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 Masters Degree.
  • Bachelor of Science (BS): Apply for the Master’s of Science (MS)
  • Bachelor of Science in Engineering (BSE): Apply for the Master’s of Science in Engineering (MSE)

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 field 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
  • Plasma and 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 PhD 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 2 years after the first enrollment in the NERS PHD program.
  • Coursework In Residence – A precandidate 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.).
  • 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 at: 
  • All courses in Responsible Conduct of Research and Scholarship (RCRS) for Ph.D. students must be completed.

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 Fusion; 3) Materials; 4) Measurements; 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 precandidate 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 the 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. This exam must be 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 his or her 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 afterwards 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 his or her 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 the dissertation work at a public meeting.