Why Get a Master's Degree or Graduate Certificate in Nuclear Engineering?
A need for finding clean energy is vital to society's survival, perhaps not today, but most certainly down the road. Nuclear power is believed to be the best source of clean energy, and a master's degree or graduate certificate in nuclear engineering will help develop the skills necessary to manufacture, create, and sustain that nuclear power.
What many nuclear engineering master's programs strive to do is encourage innovative thinkers to utilize and cope with the ever-growing technological resources available and help find sustainable solutions to the world's burgeoning energy crisis. In addition to being an optimal choice for problem-solvers and creative thinkers, an upper-level degree in nuclear engineering is ideal for those with an engineering or applied sciences baccalaureate degree looking to gain a competitive edge in their field.
What Skills Will I Learn While Studying for the Nuclear Engineering Master's Degree or Graduate Certificate?
While studying for a master's degree or graduate certificate in nuclear engineering, students will be exposed to and prepared for important field-related competencies, including:
- Implementing innovative and creative solutions to complex problems.
- Researching, investigating, and analyzing issues surrounding nuclear engineering both at the micro- and macro-societal level.
- Understanding regulations, policies, and laws pertinent to keeping workers and the environment protected and safe.
- Presenting research and findings in a clear, concise, and logical way, both verbally, as well as on paper.
How are Nuclear Engineering Courses Taught?
Nuclear engineering master's degree and graduate certificate programs vary in their graduation requirements. Some programs require a thesis while others do not. Since many programs are designed for working professionals who already have experience in the field, many students entering a master's degree or graduate certificate program have the option whether they wish to follow a thesis or non-thesis track. What every program does involve, however, is research, as well as acquiring the skills necessary to become innovative, creative problem-solvers. This is accomplished by requiring students to take a number of credits outside the nuclear engineering major in subjects like environmental science, math, or various other types of engineering.
How Long Does It Take to Earn a Master's Degree or Graduate Certificate in Nuclear Engineering?
As with graduation requirements, each master's degree or graduate certificate program in nuclear engineering differs in the length of time it will take to complete. North Carolina State University, for example, recommends students take only one course their first semester and two every other semester after that. With that in mind, most master's degree programs require the completion of twenty-seven to thirty credits while most graduate certificate programs require the completion of nine to twelve credits.
How do Online Master's Degrees or Graduate Certificates in Nuclear Engineering Work?
An online master's degree in nuclear engineering is intended for those who already work in the field of applied science or engineering. Therefore, online courses offer flexibility in that students have a certain number of years to complete the master's or certificate program from the time they begin taking courses.
Courses, themselves, are taught similarly to those taught in the traditional, onsite way. Lectures, research and lab work may still be required, the latter of which is completed in a variety of ways. Labs are either conducted virtually or via a lab kit mailed to students. Once complete, students either return the kit to the teacher for a grade or type up a report of their findings.
What if I Have Questions about the Online Nuclear Engineering Master's Degree Format and Process?
Questions about an online master's degree or graduate certificate in nuclear engineering can most often be answered through research or through contacting a school of interest directly. Here is a list of important questions to consider:
- Is the school accredited?
- How do students and faculty collaborate and interact with each other?
- What are the faculty's credentials, experience, and area of expertise?
- Does the school offer grants, scholarships, and/or financial aid?
- Is a thesis, project, or research paper due as a graduation requirement?
- How is lab work conducted?
- Does the school assist with job placement and licensing?
- What type of academic and career counseling is available?
- What type of course materials are available?
- Does the school have an online library?
What Will I Need to be Successful Studying Online?
Obtaining an online degree in any capacity requires a high level of time management and self-discipline. Many online programs do not operate on a set classroom schedule and it is solely up to the individual student to conduct research, and complete course- and lab work. Students must commit themselves to staying organized and maintaining a routine study schedule.
Nuclear Engineering Online Master's Degree or Graduate Certificate Course Examples
Courses taught online at the graduate level toward a degree or certificate in nuclear engineering include:
- Radiation Safety
- Nuclear Materials
- Power Plant Simulation
- Design Principles of Reactor Systems
- Nuclear Fuel Cycles
- Intro to Statistical Thermodynamics
- Nuclear Fuel Management
- Heat Transfer
- Radiation and Reactor Fundamentals
- Reactor Engineering
- Radioactive Waste Control
Tuition and Costs for an Online Master's Degree or Graduate Certificate in Nuclear Engineering
An online master's degree or graduate certificate in nuclear engineering will range in cost of tuition from $12,248 to $52,956 per year. Some schools require one-time application and transcript fees, as well.
What Kinds of Jobs Can I Do with a Nuclear Engineering Master's Degree or Graduate Certificate?
Those with a master's degree in nuclear engineering have job options in several industries including manufacturing, government, private corporations, agricultural, and environmental agencies. Several professions include:
- Nuclear engineer, $105,810
- Nuclear scientist, $77,362
- Physicist, $88,375
- Nuclear safety engineer, $76,756
- Health and safety engineer, $70,867
- Nuclear analyst, $70,241
What are the Benefits of Having a Master's Degree or Graduate Certificate in Nuclear Engineering?
Obtaining a master's degree or graduate certificate in nuclear engineering can lead to job security, higher pay, and top-level employment positions. Professionals working in the field of nuclear engineering are constantly researching and experimenting with new ways to use nuclear power in weapons, power plants, and renewable energy sources. Additionally, nuclear engineers work with radiation, often finding beneficial ways to implement radiation into medical equipment to help treat and diagnose patients.