Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences (NERS)

Professor Ryan McBride (left) and graduate students  Joe Chen, George Dashan and undergraduate student Evan Mahler work at the 200-kV, 1-MA, 100-ns MAIZE facility at the Plasma, Pulsed Power, and Microwave Laboratory at the NAME building on the University of Michigan North Campus.

Nuclear engineers contribute to the world in four major areas: Clean Zero-carbon Energy Production, Nuclear Security and Homeland Defense, Environment and Health, and Scientific Discovery. The NERS undergraduate program lays the foundation to allow graduates to contribute across these important areas.  The NERS undergraduate program lays a firm foundation in both mathematics and basic sciences. As a result, students spend most of the first four semesters developing a broad background in physics, math, chemistry, computing and engineering principles before delving into nuclear engineering courses in their junior and senior years. They develop special expertise in atomic and nuclear physics, nuclear processes and the interactions between matter and radiation.  Students learn to apply this knowledge to identify and solve engineering problems and conduct engineering experiments. This includes developing systems, processes and components for nuclear or radiological applications, with a close eye on radiation safety and environmental protection.  In addition to nuclear engineering and radiological concepts, students use modern tools and techniques and work in multidisciplinary teams that reflect real-world engineering projects. They also engage with the environmental, social, political and ethical aspects of the field.

The undergraduate program in nuclear engineering and radiological sciences leads to the Bachelor of Science in Engineering (B.S.E.) in N.E.R.S.

Course Guide

Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences Courses

Contact

Departmental Website: https://ners.engin.umich.edu/

Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences Department
1906 Cooley Memorial Laboratory
2355 Bonisteel Blvd.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2104

Email: mlwhit@umich.edu
Phone: 734-936-3130
Fax: (734) 763-4540

Department Administration

Department Chair
Todd Allen, Glenn F. and Gladys H. Knoll Chair and Professor
3001 Michigan Mem Phoenix Project

For more specific information on contacting people, go to our contacts page.

Mission

To be the global academic leader in the innovation and evolution of nuclear engineering, uses of radiation, and plasma science.

Goals

The program provides students with:

  • skills and tools necessary for industrial, medical, governmental and environmental applications of nuclear processes and radiation.
  • insights and skills that will prepare them to be leaders in research and the practice of nuclear engineering and radiological sciences within 5 to 10 years of graduation.

Objectives

Within 5-10 years after graduating our students will be able to:

  • Use their understanding of nuclear, radiological, and plasma technology to perform analyses and measurements related to radiation and radiation interactions with matter, nuclear power systems, and health physics design and analyses, in industry, government agencies, or academic environments.
  • Adapt to the rapidly changing scientific and technological landscape, recognize the implications of their work, drive the development of future technologies, and engage in life-long learning and the continual improvement of their skills and knowledge.
  • Communicate effectively with their colleagues and students, and positively influence policy makers and the general public.
  • Contribute substantively as leaders in science, technology, the environment, and society.

Outcomes

Graduates of the program will have:

  • an ability to identify, formulate, and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics
  • 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
  • an ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences
  • 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
  • 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
  • an ability to develop and conduct appropriate experimentation, analyze and interpret data, and use engineering judgment to draw conclusions
  • an ability to acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies

Enrollment and Graduation Data

The University Registrar publishes the number of students enrolled annually in this program and the number of degrees granted each term by this program.

Accreditation

Accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission(s) of ABET, https://www.abet.org, under the General Criteria and the Nuclear and Radiological Engineering Program Criteria.

Program Outcomes

The matrix maps how each course in our curriculum addresses our program outcomes. Only the outcomes tracked are noted below. Please review the NERS Accreditation website for further information.

Course

Student Outcomes (Black – High)

  Apply math and science Design Communicate Ethics Teams Experiments, Analyze, and Interpret Data Lifelong Learning

NERS250

             

NERS311

             

NERS312

             

NERS315

             

NERS320

             

NERS344

             

NERS421

             

NERS425

             

NERS441

             

NERS444

             

NERS471

             

NERS484

             

NERS491

             

NERS492

             

NERS535

             

NERS575

             

NERS586

             

Undergraduate Degree Program

Sample Schedule

B.S.E. in Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences

The Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET. Please see the PDF version of the sample schedule. Additional information can be found on the NERS Department Advising website.

Sequential Undergraduate/Graduate Study (SUGS)

The five-year Sequential Undergraduate/Graduate Study (SUGS) Program permits students who enter the program in the first term of their senior year to receive the B.S.E. and M.S.E. degrees (or the B.S.E. and M.S. degrees) upon completion of a minimum of 149 credit hours. Students should speak with the department advising office to learn more about the SUGS application process and procedures. SUGS admissions requirements will vary.

For further information, please review the NERS Degree Options website.

Available programs include:

  • B.S.E. in Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences/M.S. in Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences
  • B.S.E. in Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences/M.S. in Biomedical Engineering
  • B.S.E. in Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences/M.Eng. in Automotive Engineering 
    B.S.E. in Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences/M.Eng. in Energy Systems Engineering 
    B.S.E. in Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences/M.Eng. in Global Automotive and Manufacturing Engineering 
    B.S.E. in Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences/M.Eng. in Manufacturing 
    B.S.E. in Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences/M.Eng. in Systems Engineering + Design 

M.S. and M.S.E. Programs

M.S. in Nuclear Science and M.S.E. in Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences

  • Undergraduate Preparation: Entrance requirements are NERS 311, 312, and 320 (or their equivalents) and may NOT be applied towards the 30 hours for the Master’s Degree.
  • Bachelor of Science (BS): Apply for the Master of Science (M.S.)
  • Bachelor of Science in Engineering (BSE): Apply for the Master of Science in Engineering (M.S.E.)

Please review the “Checklist for Master’s Degree Requirements” available in the department office and online.

Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences, M.S.E.

Students entering the program must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited engineering program.

Nuclear Science, M.S.

The Nuclear Science program is available to those with bachelor’s degrees from recognized programs in physics, chemistry, or mathematics who wish to work in the field of nuclear engineering and radiological sciences.

Master’s Graduation Requirements

The Master’s Degree in Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences requires 30 hours of coursework at the graduate level, including 20 hours from NERS (of which four courses must be at the 500 level or above). Rackham requires a minimum of four credit hours of cognate graduate-level coursework. NERS requires that the cognate courses be related to the student’s degree program and should be chosen with the advice of the student’s graduate advisor. A student must also take at least one 400 level or higher laboratory course for the M.S. degree while a graduate student. The average grade in NERS courses must be a B (a grade point of 3.0/4.0) or better, and the average grade for all courses must also be a B or higher. Undergraduates who earned the following degrees should apply for the corresponding diplomas.

Master’s Project: (Optional)

The student, with approval of the student’s graduate advisor, may substitute a master’s project report for two to six credit hours of graduate coursework (NERS 599). In addition to a written final report, the student will be required to make a seminar presentation on the master’s project.

Minimum number of credits required: 30 credit hours.

Ph.D. Programs

Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences, Ph.D. Nuclear Science, Ph.D.

The doctoral degree is conferred in recognition of marked ability and scholarship in some relatively broad fields of knowledge. A part of the work consists of regularly scheduled graduate courses of instruction in the chosen field and in such cognate subjects as may be required by Rackham and the advisor. In addition, the student must pursue independent investigation in a subdivision of the selected field and must present the result of the investigation in the form of a dissertation. The selected fields (options) are:

  • Fission Systems and Radiation Transport
  • Materials and Radiation Effects
  • Plasma and Nuclear Fusion
  • Radiation Measurements and Imaging

Ph.D. Candidacy and Graduation Requirements

Laboratory Course Requirement

All Ph.D. students must take NERS 515, Nuclear Measurements Laboratory, and obtain a grade of B (3.0/4.0) or better. Students who have taken NERS 315 as an undergraduate must instead take one of NERS 425, NERS 535, NERS 575, NERS 586, NERS 590 (Transmission Electron Microscopy Lab), MSE 562 or AEROSP 521. The student’s advisor and Ph.D. graduate program chair must approve in writing any variances and substitutions.

Breadth Course Requirements

All Ph.D. students must take and obtain a grade of B (3.0/4.0) or better in 6 credit hours of NERS courses selected from outside the student’s option, as defined by the following lists of courses. Courses not listed do not satisfy this requirement; the student’s advisor and graduate chair must approve any variances in writing. The purpose of this requirement is to ensure the breadth of nuclear engineering and radiological science education of our Ph.D. students and to ensure that the student is exposed to the quantitative analytical methods used in other specialties in the field. A laboratory course used to satisfy this breadth requirement cannot be used to satisfy the laboratory requirement (above). Breadth courses are not required for candidacy; however, they are required for final degree approval.

Breadth Requirement Courses and Option Classification:

Fission Systems and Radiation Transport: NERS 441, 442, 444, 462, 543, 544*, 546, 547, 551, 554*, 561, 590**, 644

Materials: NERS 521, 522, 524, 531, 622

Measurements: NERS 481, 484, 518, 535, 580, 582, 583, 586, 587

Plasmas and Fusion: NERS 471, 472 571, 572, 573, 574, 575, 576, 577, 578

*Students in the Measurements Option cannot elect these courses as breadth courses

**590 Computational Transport Methods

**590 Solvers for Nuclear Applications

NERS and Rackham Candidacy Requirements

  • Time to Candidacy – A student must achieve candidacy within two (2) years after the first enrollment in the NERS Ph.D. program.
  • Coursework In Residence – A pre-candidate must complete at least 18 credit hours of graded (including the grade of S – Satisfactory) graduate coursework registered as a Rackham student while in residence on the Ann Arbor campus.
    • Courses elected as visit (audit) do not meet this requirement, nor do any doctoral courses (those designated as 990, etc.).
  • Courses elected as visit (audit) do not meet this requirement, nor do any doctoral courses (those designated as 990, etc.).
  • Cognate Requirement – Before advancing to candidacy, students must complete 4 credit hours of cognate coursework with a grade of B or better according to the NERS graduation requirements. Additional Rackham requirements can be found on the Rackham Graduate School Academic Policies website.
  • All courses in Responsible Conduct of Research and Scholarship (RCRS) for Ph.D. students must be completed. Please review the Responsible Conduct of Research and Scholarship website for further details.

Advancement to Candidacy

The entire NERS faculty will decide a student’s advancement to candidacy based on a broad assessment of the student’s performance on a written examination, the student’s academic and research record, and the recommendation of the student’s advisor.

The written examination is a six-hour test in a specific option: 1) Fission Systems and Radiation Transport; 2) Plasmas and Nuclear Fusion; 3) Materials and Radiation Effects; 4) Radiation Measurements and Imaging; or 5) an alternative area approved in advance by the NERS Executive Committee. The exam will cover topics at the graduate level. Students are encouraged to discuss with their research advisor specific topics covered and relevant courses. The written exam is prepared by the examination committee in each option and is given twice a year, in January and May.

To take the written exam, a student must be a doctoral pre-candidate in good standing with the graduate school, have identified a thesis advisor, and have a minimum graduate GPA of 3.3 (B+) at the time of the exam. Exceptions will be considered by petition to the departmental graduate committee. Also, a student must receive the written approval of their advisor and the NERS Graduate Chair.

The written exam will be graded anonymously, and scores will be communicated to the student within two weeks of the exam. The student will be considered by the option faculty for advancement to candidacy within a month of the written exam, taking into account the score on the written exam, the student’s academic and research record, and the input of the student’s advisor. A recommendation on advancement to candidacy will be prepared by the option faculty for the full NERS faculty, who will decide each case. If the faculty decision is not to advance the student to candidacy, the student will be informed of the reasons for the decision and the specific recommendations of the faculty. A student may be considered for candidacy a second time, but attempts beyond the second will require approval of the department faculty.

Note on advancement to candidacy: before the student advances to candidacy, the department will audit the student’s Ph.D. checklist to ensure that all candidacy requirements have been met. The breadth courses are not required for candidacy, but they must be taken before completion of the doctoral degree.

Dissertation Prospectus

A thesis prospectus exam is required for completion of the Ph.D. degree. It is recommended that this exam is taken within 12 months of achieving candidacy status, and after the candidate has formed a dissertation committee.

The exam will consist of a presentation by the candidate on their proposed research program, lasting about 30 minutes, followed by questioning. After questions covering the presentation material, questions of a more fundamental but related nature may be introduced. These questions may cover material found in standard undergraduate or introductory graduate NERS courses. This question period is nominally expected to last 60 minutes.

This examining committee will consist of at least three members of the student’s dissertation committee (the full committee will be invited), and one randomly selected NERS faculty member from outside the candidate’s dissertation committee. The chair of the examining committee will be the student’s dissertation committee chair. Following the questioning the examining committee will discuss the proposed research and prospectus, and vote on passing or failing the student; their decision will be communicated to the student as soon afterward as practicable, generally along with suggestions for the direction of the research, and to the NERS faculty as a whole at the next faculty meeting.

This exam may be attempted twice; the second attempt must occur within 12 months of the first. Additional attempts beyond the second will require approval of the NERS faculty.

The thesis prospectus will be scheduled at the advisor’s request. The student should then submit their name, option, research topic, and an abstract to the departmental graduate coordinator, along with some dates that both the advisor and student find convenient. The graduate coordinator will then set the committee, schedule the exam, and reserve the room for the exam.

Dissertation and Dissertation Defense

Ph.D. students must complete a written dissertation describing an original, substantive, and scholarly contribution to their field of study. A dissertation committee, chaired by the student’s research advisor(s), will read this dissertation and its abstract and judge their adequacy. The committee may require changes to the dissertation. Each student must also present and successfully defend their dissertation work at a public meeting.