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Nuclear Engineering

Nuclear Engineering

Program Description

This program provides each student with a broad foundation in nuclear technology and engineering at the graduate level. The unique combination of coursework and laboratory practice provides the student with experience working in the fields of proliferation of nuclear weapons, nuclear detection, nuclear weapon effects, the nuclear fuel cycle, and nuclear power.


This program is normally six quarters in length. Five quarters are devoted to coursework, and one is devoted to thesis research. The research is normally conducted at the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT). The first quarter is focused on neutron transport, fuels, and reactors, to provide a strong foundational basis for the subsequent core and applications courses. The following two quarters build on the first, providing deeper meaning and practice to the concepts. The fourth quarter includes advanced labs, designed to establish the skills needed to conduct research. The fifth quarter is devoted to independent thesis research. In the final quarter, the thesis is defended and revised, as necessary, while final coursework expands the program elements into present day analyses of problems students may face after graduation.


The Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and technology (ABET) also accredits certain engineering programs. The nuclear engineering program is ABET accredited at the MS level. ABET accreditation demonstrates our continuing commitment to the quality of our program—both now and in the future.

Admissions Requirements

Degree Required: An undergraduate degree in Nuclear, Mechanical, Electrical, or Chemical Engineering or Physics. Some other Engineering and Math majors may also be approved by departmental review.


Mathematics Required: Ordinary Differential Equations

Test Required: GRE - 153V/148Q (within the last five years)


GPA Required: Overall - 3.0; Mathematics - 3.0; Major - 3.0


USAF Education Codes: 4QYY, Nuclear Engineering, General; 4QCY, Nuclear and Radiation Effects; 4QDY, Nuclear Weapons of Mass Destruction; 8HKY, Nuclear Effect Physics; 8HLY, Nuclear Physics

Waivers to the above criteria may be granted on a case-by-case basis. Therefore, individuals whose academic credentials fall below any of the above criteria are encouraged to apply and allow the department to perform an academic evaluation.

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Outcomes & Objectives

Program Educational Objectives (PEOs)

Our graduates, in their first (and subsequent) assignments within the military nuclear science and engineering career field, will be called upon to perform some or all the following tasks:

  • Develop Technical Skills: Understand mathematics, computational modeling, science, and engineering and apply them to problems of interest to the Air Force and (DOD)

  • Perform Analysis: Conduct measurements and experiments; evaluate data, and interpret results

  • Communicate: Communicate technical subjects orally and in writing with peers and to supervisors

  • Behave Ethically: Act ethically in all aspects of science and engineering


Program Outcomes (POs)

At graduation students will have demonstrated:

  • A high level of understanding of mathematics, science, and engineering as it applies to nuclear weapons and effects

  • An ability to design, develop, and conduct nuclear science and engineering related research to meet a specified object or goal

  • An ability to measure, analyze, and report results of nuclear and radiation processes and measurements

  • An ability to apply their education to research, and analyze a technical problem related to the needs of the defense of the nation

Program Chair

Dr. John W. McClory

Degree Information

Degree Type: Master's


Delivery Method: In-Residence


Degree Requirements

  • Nuclear Engineering Core (24 credit hours)
  • Nuclear Applications Courses (4 credit hours)
  • Mathematics (4 credit hours)
  • Nuclear Engineering Capstone (4 credit hours)
  • Thesis Research (12 credit hours)

Graduate School Catalog

Faculty Research Areas

  • NUCLEAR WEAPON EFFECTS
View our faculty
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Air Force Institute of Technology
2950 Hobson Way
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH 45433-7765
Commercial: 937-255-6565 | DSN: 785-6565