Nuclear engineering focuses on understanding and using nuclear power to provide carbon-free electricity and to produce and use radiation and radioactive materials.
Nuclear engineers research and develop new reactor and radiation shielding designs, advanced computational techniques, nuclear fuel recycling and management strategies, and radioisotope technologies for use in research, medicine, industry, and national security.
At Oregon State, students experience nuclear engineering like nowhere else in the world. Our on-site nuclear reactor and large-scale test facilities, renowned faculty, and low student-to-faculty ratio combine to make a unique and rewarding experience at one of the nation’s highest ranked programs.
Seaman-to-Admiral (STA-21) program
Education through the Seaman-to-Admiral (STA-21) program provides you with the tools to succeed as a commissioned officer, and to later have a promising career as a civilian nuclear engineer or radiation health physicist.
After completion of the Naval Nuclear Power School you can enroll in the STA-21 program to complete a three-year bachelor's of science degree at NSE. Engineering is an academically challenging field, and as a Navy student at Oregon State you’ll be held to a higher standard than traditional students. We want to see you make the grade: our world-class faculty, tutoring services and library are available to you.
Because you have 36 months to complete your degree, it’s important to understand how your transcripts will transfer to Oregon State. Please review the Nuclear Engineering STA-21 Three-Year Program Guide below. You also need to be conscious of acceptance deadlines for the STA-21 program. Once your Oregon State application is completed, admissions decisions can be made in 2-4 weeks and sometimes in as little as one week. So please plan accordingly.
For more specific information on the STA-21 program please visit the Oregon State Department of Naval Science.
Naval Nuclear Propulsion Officer Candidate (NUPOC) Program
The Naval Nuclear Propulsion Officer Candidate Program provides students an opportunity to commission as a U.S. Navy Officer. Students in the NUPOC program commit to service and upon successful screening, are given financial benefits that assists up to 30 months prior to graduation. Those accepted into the NUPOC program will be obligated to 5 years of active duty service as a Naval Nuclear Officer following the completion of their degree program. The NUPOC program gives you access to unparalleled leadership and managerial roles within the Navy to include jobs such as
- Submarine Warfare Officer
- Surface Warfare Officer
- Nuclear Power School Instructor
- Nuclear Power Training Unit Instructor
- Naval Reactors (NR) Engineer
Additionally, a career in the Navy will later prepare you for other promising careers in the nuclear industry. Applicants accepted into NUPOC will receive
- $30,000 signing bonus
- Income for up to 30 months while in school of $5,848 per month
- $2,000 bonus upon completing the training pipeline
- Full Medical, Dental and Vision Insurance
“Having a reactor here on campus and learning about the kinds of projects the College of Engineering works on were big factors in my decision to come to Oregon State. – Lucia Gómez Hurtado, nuclear engineering ’21. Read about Lucia’s experience at Oregon State.
Mark Shaver: Council of Outstanding Early Career Engineers - 2022
Mark Shaver (H.B.S nuclear engineering ’05) is a nuclear licensing manager for NuScale’s Regulatory Affairs Department.
Daniel Jordheim: Academy of Distinguished Engineers – 2022
Jordheim (B.S. nuclear engineering ’87, M.S. nuclear engineering ’91) has worked in a variety of roles over the years, including in engineering, in supervision, in sales and marketing, as part of an operations crew in a nuclear power plant control room, and as a manager in a multinational organization. He grew up on a farm and never imagined he would have a career with so much international travel and engagement, but he has traveled to Germany, France, and the Republic of China, and he has worked with an assortment of nationalities.
“The diversity of perspectives at Oregon State helped spur my intellectual growth and curiosity and helped me learn to challenge my own viewpoints and perspectives based on accurate, pertinent, and complete information,” he said.
The School of Nuclear Science and Engineering offers three graduate degrees in nuclear engineering: Master of Science, Master of Engineering, and Doctor of Philosophy.
Graduate students work with world renowned faculty and have access to a breadth of unique research facilities and laboratories.
You can put your innovative stamp on real world research projects such as advanced reactor design and medical isotope production with partners like Idaho National Laboratory, NuScale Power, and the Department of Energy. Please refer to our research areas.
For more information, contact the School of Nuclear Science and Engineering, NSE.Info@oregonstate.edu, 541-737-2343.
- Application of nuclear techniques
- Arms control technology
- Nuclear instrumentation and applications
- Nuclear medicine, nuclear power generation
- Nuclear reactor engineering
- Nuclear systems design and modeling
- Nuclear waste management
- Numerical methods for reactor analysis
- Radiation shielding
- Radioisotope production
- Space nuclear power
- Thermal hydraulics
Prospective graduate students apply through the Oregon State University Graduate School and will be required to submit the following:
- Statement of purpose.
- Three letters of reference.
- University-level academic references are preferred.
- An official transcript from every institution attended.
Applicants must meet the minimum academic requirements. International applicants must meet the minimum requirements for international applicants. GRE scores are currently being waived for Fall 2023 admission cycle.
Admission decisions are based on many factors, such as the quality of the applicant’s prior academic degree and record of accomplishment, statement of purpose, letters of recommendation from professors or others familiar with the applicant’s academic work, performance in aptitude and achievement tests, relevant work experience, preparation in the proposed field of study, and the suitability of the applicant’s academic goals with the faculty’s research interests.
Particularly at the graduate level, a critical consideration in the decision is whether your academic objectives can be satisfactorily fulfilled by the graduate programs at Oregon State. Admission to Oregon State is competitive and meeting the minimum admission requirements does not guarantee admission. Following approval of the School, the Office of Admissions will determine whether the general university admission requirements have been met.
The four-year undergraduate program example plans provide an indication of the level of math and science required of our undergrads in preparation for our graduate programs.
Each applicant is judged on their entire application and a decision is made on the strength of each application in relation to the pool of applicants in any given year. Meeting the minimum application requirements does not guarantee admission.
Questions regarding applications and the program should be directed to Amy K Thomson, NSE Graduate Program Coordinator for NSE's on-campus graduate programs.
Admissions Fall 2024
- Applications open: mid-September 2023
- Final Deadline: May 1, 2024
- Full priority funding consideration (GTA/GRA positions) Dec. 31, 2023
NSE offers a limited number of graduate teaching assistantships (GTA) and graduate research assistantships (GRA). There is no separate application process. Students whose applications are complete by the priority funding deadline are automatically considered for available GTA/GRA positions.
Graduate teaching assistants and research assistants are appointed on a term-by-term basis. They receive tuition remission, a monthly stipend starting at $2,150.
Fellowships are also available to incoming graduate students. Stipends range starts out at $2,200 per month for the nine-month academic year. There are typically four to six fellowships awarded per academic year. There is no separate application process for fellowships, qualified graduate applicants to the department are automatically considered for available fellowships.
*Award offers and amounts are subject to change at the discretion of department administrators.
Job Market Outlook
Make an informed decision to help meet your career goals by using this real-time job market information.
The Bachelor of Science and Honors Bachelor of Science degree programs in Nuclear Engineering are accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org.
- An ability to identify, formulate, and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics.
- An ability to apply engineering design to produce solutions that meet specified needs with consideration of public health, safety, and welfare, as well as global, cultural, social, environmental, and economic factors.
- An ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences.
- An ability to recognize ethical and professional responsibilities in engineering situations and make informed judgments, which must consider the impact of engineering solutions in global, economic, environmental, and societal contexts.
- An ability to function effectively on a team whose members together provide leadership, create a collaborative and inclusive environment, establish goals, plan tasks, and meet objectives.
- An ability to develop and conduct appropriate experimentation, analyze and interpret data, and use engineering judgment to draw conclusions.
- An ability to acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies.
Nuclear engineering program specific outcomes:
- NE1 Ability to apply knowledge of atomic and nuclear physics to nuclear and radiological systems and processes
- NE2 Ability to apply knowledge of transport and interaction of radiation with matter to nuclear and radiation processes
- NE3 Ability to measure nuclear and radiation processes
- NE4 Ability to work professionally in one or more of the nuclear or radiological fields of specialization
- Nuclear engineering educational objectives [pdf]