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College of Engineering

Nuclear Engineering

Objectives of the Nuclear Engineering Program
Nuclear Engineering Scholars and Distinguished Scholars Program
B.S.–M.S. in Nuclear Engineering Dual Degree Program
B.S. Nuclear Engineering/M.S. Medical Physics Dual Degree Program
Honors in Undergraduate Research Program
Nuclear Engineering Curriculum
Power Option Curriculum
Radiation Sciences Option Curriculum
Facilities
Courses

153 Engineering Research Building, 1500 Engineering Drive, Madison, WI 53706; 608-263-7038; www.engr.wisc.edu/ep/neep/

Professors Corradini (chair) (also Mechanical Engineering), Bier (also Industrial Engineering), Blanchard, Bonazza, Deluca (also Medical Physics), Drugan, Fonck, Hegna, Henderson, Hershkowitz, Kammer, Kulcinski, Lakes, Mackie (also Medical Physics), Moses, Pfotenhauer (also Mechanical Engineering), Plesha, Smith (also Mathematics), Vanderby (also Biomedical Engineering), Waleffe (also Mathematics); Associate Professors T. Allen, Crone, Sovinec, Thomadsen (also Medical Physics), Wilson, Witt; Assistant Professors M. Allen, Volpe

The Department of Engineering Physics offers the B.S. degree in nuclear engineering and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in nuclear engineering and engineering physics.

Nuclear engineering involves the design of systems and processes in which nuclear physics and radiation plays an important role. Although the traditional focus of nuclear engineering is the nuclear power industry, students with bachelor of science degrees in nuclear engineering also pursue careers in health and medical physics, plasma physics, plasma processing, and environmental mediation. Further, because of the breadth of the nuclear engineering curriculum, graduates are prepared to work in a number of technical areas outside the nuclear engineering field.

Nuclear energy, both from fission and fusion, offers a promising approach to meeting the nation's energy needs—an approach that may preserve jobs, raise the standard of living, and alleviate the depletion of natural resources including natural gas, petroleum, and coal. Nuclear energy will also be required to provide electricity on the moon or Mars and to propel space vehicles if we are to explore or colonize the solar system.

Since the discovery of fission 50 years ago, electricity is being produced commercially in a several hundred billion-dollar industry. Applications of radioactive tracers have been made in medicine, science, and industry. Radiation from particle accelerators and materials made radioactive in nuclear reactors are used worldwide to treat cancer and other diseases, to provide power for satellite instrumentation, to preserve food, to sterilize medical supplies, to search for faults in welds and piping, and to polymerize chemicals. Low energy plasmas are used in the manufacture of microelectronics components and to improve the surface characteristics of materials. High energy plasmas offer the possibility of a new energy source using thermonuclear fusion.

Because the breadth and rate of change in this field requires that the nuclear engineer have a broad educational background, the curriculum consists of physics, math, materials science, electronics, thermodynamics, heat transfer, computers, courses in the humanities and social science areas, and numerous elective courses. Courses of a specific nuclear engineering content come primarily in the third and fourth years.

The curriculum prepares students for careers in the nuclear industry and government—with electric utility companies, in regulatory positions with the federal or state governments, or for major contractors on the design and testing of improved reactors for central station power generation or for propulsion of naval vessels.

The curriculum also prepares the graduate for work in many areas where a broad technical background is more important than specialization in a specific field. Thus, the graduate is also prepared to work in any area where a broad engineering background is helpful, such as management, technical sales, or law. The curriculum gives students excellent preparation for graduate study in the fission and fusion areas, medical and health physics, applied superconductivity, particle accelerator technology, and other areas of engineering science in addition to study in areas such as materials science, physics, mathematics, and medicine.

Objectives of the Nuclear Engineering Program

The objective of the program are to:

  • educate students in the fundamental subjects necessary for a career in nuclear engineering, and prepare students for advanced education in it and related fields;
  • educate students in the basics of instrumentation, design of laboratory techniques, measurement, and data acquisition, interpretation and analysis;
  • educate students in the methodology of design;
  • provide and facilitate teamwork and multidisciplinary experiences throughout the curriculum;
  • foster the development of effective oral and written communication skills;
  • expose students to environmental, ethical and contemporary issues.

Nuclear Engineering Scholars and Distinguished Scholars Program

Students who achieve at least a 3.0 GPA in their first semester, and maintain it throughout their career, may be designated Scholars. They also may be exempted from some formal requirements for the Bachelor of Science in Nuclear Engineering degree other than total credits. However, they must meet certain restrictions on the distribution of courses chosen. Students who achieve at least a 3.70 grade point average (GPA) for the first semester of the freshman year or a 3.5 GPA for the first four semesters, may be designated Distinguished Scholars. These students, with the approval of their advisor, may be exempted from most formal requirements for the Bachelor of Science in Nuclear Engineering degree other than the total credit hours, so long as they maintain a satisfactory performance record and the main thrust of their work is along the lines of nuclear engineering education. The general education and liberal studies requirements must be met by Scholars and Distinguished Scholars. Students transferring into the nuclear engineering department may be eligible to qualify for either of these programs as late as the beginning of the seventh semester.

B.S.–M.S. in Nuclear Engineering Dual Degree Program

Qualified undergraduates may earn a B.S. degree in nuclear engineering and an M.S. degree in nuclear engineering and engineering physics in five years with a total of 148 credits following a carefully chosen plan of study. Both degrees are granted simultaneously when both the B.S. and M.S. degree requirements are met.

B.S. Nuclear Engineering/M.S. Medical Physics Dual Degree Program

Qualified undergraduates may earn a B.S. degree in nuclear engineering and an M.S. degree in medical physics with a total of 150 credits, following a carefully chosen plan of study.

Both degrees are granted simultaneously when both the B.S. and M.S. degree requirements are met.

Honors in Undergraduate Research Program

Qualified undergraduates may earn an Honors in Research designation on their transcript and diploma by completing 8 credits of undergraduate honors research, including a senior thesis. Further information is available in the department office.

Nuclear Engineering Curriculum

The nuclear engineering curriculum is divided into two options, one emphasizing nuclear power and one emphasizing medical and other nonpower applications of radiation sciences. The power option is more appropriate for students seeking careers in the nuclear power industry, while the radiation sciences option is better suited for students interested in medical and non power applications.

Power Option Curriculum

The following curriculum applies to students who entered the program after May 2001.

Summary of Requirements

Mathematics/Statistics Requirement, 22 cr
Science Requirement, 13 cr
Engineering Science Requirement, 34 cr
Nuclear Engineering Core Requirement, 24 cr
Nuclear Engineering Electives, 12 cr
Communications Skills Requirement, 7 cr
Liberal Studies Requirement, 16 cr

Total Credits: 128

I. Mathematics Requirement, 22 credits

Math 221 Calculus and Analytic Geometry, 5 cr
Math 222 Calculus and Analytic Geometry, 5 cr
Math 234 Calculus—Functions of Several Variables, 3 cr
Math 319 Techniques in Ordinary Differential Equations, 3 cr
Math 321 Applied Mathematical Analysis, 3 cr
Stat 224 Introductory Statistics for Engineers, 3 cr

II. Science Requirement, 13 credits

Chem 109 General Chemistry, 5 cr
Physics 202 General Physics, 5 cr
Physics 241 or 244 Modern Physics, 3 cr

III. Engineering Science Requirement, 34 credits

EMA 201 Statics, 3 cr EMA 202 Dynamics, 3 cr
EMA 303 Mechanics of Materials, 3 cr
EMA 307 Mechanics of Materials, 1 cr
EPD 160 Introduction to Engineering, 3 cr
ME 231 Introduction to Engineering Graphics, 2 cr
NE 271 Engineering Problem Solving I, 3 cr
MS&E 350 Introduction to Materials Science, 3 cr
ME 361 Engineering Thermodynamics, 3 cr
ChE 320 Introductory Transport Phenomena, 4 cr
ECE 376 Electrical and Electronic Circuits, 3 cr
Computing Elective, 3 cr (must be selected from an approved list available in the department office)

IV. Nuclear Engineering Core Requirement, 24 credits

NE 305 Fundamentals of Nuclear Engineering, 3 cr
NE 405 Nuclear Reactor Theory, 3 cr
NE 408 Ionizing Radiation, 3 cr
NE 411 Nuclear Reactor Engineering, 3 cr
NE 412 Nuclear Reactor Design, 5 cr
NE 427 Nuclear Instrumentation Laboratory, 2 cr
NE 428 Nuclear Reactor Laboratory, 2 cr
NE 571 Economic and Environmental Aspects of Nuclear Energy, 3 cr

V. Nuclear Engineering Electives, 12 credits

Any NE course numbered 200 and above.

VI. Communication Skills Requirement, 7 credits

Communications "A" Elective, 2 cr (must be selected from an approved list available in the department office)
EPD 275 Technical Presentations or Com Arts 105 Public Speaking, 2 cr
EPD 397 Technical Writing, 3 cr

VII. Liberal Studies Requirement, 16 credits

The College Liberal Studies Requirement is followed.

Suggested Eight-Semester Course Sequence
Freshman Year, First Semester, 15 credits

Chem 109 General Chemistry, 5 cr
Math 221 Calculus and Analytic Geometry, 5 cr
Communications "A" Elective, 2 cr
InterEgr (EPD) 160 Introduction to Engineering, 3 cr

Second Semester, 16 credits

EMA 201 Statics, 3 cr
Math 222 Calculus and Analytic Geometry, 5 cr
Stat 224 Statistics for Engineers, 3 cr
ME 231 Introductory Engineering Graphics, 2 cr
Liberal Studies Electives, 3 cr

Sophomore Year, First Semester, 16 credits

Math 234 Calculus—Functions of Several Variables, 3 cr
Physics 202 General Physics, 5 cr
EMA 202 Dynamics, 3 cr
NE 271 Engineering Problem Solving I, 3 cr
EPD 275 Technical Presentations or Com Arts 105 Public Speaking, 2 cr

Second Semester, 16 credits

Math 319 Techniques in Ordinary Differential Equations, 3 cr
Physics 241 or 244 Modern Physics, 3 cr
ME 361 Engineering Thermodynamics, 3 cr
EMA 303 Mechanics of Materials, 3 cr
EMA 307 Mechanics of Materials Lab, 1 cr
Liberal Studies Electives, 3 cr

Junior Year, First Semester, 16 credits

NE 305 Fundamentals of Nuclear Engineering, 3 cr
Math 321 Applied Mathematical Analysis, 3 cr
MS&E 350 Intro. to Materials Science, 3 cr
Technical Elective, 3 cr
Liberal Studies Electives, 4 cr

Second Semester, 16 credits

NE 405 Nuclear Reactor Theory, 3 cr
NE 408 Ionizing Radiation, 3 cr
ChE 320 Intro. Transport Phenomena, 4 cr
Computing Elective, 3 cr
ECE 376 Electrical Circuits, 3 cr

Senior Year, First Semester, 17 credits

NE 411 Nuclear Reactor Engineering, 3 cr
NE 427 Nuclear Instrumentation Lab, 2 cr
Nuclear Engineering Electives, 6 cr
Liberal Studies Electives, 3 cr
EPD 397 Technical Writing, 3 cr

Second Semester, 16 credits

NE 412 Nuclear Engineering Design, 5 cr
NE 428 Nuclear Reactor Lab, 2 cr
NE 571 Economic and Environmental Aspects of Nuclear Energy, 3 cr
Nuclear Engineering Electives, 3 cr
Liberal Studies Electives, 3 cr

Total credits required for graduation: 128

Radiation Sciences Option Curriculum

The following curriculum applies to students who entered the program after May 2001. Students selecting the radiation sciences option must submit an option declaration form to the department office.

Summary of Requirements

Mathematics/Statistics Requirement, 22 cr
Science Requirement, 16 cr
Engineering Science Requirement, 30 cr
Nuclear Engineering Core Requirement, 24 cr
Medical Physics Electives, 9 cr
Communications Skills Requirement, 7 cr
Liberal Studies Requirement, 16 cr
Technical Elective, 4 cr

Total Credits: 128

I. Mathematics Requirement, 22 credits

Math 221 Calculus and Analytic Geometry, 5 cr
Math 222 Calculus and Analytic Geometry, 5 cr
Math 234 Calculus—Functions of Several Variables, 3 cr
Math 319 Techniques in Ordinary Differential Equations, 3 cr
Math 321 Applied Mathematical Analysis, 3 cr
Stat 224 Introductory Statistics for Engineers, 3 cr

II. Science Requirement, 16 credits

Chem 109 General Chemistry, 5 cr
Physics 202 General Physics, 5 cr
Physics 241 or 244 Modern Physics, 3 cr
Physics 322 Electromagnetic Fields, 3 cr

III. Engineering Science Requirement, 30 credits

EMA 201 Statics, 3 cr
EMA 202 Dynamics, 3 cr
EMA 303 Mechanics of Materials, 3 cr
EMA 307 Mechanics of Materials, 1 cr
EPD 160 Intro. to Engineering, 3 cr
ME 231 Introductory Engineering Graphics, 2 cr
NE 271 Engineering Problem Solving I, 3 cr
MS&E 350 Introduction to Materials Science, 3 cr
ME 361 Engineering Thermodynamics, 3 cr
ECE 376 Electrical and Electronic Circuits, 3 cr
Computing Elective, 3 cr (must be selected from an approved list available in the department office)

IV. Radiation Sciences Core Requirement, 24 credits

NE 305 Fundamentals of Nuclear Engineering, 3 cr
NE 405 Nuclear Reactor Theory, 3 cr
NE 408 Ionizing Radiation, 3 cr
NE 412 Nuclear Engineering Design, 5 cr
NE 427 Nuclear Instrumentation Laboratory, 2 cr
NE 428 Nuclear Reactor Laboratory, 2 cr
Med Phys 501 Radiological Physics and Dosimetry, 3 cr
NE 571 Economic and Environmental Aspects of Nuclear Energy, 3 cr

V. Medical Physics Electives, 9 credits

A selected list of medical physics and physics courses numbered 400 and above is available in the department office.

VI. Communication Skills Requirement, 7 credits

Communications "A" Elective, 2 cr (must be selected from an approved list available in the department office) EPD 275 Technical Presentations or Com Arts 105 Public Speaking, 2 cr
EPD 397 Technical Writing, 3 cr

VII. Liberal Studies Requirement, 16 credits

The College Liberal Studies Requirement is followed.

Suggested Eight-Semester Course Sequence
Freshman Year, First Semester, 15 credits

Chem 109 General Chemistry, 5 cr
Math 221 Calculus and Analytic Geometry, 5 cr
Communications "A" Elective, 2 cr
InterEgr (EPD) 160 Introduction to Engineering, 3 cr

Second Semester, 16 credits

EMA 201 Statics, 3 cr
Math 222 Calculus and Analytic Geometry, 5 cr
Stat 224 Statistics for Engineers, 3 cr
ME 231 Introductory Engineering Graphics, 2 cr
Liberal Studies Electives, 3 cr

Sophomore Year, First Semester, 16 credits

Math 234 Calculus—Functions of Several Variables, 3 cr
Physics 202 General Physics, 5 cr
EMA 202 Dynamics, 3 cr
NE 271 Engineering Problem Solving I, 3 cr
EPD 275 Technical Presentations or Com Arts 105 Public Speaking, 2 cr

Second Semester, 16 credits

Math 319 Techniques in Ordinary Differential Equations, 3 cr
Physics 241 or 244 Modern Physics, 3 cr
ME 361 Engineering Thermodynamics, 3 cr
EMA 303 Mechanics of Materials, 3 cr
EMA 307 Mechanics of Materials Lab, 1 cr
Liberal Studies Electives, 3 cr

Junior Year, First Semester, 16 credits

NE 305 Fundamentals of Nuclear Engineering, 3 cr
Math 321 Applied Mathematical Analysis, 3 cr
MS&E 350 Introduction to Materials Science, 3 cr
Technical Elective, 3 cr
Liberal Studies Elective, 4 cr

Second Semester, 16 credits

NE 405 Nuclear Reactor Theory, 3 cr
NE 408 Ionizing Radiation, 3 cr
Phys 322 Electromagnetic Fields, 3 cr
Computing Elective, 3 cr
ECE 376 Electrical and Electronic Circuits, 3 cr
Free Elective, 1 cr

Senior Year, First Semester, 17 credits

Med Phys 501 Radiological Physics Dosimetry, 3 cr
NE 427 Nuclear Instrumentation Lab, 2 cr
Medical Physics Electives, 6 cr
Liberal Studies Electives, 3 cr
EPD 397 Technical Writing, 3 cr

Second Semester, 16 credits

NE 412 Nuclear Engineering Design, 5 cr
NE 428 Nuclear Reactor Lab, 2 cr
NE 571 Economic and Environmental Aspects of Nuclear Energy, 3 cr
Medical Physics Electives, 3 cr
Liberal Studies Electives, 3 cr

Total credits required for graduation: 128

Facilities

Facilities available for instruction and research include:

Nuclear Reactor Laboratory
Nuclear Instrumentation Laboratory
Fluid Mechanics and Heat Transfer Laboratories
Plasma Physics Laboratories
Superconductivity and Cryogenics Laboratories
Instructional Computing Labs (in Computer Aided Engineering)