2015-16 Nuclear Engineering


Engineering Student Services

230 Bechtel Engineering Center # 1702
Berkeley, CA 94720-1702
(510) 642-7594

Hours: Monday – Thursday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m.
Friday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

4153 Etcheverry Hall, #1730
(510) 642-5010
Chair: Karl A. van Bibber, Ph.D.

Department Overview

Nuclear Engineering is concerned with the understanding of nuclear processes and their application in the energy, environmental, manufacturing, materials processing, and medical industries. The teaching and research programs encompass five broad areas: Applied Nuclear Physics, Nuclear Energy, Nuclear Materials and Chemistry, Nuclear Non-Proliferation, Fusion & Plasma Physics. Much of the curriculum is devoted to the analysis, design, and development of fission and fusion power reactors; the nuclear fuel cycle, including radioactive waste management and disposal; applications of nuclear science in instrumentation, radiation detection and protection, medical diagnosis and treatment, and materials behavior; and the numerical methods underpinning calculations associated with many of these areas. Safety and environmental impacts are considered from a risk and systems viewpoint. Graduate and undergraduate coursework and research opportunities are available in all of the above areas. In addition to extensive on-campus laboratory facilities, students collaborate with scientists at nearby Lawrence Berkeley and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories. Further information is available for graduate admissions, graduate courses and graduate curriculum.

Undergraduate Program

The undergraduate curriculum in nuclear engineering prepares our students to begin a lifetime of technical achievement and professional leadership in academia, government, national laboratories and industry. The program leading to the B.S. in nuclear engineering emphasizes educational experience in several fields of engineering, leading to a concentration on nuclear engineering courses in the upper division. Undergraduate students may also elect a joint major degree program, which combines Nuclear Engineering with Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, or with Materials Science and Engineering, or with Mechanical or Chemical Engineering. Compared with the single major program, the joint major programs are more strictly structured and offer fewer opportunities for nontechnical electives. On the other hand, they do afford ambitious students an opportunity to qualify in two fields of engineering with little or no loss in time during their undergraduate careers. The department also offers a minor in nuclear engineering that is open to all students who are not majoring in nuclear engineering and who have completed the necessary prerequisites for the minor requirements.

The nuclear engineering undergraduate program is designed to produce graduates who:

  • Possess solid knowledge of the fundamental mathematics and natural sciences (both physical and biological) that provide the foundation for engineering applications.
  • Understand nuclear processes and the application of general natural science and engineering principles to the analysis and design of nuclear and related systems of current and/or future importance to society.
  • Have strong independent learning, analytical, and problem-solving skills, with special emphasis on design, communication, and an ability to work in teams.
  • Understand the broad social, ethical, safety, and environmental context within which nuclear engineering is practiced.
  • Are aware of the importance of, and opportunities for, lifelong learning.

This program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org.

Learn More About Our:

Undergraduate Program in Nuclear Engineering*
Course Fall Spring
Freshman Year
Chemistry 1A and 1AL-General Chemistry or Chemistry 4A-General Chemistry and Quantitative Analysis(1)
Engineering 7-Introduction to Computer Programming for Scientists & Engineers
Mathematics 1A-Calculus
Mathematics 1B-Calculus
Physics 7A-Physics for Scientists and Engineers
Reading and Composition Course from List A(2)
Reading and Composition Course from List B(2)
Humanities/Social Science Course(2)
NE 24-Freshman Seminars(5)
Sophomore Year
Engineering 45-Properties of Materials
EE 16A-Designing Information Devices and Systems I or Physics 111A-Instrumentation Laboratory 
Mathematics 53-Multivariable Calculus
Mathematics 54-Linear Algebra and Differential Equations
Physics 7B-Physics for Scientists and Engineers
Physics 7C-Physics for Scientists and Engineers
NE 100 – Introduction to Nuclear Engineering(5)
Humanities/Social Science Course(2)
Junior Year
E 115-Engineering Thermodynamics
E 117-Methods of Engineering Analysis
NE 101-Nuclear Reactions and Radiation
NE 104-Radiation Detection Lab
NE 150-Nuclear Reactor Theory
Technical Electives(4)
Humanities/Social Science Course (with Ethics Content)(2)(3)
Senior Year
NE 170A-Nuclear Design
Technical Elective(4)
Humanities/Social Science Course(2)



1Chemistry 4A is for students intending a major in Chemistry or Chemical Engineering.

2The Humanities/Social Science (H/SS) requirement includes two approved reading and composition courses and four additional approved courses, with which a number of specific conditions must be satisfied. Reading and Composition “A” and “B” must be completed by no later than the end of the sophomore year. The remaining courses may be taken at any time during the program. See engineering.berkeley.edu/hss for complete details and a list of approved courses.

3Students must take one course with ethics content. This may be fulfilled within the Humanities/Social Studies Electives requirement by taking one of the following courses: Anthropology 156B; BioE 100; Engineering 125, 157AC; Environmental Science, Policy and Management 161, 162; Geography 31; IAS 157AC; Interdisciplinary Studies 61, 100E; International and Area Studies 105; Letters and Science 160B; Legal Studies 19AC, 100A; ME 191AC; Philosophy 2, 104, 107; Political Science 108A; Public Health 116 (if taken prior to Fall 2016); Sociology 116, 123.

432 Technical Elective units must include at least 17 units of upper division NE courses. The remaining 15 technical elective units must be fulfilled by taking courses in engineering and science of which a minimum of 12 units must be upper division. Students must consult with and obtain approval from their faculty adviser no later than the fall semester of their junior year for their choices of technical elective courses. Technical Electives cannot include any course taken on a P/NP basis; courses numbered 24, 39, 84, 88; BioE 100; ChemE 185, CS C79, 195, H195; Des Inv 90, 190; Engin 125, 130AC, 140, 157AC; IEOR 95, 172, 185, 186, 190 series, 191, 192, 195; ME 191AC, 190K, 191K. Students may receive up to three units of technical elective credit for graded research in H194 or 196.

5NE 24 may be taken on a P/NP basis. Junior transfer admits are exempt from completing NE 24 and 100.

* A minimum of 120 units is required for graduation.

Upper Division Technical Electives

The following groups of electives should help undergraduate students focus their choices on specific professional goals. The electives selected need not be from any single group.

Beam and Accelerator Applications:
Physics 110A/B (or EE 117), 129, 139, 142; NE 155, 180

Bionuclear Engineering:
BioE C165; EE 120 (EE 20 is a prerequisite for this course), C145B; NE 107, 162

Computational Methods
NE 155, Math 110, 128A, 104, CS 169, Stat 134, 150

Fission Power Engineering:
ME 106, 109 (Chem E 150A may be substituted for ME 106 and 109); NE 120, 124, 155, 161, 167, 175

Fusion Power Engineering:
Physics 110A/B, 142; NE 120, 155, 180

Homeland Security and Nonproliferation:
Chemistry 143; Physics 110A/B, 111; NE 102, 107, 130, 155, 175

Materials in Nuclear Technology:
MSE 102, 104, 112, 113; NE 120, 124, 155, 161

Nuclear Fuel Cycles and Waste Management:
Chem E 150A/B; E 120; Energy Resources Group 151; MSE 112; NE 120, 124, 155, 161, 175

Radiation and Health Physics: 
NE 102, 120, 155, 162, 180

Risk, Safety and Systems Analysis:
CE 193; Chem E 150A; E 120; IEOR 166; NE 120, 124, 155, 161, 167, 175