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Nuclear engineering minor adds value to undergraduate program

Nuclear engineering covers various research topics in a number of areas, including the application of radiation, radioactive materials and nuclear fission in nuclear power, nuclear medicine, radiation safety and environmental management.

Students in the Minor in Nuclear Engineering Program, with Faculty Advisor Vaibhav Sinha.Students in the Minor in Nuclear Engineering Program, with Faculty Advisor Vaibhav Sinha.Department faculty have expertise in topics ranging from risk analysis and radiation science to instrumentation and waste management, and beyond. The department houses the Nuclear Engineering Program, one of its three graduate programs, which was ranked 12th in the nation in U.S. News and World Report’s 2018 edition of America’s Best Graduate Schools.

“The nuclear engineering minor was a natural outgrowth of our graduate program,” says Faculty Director of the Minor in Nuclear Engineering Vaibhav Sinha. “With the increasing demand by industry for students with general experience in nuclear engineering, we responded by developing this minor.”

Additional value of the program lies in its hands-on learning aspect and research opportunities. “Students in many minor programs do not typically complete research or have the opportunity to do hands-on work,” says Sinha. “Having that option available to students was important for us to include, and is available thanks to the research already being done by faculty.” Projects can include work in instrumentation, control and safety, or even at the university’s Nuclear Reactor Lab.

Minor program students learn experientially by performing real-time simulations using the nuclear power plant simulator, executing experiments at the Nuclear Reactor Lab to learn about various radiation detection and instrumentation techniques and developing advanced knowledge in nuclear thermal hydraulics, radiation protection and shielding.

Nuclear Reactor Lab control roomNuclear Reactor Lab control roomThe minor is meant to complement a variety of majors from STEM fields and to provide students with the knowledge and skills for many entry-level positions in the nuclear industry. “The minor leverages the department’s depth of knowledge to equip students with a foundational understanding of the field of nuclear engineering,” Sinha continues.

In order to complete the minor, students take two core courses and choose at least two related electives during their undergraduate career. Program details can be found here: