Nuclear power plant engineers on the job

Bachelor of Science in Nuclear Engineering Technology

Transfer up to
117 Credits
A median of 81 credits accepted
Credit awarded for military training

Online BS in Nuclear Engineering Technology

Responsive to industry needs and trends, the fully online Bachelor of Science in Nuclear Engineering Technology prepares students for technical positions in the nuclear industry. Keep up-to-date on your skills with 100% online nuclear engineering courses and instructional faculty who have years of industry experience.

Accredited by the Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET, www.abet.org, the online program maps easily to U.S. Navy experience and the experiences of those already working in the nuclear industry. The program provides knowledge in areas such as reactor operations, health physics, quality assurance, chemistry, and instrumentation and control related to nuclear engineering technology field. Students choose between two technical concentrations that prepare them for positions in high-demand job areas, or pursue the general option that gives them the opportunity to design a study plan that aligns with their career goals.

Concentrations

General Concentration, Nuclear Cybersecurity, and Nuclear Leadership

Fast Facts:

Nuclear worker salaries are 36% higher than the average local salary (Source: Nuclear Energy Institute)


The average median salary for a nuclear engineer is $105,810 (Source: BLS)


The benefits of a four-year college degree are equivalent to an investment that returns 15.2% per year (Source: Brookings Institute)


124

credit hours

Online BS in Nuclear Engineering Technology Program Details

  • Cornerstone Course
  • Humanities
    • Ethics
    • Communications
      • Written English Requirement
      • Additional credits to complete this requirement
    • Humanities Electives
  • Social Sciences/History
  • Natural Sciences and Mathematics
    • Natural science
      • Chemistry (with lab)
      • Physics I and II (with at least one lab)
      • Atomic Physics
      • Nuclear Physics
      • Thermodynamics
      • Additional labs in the Physical Sciences or Nuclear Engineering Technology
    • Math
      • Calculus I
      • Calculus II
      • Additional credits to complete this requirement
  • Arts and Sciences Electives

Core Nuclear Engineering Science and Technology Courses

Introduction to Computers

Students gain fundamental knowledge of the computer system and its components, including computer hardware and architecture, application software, operating systems, networks, and the Internet. Advanced topics such as information privacy and security, database and data warehouse, data mining, and legal, ethical, and privacy issues in the information technology field are also introduced. Additionally, students will participate in learning activities to develop the needed skills to work with Microsoft Office suite.

Health Physics and Radiation Protection

This course provides a fundamental grounding in the theory and principles of radiation protection relevant to nuclear power plant operations and design considerations in radiation protection equipment.

Radiation Measurement Lab

This course provides a fundamental rounding in practical aspects of detection and measurement of radiation and radioactive contamination relevant to nuclear power plant operations.

ATOMIC AND NUCLEAR PHYSICS

This course covers the structure of the atom and of the nucleus, atomic and nuclear energy states, the sources of radioactivity, the detection and measurement of the various types of radiation, nuclear reactions and neutron interactions, nuclear fission and fusion and the application of these concepts. These topics are discussed with focus on practical applications. This course will enhance learning in later topics in reactor physics, radiation safety, electronics, materials science, and chemistry.

THERMODYNAMICS

This course provides introduction to thermodynamics principles and how thermodynamic principles apply to systems, including the importance of understanding thermodynamic principles for nuclear power plant operations. Topics include Zeroth Law, First Law, Second Law, closed system, open system, entropy, Mollier Diagram, the Carnot and Rankine cycles, and efficiency for the Carnot and Rankine cycles’ power cycles. This course contains laboratory work based on a Generic Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR) simulator.

Introduction to Heat Transfer and Fluid Mechanics

This course provides a grounding in the fundamental principles of heat, heat transfer, and fluid mechanics, as they apply to power plant operation. While designed to meet the requirements of the Nuclear Uniform Curriculum Program, specifically Section 1.1.5 Heat Transfer and Fluid Flow of ACAD 08-006 for Non-Licensed Nuclear Operators, this course has broad applicability for anyone interested in power plant technology, regardless the heat source used.

Electrical Theory

This is a basic course covering the theory of electrical circuits and electronic control components used in the nuclear power plant: AC and DC current, voltage, capacitance, inductance, energy, power, Kirchhoff’s laws, loop and nodal analysis, linear voltage-current characteristics, digital logic gates; voltage regulation and amplification using diodes, transistors, and operational amplifiers; transformers, and DC and AC motor operations.

POWER PLANT COMPONENTS

This course covers the theory, construction and application of mechanical components such as (but not limited to): air compressors, heat exchangers and condensers, pumps, filtration systems, valves, and turbines. It also covers the theory, construction, and application of the following as used in the industry: diesel engines, air conditioning, refrigeration, heating and ventilation systems, generators, electrical equipment, valve actuators and electronics and other systems and processes that are plant specific.

PROJECT MANAGEMENT

This course is designed to train students in the principles of project management and application of project management techniques. Students study the skills required of a project manager as well as learn the methodologies, tools and processes used to succeed in this field. Project management techniques learned in this course are applied in project-based learning activities in the nuclear engineering technology courses, including the capstone.

Fundamentals of Reactor Safety

This course provides an overview of nuclear reactor plant safety design topics, including basic concepts relating to regulatory requirements, reactor plant safety analysis, reactor protection systems, plant procedural structure, and emergency planning. Additionally, the course explores significant industry events, including those at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima, as well as the impact of the 9/11 terrorism event. Course subject matter will reference the Pressurized Water Reactor nuclear plant design.

Material Science

Students learn how materials are used in nuclear engineering applications. Topics include basic nuclear plant operation overview, atomic bonding, crystalline and noncrystalline structures, diffusion, mechanical and thermal behavior, failure analysis and prevention, structural materials, ceramics, corrosion, radiation effects on materials, material commonly used in reactor core and nuclear plant design, and material problems associated with reactor core operation.

Reactor Core Fundamentals

The basics of neutron chain reaction systems are explored in this course. Topics include neutron cross sections, flux, reaction rates, fission processes, neutron production, neutron multiplication, six-factor formula, reactivity, subcritical multiplication, prompt and delayed neutron fractions, reactor period, reactivity coefficients, control rod worth, and fission product poisons.

Plant Systems Overview

This course provides an overview of the design, layout, and function of all major systems associated with the two nuclear power plant designs typically used for U.S. power production: pressurized water reactor (PWR) and boiling water reactor (BWR). The approach to the course is to build a power plant system by system. Content covers major system components, controls, and their design features, and emphasizes the systems’ interconnection and functions. Systems are grouped/classified regarding their use and characteristics, e.g. production vs. safety, primary (nuclear interface) vs. balance of plant, active vs. passive. PWR and BWR simulation learning tools are utilized to apply and reinforce course material through dynamic learning activities.

Integrated Technology Assessment (Capstone)

This capstone course integrates all fields of nuclear engineering technology. Students draw on their knowledge of nuclear engineering technology and competencies to analyze reactor plant scenarios. The purpose of the course is to integrate the learning achieved in individual nuclear engineering technology courses taken, evaluated industry training, and naval nuclear power training to earn a nuclear engineering technology degree. The knowledge and competencies acquired in natural sciences, health physics and radiation protection, thermodynamics, heat transfer and fluid flows, reactor core fundamentals, and plant systems overview are utilized to study the principles in nuclear engineering technology. A comprehensive examination tests the student’s mastery of these background subjects. Students participate in a reactor plant simulation experience that requires considering multiple theoretical concepts and applying those concepts to plant applications. An individual capstone project and a watch team capstone project are developed, presented, and defended in an online seminar.

Nuclear Engineering Technology Electives

Apply electives from nuclear and related subject areas to complete the technology component requirement.

Laboratory Requirement

Students must complete at least five laboratories:

  • Four labs in Physics I, Physics II, chemistry, and radiation measurement
  • One lab in the physical sciences or in nuclear engineering technology subjects

General Concentration

Students selecting the general concentration can customize their experience by choosing free electives in any field of college study, including in professional or technical subjects and arts and sciences. A minimum of 16 credits must be completed, to include information literacy.

Nuclear Cybersecurity

This concentration emphasizes the concepts associated with governance, legal, and compliance of cybersecurity in the nuclear industry. Students gain foundational knowledge of cybersecurity and the impacts of cyber attacks on nuclear facilities, and are prepared to accept cybersecurity positions within the nuclear industry. A minimum of 16 credits must be completed in this area, to include these requirements:

  • Overview of Computer Security
  • Governance, Legal, and Compliance
  • Cybersecurity Defense in Depth for the Nuclear Industry
  • Business Continuity
  • Cybersecurity Investigation and Case Studies for the Nuclear Industry
  • Information Literacy

Nuclear Leadership

This concentration emphasizes topics such as business leadership, organizational behavior, change management, leadership communications, and leadership courage/risk management, this concentration prepares graduates to take on leadership roles within the nuclear industry. A minimum of 16 credits must be completed in this area, to include these requirements:

  • Organizational Behavior
  • Business Leadership
  • Leading Change in the Nuclear Industry
  • Leadership Communications in the Nuclear Industry
  • Leadership Courage/Risk Management
  • Information Literacy
  • Apply general and discipline-specific concepts and methodologies to identify, analyze, and solve technical problems in the nuclear discipline, including understanding and addressing the societal and institutional issues related to nuclear technology.
  • Demonstrate an individual desire and commitment to remain technically current with, and adaptive to, changing technologies through continuous learning and self-improvement.
  • Demonstrate independent thinking, function effectively in team-oriented settings, and maintain a high level of performance in a professional/industrial environment.
  • Communicate effectively in a professional/industrial environment, including communicating effectively to stakeholders external to the nuclear industry.
  • Perform ethically and professionally in business, industry, and society.
  • Demonstrate and utilize leadership principles in the field of nuclear engineering technology.

Apply knowledge, techniques, skills and modern tools of mathematics, science, engineering, and technology to solve broadly defined engineering problems appropriate to the nuclear engineering technology discipline.


Demonstrate an ability to design systems, components, or processes meeting specified needs for broadly defined engineering problems appropriate to the nuclear engineering technology discipline.


Apply written, oral, and graphical communications in broadly defined technical and non-technical environments; and be able to identify and use appropriate technical literature.


Conduct standard tests, measurements, and experiments, and be able to analyze and interpret the results to improve processes.


Function effectively as a member as well as a leader on technical teams, and apply project management techniques in team project activities.


Demonstrate comprehension of currently applicable rules and regulations in the areas of: radiation protection, operations, maintenance, quality control, quality assurance, and safety.


Demonstrate an understanding of and commitment to professional, ethical, and social responsibilities, including the impacts of culture, diversity, and interpersonal relations.


View additional details about programs and courses:

Download the Undergraduate Studies Catalog

Common Careers with an
Online BS in Nuclear Engineering Technology

Power Systems Operator

Operations Manager

Engineering Project Manager

Reliability Engineer

Nuclear Technician

Critical Facilities Control Technician

Lauren Harlow
AS in Liberal Arts, 2017

“Excelsior gave me skills in critical analysis, writing, problem solving, and communicating, which all helped me perform my job well.”

Recognitions & Accreditations

ABET Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission logo

ABET Accreditation

The Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering Technology and the Bachelor of Science in Nuclear Engineering Technology are accredited by the Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET, https://www.abet.org/.

Middle States Commission on Higher Education logo

Institutional Accreditation

Excelsior College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104. (267-284-5000) www.msche.org. The MSCHE is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

Phase: Accredited
Status: Accreditation Reaffirmed
Accreditation Granted: 1977
Last Reaffirmation: 2017
Next Self-Study Evaluation: 2021-2022

All of Excelsior College’s academic programs are registered (i.e., approved) by the New York State Education Department.