Nuclear Engineering Coursework Meaning

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This course aims to equip the next generation of nuclear engineers with the skills and understanding to satisfy the demands of the nuclear industry.

This programme is aimed at a new generation of engineers, with the intention of ensuring they are equipped with specific training to work together and generate creative solutions based upon solid technical understanding to support the global nuclear industry.

Topics covered include all major aspects of the nuclear industry from the design and build of nuclear power stations, their operations, through to decommissioning and final disposal.

We enable our students to be horizon scanners and discuss the next generation of fission and fusion concepts, as well as the role of nuclear power in the wider global energy landscape.

The core and supplementary modules are taught by research leaders from within the Centre for Nuclear Engineering (CNE) and a hand-picked selection of industrial experts. Our experts come from the Departments of Materials, Mechanical Engineering, Chemical Engineering and Earth Science Engineering, alongside unique expertise from our Reactor Centre staff at the Silwood Park campus, who manage the CONSORT test reactor.

As well as taught modules, you will complete a hands-on research project for three months over the summer.

Tuition fees and funding

The level of tuition fees you pay is based on your fee status, which we assess based on UK government legislation.

For more information on the funding opportunities that are available, please visit our Fees and Funding website.


We welcome students from all over the world and consider all applicants on an individual basis.

For advice on the requirements for the qualifications listed here please contact the Department (details at the bottom of this page).

We also accept a wide range of international qualifications. If the requirements for your qualifications are not listed here, please see our academic requirements by country page for guidance on which qualifications we accept.


Our minimum requirement is at least a 2.1 UK Honour's degree in materials, mechanical/ civil/ chemical engineering, physics or chemistry.

The academic requirement above is for applicants who hold or who are working towards a UK qualification. 

We also accept a wide variety of international qualifications. For guidance see our Country Index though please note that the standards listed here are the minimum for entry to the College.

If you have any questions about admissions and the standard required for the qualification you hold or are currently studying then please contact the relevant admissions team.

All candidates must demonstrate a minimum level of English language proficiency for admission to the College.

For admission to this course, you must achieve the standard College requirement in the appropriate English language qualification. For details of the minimum grades required to achieve this requirement, please see the English language requirements for postgraduate applicants.

All applicants must apply online.

You can usually apply for up to two courses, although your second choice will only be considered if your first-choice application is unsuccessful.

Most courses don't have a formal closing date, but popular courses close when they are full, so you should apply early to avoid disappointment. There may also be funding deadlines that apply to you.

You will need to upload documents with your applications, which may include transcripts and degree certificates.

Offer holders will need to pay a deposit to secure your place. This will be deducted from the balance of your tuition fees.

For full details on the online application process, or to start your application, please visit the How to Apply section of our website.

An ATAS certificate is required for overseas students applying for this course. Your Tier 4 visa application, or extension of stay, will automatically be refused if you need an ATAS certificate and cannot provide one.

For further guidance on obtaining an ATAS certificate please see the information on our International Student Support team website.

Contact us

Further information


NPRE 100   Orientation to NPRE   credit: 1 Hour.

Introduction to nuclear, plasma, and radiological engineering. Demonstrations and discussion of nuclear phenomena (reactor operation, plasma behavior, and others). Experiments on radioactive decay and radiation shielding with formal laboratory report and a student project.

NPRE 101   Introduction to Energy Sources   credit: 3 Hours.

Explanation of energy technologies using an elementary approach presupposing no prior scientific or technical background. Coverage of all energy sources including fossil fueled, solar, hydro, and nuclear power. Integral demonstrations and a tour of the University's power plant. Discussion of energy related incidents with emphasis on environmental, economic, and social impact. Same as ENVS 101.
This course satisfies the General Education Criteria for:
Nat Sci & Tech - Phys Sciences
Quantitative Reasoning II

NPRE 398   Special Topics   credit: 1 to 4 Hours.

Subject offerings of new and developing areas of knowledge in nuclear, plasma, and radiological engineering intended to augment the existing curriculum. See Class Schedule or departmental course information for topics and prerequisites. May be repeated in the same or separate terms if topics vary.

NPRE 402   Nuclear Power Engineering   credit: 3 or 4 Hours.

Principles of utilization of fission energy in nuclear power engineering; includes such topics as fission processes and controlled chain reactions; nuclear reactor types, design principles, and operational characteristics; power reactor design criteria; radiation hazards and radioactive waste treatment; economics; other applications such as propulsion and research reactors. 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Credit is not given for both NPRE 402 and NPRE 247.

NPRE 421   Plasma and Fusion Science   credit: 3 Hours.

Physics of plasmas, including particle and fluid descriptions, waves, collisions, stability, and confinement, with applications to controlled thermonuclear fusion reactors, problems in fusion engineering, and astrophysics. 3 undergraduate hours. 3 graduate hours. Prerequisite: For engineering or physical science majors with junior standing.

NPRE 431   Materials in Nuclear Engrg   credit: 3 Hours.

Development of a materials engineering background in the context of nuclear systems and radiation applications; relation of structure of materials to their physical and mechanical properties; development of phase formation and reaction kinetics from basic thermodynamics principles; charged particle interactions with surfaces; transport concepts of neutral and charged particles in matter; materials performance in nuclear and radiation applications, including radiation damage and effects. 3 undergraduate hours. 3 graduate hours.

NPRE 432   Nuclear Engrg Materials Lab   credit: 2 Hours.

Experiments relating to materials applications in nuclear engineering and energy systems. Examination of topics in room and elevated temperature mechanical properties of structural materials, corrosion, physical properties, radiation damage and effects, and materials selection in design. 2 undergraduate hours. 2 graduate hours. Prerequisite: Credit or concurrent registration in NPRE 431.

NPRE 435   Radiological Imaging   credit: 3 Hours.

Physical, mathematical and experimental foundations of radiological imaging techniques, such as typical sources of ionizing radiation, the interactions of radiation with matter, image formation techniques, linear systems theory applied to radiological imaging, and the techniques for tomographic image reconstruction. Includes diagnostic radiological imaging modalities, such as X-ray computed tomography (CT), single photon computed emission tomography (SPECT), positron emission tomography (PET), as well as modern X-ray imaging techniques, such as phase contrast imaging and diffraction-enhanced X-ray imaging. Provides a solid foundation for understanding of modern radiological imaging techniques, and in-depth discussions on the strengths and limitations of various modalities in application to medical, physical, security and environmental imaging. 3 undergraduate hours. 3 graduate hours. Prerequisite: NPRE 446.

NPRE 442   Radioactive Waste Management   credit: 3 Hours.

Radiation and radiological concepts and measurement, the fuel cycle and waste classification, Part 61, state and federal regulations and regulatory agencies, radiochemistry and the environmental fate of radionuclides, uranium-related wastes, low-level wastes, high-level wastes, used fuel reprocessing, private fuel storage, waste package stability, risk assessment, geologic repositories, transporting radioactive wastes, decommissioning wastes, transmutation, an international perspective on radioactive waste management, and the global nuclear energy partnership. 3 undergraduate hours. 3 graduate hours. Prerequisite: MATH 231; PHYS 102 or PHYS 212.

NPRE 446   Radiation Interact w/Matter I   credit: 3 Hours.

Experimental and theoretical foundations of interaction of neutrons, photons, and charged particles with matter. Emphasis on topics that underlie the following applications: radiation detection, biological effects and radiation dosimetry, radiation damage and nuclear materials, neutron activation analysis, and fission and fusion energy systems. Classical theory of charged particle cross sections. Introductory quantum mechanics. Exact and numerical solutions of the Schroedinger equation. Quantum theory of cross sections. Photon interactions with atomic electrons and nuclei. Radioactive-series decay. Computer assignments illustrate fundamental concepts. 3 undergraduate hours. 3 graduate hours. Credit is not given to NPRE majors for graduate hours. Prerequisite: MATH 285 and ME 300.

NPRE 455   Neutron Diffusion & Transport   credit: 4 Hours.

Neutron migration, neutron slowing down and thermalization; neutron continuity equation, multigroup diffusion theory, homogeneous and heterogeneous medium, thermal and fast assemblies; numerical methods for multigroup diffusion equations; reactor dynamics perturbation theory; reactivity coefficients; introductory transport theory. 4 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite: NPRE 247.

NPRE 461   Probabilistic Risk Assessment   credit: 3 or 4 Hours.

Multidisciplinary theories and techniques of risk, safety, and reliability of complex systems and state-of-the-art Probabilistic Risk Assessment (PRA), which provides input for risk-informed decision-making for design, operation, and regulatory oversight in diverse high-consequence industries such as nuclear power, aviation, space, chemical processes, oil and gas, and healthcare. Topics include: Systematic Risk Scenario Modeling, Consequence Analysis, Bayesian Updating, Bayesian Belief Network, Binary Decision Diagram, Uncertainty Propagation, Hardware Reliability, Human Error Modeling, Failure Causal Modeling, Maintenance and Repair Modeling, Risk Importance Ranking, and Data Analytics. PRA and Reliability Engineering software codes will be utilized for assignments. 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite: Junior, Senior or Graduate Standing in any Engineering Department.

NPRE 470   Fuel Cells & Hydrogen Sources   credit: 3 Hours.

The role of hydrogen as a global energy form, hydrogen production by nuclear, fossil and renewable energy sources; hydrogen handling, safety; transportation and storage methods including high-pressure, cryogenic, metal hydrides and chemical hydrides; basic science and technology of fuel cells, including electrochemical processes; fuel cell thermodynamics; low- and high-temperature fuel cells; applications including portable electronics, automotive vehicles, distributed and back-up power, and space power. 3 undergraduate hours. 3 graduate hours. Prerequisite: CHEM 102, MATH 285, and PHYS 212.

NPRE 475   Wind Power Systems   credit: 3 or 4 Hours.

Overview of wind energy systems; historical development, safety aspect, environmental considerations, wind properties and measurement, site selection, and wind turbine design; transmission systems considerations; mechanical, electrical, control aerodynamic and environmental engineering of modern wind turbines; fatigue failure; annual power production; economics and environmental aspects and accident prevention and mitigation; computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis of wind flow and blade interactions; energy storage options; hydrogen production; electrical power transmission issues; licensing issues; alternative wind energy systems; design project involving a wind farm or the construction of a specific type of wind turbine based on a wind park site visit. 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite: CS 101, MATH 241; one of CHBE 421, ECE 110, ECE 205, ME 310, TAM 335.

NPRE 480   Energy and Security   credit: 3 Hours.

Security and supplies of energy, mineral resources, and water. Evolution of the importance of various fuels in conflicts (including coal, oil, uranium, and natural gas) starting with the Franco-Prussian Wars. Theories of international conflict and examination of the role of individual leaders versus institutional factors in the precipitation and outcome of pivotal wars. Econometric analyses relevant to past and projected future energy use. Same as GLBL 480 and PS 480. 3 undergraduate hours. 3 graduate hours. Prerequisite: Composition I and Quantitative Reasoning I.

NPRE 481   Writing on Technol & Security   credit: 3 or 4 Hours.

Development of writing skills in standard computer, desktop publishing, and electronic publishing formats. On themes such as, global and regional security environments, arms control, nuclear energy, and climate change. For graduate credit, writing projects include documentation of computational work using software appropriate for typesetting of mathematical formulas. Same as GLBL 481. 3 undergraduate hours. 3 or 4 graduate hours. 4 graduate hours with consent of instructor.
This course satisfies the General Education Criteria for:
Advanced Composition

NPRE 483   Seminar on Security   credit: 1 Hour.

Preparation of reports on a set of introductory lectures and student choices from various on-campus seminar series relevant to technology of domestic and international security and the regional and international contexts that influence the nature of security problems. Same as GLBL 483. 1 undergraduate hour. 1 graduate hour. May be repeated in separate terms to a maximum of 2 hours. Prerequisite: Composition I.

NPRE 498   Special Topics   credit: 1 to 4 Hours.

Subject offerings of new and developing areas of knowledge in nuclear, plasma, and radiological engineering intended to augment the existing curriculum. See Class Schedule or departmental course information for topics and prerequisites. 1 to 4 undergraduate hours. 1 to 4 graduate hours. May be repeated in the same or separate terms if topics vary.


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