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Nuclear Science Schools with Degree Program Overviews

Nuclear science education programs study the nucleus of an atom, as well as the neutrons and protons surrounding it. Nuclear physics and nuclear engineering are two of the many areas of nuclear science. Most nuclear scientists pursue master's and doctoral degrees.

How to Select a Nuclear Science School

Nuclear science is utilized in many fields, including the military, healthcare, power plants and industrial inspection. Students searching for a nuclear science school or program should first determine their field and career path so they understand what areas should be covered in his or her chosen profession. For example, students may choose a nuclear science program that focuses on engineering or physics.

Prospective students should also look for laboratories that study optical metallography. A lab should have the capabilities to perform mechanical and electrochemical testing; scanning electron microscopes, K500/K1200 coupled cyclotrons and A1900 fragment separators are also important pieces of equipment for a nuclear science lab. A student would then check the curriculum of a school to determine if it addresses the skills needed in a particular field.

Degree Program Information

Formal education in nuclear science usually starts at the bachelor's degree level with transfer to a master's degree. A report from the Department of Energy (www.energy.gov) states that there are few nuclear science courses available for undergraduates. Some schools offer a dual-degree option that allows a student to work on a bachelor's degree and master's degree at the same time.

At the master's degree level students learn in specialized areas, such as applied plasma physics, nuclear fission and nuclear technology. The master's degree program normally takes two years to complete. Most students planning a career in nuclear science transfer into a doctoral degree program.

A doctoral degree opens the door for research and teaching. Typical fields of study include applied plasma physics and fission reactor technology. A typical doctoral degree program focuses on advanced research and requires a student to complete a research project pertaining to nuclear science. The student then defends his or her project before a review board.

Largest Colleges Ranked by Student Population

College/UniversityStudent PopulationInstitution Type
Ohio State University - Main Campus53,7154-year, Public
University of Florida51,4744-year, Public
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities51,1404-year, Public
Michigan State University46,5104-year, Public
Pennsylvania State University - Main Campus44,4064-year, Public
University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign43,2464-year, Public
New York University42,1894-year, Private not-for-profit
University of Wisconsin - Madison41,6204-year, Public
Purdue University - Main Campus41,4334-year, Public
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor41,0284-year, Public
University of Washington - Seattle Campus39,6754-year, Public
Florida International University38,7594-year, Public
Florida State University38,6824-year, Public
University of California - Los Angeles38,2204-year, Public
University of Maryland - College Park37,0004-year, Public
University of California - Berkeley35,3964-year, Public
Brigham Young University34,1804-year, Private not-for-profit
University of Georgia34,1804-year, Public
North Carolina State University at Raleigh32,8724-year, Public
University of Colorado at Boulder32,4694-year, Public

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