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 program educational objectives (PEOs) of the Nuclear Science and Engineering program for students 3-5 years after graduation are that they will be able to:

  1. Efficiently and effectively identify and address societal needs for energy, security, socioeconomic equality, a robust economy, and improved quality of life.
  2. Communicate issues relating to science and technology at appropriate levels to their peers, in professional settings, and to members of the public.
  3. Design and develop solutions to society’s problems which fully integrate stakeholder needs, ethical decision making, empathy, economics, and technical excellence.
  4. Continually challenge 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 Student Educational Outcomes (SEOs):

The targeted student outcomes for the NSE program have been changed as of 2019 to formally adopt those of the 2019-2020 ABET EC Criterion 3. These are as follows, specifying that graduating students will possess:

  1. an ability to identify, formulate, and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics
  2. an ability to apply engineering design to produce solutions that meet specified needs with consideration of public health, safety, and welfare, as well as global, cultural, social, environmental, and economic factors
  3. an ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences
  4. an ability to recognize ethical and professional responsibilities in engineering situations, and make informed judgments, which must consider the impact of engineering solutions in global, economic, environmental, and societal contexts
  5. an ability to function effectively on a team whose members together provide leadership, create a collaborative and inclusive environment, establish goals, plan tasks, and meet objectives
  6. an ability to develop and conduct appropriate experimentation, analyze and interpret data, and use engineering judgment to draw conclusions
  7. an ability to acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies.

In addition, there exist seven additional student outcomes, which specify desired abilities on a more granular level, and relevant to the field of NSE. These are as follows, where graduating students are expected to demonstrate:

  1. Proficiency in core disciplines that comprise NSE
  2. Applied knowledge in sub-disciplines of NSE in greater depth
  3. Incorporation of design optimization concepts & user needs in applied NSE
  4. Proficiency using computing and modern design tools in NSE
  5. Completion of an NSE-related independent study project
  6. Understanding of social, professional, & ethical issues of NSE
  7. Skill and motivation to pursue continued education

The Course 22 degree program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET (https://www.abet.org/).

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