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University of South Carolina's Nuclear Program

  1. May 17, 2013 #1
    Do you guys think USC has a decent nuclear engineering graduate program or should I consider somewhere else?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 17, 2013 #2
    USC nuclear engineering graduate program is not a very robust program. It has been around for a few years, but unless you have a specific reason for going there I'd recommend going to more established programs.

    Of course, the real questions are: What are you wanting to go to graduate school for? Terminal Masters? Masters/PhD? What is your field of interest in nuclear engineering? What is your initial degree in? Are you trying to do a distance masters degree?
  4. May 17, 2013 #3
    Yes I was interested in their masters of engineering program, and doing it online. I'll have a bachelors in Nuclear Engineering with a minor in physics and applied math next may. I just want to work while I work on a masters, not really interested in staying in school another 1.5 years. I was also thinking of doing NC States's online MS in Mechanical engineering with a focus in heat and mass transfer since the whole purpose of the reactor is to generate useful heat energy or going with their M.Eng. in Nuclear Engineering.
  5. May 17, 2013 #4
    I'd highly recommend going with NCSU ME program if you are planning on doing Heat and Mass transfer related work or any other related masters program in Mechanical Engineering. Also, what is your reason for getting a masters in engineering? Why type of job are you trying to get? Utility? Vendor? Third Party? Depending on where would make getting a masters in ME or NE completely useless and a massive waste of money.
  6. May 17, 2013 #5
    Eventually I want to work in R&D at either a vendor or national lab. Duke energy flat out said you don't need advanced degrees to move up there but they do support getting them, and I really don't want to be trapped at a power plant for my whole career
  7. May 17, 2013 #6
    If you want to do R&D at a Vendor or National Lab, you'll more than likely need a PhD in Nuclear Engineering or related field. The days of being able to do heavy R&D at a vendor with a master's degree is long gone. There are some isolated cases, but most people at large vendors in the R&D groups are PhDs. If you have a desire to do research then you need to heavily consider applying for a full masters program in NE or programs that do work related to it. The nuclear field, more specifically nuclear energy is doing very poorly state side. I'd recommend getting an advanced degree before things pick up again.
  8. May 18, 2013 #7
    To add to what Thermalne said, if you want to do hardcore R & D at a vendor or national lab then I would highly recommend physically going (instead of an online program) to a reputed university such as Wisconsin, MIT, Michigan or Texas for a PhD.
  9. May 18, 2013 #8
    Or NCSU, UTK, Georgia Tech, Purdue, and Oregon State. The listed schools have very healthy nuclear engineering programs and are expanding their programs very heavily. (Except for Purdue and Georgia Tech, but they are based in amazing colleges of engineering and have very notable professors/research there.) Although I wouldn't encourage someone to use the graduate rankings on the USnews website (http://grad-schools.usnews.rankings...ineering-schools/nuclear-engineering-rankings) they do show the strongest (research) programs in the top ten. Excluding a few based on my own opinion, most of the top 10-15 are worth their salt in their programs and have a lot of good things going for them. I'd heavily avoid programs that have less than 7 professors (critical mass for a nuclear department) or do not have a good range of research. If you are very interested in the thermal hydraulics side of nuclear engineering please heavily consider Texas A&M, Oregon State University, University of Wisconsin-Madison, MIT, and NCSU. Sorry for the Wall o text.
  10. May 19, 2013 #9
    That's great but those are very competetive schools and what would you say if an applicant were rejected from most/all of the top tens? Do you think USC would be a completely worthless degree and a PhD in N.E. would not be worth doing unless it was at one of those top tens you mentioned?
  11. May 24, 2013 #10
    Honestly, a lot of the top 20 schools in Nuclear Engineering are state schools with similar standards. If you can't get into any of the top ten, you might have to evaluate why you're having problems getting into any of those schools. The schools lining the 11-20 spots are all pretty reasonable schools with somewhat healthly programs and would be worth going to. I'd recommend going to University of Florida or University of New Mexico before I'd suggest going to USC's program. I'm not saying you couldn't be successful going USC's nuclear program either.
  12. May 24, 2013 #11
    Well my other option was NC State for MS Mechanical Engineering (Mass and Heat Transfer) or MS Nuclear Engineering. I've heard it's best to round yourself out, and don't over specialize, so I'm leaning towards the MS Mechanical Engineering
  13. May 25, 2013 #12
    That's entirely dependent on what you are looking to do. NCSU has a great program either way.
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