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Physics + Engineering, Okay?

  1. Oct 2, 2009 #1
    Hi all,
    This is my first post on the physics forums boards, I have read a lot and appreciate everyones input on here!

    I have a dilemma that I would like some advice on...
    Currently I am a second year BS Physics major who is most interested in energy and nuclear physics. My physics department does not have many courses offered in either of these fields so I am also perusing a Mechanical Engineering minor.

    Will my minor help me get into any graduate schools which have a nuclear physics program or am I wasting my time in these courses?

    Would you suggest trying to transfer to a different undergrad school?

    If not, how can I get the most out of my undergraduate education?

    Thanks in advance for any responses,

  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 2, 2009 #2
    sorry, I suppose this thread should be in Academic Advice, not Carer
  4. Oct 5, 2009 #3
    When you mention you are interested in energy, do you mean power generation?
  5. Oct 5, 2009 #4
    yes, I suppose that was not specific enough... I am very interested in nuclear power, both fussion and fission, but my school does not have much of either.
  6. Oct 6, 2009 #5
    Then you may consider nuclear engineering if your school has this program.
  7. Oct 6, 2009 #6
    My school does not have a nuclear engineering program either, they have 3 courses in nuclear engineering:

    ME-461, Introduction to Nuclear Engineering
    ME-460, Nuclear Reactor Engineering
    ME-483, Special Topics: Reliability and Risk analysis for Nuclear Facilities - Methods and Applications; Safeguards and Security for Nuclear Facilities

    Absolutely no Nuclear Physics, but some Radiochemistry...
  8. Oct 6, 2009 #7
    If you are sure nuclear engineering is the path you wish to pursue then I would suggest switching to a university that has the programs you want.
  9. Oct 6, 2009 #8
    I am more interested in the research aspect of nuclear power than the engineering aspect of it, can nuclear engineers do research?
  10. Oct 8, 2009 #9
    Yes, especially with a phD in nuclear engineering, you could look at the national labs.
  11. Oct 8, 2009 #10


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    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    A BS in physics and mechanical enegineering minor should give one backgroud to go into a graduate NE program.

    In ME one should should take courses in Thermodynamics and Fluid Mechanics, and if possible, Mechanics of Materials.

    Also, take a couple of EE courses: Circuit Analysis and Electromechanics (Transformers, Generators, Motors).

    One might look at an Engineering Physics program if one exists at one's university.

    I would expect that Nuclear Physics would be taught in a Physics BS program.

    The only thing that would seem to be missing is Nuclear Reactor Theory, which can be taught during an MS program if one has not already taken it. Undergraduate programs have a core course in Introduction to Nuclear Reactor Theory, which at some universities without an NE degree is taught in ME or Chem E. Graduate programs have a more advanced Nuclear Reactor Theory course.
  12. Oct 10, 2009 #11
    From pre-requisites I have seen for post-graduate masters programs in France and the US. Alot require a BEng in Nuclear Engineering. However there are alot of programs across Europe which only require a BSc Physics.
  13. Oct 10, 2009 #12


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    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    The NE graduate program in which I participated accepted students with an BS degree in engineering or physics, but they usually had to take an introductory course in nuclear reactor physics.
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