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Undergraduate degree to graduate degree in Nuclear Engineering

  1. Oct 27, 2013 #1
    I'm currently an undergraduate in electrical engineering. There aren't any nuclear engineering programs in my state, but I'm highly considering getting a graduate degree in nuclear engineering following my undergraduate degree, because it's very interesting to me. However, I'm wondering whether staying in electrical engineering would be the best option.

    I'm only a freshman at the moment, so it wouldn't be too much of a problem to switch to another degree program. Would it be better for me if I switched my major to physics as a way to lead in to a nuclear engineering program? As far as electrical engineering is concerned, I was thinking the power aspects of it would be helpful for nuclear engineering, but I'm not sure as to what extent.

    What would prepare me better for a graduate degree in nuclear engineering: electrical engineering or physics? If neither, is there another branch of science or engineering that would be better than both, such as chemistry or chemical engineering?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 27, 2013 #2
    Probably physics
  4. Oct 27, 2013 #3
    I would suggest physics over electrical engineering if you are truly intending to do graduate school in nuclear engineering. However, it could be done with an electrical engineering degree. Depends on what kind of research you want to do in graduate school.
  5. Oct 30, 2013 #4
    Physics or mechanical engineering are going to be closer to nuclear engineering than EE is. If you want to do power engineering than being an EE that focuses on power would do you some good but you'd miss alot of the physics that's needed in NE.
  6. Oct 31, 2013 #5
    If you switch to anything go with mechanical engineering. All of the physics you need will be covered in the curriculum. You don't need a physics degree to be a nuclear engineer. I'm a senior nuclear engineering student and while they loaded us up on physics courses a good bit of our curriculum consist of core classes from the mechanical engineering department. Just think about it you split atoms to generate heat energy which has to be removed from your reactor and turned to steam to generate electricity. That means you need knowledge in heat transfer and since the coolant and moderators are fluids that means you need knowledge of fluid dynamics. The steam is created in a steam generator which means you need knowledge of thermodynamic processes. These are all courses in the mechanical engineering department. Aside from that you also need knowledge in material science and engineering and some statics and strength of materials would be useful too if you're going into power plant design or just to understand how loads and stresses affect your reactor system. These are all mechanical engineering courses. Not to mention the reactor engineering course you won't get from a physics degree. Look it up most schools nuclear engineering degrees have a strong mechanical engineering core.
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