Graduate Programs

Program Overview

Graduate degrees available in Nuclear Science and Engineering include:

  • Master of Engineering
  • Master of Science
  • Doctor of Philosophy

Students in all three Nuclear Engineering graduate degree programs are exposed to a broad systems overview of the complete nuclear fuel cycle as well as having detailed expertise in a particular component of the cycle. All three degree options share a common core curriculum in the fundamentals that underlay the research areas of the faculty.

The Master of Engineering is a non-thesis graduate degree intended to supplement the student’s undergraduate degree by providing the core knowledge needed to prepare the student to pursue a career in the nuclear engineering field. The Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees are thesis-based degrees that emphasize research.

In addition, students majoring in allied fields may complete a minor degree program, consisting of 12 credit hours of coursework, through the Nuclear Science and Engineering Program. Minor programs are designed to allow students in allied fields to acquire and then indicate, in a formal way, specialization in a nuclear-related area of expertise.

Additional Program Information

ADMISSIONS

Minimum admissions and prerequisite requirements for graduate Nuclear Science and Engineering programs are as follows:

Entering graduate students may come from a variety of educational backgrounds, but must have certain fundamental knowledge and skills to successfully complete a degree in Nuclear Science and Engineering. A baccalaureate degree in engineering, physics, chemistry, or closely related field is required. The necessary prerequisites for core courses include:

  • mathematics coursework up to and including differential equations
  • physics up to introductory nuclear physics (or equivalent)
  • coursework in thermodynamics, heat transfer, and fluid flow (or equivalent)

Applicants may be accepted conditionally and will be required to complete necessary background courses prior to full admission into the program.

Applications into the program must contain official transcripts of all previous college work, three letters of recommendation, financial affidavit (international students), a statement of intent, and any supporting materials the applicant wishes to provide. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) results are not required.  International students whose native language is not English must submit scores meeting institutionally required minimum values from an English proficiency examination (TOEFL or IELTS).

Minor Degrees

Students choosing to participate in a minor degree program must meet the admissions requirements of their home degree program and the prerequisite requirements for any course completed as part of the minor.

Admissions Considerations

Students are invited to apply to any of the Nuclear Science and Engineering degree programs. However, students are encouraged to consider the following guidelines when applying:

  • Admission to the Nuclear Science and Engineering M.S. and Ph.D. programs is usually contingent upon the identification of a source of student financial support and finding an interested faculty research advisor during the review process.
  • If a source of support and/or a faculty research advisor cannot be identified during the review of an application, qualified students may instead be offered admission into the Nuclear Science and Engineering M.E. degree program.
    • After a student has enrolled in the Nuclear Science and Engineering M.E. program, he or she may switch to the M.S. program with the support of a faculty research advisor.  This provides students the opportunity to begin graduate work in the Nuclear Science and Engineering program while looking for a faculty research advisor and financial support.
    • Graduate students in the Nuclear Science and Engineering M.E. program are not typically offered financial support.
DEGREE REQUIREMENTS

For both the master’s and doctoral degrees, graduates in Nuclear Engineering are exposed to a broad systems overview of the complete nuclear fuel cycle as well as having detailed expertise in a particular component of the cycle. Breadth is assured by requiring all students to complete a rigorous set of core courses. The core consists of a 13 credit-hour course sequence. The remainder of the course and research work is obtained from the multiple participating departments, as approved for each student by the student’s advisor and thesis committee. Requirements for each degree type are as shown below.

  • Master of Engineering: 30 total credit hours consisting of 13 hours of required core coursework, 12 credit hours of elective core coursework, 2 credit hours of seminar, and 3 credit hours of elective courses.
  • Master of Science: 36 total credit hours consisting of 13 hours of core coursework, 6 credit hours of elective core courses, 2 credit hours of seminar, and at least 12 credit hours of research.
  • Doctor of Philosophy: 72 total credit hours including 13 hours of required core coursework, 12 credit hours of elective core coursework, 4 credit hours of seminar, and at least 24 credit hours of research and 3 credit hours of elective courses.

The required core coursework consists of the following courses (all courses are required for all degrees):

  • Introduction to Nuclear Reactor Physics (NUGN510) – 3 credits
  • Introduction to Nuclear Reactor Thermal-Hydraulics (NUGN520) – 3 credits
  • Nuclear Reactor Laboratory (NUGN580 – Taught at the TRIGA reactor facility) – 3 credits
  • Nuclear Reactor Design (NUGN585 and NUGN586) – 4 credits total

The elective core courses consist of the following (pick four for the Master of Engineering Degree, pick two for the Master of Science Degree, and pick three for the Doctor of Philosophy Degree):

  • Radiation Detection and Measurement (PHGN504) – 3 credits
  • Nuclear Materials Science and Engineering (MTGN593) – 3 credits
  • Risk and Reliability Engineering Analysis and Design (MEGN592) – 3 credits
  • Applied Radiochemistry (CHGN511) – 3 credits
  • Nuclear Fuel Cycle (NUGN506) – 3 credits
  • Computational Reactor Physics (NUGN590) – 3 credits
  • Nuclear Materials Politics and Public Policy (MTGN598) – 3 credits
  • Nuclear Physics (PHGN422) – 3 credits

The remaining elective courses required for each degree are selected in consultation with the student’s advisor and committee.  Possible courses include, but are not limited to:

  • Introduction to Health Physics (NUGN 535) – 3 credits
  • Any elective core course not used to satisfy the elective core requirements
  • Any 400 or 500-level course relevant to nuclear science and engineering
GRADUATE MINOR DEGREE OPTIONS

Students majoring in allied fields may choose to complete minor degree programs through the Nuclear Science and Engineering Program indicating specialization in a nuclear-related area of expertise. Minor programs require completion of 9 credit hours of approved coursework (Master’s degree), or 12 credit hours of approved coursework (Ph.D.). Existing minors and their requirements are as follows, with the first three courses listed being required for a Master’s degree, and the last being an additional requirement for a Ph.D. degree: 

 Minor in Nuclear Engineering

  • Introduction to Nuclear Reactor Physics (NUGN510)
  • Introduction to Nuclear Reactor Thermal-Hydraulics (NUGN520)
  • Nuclear Reactor Laboratory (NUGN580)
  • Nuclear Materials Politics and Public Policy (MTGN598)

Minor in Nuclear Materials Processing

  • Introduction to Nuclear Reactor Physics (NUGN510)
  • Nuclear Materials Science and Engineering (NUGN593)
  • The Nuclear Fuel Cycle (NUGN506)
  • Applied Radiochemistry (CHGN511) or Nuclear Materials Politics and Public Policy (MTGN598)

Minor in Nuclear Detection

  • Nuclear Physics (PHGN422)
  • Introduction to Nuclear Reactor Physics (NUGN510)
  • Radiation Detection and Measurement (PHGN504)
  • Nuclear Reactor Laboratory (NUGN580)
    COMBINED DEGREE PROGRAM

    Undergraduate students at Colorado School of Mines have the opportunity to begin work on a Master’s degree in Nuclear Science and Engineering (NSE) while completing their Bachelor’s degree. This Combined Degree program provides a vehicle for students to use up to 6 credit hours toward both their undergraduate and graduate curriculum requirements. To be admitted to the program, students will need submit transcripts and three letters of recommendation. GRE scores are not required.  Contact Carolyn Freedman (cfreedman@mines.edu) for advising for NSE and apply at the beginning of your senior year for admission in the following fall semester.

    STUDENT INFORMATION

    Procedures

    These procedures detail the processes students in NSE Program should follow:

    Additional Resources

    FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE

    There are several financial assistance opportunities available for students interested in Nuclear Science and Engineering.

    Combined BS/MS Nuclear Engineering Scholarship Program

    The Combined BS/MS Nuclear Engineering Scholarship Program is aimed at identifying, recruiting, and supporting high-quality undergraduate students of science and engineering who are interested in pursuing an MS degree in Nuclear Engineering and then entering the workforce in the nuclear industry.

    Students who qualify may be eligible for a:

    • $2,500 scholarship awarded during their junior year
    • $7,500 scholarship awarded during their senior year upon entry into a combined BS/MS program leading to an MS degree in Nuclear Engineering

    Students participating in the Nuclear Engineering Scholarship Program must sign a Scholarship Service Agreement.

    The Nuclear Engineering Scholarship Program is not currently soliciting new applicants.

    Nuclear Science and Engineering Fellowship Program

    The Nuclear Science and Engineering Fellowship Program is aimed at identifying, recruiting, and supporting high-quality graduate students who will pursue a research-based graduate degree in Nuclear Engineering or a closely related field and then enter the workforce in support of the nuclear industry.

    Students who are selected to participate in the Fellowship Program will be eligible for:

    • full payment of tuition, fees, and health insurance
    • $2000/month stipend
    • $1500/year travel allowance to attend appropriate scientific and technical meetings and conferences

    The Fellowship may be renewed for a total of four years, based on the student’s academic and research progress. Fellows will be expected to present the results of their research at a yearly research seminar hosted by the Nuclear Science and Engineering Program.

    Radiochemistry Traineeship 

    Students who are selected to participate in the Fellowship Program will be eligible for:

    • full payment of tuition, fees, and health insurance
    • $2500/month stipend for the first two years
    • $1500/year travel allowance to attend appropriate scientific and technical meetings and conferences