.

    Virginia Tech? I went there. My neighbor was a Chem E undergrad who went into the Nuclear Navy in the late 1980s.
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