MU is a national leader in multidisciplinary research in the nuclear sciences and engineering, in areas encompassing nuclear materials science and engineering, aerosol mechanics, dose assessment, radiochemical environmental science and engineering, radiation biology, radiation damage in semiconductors and other materials, sensor development, reactor safety analysis, nuclear energy conversion, reactor physics, reactor design, nondestructive testing and measurement, radiative heat transfer, neutron spectrometry, neutron and gamma ray transport, neutron activation analysis, nuclear waste management, nuclear plasma research, health physics, medical imaging, radiation therapy, public policy and regulations, radioisotope production and applications, and alternative and renewable energy concepts.
In addition to our traditional nuclear engineering degree program, the NSEI offers interdisciplinary coursework and research investigations that will enhance your professional career objectives. Faculty participating in the Nuclear Science and Engineering Institute have academic appointments in departments across campus, including Chemistry, Physics, Biochemistry, Radiology, Internal Medicine, and Electrical, Mechanical, Civil and Environmental, and Chemical Engineering.
For your graduate research, you will have access to specialized laboratories and facilities for your particular needs. The Missouri University Research Reactor (MURR) Center (a 10-megawatt facility with the highest power and the highest steady-state neutron flux of any U.S. university reactor) provides significant research studies for students in nuclear engineering, and analytic resources and expertise for students in physics, chemistry, biochemistry, radioisotope production, nuclear engineering, materials science, and other engineering disciplines.
Nuclear Engineering Program
MU's Nuclear Engineering degree curriculum and faculty research programs focus on three major study option areas: nuclear power engineering, health physics, and medical physics. Careers as a health physicist focus on protecting people and the environment from radiation and environmental contaminants.
The nuclear power engineering option provides students with coursework in reactor design and operations, as well as practical experiences at the MURR. Our students frequently conduct research in collaboration with engineers at AmerenUE's Callaway Nuclear Plant, several of whom have adjunct faculty positions in the NSEI.
Health physics studies focus on dosimetry, shielding design, radiation biology and instrumentation development , and the development and implementation of methods and procedures to evaluate and resolve environmental hazards (particularly with the measurement and effects of low levels of radiation, both natural and man-made, in the environment). Students can conduct research in collaboration with the MU Environmental Health and Safety Office (which oversees radiation licenses and laboratory operations for the MU campus), MURR's Health Physics Office, and the AmerenUE Health Physics division.
Medical physics emphasizes six areas of study: radiology, diagnostics, imaging, nuclear medicine, radiation therapy and health physics applications in medical practice. Medical physics applies physics and engineering concepts and methods to the diagnosis and treatment of human disease with emphasis on engineering design and utilization of the machines for this purpose. Coursework and research in medical physics is augmented by opportunities to do practicum assignments at the MU Hospital and Clinics, the Ellis Fischel Cancer Center, and local and area hospitals. A unique resource for MU medical physics students interested in state-of-the-art research imaging technologies and dosimetry are also available in MU's Radiopharmaceutical Sciences Institute.
To apply for graduate study in nuclear engineering, you should have:
- Received an undergraduate degree in an engineering field, physics, chemistry, mathematics, or biology (with a strong math and physics background) from an accredited institution with a minimum GPA of 3.0 (A=4.0) in the last two years of undergraduate study.
- Taken the GRE and submitted scores to the MU Graduate School's Apply Yourself online application system; foreign students also should submit scores from the TOEFL exam.
- Submitted all the required information, including letters of recommendation and the personal statement of academic and professional objectives, requested in the MU Graduate School's Apply Yourself online application.
Master's of Science in Nuclear Engineering: The nuclear engineering master's degree program requires 31 hours, including a research project or thesis. The requirements are based on the assumption that the student is entering graduate study with a bachelor's degree in engineering from an ABET-accredited school. Students with degrees in physics and chemistry are generally well-prepared for pursuing graduate study in nuclear engineering. Applications from students other backgrounds (e.g., mathematics and biology) will be evaluated to determine if background coursework in thermodynamics, advanced engineering mathematics and the calculus-based physics series, would be required.
For your Masters degree, typical time-to-degree completion for the MS degree is 18 months. An original research study will be required, either in the form of a three-credit master's project or a six-credit master's thesis.
Doctorate in Nuclear Engineering: The MU PhD program is a research program and is tailored to meet your specific educational needs and professional goals. Upon entering the PhD program, your course of study plan will be individually evaluated by your advisor and academic committee. The PhD typically requires 24 hours of advanced coursework beyond the MS degree and 18 credit hours of research, with a typical time-to-degree completion of three years past the MS degree.
To qualify for the research phase of the PhD program, you will take a qualifying examination, usually administered during the first semester of study in your doctoral program. In addition, a comprehensive examination covering your dissertation research is required at least one semester before anticipated graduation.
Financial Support Opportunities
When you apply to the MU Nuclear Engineering Program, our faculty will work with you in identifying financial support to help finance your graduate education, including graduate teaching assistantships, graduate research assistantships, and other sources of support --- both internal and external to the University. MU can help you identify national programs in which we are a participating university, such as the US Department of Energy Fellowships in Nuclear Engineering and Health Physics, Civilian Radioactive Waste Management, and Naval Nuclear Propulsion programs. MU also encourages student applications to the National Academy for Nuclear Training Scholarship (undergraduate) and Fellowship (graduate) programs, as well as the American Nuclear Society Undergraduate and Graduate Scholarship programs.