NSE - Nuclear Science & Engineering at MIT


GRADUATE : Five-Year Program

The five-year program is the equivalent of a four-year program of undergraduate degree work plus one year of graduate-level work to satisfy Master of Science degree requirements. This program is only open to current MIT undergraduate students. Application: apply.mit.edu/apply Choose the Master of Science program, and indicate that you are applying for the 5th Year SM degree program on the Program information page.

General Requirements

The student must satisfy the SB curriculum in an undergraduate department in addition to the SM requirements in Nuclear Science and Engineering. NSE SM degree requirements: View Requirements PDF

No subjects can count toward both the SB and SM degrees. A single master’s thesis may be submitted to satisfy the thesis requirements for both degrees, should the undergraduate department allow that. (NSE does.)

The five-year combined bachelor and master’s program is designed for students who decide relatively early in their undergraduate career that they wish to pursue a graduate degree in nuclear engineering. Students must submit their application for this program during the second term of their junior year and be judged to satisfy the graduate admission requirements of the Department. The normal expectations of MIT undergraduates for admission to the five-year program are an overall MIT grade point average of at least 4.3, and strong mathematics, science, and engineering background.

The application consists of the following:

  • Funding Plan for the 5th Year program (whether you are seeking a research assistantship, have external funding, or intend to self-pay)
  • Five Year Planning Document showing how you plan to meet the degree requirements for both the SB and SM degrees.  The proposed plan should be approved by both your undergraduate advisor and the Course 22 Undergraduate Officer (Professor Jacopo Buongiorno).
  • Biographical and Personal Information
  • Academic History (you may use a grade report rather than an unofficial transcript)
  • Research Experience
  • Honors, Awards and Publications (optional)
  • Statement of Objectives: your qualifications for the graduate program and what type of research you are interested in
  • Personal Statement (optional)
  • 3 letters of recommendation

Applications are due June 1, with decisions sent in July.

Seniors interested in the master’s degree program in NSE should apply for graduate school admission in the normal cycle (applications open September 15 and close December 15 for entry the following Fall). 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

You are welcome to discuss the Five-Year Program with the Course 22 Undergraduate Officer, Professor Jacopo Buongiorno or with Brandy Baker, the NSE Academic Administrator. The most common questions are answered below.

How long will it take to graduate?

It is the satisfactory completion of degree requirements that is expected, not the specific time of five years. This means that you can finish in less or more than five years, with appropriate funding.

When should accelerated or transfer students apply?

If you are a transfer student or will complete the SB program in less than four years, apply when you have completed enough credits to be equivalent to a second semester junior at MIT.

Is financial aid given for the five-year program?

Funding is not guaranteed for the five-year program, however you are eligible for research assistantship and teaching assistantship employment if you wish to seek out such opportunities.

Are Course 22 undergraduates eligible to apply?

Yes, any undergraduate student at MIT is eligible to apply. Typically, students apply from NSE, Aero/Astro, ChemE, MechE, Civil & Environmental Engineering, EECS and Physics.

May I change my original course plan?

You may change the subjects proposed in your application with the approval of your undergraduate advisor and your graduate registration officer. You may withdraw from the program at any time and obtain the SB by completing the appropriate requirements, including a SB thesis; if the SM is pursued subsequently, a separate SM thesis will be required.

Do thesis units (22.ThG) count towards the 66 unit requirement for the Five-Year program?

No, research subjects do not count toward the 66 unit requirement.

Can I continue with an advanced degree in NSE after the Five-Year program?

Current master’s degree students are welcome to apply for the doctoral program, through the regular admissions process. Please contact the Academic Office if you’re interested in applying.

Can advanced courses taken in the Five-Year program satisfy Ph.D. level requirements?

Yes. All graduate subjects taken to meet the master’s degree requirements can also be used to meet doctoral requirements.

Revised May 2024