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Which B.S. from UC Davis to support NucE from UC Berkeley?

  1. Dec 6, 2014 #1
    Ok. I've determined that nuclear engineering research is for me. Want to study it at the B.S. level at Berkeley, but I live in Sacramento. Maybe the commute could be made. Daily. For 2 hours there and back. But... no. So I've decided that I can get a good degree from Davis to support my future pursuit of a PhD in nuclear engineering from Berkeley. Problem is, I don't know which one!!! I'm not quite sure if I should focus on an engineering discipline to have a background in design, or focus on physics to get a really strong foundation of particles and nuclear reactions. If I go an engineering route, which discipline? Aerospace for a good job while I pursue higher ed? Chemical because that's almost nuclear? Materials? Civil because reactors are buildings?


    Which B.S. from UC Davis would best prepare me for a PhD in Nuclear Engineering from UC Berkeley?
    If Engineering Then
    which discipline would you recommend?
    End if
    Things to consider:
    Jobs after B.S. before/during PhD
    end thread
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2014
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 9, 2014 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Is there anybody at UC Berkeley that you can ask? Somebody in their Nuclear Engineering department, like a counselor or adviser? Are any of the classes you want available through the UC Berkeley Extension?
  4. Dec 10, 2014 #3
    What do you envision this research as? There's a great variation in the subjects of "research" related to nuclear engineering. Materials to system performance to chemistry/behavior of fission products to ...
  5. Dec 10, 2014 #4


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    Science Advisor

    Why not move to the Bay Area for your undergraduate degree?
  6. Dec 12, 2014 #5
    I would consider a focus on fusion and fission systems and energy applications, cutting edge technologies, possibly waste disposal, but mainly reaction performance, procedure, process, what have you.

    Unfortunately, moving to the Bay Area is not possible, that's the big issue.
  7. Dec 26, 2014 #6
    Engineering degrees in Mechanical, Chemical, Material Science, and Computer Science could set you up appropriately for PhD to pursue nuclear engineering research. Additionally degrees in either chemistry or physics could as well, but it is very dependent on the research and the department. A lot of what you're suggesting doesn't sound like current research topics at UC Berkeley.
  8. Dec 27, 2014 #7


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    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    Some elements of chemical engineering are similar to nuclear engineering in terms of processes like fluid mechanics and heat transfer, and perhaps corrosion, and possibly in some areas of manufacturing nuclear fuel or waste treatment/reprocessing, and even fuel performance. There are perhaps even more similarities with mechanical engineering in which one would study thermodynamics and thermomechanical cycles, heat transfer/transport, fluid mechanics, turbomachinery, . . . . Aerospace is basically mechanical engineering applied to aeronautical and aerospace systems.

    Civil/structural engineering is perhaps remote from nuclear, and mostly removed from the reactor system. Reactors aren't buildings, but rather the containment building encloses the reactor, which is comprised of the core, the collection of fuel assemblies, and the reactor pressure vessel and internals, which enclose and support the core, and provide a flow path for the coolant circulating through the reactor cooling system.

    Outside of engineering, a physics degree with emphasis on nuclear and condensed matter physics would be most useful, along with any materials science/engineering.

    It would be worthwhile contacting the department and talk with a faculty advisor.


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