NSE - Nuclear Science & Engineering at MIT



The objective of the nuclear science & engineering program is to provide the best possible education in science and engineering areas relevant to effective understanding and utilization of nuclear processes to benefit society in an economically and environmentally sustainable world.

The relevant areas include nuclear applications in energy generation and in the medical, industrial, scientific, environmental, and security fields. Our undergraduate program aims to equip students with a firm foundation in the principles of science and engineering relevant to nuclear processes and their application, and to prepare students for professional growth and further education in their chosen fields. These objectives are consistent with the objective of the School of Engineering and MIT. The constituencies of our program, and major employers of our undergraduates, include industry, universities, national laboratories, and government agencies.

The educational objectives of the Nuclear Science and Engineering program are that a few years after graduating our students will be:

  1. Applying their fundamental knowledge of nuclear science and engineering to address society’s needs for energy, security, a robust economy, and improved quality of life.
  2. Communicating effectively among professional peers, within multi-disciplinary teams, and to the public.
  3. Incorporating the complexities of environmental, safety, and economic concerns into their work, while practicing and promoting the highest ethical standards.
  4. Continually challenging themselves to increase their intellectual breadth, and provide leadership, innovation, and up to date knowledge to the wide range of nuclear science and engineering applications.

Nuclear Science and Engineering Outcomes

The success in meeting our program objectives are measured through our program outcomes. We have a working assessment program in place to measure the achievement of our outcomes. The outcomes for NSE are given below. They relate directly to ABET and our program educational objectives.

  1. Students will demonstrate an understanding of the basic mathematics and science that underlie engineering.
  2. Students will demonstrate proficiency in core disciplines that comprise nuclear science and engineering: low energy nuclear physics, radiation science, reactor and neutron physics, and the engineering of nuclear systems.
  3. Students will demonstrate the ability to apply the knowledge of one or more nuclear engineering sub-disciplines in greater depth.
  4. Students will successfully apply basic principles and practices from these fundamental disciplines to identify, formulate, and solve nuclear engineering problems.
  5. Students will demonstrate the ability to use design optimization concepts and incorporate user needs in the design of nuclear systems.
  6. Students will demonstrate the ability to design and conduct experiments and to analyze and interpret experimental data.
  7. Students will demonstrate proficiency in the use of computers and modern engineering design tools to develop and implement solutions to nuclear engineering problems.
  8. Students will demonstrate an ability to carry to completion an independent study project.
  9. Students will demonstrate proficiency in written and oral communication skills.
  10. Students will have the ability to work with others and on multi-disciplinary teams.
  11. Students will demonstrate an understanding of social, professional, and ethical issues related to the safe and wise development of nuclear science and engineering.
  12. Students will demonstrate the skills and motivation for continued self-education.

The attributes of an MIT graduate, as defined by the MIT mission statement, also reflect the outcomes of our department:

  1. Possess well-developed faculties of critical and rational reasoning.
  2. Understand scientific method and other methods of inquiry and, hence, is able to obtain, evaluate, and utilize information to pose and solve complex problems in life and work.
  3. Strong grasp of quantitative reasoning and an ability to manage complexity and ambiguity.
  4. Have a sound foundation of knowledge within a chosen field and achieve some depth and experience of practice in it.
  5. Able to relate knowledge within chosen field to larger problems in society and able to appreciate the interaction between science, technology, and society.
  6. Be intellectually curious and be motivated toward continuous learning.
  7. Possess qualities associated with the best in the human spirit: a well-developed sense of judgment, an aesthetic sensibility, and the flexibility and self-confidence to adapt to major change.
  8. Have knowledge of history, and an understanding of the spectrum of human culture and value systems.
  9. Can combine knowledge with ability to think critically about moral and ethical issues.
  10. Ability to communicate clearly and effectively enabling an ability to work well with others.
  11. Employ all of the above attributes in making a positive and substantial contribution to society.

Further information about nuclear engineering at MIT may be obtained from Professor Michael Short, (hereiam@mit.edu) and Heather Barry (hbarry@mit.edu).

The MIT Bulletin is a great resource for information on the Institute, including all graduate and undergraduate courses and programs. It contains a description of the Bachelor of Science in Nuclear Science and Engineering and the minor in Nuclear. Another section of importance to undergraduates is the Undergraduate Institute Requirements.


Contacts at NSE

Undergraduate Chair, Prof Mike Short hereiam@mit.edu
Undergraduate Administrator, Heather Barry hbarry@mit.edu

Undergraduate Institute Requirements
MIT Undergraduate Admissions

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Department of Nuclear Science & Engineering

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
77 Massachusetts Avenue, 24-107
Cambridge, MA 02139