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University Bulletin
Undergraduate Degree Programs


Begin Date: Fall 2007
End Date: Fall 2017

Nuclear Engineering

University Park, College of Engineering (NUC E)

PROFESSOR KAREN A. THOLE, Head, Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering
PROFESSOR ARTHUR T. MOTTA, Program Chair, Nuclear Engineering Program

The overall educational objective of the Nuclear Engineering program is to help prepare our graduates to function effectively in the marketplace in a wide range of career paths in Nuclear Engineering. The technical part of the curriculum, emphasizes nuclear power engineering, which refers to complex systems used to generate electricity. Because of our strong educational and research emphasis in nuclear power engineering is strong, and because a shortage for this expertise exists in the industry, generally the industry values our graduates highly. We recognize that nuclear science, including nuclear security and non-proliferation, is an important growth area. We constantly assess and review the needs of our undergraduate students and their most frequent employers and use this feedback to consider revisions to our curriculum so that it is responsive to the needs of our constituents.

Program Educational Objectives:

Accordingly, we will endeavor to maintain and provide a curriculum that prepares our graduates such that:

  • Within two to three years of graduation, we expect the majority of our B.S. graduates to:
    • be working in industry, especially related to nuclear power engineering,
    • be working in government agencies or national laboratories,
    • be pursuing advanced degrees.
  • We expect that our students will continue to develop professionally and establish themselves in their careers and in this way may take the opportunity to further their education and training by attending graduate school or by pursuing other professional development.

Program Outcomes (Student Outcomes):

The Program outcomes are knowledge, skills, and/or behavior that are derived from the program educational objectives.

a. An ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering.
b. An ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data.
c. An ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability.
d. An ability to function on multidisciplinary teams.
e. An ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems.
f. An understanding of professional and ethical responsibility.
g. An ability to communicate effectively.
h. The broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context.
i. A recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in life-long learning.
j. A knowledge of contemporary issues.
k. An ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice.

The first two years of the program stress fundamentals in mathematics, chemistry, physics, computer programming, and engineering sciences such as mechanics, materials, and thermodynamics. The last two years provide the breadth and depth in nuclear science, behavior of heat and fluids, reactor theory and engineering, and radiation measurement. The laboratory work includes experiments using the University's 1,000-kilowatt research reactor. Engineering design is incorporated in many courses from the freshman year to the senior year, but is particularly emphasized in the senior capstone design course, which integrates the critical elements of reactor theory, reactor engineering, safety considerations and economic optimization into a reactor design.

Many graduates are employed by electric power companies that use nuclear power plants, or by companies that help service and maintain those plants. They use their knowledge of engineering principles, radioactive decay, interactions of radiation with matter, and nuclear reactor behavior to help assure that the power plants meet the demand for reliable, economic electricity while ensuring a safe environment. To do this, graduates must be problem solvers who can develop and use complex computer models and sophisticated monitoring systems, design systems to handle radioactive waste, determine if the materials in the plant are becoming brittle or corroded, or manage the fuel in the reactor to get the maximum energy from it. Other graduates work in industries that use radioactivity or radiation to detect problems or monitor processes. Jobs are also found in branches of the government as designers of the next generation of reactors for submarines, aircraft carriers, or space probes, or to manage and clean up contaminates wastes. They could also be involved with regulation of nuclear power or radiation uses, or in research to develop advanced technologies that will be used in next-generation power plants. Graduates who want to further their education in the fields of health physics, radiation biology, or nuclear medical applications find this degree to be a useful preparation.

ENTRANCE TO MAJOR -- In addition to the minimum grade point average (GPA) requirements* described in the University Policies, all College of Engineering entrance to major course requirements must also be completed with a minimum grade of C: CHEM 110 (GN), MATH 140 (GQ), MATH 141 (GQ), MATH 250 or MATH 251, PHYS 211 (GN) and PHYS 212 (GN). All of these courses must be completed by the end of the semester during which the admission to major process is carried out.

*In the event that the major is under enrollment control, a higher minimum cumulative grade-point average is likely to be needed and students must be enrolled in the College of Engineering or Division of Undergraduate Studies at the time of confirming their major choice.

For the B.S. degree in Nuclear Engineering, a minimum of 129 credits is required. This baccalaureate program in Nuclear Engineering is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, Inc.,

Scheduling Recommendation by Semester Standing given like (Sem:1-2)

(27 of these 45 credits are included in the REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR)
(See description of General Education in front of Bulletin.)


(Included in GENERAL EDUCATION course selection)


(This includes 27 credits of General Education courses: 9 credits of GN courses; 6 credits of GQ courses; 3 credits of GS courses; 9 credits of GWS courses.)

CHEM 110 GN(3)[1], CHEM 111 GN(1), EDSGN 100(3), MATH 140 GQ(4)[1], MATH 141 GQ(4)[1], PHYS 211 GN(4)[1], PHYS 212 GN(4)[1] (Sem: 1-2)
EMCH 211(3), EMCH 212(3), EMCH 213(3), ME 300(3), MATH 230(4), MATH 251(4)[1], PHYS 214 GN(2) (Sem: 3-4)
EE 212(3), EMCH 315(2), EMCH 316(1), ME 320(3), ME 410(3), NUCE 301(4)[1], NUCE 302(4)[1], NUCE 309(3)[1], NUCE 450(3)[1] (Sem: 5-6)
ENGL 202C GWS(3), NUCE 310(2), NUCE 403(3), NUCE 430(3)[1], NUCE 431(4), NUCE 451(3) (Sem: 7-8)

Select 1 credit of First-Year Seminar (Sem: 1-2)
ECON 102 GS(3), ECON 104 GS(3), ECON 14 GS(3) or EBF 200 GS(3) (Sem: 1-2)
ENGL 15 GWS(3) or ENGL 30 GWS(3) (Sem: 1-2)
CAS 100A GWS(3) or CAS 100B GWS(3) (Sem: 3-4)
CMPSC 201 GQ(3) or CMPSC 202 GQ(3) (Sem: 3-4)
Select 6 credits, of which 3 credits must be designated as design, from BME 406(3), NUCE 405, NUCE 407(3), NUCE 408, NUCE 409, NUCE 420, NUCE 428, NUCE 444, NUCE 445, NUCE 460(3), NUCE 470(3), NUCE 490, NUCE 496(1-18), NUCE 497(1-9) or 500-level NUC E courses with approval of adviser (Sem: 7-8)

(These courses may have to be chosen so that the engineering design or engineering science requirements for the major are met.)
Select 3 credits in General Technical Elective (GTE) courses from department list. (Sem: 7-8)
(Students who complete Basic ROTC may substitute 6 of the ROTC credits for 3 credits of GTE and 3 credits of GHA.)

[1] A student enrolled in this major must receive a grade of C or better, as specified in Senate Policy 82-44.


Last Revised by the Department: Spring Semester 2008

Blue Sheet Item #: 36-01-040

Review Date: 8/28/07

R & T: Approved 5/24/2013

UCA Revision #1: 8/9/06
UCA Revision #2: 7/30/07





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