The Top 10 Online Master’s in Nuclear Engineering Programs

Are you ready to unlock the secrets of the atom and make a real impact on the world? Then an online Master’s in Nuclear Engineering is the perfect fit for you. With so many programs out there, choosing the right one may feel daunting and stressful

This article explores the Top 10 Online Master’s in Nuclear Engineering Programs. We will provide information on flexible schedules, so you can find the program that fits your career goals.

Online Nuclear Engineering Program

 Earning Prospects for Nuclear Engineers

Nuclear engineers rank among the highest-paid professionals in the engineering field. As reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nuclear engineers earned a median annual salary exceeding $105,000 in 2017, notably surpassing the average income for all engineers. Individuals with a master’s degree in nuclear engineering have the potential to earn even higher salaries, as they are eligible for advanced positions within the nuclear engineering sector. This ranking focuses on identifying the leading online master’s programs in nuclear engineering. For broader information on online education, readers can refer to our list of top online colleges.

Rating and Ranking Methodology
Tuition Points:

  • Under $30,000—1 point
  • Under $25,000—2 points
  • Under $20,000—3 points
  • Under $15,000—4 points
  • Under $10,000—5 points

US News and World Report Recognition as a Top Online School for Master’s Engineering Programs

  • Top 5—5 points
  • Top 10— 4 points
  • Top 25 —3 points
  • Top 50 —2 points
  • Top 75 —1 point

Customization Options

• Format Customizations (e.g. Hybrid/Online, Full-time/Part-Time, Accelerated, Degree Completion, etc.)—1 Point Per Customization Option
• Content Customizations (e.g. Minors, Concentrations, Specializations, etc.)—1 Point Per Customization Option (5-point cap)

Ranking the Best Online Master’s in Nuclear Engineering Degree Programs

To compile this ranking of the best online master’s programs in nuclear engineering, we assessed the 16 available programs. We utilized College Navigator to collect data on graduate tuition fees, and we thoroughly reviewed each institution’s website to evaluate program characteristics. Utilizing this data, we applied our established rating and ranking criteria. In instances where programs had equal scores, we prioritized those offering more affordable tuition for higher rankings in the list of online master’s in nuclear engineering programs.

Job Description for Nuclear Engineers

Several of the standard job descriptions for nuclear engineers require them to:

  1. Maintain current reactors by making repairs or part replacements.
  2. Design the fuel components, control rods, and other essential components of the nuclear reactor.
  3. They also create and construct mining machinery.
  4. Provide technical know-how to the engineering and design team.
  5. Verify the reactor’s safe and efficient operation.
  6. Securely and safely handle radioactive materials.
  7. Watch over and manage nuclear power plants.
  8. Verify that the reactor can meet the needs of its consumers.
  9. Conduct research, experiments, evaluations, and management activities concerning nuclear reactors, radioactive materials, medical equipment, computers, and additional systems utilized in the sector.
  10. Participate in the planning of next plants and help run those plants.
  11. Build equipment that will protect individuals from radioactive pollution.

Types of Nuclear Engineering Jobs

1. Nuclear Engineer

2. Nuclear Technicians

3. Radiation Protection Engineers

4. Nuclear Reactor Engineer

5. Nuclear Weapons Specialist

The Top 10 Online Master’s in Nuclear Engineering Programs

1. North Carolina State University

North Carolina State University’s College of Engineering houses nearly 30 research centers and laboratories and offers a wide range of research opportunities to augment the classroom experience. One of the unique features of this university is that it is the first university in the nation to offer a nuclear reactor program along with research in fission, fusion, radiation physics, and applications.

North Carolina State University offers a Master of Nuclear Engineering program with several advantages including low tuition, high-quality education, and unique resources. Students enrolled in this program are required to complete 30 credits before graduation.

The average cost of tuition at this institution is $13,380 for in-state students and $ 31,260 for out-of-state students.

2. Kansas State University

Kansas State University’s Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering offers one of the top online master’s in nuclear engineering programs designed to suit the needs of professional engineers with an undergraduate degree in engineering.
 The program’s curriculum features  Nuclear Reactor Theory, Intermediate Radiation Measurement Applications, Special Topics in Nuclear Engineering, and Radiation Protection and Shielding. There is also a special transfer program designed for Navy Nuclear Power School graduates.  Students are expected to make one campus visit for an oral examination which is required for this online master’s in nuclear engineering program. The average cost of tuition at this institution is $9,960 for in-state students.

3. University of Tennessee-Knoxville

University of Tennessee-Knoxville offers an interdisciplinary MS in Reliability and Maintainability Engineering with a concentration in Nuclear Engineering which is considered one of the best online master’s in nuclear engineering.
 Some of the core course topics discussed in this program include Process System Reliability and Safety, Reliability Engineering, Introduction to Maintainability Engineering, and Reliability of Lean Systems. The completion of a thesis is optional as a graduation requirement. All the coursework in this program is delivered synchronously so students must log in at specific times. The average cost of tuition at this institution is $11,244 for in-state students.

4. Oregon State University

Oregon State University provides a distinctive option for an online Master of Science in Nuclear Engineering, featuring a specialized Professional Master of Health Physics concentration in Nuclear Reactor Engineering. The curriculum encompasses 45 credit hours and includes courses such as Nuclear Regulations, Radiochemistry, Applied Radiation Safety, and Radioecology. While most coursework is online, students are required to attend on-campus labs during a one-week summer intensive. Upon completion, graduates are equipped to take the Certified Health Physics (CHP) exam offered by the American Board of Health Physics.

5. University of South Carolina

The University of South Carolina (USC) provides two online pathways to a Master’s in Nuclear Engineering:

  • Thesis-based: Conduct in-depth research and present your findings in a thesis.
  • Deeper Dive: Ideal for those seeking a research-focused career or pursuing a PhD.

The non-thesis-based option focuses on coursework and practical applications and the deep dive option working professionals seeking to advance their skills. Both programs share core courses covering essential topics like nuclear fuel materials and behavior, radiation detection and instrumentation, predictive modeling in nuclear engineering, and thermal-hydraulic design of nuclear Reactors.

The average cost of tuition at this institution is $12,854 for in-state students.

6. University of Maryland College Park

The University of Maryland in College Park, situated within the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, stands as a prominent public research institution and serves as the flagship campus for the University System of Maryland.

The A. James Clark School of Engineering at UMD boasts distinctive facilities such as the sole Neutral Buoyancy Research Facility found on a college campus. Additionally, it houses numerous research labs, centers, and institutes, offering invaluable resources for both graduate and undergraduate engineering students. Among its offerings, the Online Graduate Program in Nuclear Engineering stands out, delivering a rigorous, adaptable, and analytically-focused education leading to a Master of Engineering degree. This program mandates a minimum of 30 credits for degree completion.

In terms of accreditation, the University of Maryland College Park holds regional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The cost of tuition at this institution is $32,940.

7. University Engineering Alliance

The University Engineering Alliance provides online courses in Nuclear Engineering, taught by top professors from Baylor University, Kansas State University, Texas A&M University, University of Kansas, University of Missouri, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Oklahoma State University, and University of Texas-Austin. Students have the option to enroll through any of these member institutions to access courses offered by the Alliance.

They can pursue a Master of Science in Nuclear Engineering through participating degree-granting institutions like Kansas State University or the University of Texas. Additionally, students can explore the possibility of fulfilling on-campus degree requirements remotely by taking online Alliance courses through any member institution.

8. Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) is a private higher education institution located in Worcester, Massachusetts. Established in 1865, it stands as one of the country’s earliest universities focusing on engineering and technology. The university comprises 14 academic departments offering over 50 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. At WPI, undergraduate students engage in two significant projects during their academic journey: one aligned with their chosen major and another addressing an open-ended challenge intersecting science, technology, and society.

Recognized as one of the leading institutions in engineering and science education, WPI adopts a hands-on, project-oriented approach to research and learning. It is committed to nurturing engineering students into future innovators and visionaries. The university provides online programs leading to a Master of Science in Power Systems Management and a Master of Engineering in Power Systems Engineering. These programs allow students to specialize in nuclear systems while pursuing a broader understanding of Power Systems. Designed to encourage students to explore complex societal and technological issues beyond immediate contexts, the curriculum challenges them to address pressing societal challenges and discover innovative solutions. Completion of these degrees requires a minimum of 30 credits. WPI’s outstanding performance across various value metrics solidifies its position in this ranking.

Worcester Polytechnic Institute holds regional accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. The average tuition fee for this institution is $42,240.

9. University of Texas Austin

The University of Texas—Austin stands as one of the largest institutions of higher education in the United States and is recognized as one of the “Public Ivies,” denoting public universities that provide an education quality akin to that of the private Ivy League institutions.

Renowned for its innovative programs, the Cockrell School of Engineering at UT Austin is particularly acclaimed for its offerings in petroleum, civil, and environmental engineering. However, it boasts a total of thirteen graduate degree programs aimed at driving research, innovation, and societal advancement. Among these programs is the Master of Science in Nuclear and Radiation Engineering, which is available for distance learning through online study. The program prioritizes applicants with a robust background in mechanical or chemical engineering, physics, chemistry, or applied mathematics. Housed within the Department of Mechanical Engineering, this dynamic graduate program specializes in various areas such as the nuclear fuel cycle, nuclear forensics, nuclear non-proliferation, applications of robotic handling of special nuclear materials, and neutron beam port technology. Completion of the degree requires a minimum of 30 credits and the fulfillment of a thesis requirement.

Regarding accreditation, the University of Texas Austin holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The average tuition fee for this institution is $120,248 for in-state and $36,928

10. Thomas Edison State University

Thomas Edison State University, situated in Trenton, New Jersey, is a public institution dedicated to offering flexible and high-quality educational opportunities tailored to non-traditional adult learners. The university extends its services nationally and internationally, providing various pathways for individuals to earn a degree, including credit by examination, assessment of experiential learning, guided independent study, and recognition of corporate and military training.

The university’s online Master of Science in Applied Science and Technology (MSAST) program offers a concentration option in Nuclear Energy Technology Management. This program is crafted to fulfill the advanced, interdisciplinary educational needs of students aspiring to secure leadership roles in various technical fields. Emphasizing the development of research analysis and critical evaluation skills, the curriculum equips students with the competencies necessary for effective decision-making and problem-solving within contemporary technical enterprises. The core curriculum delves into advanced learning in areas such as business management, leadership, applied science, and technology. Completion of the degree requires between 36 and 39 credits, including the successful defense of a Master’s thesis.

Regarding accreditation, Thomas Edison State University holds regional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The average tuition fee for this institution ranges from $24,048 – $26,052.


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