What is Nuclear Engineering?

Nuclear engineering is the field which deals with the applications of nuclear energy and science by utilizing fission reactors, radioisotopes, and, in the future, fusion reactors. Nuclear Engineers contribute to the design, construction and operation of nuclear fission reactors for the generation of electricity, the design of advanced nuclear power systems and the application of radioisotopes in industry, medicine and research. Currently, there are more than 100 nuclear power plants operating in the United States, producing over 22 percent of our nation's electricity and using nuclear fission to produce this energy. This technology reduces utility emissions of carbon dioxide, the primary greenhouse gas, by about 20 percent each year. In addition, nuclear reactors are used for the propulsion of submarines and aircraft carriers.

Radioisotopes are used in industry and research, and in medicine for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. The medical use of radioisotopes and X-rays saves hundreds of thousands of lives every year throughout the world. Radioisotopes are also used in small power generators for space missions. All deep space missions use communication systems that are powered by Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators (RTGs).


What Does a Nuclear Engineer Do?

Our graduates work in the following areas:

  • nuclear plant design
  • nuclear plant engineering
  • nuclear plant operations and control
  • regulation and enforcement
  • radiation protection
  • fission and fusion technologies research


Who Employs Nuclear Engineers?

Our graduates work for the following types of companies:

  • electrical power companies (AmerenUE, Commonwealth Edison,...)
  • reactor manufacturers (General Electric, Westinghouse,...)
  • architect-engineering firms (Bechtel,...)
  • consulting firms (Black & Veatch,...)
  • national laboratories (Argonne, Battelle, Los Alamos, Oak Ridge,...)
  • federal government (DOD, DOE, NRC,...)


The Missouri S&T Program

Our nuclear engineering program began in 1957, and Missouri S&T is the only school in Missouri offering an undergraduate degree in nuclear engineering. We maintain personal contact with our students and assist them with personalized advising, on-campus work and research opportunities, summer employment, job search, etc.


Emphasis Areas

The areas of emphasis in the Missouri S&T nuclear engineering program are:

  • radiation effects/nuclear materials
  • radiation protection (or health physics)
  • heat transfer/fluid flow
  • nuclear fuels
  • reactor diagnostics/artificial intelligence
  • radioactive waste management/environmental restoration
  • neutronics



G. Mueller (Ph.D., U of Missouri- Rolla), S. Usman (Ph.D., U of Cincinnati), C. Castano (Ph.D., U of Illinois at Urbana Champaign), H. Lee (Ph.D., U of California, Berkeley), A. Alajo (Ph.D.,Texas A&M Univeristy), X. Liu (Ph.D.,University of Wisconsin) , J. Schlegel (Ph.D., Purdue University), A. Kumar (Ph.D., UC-Berkeley)[Emeritus]).




Fulton Hall houses the department offices, classrooms and teaching and research laboratories. The laboratories include a Nuclear Reactor Facility, a radiation measurement laboratory and a computer learning center.


Computing facilities available in the department include HP and Sun workstations, and IBM and Macintosh personal computers. Nuclear engineering students have off-hours access to the computer learning center.


Nuclear Engineering Scholarships/Awards

A number of need and/or merit based scholarships/research awards are available to nuclear engineering students. Female and minority students qualify for additional scholarships. Over 90% of our students receive some kind of financial support.  Sophomores and juniors can apply in January to receive National Academy for Nuclear Training (NANT) and American Nuclear Society (ANS) Scholarships for the following year. The following scholarship/research awards opportunities are available:

- National Academy for Nuclear Training - $2500/yr (Renewable up to 3 years, beginning of sophomore year)

- Nuclear Engineering Department Scholarships - $500-$1000/yr

- Undergraduate Research Award (OURE) - $500-$1000/yr

- Nuclear Engineering Department Research Award - $500-$1000/yr

- Nuclear Reactor Research Award - $500-$1000/yr

- American Nuclear Society - (NEED, Minority, Women) - $1000-$4000/yr

- American Nuclear Society Scholarship - $1000-$4000/yr

- Nuclear Regulatory Commission Scholarship - $1500-$3000/yr (Undergraduates with GPA > 3.5)

- Exelon Nuclear Scholarship - $500-$1000/yr

The above scholarships are in addition to other scholarships a student may have received including Bright Flight, Curators, Missouri S&T Miner and others.


Summer Jobs and CO-OP Program

The department assists students in securing summer employment related to nuclear engineering. Missouri S&T also has a Cooperative Training Program. Qualified students have alternate periods in school and at work in industry, for several months at a time, leading to a degree after 5-6 years. Co-op students' salaries help pay school expenses, and the industrial experience is valuable in making career decisions.



Over 90% of our B.S. and M.S. graduates receive job offers either before or soon after graduation. The average starting salary for B.S. graduates in 2012-2013 was $62,000 per year.


Graduate Program

The Nuclear Engineering Program offers M.S. and Ph.D. degrees. Many of our graduate students work on their research projects in collaboration with national laboratories such as Argonne, Battelle, Los Alamos, Oak Ridge and Sandia.


Correspondence and Information

Dr. Joshua Schlegel
Undergraduate Program Coordinator
226 Fulton Hall
301 W 14th St.
Rolla, Missouri 65409-0170