All incoming students in the graduate programs of NSE (doctoral, masters, engineering, and the five-year) are required to take diagnostic exams in areas of math, physics, and engineering. The latest approach to conducting these exams was reformulated and adopted by the NSE graduate committee as of fall 2010. The new procedure places more emphasis in the diagnostics on areas needed for NSE graduate study, and more of the responsibility to identify the need for remedial actions on the students.
During the summer prior to entrance as a graduate student, final exams (or a compilation of relevant questions) from five MIT UG subjects: 22.02 (mid-term and final); 22.05; 22.06; 22.070; and 22.071 will be sent electronically to each incoming graduate student. The student should then review these exams and determine whether her/his preparation is sufficient to solve the exams from the first two subjects (22.02 and 22.05), and two of the last three subjects (22.06, 22.070, and 22.071).
When the student meets with her/his registration officer on the fall term registration day, she/he should identify any weaknesses to their registration officer, and also any self-study effort undertaken over the summer, to determine the need for remedial subjects. Remedial subjects should be taken during the first year of NSE graduate study.
No specific grade is required for the remedial subjects. However, these grades will become part of your GPA, for which there is already existing guidelines as to what is deemed acceptable for any graduate student (GPA no less than 3.5 (based on 5.0 scale)) and for being allowed into the qualifying exam (GPA no less than 4.0 (based on 5.0 scale)).
The following requirements are applicable to all doctoral students entering the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering after August 1, 2010.
The objective of the program of study leading to the doctoral degree is to give the student comprehensive knowledge of nuclear science and engineering and to develop competence in original research.
General requirements of the Institute for the doctorate are given in Part 2 of the General Catalogue (Bulletin) and in the ODGE (Office of the Dean for Graduate Education) Graduate Policies and Procedures Manual. The specific requirements of the Nuclear Science and Engineering Department are presented here. The five principal parts of the doctoral program are the Math and Physics Competency Requirement, the Engineering Requirement, the General Examination, the Core/Major/Minor Requirement, and the Doctoral Thesis. Upon satisfactory completion of this program the student will ordinarily receive the degree of Doctor of Philosophy unless a specific request for the degree of Doctor of Science is made. The requirements for both degrees are the same.
Students admitted for the SM or NE degree must apply to the NSE Department Admissions Committee for admission to the doctoral program, should they become interested in the doctoral degree.
NSE requires that all doctoral candidates demonstrate competency in undergraduate mathematics and physics prior to taking the General Exam. Students are responsible for reviewing the exams from subjects 22.02 and 22.05, and determining if their undergraduate preparation is sufficient to solve the exams. If it is not sufficient, they should either undertake a self-study effort during the summer, or, when they meet with their registration officer, discuss the need for taking remedial subjects during their first year of graduate study.
The Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering has a strong tradition of engineering and therefore expects all students to have studied and understood the engineering process. Engineering principles are normally taught in the undergraduate curriculum, and NSE requires that all doctoral candidates demonstrate engineering competency prior to taking the General Exam. Students are expected to review two of the following three subject exams (22.06, 22.070, and 22.071) and determine if their undergraduate preparation is sufficient to solve the exams. If it is not sufficient, they should identify any weakness, and either partake of a self-study effort during the summer, or discuss taking remedial subjects when they meet with their registration officer. Remedial subjects should be taken during the first year of NSE graduate study.
No specific grade is required for the remedial subjects. However, these grades will become part of the student's GPA, for which there is already existing guidelines as to what is deemed acceptable for any graduate student (GPA no less than 3.5 (based on 5.0 scale)), and for being allowed into the qualifying exam (GPA no less than 4.0 (based on 5.0 scale)).
Students wishing to become candidates for the doctoral degree are required to pass a General Examination whose purpose is to establish intellectual potential as well as breadth and depth of knowledge. The structure of the exam is as follows.
The General Examination has two sections, the written component and the oral component. Both components must be passed in order to register for Doctoral Thesis credit. The General Exam is offered once per year, early in the spring semester. Only registered students are permitted to take the General Examination.
A Ph.D. student in Nuclear Science and Engineering admitted for the fall term is expected to take the General Exam in the spring of the following academic year. Students who fail the General Examination will normally be allowed to retake the exam one time. No regular graduate student is permitted to register in Nuclear Science and Engineering for more than six regular terms without having passed the General Examination. (A regular term is any fall or spring term.)
To take the General Examination students must have a cumulative Grade Point Average of at least 4.0 (5.0 is an A average for MIT GPA scale).
The written portion of the General Examination is comprised of two 3-hour sections. All potential Ph.D. candidates answer an hour and a half exam on Nuclear Physics based generally on the class material of 22.101.
The remaining four and a half hours of exam are given in the department's focus area. The questions cover material presented in both the core and in more specialized courses.
Fission Reactor Technology (22.106, 22.211, 22.312)
Plasmas and Fusion (22.105, 22.611, 22.62)
Principles of Radiation Interactions (22.105, 22.106, 22.51)
The oral portion of the General Examination is approximately 1.5 hours in length. It must be taken in the week to ten days immediately following the written exam. One question will be chosen by the examination committee based on the student's general area of specialization. The other question will be more narrowly based on the literature in the student's particular research area. The topic of the narrower question is to be chosen by the student in consultation with the student's research supervisor, and registered with the Examination Supervisor one week before the examination is scheduled to be taken. If the topic is not so registered, the examination committee will choose the topic without further consultation with the student.
The purpose of the oral exam is to test students' ability to think spontaneously and soundly, and to communicate, about a technical problem or area for which they should have the technical background. The examination committee will conduct the exam to lead a student to such new areas, loosely related to the original question. The committee may exercise a wide range of discretion in the particulars of each individual oral exam, and consequently, different committees may vary in the details of how the oral exam is conducted.
Candidates for a doctoral degree must also satisfactorily complete with an average grade of B or better an approved program of advanced studies of not less than 84 credit hours of subjects excluding special problems, of which two subjects (24 units) are selected from the following department courses (the Core): 22.101, 22.105, 22.106. Three subjects (36 units) comprise a field of specialization (the Major) that will be closely related to the student's doctoral thesis topic. Two subjects (24 units) must consist of coordinated subjects clearly outside the field of specialization (the Minor). None of the 36 units selected by the student in the field of specialization (the Major) may be from the list of subjects specified for the General Examination questions chosen by the student.
The field of specialization should be arranged in consultation with, and have the approval of, the student's Registration Officer. Students should also consult with their thesis advisors regarding these fields.
Subjects used towards the minor cannot be from the student's area of concentration nor can they be specified as background for any questions taken by the student on the General Examination.
With the registration officer's concurrence, subjects in fields removed from those covered in the Nuclear Science and Engineering Department may be used to fulfill the minor program. The program must be worth at least 24 credit units, and consist of at least two graduate subjects or three undergraduate subjects. Undergraduate subjects used to fulfill the minor requirement must be taken while registered as a graduate student in the department.
With the registration officer's concurrence, graduate courses taken at other institutions may be used to fulfill the minor requirement.
The Major and Minor programs should be arranged in consultation with, and have the approval of, the Registration Officer.
Subjects fulfilling the core, major, and minor requirements may be taken prior to the General Examination.
Effective Fall 2012.
All students registered for doctoral research are required to register for the Seminar in Nuclear Science and Engineering, 22.911 (Fall) and 22.912 (Spring.) Each year, the requirements are to present one seminar to students and faculty in the seminar series and at least one additional technical presentation in oral or poster format at an occasion agreed to by the faculty coordinator in charge of the doctoral seminar in the student's area. Examples of acceptable technical presentations include (but are not limited to):
General Institute information relating to theses for advanced degrees is to be found in the ODGE Graduate Policies and Procedures Manual.
Doctoral research may be undertaken in nuclear science and engineering or in a related field of research. A thesis can be primarily theoretical or experimental, or can combine both approaches. Either the thesis supervisor or the reader must be a faculty member of the Nuclear Science and Engineering Department. A thesis supervisor may be selected from one of three categories (which can be found at the end of this document).
Before selecting a topic for thesis research, students are advised to speak to NSE faculty and/or research scientists engaged in research in areas of interest to them. A student should then select a supervisor (from one of the approved categories of supervisors) and work out together a proposed program of thesis research. In some cases, joint thesis supervision by more than one faculty member may be appropriate. The program must be approved by the Department before research may be initiated.
Where there is a single supervisor, there must be a thesis reader for each doctoral candidate. The reader will be solicited by the candidate after a thesis topic has been selected. The function of the reader is to read the prospectus and the final thesis report, and to comment on the progress and results of the work. Both the thesis supervisor and the reader will sign acceptance of the final written thesis.
A doctoral supervision committee, composed of at least three members, including the thesis supervisor(s) and reader, will meet with the student each term to review her/his research. The purpose of this review is to see that adequate progress is being made toward completion of the research. This meeting could follow the student's doctoral seminar presentation. At the conclusion of the meeting, a "summary of meeting" form must be signed by the student and committee members and returned to the NSE academic office (24-102a). Submittal of this form will determine the student's thesis progress grade for the term. It is the student's responsibility to obtain the signatures and return the form to the NSE academic office.
These meetings are to be organized by the student. The purpose is to insure that the supervisor, reader, and student are all in agreement with respect to the scope and quality of the thesis work. All participants will sign the summary report prepared by the thesis supervisor.
To facilitate the Departmental approval of the research subject, each candidate shall submit a brief thesis prospectus. This prospectus should be a few typewritten pages long and should contain a descriptive title of thesis; the date of general exam; signatures of doctoral supervision committee members, including supervisor(s) and faculty reader; general description of the problem; its significance; and background information relating to the problem. Thesis registration is permitted in the term the General Examination is successfully completed, and the prospectus is to be submitted no later than the end of the first term of thesis registration; failure to comply will result in refusal of thesis registration in further terms until an approved prospectus is submitted. An approved copy of the form listing the subjects to be taken to satisfy the Core/Major/Minor requirements (84 units) must be attached to the thesis prospectus for review by the thesis supervisor. One copy of the approved prospectus must be submitted to the NSE Academic Office.
After submittal to the NSE Academic Office, the prospectus should be sent electronically to NSE faculty members for their review. Unless informed to the contrary within one month after submittal, the candidate may assume the prospectus has been accepted. If the prospectus is considered unacceptable, the candidate will receive, within one month of submittal, a written statement to the effect from the supervisor acting for the department. If this occurs, another prospectus must be submitted for approval.
The progress each student is making with the PhD thesis research will be reviewed by the Nuclear Science and Engineering Department graduate committee at least once each year. The purpose of the review is to see that adequate progress is being made toward completion of the research. If the progress of any student is considered unsatisfactory, the student will be warned, and in extreme cases may be denied further registration as a doctoral candidate and the research topic made available to another student. A thesis in final form must be submitted before the student's name will be recommended for the Institute Degree List.
All students registered for doctoral research are required to participate each regular term in the Seminar in Nuclear Science and Engineering, 22.911 (fall) and 22.912 (spring). Unless otherwise arranged, the subject of each candidate's seminar shall be her/his thesis research.
All calculations and records as well as any equipment or instrumentation developed during the thesis research are the property of the Institute, at the discretion of the supervisor. Upon completion of the thesis, each student should make arrangements with the thesis supervisor for the transfer of records and equipment.
As indicated in the ODGE Graduate Policy and Procedures Manual, prior to submission of the final written thesis, a draft complete in all particulars is required for editorial comment and professional appraisals by the supervisor and reader. In planning a schedule, the student should realize that in excess of one month has customarily been required to complete the editorial comment, professional appraisal, required revisions and review.
Theses are to be submitted to the Department Academic Office in sufficient number to provide the original and one copy for the MIT Library, one copy for each sponsor or fellowship donor from whom the candidate received financial support (not required for government or general Institute fellowship awards), and one electronic copy, in PDF form, on CD for the Department. The form of submitted theses, the abstract (300 words maximum), and a completed MIT Doctoral Dissertation form, must conform with the Graduate Thesis Specifications as published by the MIT Library (refer to the ODGE Graduate Policy and Procedures Manual and other posted information). All candidates must complete and submit the National Research Council form. One copy of the thesis is to be submitted to each supervisor and reader.
At the time the thesis is submitted, one copy of a thesis summary, signed by the thesis supervisor, must be submitted to the NSE Academic Office. The candidate will also provide the summary to each member of the thesis defense examining committee. Thesis summaries usually run from five to fifteen pages in length and should be in the form of a professional journal preprint. They should present the important results and conclusions of the research as well as a brief discussion of the significance and possible applications of the work. Inclusion of summary tables and/or important figures is encouraged.
The candidate will be examined on the content of the thesis and on topics immediately related to it. The thesis defense may be scheduled to occur at any time after eight days have elapsed following submission of the thesis to the NSE Academic Office, in conformity with Institute and Department requirements for thesis presentation, but before the date grades are due for that term. The candidate shall arrange a time for the defense to meet the convenience of the thesis defense examining committee. The examining committee shall include at least three members of the MIT faculty (of whom the supervisor(s) and reader may be two). The chairman of the committee shall be an NSE faculty member who is not a supervisor or reader. Notice of the thesis defense must be attached to each of the copies of the thesis summary. The notice should list the names of the committee members, date, time, and place of the scheduled defense. Thesis submissions will not be accepted without such a notice, conforming to these regulations. A thesis defense shall not proceed without satisfactory thesis submission being accepted.
Thesis defense examinations are open to the public. A notice of thesis defense must be
e-mailed to all NSE faculty, staff, and students at least one week prior to presentation.
The chairman of the thesis defense committee will inform the Department Graduate Office of the result of the defense. Acceptance will be endorsed by the signatures of the supervisor and reader on the thesis title page, after the thesis defense.
The Nuclear Science and Engineering Department expects that all articles in all publications whose substance is extracted in whole or in part from a thesis in the Department shall be submitted to the thesis supervisor at MIT for comments and proofing before they are submitted to the appropriate journal. This step is taken to ensure that all works of the MIT Nuclear Science and Engineering Department which are submitted for publication are of high quality and meet the standards of the Department.
All articles whose substance is extracted in whole or in part from a thesis should indicate the departments of MIT with which all authors were associated at the time the research was conducted; present affiliations (if other than MIT) should be shown by a footnote to the authors' names.
The student and the thesis supervisor should agree on the basic contents of the articles which are to result from the thesis, methods of publication, appropriate journal, number of authors, and acknowledgements, prior to the student's termination of residence at MIT. In the case of a Ph.D. thesis, this should be done before the final oral examination of the thesis. In the case of an SM thesis, it should be done at the time of submission of the thesis.
It is normal practice for the staff supervisor to be the coauthor of articles resulting from theses. When authorship of a publication is shared by a member of the staff and a student, and there is no sponsoring project, help in meeting publication costs will be given by the Nuclear Science and Engineering Department.
The following was adopted by the NSE Graduate Committee.
A thesis supervisor may be selected from one of the following three categories:
Doctoral thesis research is ordinarily done in residence at the Institute. However, on some occasions and in some fields, work such as the gathering of data away from the Institute may be essential or desirable. Approval for thesis research to be done in absentia is given in writing by the departmental graduate officer, after establishing that there are compelling educational reasons to approve thesis research in absentia. A copy of that approval must be filed in the Office of the Dean for Graduate Education (ODGE).
The following requirements must also be met:
Revised October 2011 (Revision 25)