What is Nuclear Engineering? Nuclear engineering focuses on generating, controlling, and applying nuclear energy in ways that benefit humanity. When people think of nuclear engineering, they often think of nuclear power generators. This is certainly one prominent application of nuclear engineering. However, the applications of nuclear engineering run from nuclear power to chemotherapy to medical imaging.
What are the Requirements for a Nuclear Engineering Degree?
The admissions requirements of an engineering degree vary depending on the level of the program. Students applying to undergraduate nuclear engineering programs often have to complete general education requirements that include several math and science classes. Students apply to graduate nuclear engineering programs
Top 5 Nuclear Engineering Schools
|1||United States Naval Academy||Annapolis, Maryland|
|2||United States Military Academy||West Point, New York|
|3||University of Florida||Gainesville, Florida|
|4||North Carolina State University||Raleigh, North Carolina|
|5||University of New Mexico||Albuquerque, New Mexico|
What Can I Do with a Nuclear Engineering Degree?
Nuclear engineering is a growing field with many lucrative positions. Nuclear engineers often work for government agencies or research organizations. Many nuclear engineers work as university professors while also carrying out research in their fields.
The Best 25 Nuclear Engineering Schools
United States Naval Academy
Many nuclear engineers end up working for the government, so its no surprise that government academies take the top two spots on our list. First up is the United States Naval Academy, which offers a Bachelor’s in Nuclear Engineering that gives students a well-rounded education in the field. It is important to note that students at the Naval Academy get free tuition, but they must serve five years of active service after graduation.
United States Military Academy
The United States Military Academy, commonly called West Point, also offers a top nuclear engineering program. The curriculum in this program is similar to the curriculum at the Naval Academy. Also like the Naval Academy, graduates must spend five years in active service.
University of Florida
The University of Florida is the leading civilian institution on our list. Its nuclear engineering program educates students in all aspects of the field and in homeland security. This will come in handy for the many graduates who will go on to work for federal agencies.
North Carolina State University
North Carolina State University is known for its science programs, and its nuclear engineering program is especially strong. It is the only nuclear engineering program in the state. Students can work on an actual nuclear reactor that is located on campus.
University of New Mexico
The University of New Mexico has one of the oldest and most prestigious nuclear engineering programs in the country. UNM offers nuclear engineering degrees at bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. levels. Students can benefit from the universty’s partnerships with multiple federal laboratories.
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University of Wisconsin
The University of Wisconsin offers the best nuclear engineering program in the Midwest. Wisconsin offers nuclear engineering degrees at all levels. Nuclear engineering students also receive some education in mechanical engineering to ensure that they have a well-rounded skill set.
Purdue University has had a leading nuclear engineering program since the 1950s. Students at all levels, even undergraduates, have extensive research opportunities. Purdue gets many research grants that give students the funding they need for their research.
Thomas Edison State University
Thomas Edison State University is a New Jersey-based university that primarily offers classes online for adult students. TESU’s bachelor’s degree in Nuclear Energy Engineering Technology can be completed over the Internet. TESU also offers a master’s degree in the field.
Ohio State University
Ohio State University offers a leading graduate nuclear engineering program. Undergraduates can minor in nuclear engineering, but the major is only available at graduate level. Students have the opportunity to work in Ohio State’s own nuclear reactor lab.
Missouri University of Science & Technology
The Missouri University of Science & Technology, better known as Missouri S&T, has the only undergraduate nuclear engineering program in the state. Graduate degrees are also available in the field. Missouri S&T has its own nuclear reactor on-campus so students can get hands-on experience.
Kansas State University
Kansas State University has an innovative and well-respected nuclear engineering program. Undergraduates can pursue a Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering with a specialization in Nuclear Engineering. Graduates can pursue a degree specifically in nuclear engineering. Undergraduates must complete a large engineering project before graduating.
Georgia Institute of Technology
The Georgia Institute of Technology offers some of the best engineering programs in the country, so it’s no surprise to find it on our list. Its Bachelor’s degree in Nuclear and Radiological Engineering is the leading undergraduate program in Georgia. Students can continue on to the master’s and Ph.D. programs in the same field at Georgia Tech.
If you’re planning to do a degree in nuclear engineering, you can find the program you need using the info on our site.
Texas A&M University
Texas A&M University features the top nuclear engineering program in the state. Its undergraduate program offers concentrations in Health Physics and Radiological Health Engineering. Texas A&M University has top-notch facilities, including two research reactors, a plasma lab, and seven accelerators.
University of California – Berkeley
The University of California – Berkeley may be best known for its liberal arts programs, but it also offers a leading nuclear engineering program. Degrees are available at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Many internships are available so that students can network and get hands-on experience.
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, better known as Virginia Tech, has one of the top nuclear engineering programs in the South. This program offers students a well-rounded education in all aspects of nuclear engineering. Virginia Tech is expanding its nuclear program, building industry and government partnerships that will benefit students.
Oregon State University
Oregon State University is the only program in the state to make our list. Its nuclear engineering program offers degrees at all levels. Students can work with the on-campus research reactor and do internships with local nuclear engineering firms.
University of Michigan
The University of Michigan has a powerhouse engineering department, and nuclear engineering is one of its strongest programs. The undergraduate degree is a Bachelor’s in Nuclear Engineering and Radiation Science. Students must complete general engineering courses first before moving onto nuclear engineering courses in the final two years of the program.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is the state’s most prestigious public university, and it has the state’s premier nuclear engineering program. The school’s program focuses on radiation and nuclear process applications. Students also receive training in plasma science and radiological science.
University of Tennessee
The University of Tennessee is home to one of the most innovative nuclear engineering programs in the South. Tennessee offers bachelor’s degrees in Nuclear Power Engineering and Radiological Engineering. The school also has close ties with multiple federal labs and agencies, potentially increasing student’s career opportunities.
South Carolina State University
South Carolina State University is a historically black university that is dedicated to making nuclear engineering accessible to students of all backgrounds. Its nuclear engineering program is the only one in the state. The program is offered in partnership with the University of Wisconsin and North Carolina State University.
Excelsior College offers one out of two online degrees in nuclear engineering. Thomas Edison State University, which is also on this list, offers the other one. The degree at Excelsior is accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.
Pennsylvania State University
Pennsylvania State University has a strong nuclear engineering program. Their facilities include a nuclear research reactor. Students are trained in all disciplines of nuclear engineering, including nuclear security.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, also known as MIT, offers an elite nuclear engineering program. Students are trained in the nuclear applications of energy generation, health care, and security. MIT also has its own reactor for research purposes.
New York University
New York University offers an innovative nuclear engineering program as part of the NYU Tandon School of Engineering at their Brooklyn campus. Students can receive an interdisciplinary minor and concentration in Nuclear Science and Engineering through a collaboration between the departments of Applied Physics and Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. This program receives funding from the Federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is known as a leader in the engineering fields and nuclear engineering specifically. Students can specialize in health physics, thermal-hydraulics, reliability and safety, fusion engineering, fission reactor physics, reactor engineering, neutron physics, homeland security, and medical physics. The school has its own critical reactor for students to study.
Our Ranking Methodology
Our methodology is calculated from two statistics for each school: yearly tuition rate and graduation rate. If a school has different tuition rates for in-state students than they do for non-resident students, we only looked at the in-state tuition rate. We calculated a rating for each school by taking its yearly tuition rate and adding a multiplier equal to the percentage of enrolled students who did not graduate. Example: School A has a yearly tuition rate of $50,000 and a graduation rate of 90%. Its rating would be 55,000 (50,000 x 110%). Lower ratings are better for a school’s ranking on our list.
Representatives of schools on this list can contact us to request corrections or to ask questions,
If you’re a prospective nuclear engineering student, we can help you find the right program for your needs.
Essential Guide to Getting a Nuclear Engineering Degree
Today, environmental concerns are prone to occur, and finding new forms of energy is a concern to most people. With a degree in nuclear engineering, you could make significant discoveries to change any emerging issue.
While it may not be as popular due to its complexity and newness, nuclear engineering is one of the highest paying degrees you can get. Generally, a nuclear engineering student will take rigorous physics classes, applied mathematics, nuclear thermal-hydraulics, and many more, depending on one’s major. One standing fact is that it may lead someone to different job positions and opportunities in different industries.
A student planning to pursue a degree in this field will have vast choices of programs to select. But one will be looking for some factors to help them choose the best. For example, you may want to consider the job market immediately after graduating, the program’s costs, and the future salary. You can go for a bachelor’s degree, an associate degree, a master’s degree, or a doctorate.
Among all the possible choices, a bachelor’s degree is the most common nuclear engineering education level. And it accounts for around 48% of workers with this level of qualification. A bachelor’s in nuclear engineering prepares students to be great problem solvers who can use a combination of vast techniques to deliver the best. The coursework in an undergraduate program combines field works, laboratory experience, and classwork to prepare students with basic engineering principles.
The study subjects to expect include nuclear materials, neutron physics, energy engineering, and many more. All of which prepares students to be adamant in innovation and imagination, logic, and reasoning, plus the ability to solve problems in a wide spectrum of areas in their field of specialization like reactor analyst.
Types of Nuclear Engineering Degrees
Not so long ago, scientists discovered a way to release nuclear energy through fission. The same energy currently has numerous applications in various sectors, including medical, space engineering, and powering homes. If how nuclear energy works interests you, then this article is for you.
A nuclear engineering degree is a great place to start when you have a passion for physics and nuclear energy. Your skills can help make an impact in different fields. You can work in medicine, the space industry, among others.
However, if you are unsure of the types of nuclear engineering degrees you can pursue, we got you. This article explains the types of nuclear degrees you can pursue in most nuclear engineering schools. Read on to find out more.
There are various undergraduate nuclear engineering programs that you can choose from today. You no longer have to limit yourself to a single field from junior to final years of your college education. To help you decide which one best suits you, here are how nuclear engineering degree programs are structured:
Bachelor of Science in Nuclear Engineering
This degree takes at least four years to complete, and it’s the most common degree. You’ll focus on physics, mathematics, and various other basic engineering principles. Plus, you’ll get a chance to study the practical and theoretical aspects of nuclear engineering or any other field of engineering offered with your program. That includes:
- Radiological engineering
- Plasma engineering
- Mechanical engineering
Bachelor of Science in Nuclear and ‘Other’ Engineering
As mentioned before, you no longer have to tie yourself to a single field. When you choose this degree, you can specialize in any other related field of engineering. That includes plasma, mechanical and radiological engineering.
Bachelor of Science/ Masters of Science in Nuclear engineering
How would you like to get both your BS and MS in nuclear engineering in an accelerated manner? Sounds great. This degree program takes about five years to complete. You’ll begin your degree journey with the basic engineering principles, mathematics, and sciences. However, you’ll also get a chance to end your program with practical and theoretical aspects of nuclear engineering like:
- Radiation detection
- Reactor systems
Difference Between Petroleum Engineering and Nuclear Engineering Degrees
A lot of aspiring engineers tend to confuse these two disciplines. Sure, both degrees prepare engineers to develop more sustainable and effective ways of deriving energy. However, petroleum engineers focus on the extraction and refining oil and gas process, while nuclear engineers work with nuclear energy.
The degrees of both fields are also different. For instance, a student taking a degree in petroleum engineering will need to learn how to design and analyze drilling processes, systems, reservoirs, geological formations, and systems used to produce fluids.
This degree involves programs of mathematical concepts like:
- Strength of materials
- Differential equations
- Fluid mechanics
As a petroleum engineering student, you also need to understand how best to make and manage resources and the economics of retrieving and managing gas and oil. If you get a background in other fields like chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, civil engineering, you will have an added advantage.
On the other hand, a nuclear engineering degree requires you to study advanced sciences, math, nuclear, and atomic physics. That can help you design and develop nuclear equipment and safe transportation of nuclear material. Plus, you will also know how to measure radiation and develop radiological systems such as those used in a radiation detection lab.
In most nuclear engineering schools, you will gain work experience while completing your education. These schools offer a cooperative nuclear education program and are some of the best in the country. From there, you will have a degree and practical experience in your field of study.
You can choose from various types of nuclear engineering degrees and even more nuclear engineering schools to study at. Take the initiative to jumpstart your engineering career today.
Career Opportunities with a Nuclear Engineering Degree
It can be challenging to find the perfect career after graduating from college. While some disciplines offer only a couple of career choices, others have numerous possibilities. That is the case with nuclear engineering. Nuclear engineering graduates have countless career opportunities with their degree. If you wonder which jobs you can get with a nuclear engineering degree, here is a guide to get you started.
Every graduate’s worry is whether they can find a job that best suits their interest. For nuclear engineering graduates, the list of jobs is endless. Finding that perfect job becomes a hectic task. However, here is a narrowed list of some of the most sought-after jobs according to job listings and resumes.
A nuclear engineer examines and improves the methods used for deriving profits from nuclear energy and radiation. These engineers also come up with the instruments and systems used during the process. But that’s not all. Most industrial and medical uses of radioactive materials are discoveries made by nuclear engineers.
For instance, a nuclear engineer can research and develop radioactive equipment for medical diagnosis and treatment.
This job is one of the broadest and comes with numerous perks. As a mechanical engineer, you’ll design, develop and build devices such as machines, engines, and tools. You’ll also be responsible for testing these devices and thermal sensors. Still, under this career path, you can be a project engineer.
The work of test engineers involves interacting with others in the field. Your focus will be on planning, designing, and evaluating products. Plus, you’ll also need to define, analyze and do tests for systems, products, and components.
Nuclear Medicine Technologist
As a nuclear medicine technologist, you operate machines and equipment, creating images of the inside of patients’ bodies. You’ll also be responsible for preparing and administering radioactive medicine to these patients.
Your job will be to control the system that generates and distributes electric power. You can work as a dispatcher, distributor, or power plant operator. Some of the hard skills you need to have include propulsion plants, electrical systems, and nuclear power.
Medical Research Scientist
It is one of the highest paying jobs, with scientists making at least 37 dollars an hour. Some of the skills you need to have include data analysis, python, and even a Ph.D. You may also find a job educating other research scientists or in the healthcare industries. As a scientist, your job will be to conduct research that works at improving overall health. You may conduct clinical trials and use other investigative methods to reach your goal.
How Can A Specific Nuclear Engineering Degree Prepare You to Work in The Field?
Nuclear engineering is widely integrated. You must understand the components of nuclear systems to be successful in the field. Some of the best engineering schools prepare graduates to be experts in their primary fields and knowledgeable in others. These secondary skills are critical tools for you to pursue a career in nuclear engineering.
Some of these secondary fields include;
- Computer science
- Material science
But that’s not all. A nuclear engineering program allows you to develop nuclear processes basics, including production and radiation measurements. As a graduate, you’ll be able to design nuclear-based systems that have impacts on health, social, environmental, energy and security.
How Do You Get A Job as A Nuclear Engineer?
As a nuclear engineer graduate, your next step is getting a satisfying job. However, most engineers cannot start practicing without a license from the state. Each state has its own set of requirements you have to fulfill. You will need to pass the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam (FE) which tests for competency for you to earn an Engineer in Training (EIT) or Engineer Intern (EI) license.
From there, you can get practical experience under a professional engineer for a minimum of one year. You can then successfully apply for jobs. However, some jobs may require you to get a Professional Engineer license (PE) and a minimum of four years of practical experience.
Nuclear engineering has numerous job opportunities and career paths that you can make. Each has its requirements, necessary skills, and responsibilities. You can choose the bests that serve your interests for a more fulfilling experience. Whether it’s a reactor analyst or a nuclear operator, a nuclear engineering program will prepare you for that.
How Long Does It Take to Become A Nuclear Engineer?
Nuclear engineering is the branch of engineering degrees that deals with science and the radiation process. This process includes release control, the use of radiation production, and radioactive materials. It is disturbed by the application of breaking down atomic nuclei or combining atomic nuclei or subatomic processes based on nuclear physics. Nuclear engineering careers also include nuclear safety, heat/thermodynamics, nuclear fuel, radioactive waste disposal, etc. Chemical engineering and electrical engineering fields also have this. Nuclear engineers work with powerful and dangerous elements that provide power to much of the world. They may also serve in emergency roles after and during nuclear accidents and also managing the power plant. Nuclear engineer professionals have the proper education and training in the field. Engineers have solid performances in mathematics, science, observational skills, and many more.
To become a professional nuclear engineer, you must do hard work as a nuclear engineer. It is not a long process to earn a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in nuclear engineering and pass the entrance exam. At least five years to become a successful nuclear engineer will take.
What Is the Average Length of a Graduate Nuclear Engineering Degree Program?
A nuclear engineering career is a diverse and interdisciplinary course that includes power, especially electrically generation, nuclear safeguards, and security. The nuclear engineering graduate degree consists of the master of engineering, which is more practically oriented, and the Master of Science. The Graduate nuclear engineer program should take four to five years in engineering. The nuclear engineer may monitor the nuclear power plant for quality control and safety management. Nuclear power uses nuclear reactions that produce nuclear energy to generate heat, which produces electricity in a nuclear power plant. Nuclear power is produced by the nuclear fission of uranium and plutonium. The average length of Graduate in nuclear engineering is four years. In nuclear engineering, students studied physics, mathematics, and chemistry. A nuclear engineering degree is precious in engineering because the degree students achieve what they want and succeed.
What Is the Average Length of An Undergraduate Nuclear Engineering Degree Program?
Nuclear engineers must earn a bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering. Some jobs require masters or special certifications. Nuclear engineer students should look for the program the Accreditation board of engineering and technology (ABET). ABET may also require some graduate nuclear engineering programs, financial and many opportunities. Students can earn the ABET-accredited degree online or offline. The bachelor programs allow students to secure employment, become licensed, earn certificates, and continue to graduate schools. Students should have developing skills, problem-solving skills, and mathematics. Some schools and universities offer a combined five years of bachelor’s and master’s degree bachelor’s programs in nuclear engineering usually provide a variety of learning modes, including classroom, lab. Students are required to fulfill general education courses. Some undergraduate nuclear engineering courses are radiation protection engineering, nuclear reactor physics, radiation physics, and many more. The minimum length of undergraduate science in nuclear engineering is four years.
How Do You Get A Job as A Nuclear Engineer?
You must have a bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering to secure entry-level positions. Students must have a good knowledge of chemistry and mathematics to get a job in nuclear engineering. There are many entrance level exams required to get a job in nuclear engineering, and a degree from a school that is ABET-accredited prepares students to pass them.
After graduating, you can either look for a job or consider pursuing a graduate degree. A master’s can fast track you into better roles and give you opportunities in another field.
To get a job in nuclear engineering, you must have good analytical skills for understanding the monitoring system, problem-solving skills, and the ability to communicate with colleagues and outside specialists about work issues.
New nuclear engineers work under the supervisor of experienced engineers. New engineers gain knowledge and experience; they move on to more challenging projects and achieve the right salary package. Salary is only based on the expertise of engineers and knowledge. The salary of nuclear engineers is based on the degree.
The Best Nuclear Engineering Programs
With the growth of technology and the continually increasing global population, only one thing is sure: we need to innovate ways to create sustainable energy and engineering practices. This innovation will help to maximize efficiency and minimize overall global waste. Modern society relies heavily on oil, so much so that the world is on track to run out of this invaluable resource, which is where nuclear engineers come in.
The growing field is vital for the growth and development of new, non-fossil oil energy sources. Nuclear engineers are working hard to solve the world’s biggest energy problem. If you’re thinking of joining these professionals, you should attend one of the best programs and universities in the world for nuclear engineering.
Some of the best nuclear engineering programs include:
- Undergraduate Degree in Nuclear Science: This program develops the fundamentals of all nuclear processes, including production, interactions, and radiation measurements. In this case, you’ll be brought to the design phase of nuclear-based systems, stressing health, social, and energy, and security effects. The studies will also incorporate thermal-fluid engineering, electronics, and computer methods that are critical tools in your nuclear engineering career. The program takes at least four years.
- Master’s in Nuclear Engineering: After completing your undergraduate program, you can apply for a master’s program. A master’s degree helps you become intimately acquainted with the field and pursue more advanced nuclear engineering careers. This program aids you later by giving you more opportunities to grow and advance in your nuclear engineering specialization. With a master’s in nuclear engineering, you’ll also play a significant role in shaping the future of energy production. You can also participate in developing more advanced energy systems in promising countries.
- Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering: The main goal of the Ph.D. program in Nuclear Engineering is to prepare graduates for a career that involves research, teaching in academia, and leadership in a high ranked position. Students achieve their graduate certificate program through a combination of independent research, advanced coursework, mandatory workshops, research seminars, research dissertation, and research publication.
An end to inequality, poverty, stagnant economies, hunger, and environmental harm are some of the things nuclear engineering can solve. Students partaking in nuclear engineering programs will explore nuclear-based solutions for sustainable development in energy, medicine, food preservation, agriculture, and ecology. The programs focus on sustainable energy that can meet global demand, protect the climate, is reliable and stable, and is affordable. While there are many engineering courses you can pursue, nuclear engineering is one of the most preferred programs in the world today. This is because of the extensive knowledge and skills gained as students go through school.
As aforementioned, it is evident that an undergraduate degree is the most popular in nuclear engineering. But what makes it popular in this case. This four-year program gives students an entry-level education, with the first two years focusing on subjects like mathematics, engineering, and chemistry. The other remaining years will include an engineering-specific course involving radiation protection, reactor design, and reactor theory.
When you decide to become a nuclear engineer, you must be ready for some serious classes ahead. While there are many options of degrees you may choose to pursue, the one question to answer is the best degree path to becoming a nuclear engineer. The minimum level of education required for this field is a bachelor’s degree. These programs prepare students for different levels of expertise to be engineers at different levels and fields.
However, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, students can combine a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree. Even though not the shortest, it offers a lot more in terms of academic knowledge, which is usually beneficial in the job market.