How to Make a Career in Nuclear Engineering?

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Nuclear Engineering

Nuclear Engineering programs, also known as the subject of the future world were discovered in the 20th century during World War- II when experts realized that such an enormous explosive power of nuclear energy can be used in weapons, medicines, equipment and machines. It was discovered through Nuclear fission which was founded by German chemists- Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann. Over the years this technology has evolved multifold and now you can even pursue a full-fledged degree in the field. Let’s explore the various aspects of the Nuclear Engineering course with this blog!

What is Nuclear Engineering?

The Nuclear Engineering course is a commercially booming industry that is applicable in submarines, ships, and spacecraft, and to produce electricity in power plants. It is the subatomic science that involves the detailed study of atomic nuclei.

It further breaks down to nuclear physics which explores features like atoms, protons, and neutrons. It focuses meticulously on the components of medical imaging, nuclear fission reactors, ultrasensitive contraband detectors, and fusion reactors.

Since the first nuclear reactor was built- Chicago Pile No. 1 (CP-1), many engineers, physicists, mathematicians and scientists have contributed to this extremely important and complex field of Nuclear Engineering.  

Nuclear research is another major aspect where people can find ways to make reactors more safe and sustainable. Some researchers are involved in basic fusion research and aim to make it available for the production of electricity and other commercial uses.

Do you know? Nuclear Energy is used in almost every country in the world and is also used in Mars Rovers. Rovers are motor vehicles that travel across the surface of the planet and examine more territory which also possesses robotic knowledge and control. 

Relevance of Nuclear Engineering in 2023

If you’re a movie buff, especially in the scientific genre, you’d know that the film Oppenheimer is set to release this year. The film, directed by Christopher Nolan, has brought to light the American scientist and theoretical physicist Julius Robert Oppenheimer. People of our generation must understand his narrative, as well as how and why he developed the atomic bomb during WWII. Cillian Murphy plays the title character in the film.

On July 21, 2023, Oppenheimer will be released in theatres worldwide.

Image Source: BookMyShow

J Robert Oppenheimer stood in the New Mexico desert early on July 16, 1945, as the world’s first nuclear bomb exploded. The blast was so powerful that it lit up the sky like a second sun, prompting Oppenheimer to recall a verse from the Hindu scripture the Bhagavad Gita: “If the radiance of a thousand suns were to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendour of the mighty one.”

It was another verse from the Bible that he mentioned and was strongly identified with him. Lord Krishna, an incarnation of Vishnu, appears to Arjun in his global form and declares, “Now I am Death, the destroyer of worlds.”

Oppenheimer and Nuclear Engineering

  • Oppenheimer, who was born in New York City in 1904, was a child prodigy with a love of science. He attended Harvard University and Christ’s College, Cambridge, and got interested in atomic physics in the 1930s.
  • Oppenheimer received his Doctor of Philosophy degree in March 1927, at the age of 23, under the supervision of Born. He and Born co-authored a seminal study on the Born-Oppenheimer approximation, which distinguishes nuclear motion from electronic motion in the mathematical analysis of molecules, allowing nuclear motion to be ignored to simplify computations.
  • Oppenheimer contributed significantly to theoretical astronomy (particularly in relation to general relativity and nuclear theory), nuclear physics, spectroscopy, and quantum field theory, including its extension into quantum electrodynamics.
  • He is frequently referred to as the “Father of the Atomic Bomb” because of his involvement in organising the Manhattan Project, the research and development effort that resulted in the first nuclear weapons.

Top Universities

Here are some of the top universities worldwide where you can study nuclear engineering and the cost of studying there. Check the table below:

UniversityCost of Studying
University of Michigan- Ann Arbor$29,466 per year 
Massachusetts Institute of Technology$57,590 
North Carolina State University$9,095
Texas A&M University$287 per credit
University of California, Berkeley$11,700
University of Wisconsin$10,728
University of Tennessee (Tickle)$639 per credit
Georgia Institute of Technology$14,064
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign$19,320
Pennsylvania State University$26,062
Purdue University$10,842
Oregon State University$15,570
ETH Zurich

Skills Required to Become a Nuclear Engineer

A person who has an aptitude for understanding, operating and designing nuclear Equipment and wants to pursue research in the nuclear system, reactors and sounds can choose to work in this field. The basic skills include:

  • Introspect and identify design elements
  • Grasp details in the operation of facilities
  • Logical Thinking abilities
  • Innovative ideas
  • Expertise in advanced math (calculus and trigonometry)
  • Reasoning and Problem- Solving abilities.

Also Read: List of Best Universities in Asia

Subjects Covered

A Nuclear Engineering degree has relevance in many fields. The following is the list of subjects that are covered in the field of Nuclear Engineering:

  • Quantum Mechanics
  • Nuclear Reactors
  • Nuclear Power Plants
  • Nuclear War Weapons
  • Nuclear Fusion
  • Medical Applications 
  • Nuclear Safety
  • Radiation
  • Thermodynamics Transport
  • Nuclear Fuel
  • Nuclear Waste 
  • Nuclear Proliferation
  • Radioactivity Materials And Our Environment.

Best Engineering Courses For Future

The principles of Nuclear Engineering degree are all related but a person can use one component and build expertise in it. The following are the undergraduate and postgraduate courses for nuclear engineering.

Undergraduate Courses

  • BSc in Nuclear and Risk Engineering
  • Specialty Nuclear Reactors and Materials
  • BSc in Nuclear Engineering

Postgraduate Courses

MSc in Nuclear Engineering – Advanced Nuclear Waste Management MSc in Nuclear Engineering
MSc in RadioecologyMSc Nuclear Power Engineering
MSc in Science of Nuclear FusionMaster of Science in Nuclear Engineering
MSc in Nuclear Fusion and Engineering PhysicsMaster in Nuclear Chemistry

Eligibility Criteria

To enrol in a Nuclear Engineering Degree, it is important to checklist the mentioned requirements for ease of admission process: 

  • For bachelor’s degree programs in Nuclear Engineering, the minimum basic requirement is 10+2 with chemistry, physics, algebra, trigonometry, and calculus as the core subjects.
  • Indian universities also require students to qualify for any of the undergraduate Engineering entrance exams such as JEE Mains, COMEDK, etc. 
  • For a master’s degree program, you must have completed a Bachelor’s degree in any of the related branches of Engineering and you will also have to submit GATE scores for admission into universities in India. 

Relevant Read: Nuclear Medicine And Its Career Prospects

Admission Requirements

Apart from academic requirements/ eligibility, there are some other admission prerequisites that a student needs to fulfil before getting admitted to a program in Nuclear Engineering:

Nuclear Engineering Jobs & Salary

The nuclear world has such a broad range that allows graduates to enrol in a wide variety of careers. This Creative discipline offers Jobs in various industries and organizations:

  • Working At Power Plants
  • Engineering Firms
  • Department Of Energy
  • Department of Defense
  • Department of Nuclear Shipbuilding
  • Health And Safety Specialists, 
  • Process Engineer
  • Quality Engineer
  • Reactor Operator
  • Aircraft Designs
  • Medical Physics 

The salary package depends on the type of profession you choose. However, According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2016), Nuclear Engineers earn an average salary of about  $105,950-$150,000/ year (roughly 78,16,938 – 11,054,995 INR) which varies depending on performance, industry and geographical location.

Must Read: How to Become a Nuclear Engineer in India?

Top Recruiters

Here are some of the top recruiters in the field:

  • We build Staffing
  • ISRO
  • DRDO
  • BARC
  • BWXT
  • Black & Veatch
  • American Electric Power
  • First Energy
  • Canberra

Future Scope

Nuclear engineering is one of the newer engineering disciplines. Nuclear energy is progressively emerging as one of the key energy sources after years of research and study even though it has been there for a long time.

As told above, it was there by the time of WWII but now with newer movies, courses and research, students get more aligned to study Nuclear Engineering, making it a demanding course. Nuclear energy provides a high energy density that is useful in a variety of businesses.

Nuclear energy generating produces no carbon emissions. This is highly advantageous because many other energy sources produce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. When carbon dioxide levels exceed the limit, drastic climate changes can occur.

Nuclear engineers are employed in agriculture, sterilising plants, hydrogen generation plants, and fertiliser businesses. As a result, this is a field with a plethora of opportunities. Outside of India, the United States, France, Russia, Germany, Japan, and other similar countries produce the majority of the world’s nuclear energy. Working in these nations will provide you with numerous possibilities and chances in the field of nuclear engineering.

Relevant Read: Check Out These Highest Paid Engineers Abroad!


Q1. Which IIT is best for nuclear engineering?

Ans. IIT Mumbai and IIT Kanpur are the two most-preferred IITs for nuclear engineering

Q2. Is nuclear engineering a good degree?

Ans. Nuclear engineering pays highly, with the average nuclear engineer earning $87,910 per year. Nuclear engineers with greater expertise and those working for large, affluent corporations can earn considerably more.

Q3. How can I become a nuclear engineer after 12th?

Ans. Get a master’s degree in engineering.
Passing the JEE Mains or Advanced is required if you want to pursue a career in engineering. Entrance exams for graduate degrees in physics or nuclear science may also be required by some colleges.

Q4. What is the qualification for a nuclear engineer?

Ans. Candidates must have completed Class 12 or equivalent exams with a minimum of 50% aggregate marks in Physics and Mathematics. They must have passed the entrance examination held at the national/state level or by any university or institution.

Hope this blog helped you discover the aspects and details of this creatively complex field. Nuclear Engineering programs are an essential field and offer promising opportunities across the public and private sectors. If you wish to get a degree in Engineering and need assistance then Leverage Edu experts are just a click away from helping you find a suitable course and university as per your requirements and career aspirations. Register for a free session with us today!

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