Chemical and Natural Gas Engineering

Nuclear Engineering

Nuclear engineering is a branch of engineering concerned with the application of fission as well as the fusion of atomic nuclei and the application of other sub-atomic physics, based on the principles of nuclear physics. In the sub-field of nuclear fission, it particularly includes the interaction and maintenance of systems and components like nuclear reactors, nuclear power plants, and/or nuclear weapons. The field also includes the study of medical and other applications of (generally ionizing) radiation, nuclear safety, heat/thermodynamics transport, nuclear fuel and/or other related technology (radioactive waste disposal), and the problems of nuclear proliferation. 

Latest News

Nuclear Science Week: Advocacy Guide & Interview with the ANS President

Nuclear Science Week is an international, broadly observed week-long celebration to focus local, regional and international interest on all aspects of nuclear science.

Five courses have been developed for the NRC designated Nuclear Minor Program at Texas A&M University – Kingsville. The minor program and all the courses have been approved by the university. The five courses are:

MEEN 3398 Computer Applications in Nuclear Engineering*

Applications of computer software to solve nuclear engineering problems; nuclear data and cross-section libraries; deterministic and stochastic models; single and multi-objective optimization; applied nuclear engineering codes.

Course Objectives:

  • Introduce computational methods for nuclear engineering applications.
  • Introduce applied nuclear engineering code systems and computational technologies.
  • Introduce deterministic and stochastic models.
  • Discuss optimization problems in nuclear engineering.
  • Introduce software tool box to solve the optimization problems.
*Note: This course does not depend on any restricted software and international students can now register.

MEEN 4395 Thermal Hydraulics of Nuclear Reactors

Thermal hydraulics of nuclear reactor core, two phase flow regimes, the boiling curve, the dry out phenomena, natural circulation in reactor core, transient and instabilities of two phase flow.
Prerequisites: MATH 3320, PHYS 2325, MEEN 3392.

Course Objectives:

  • To gain understanding of the thermal hydraulic processes that takes place inside the reactor core.
  • To get familiar with heat transfer processes that affects the cooling systems of the nuclear reactors and its key components.

MEEN 4396 Nuclear Safety and Reliability

Introduction to nuclear safety systems and licensing principles. Design criteria and regulations. Deterministic, probabilistic, and reliability analysis. Radiological consequences, and risk assessment. Design basis accidents and severe accident management. Implications for advanced reactors. Prerequisites: Senior Standing.

Course Objectives:

  • Introduction to safety principles and methods utilized in designing, constructing and operating nuclear power plants.
  • Regulatory requirements for designing, constructing and operating a nuclear power plant.
  • Provide students with experiential knowledge in the preparation and evaluation of a Safety Analysis Report for meeting regulatory requirements and the experience of presenting the analysis to a regulatory review board.
  • Introduce the methods for accident analysis, risk assessment and management and for dealing with external events.
  • Show the students how these principles and methods can be utilized for advanced nuclear energy systems.

MEEN 4397 Nuclear Energy

Introduction to basic topics in the analysis and design of nuclear power plants. 
Prerequisites: PHYS 2326, MATH 3320.

Course Objectives:

  • To provide students with an introduction to basic topics associated with analysis and design of nuclear fission reactors.
  • Overview of atomic and nuclear physics.
  • Introduction to reactor design theory.
  • Practical aspects of Nuclear Power Plants

Nuclear Engineering Minor requirement:

  • MEEN 3398 Computer Applications in Nuclear Engineering*
  • MEEN 4395 Thermal Hydraulics of Nuclear Reactors
  • MEEN 4396 Nuclear Safety and Reliability
  • MEEN 4397 Nuclear Energy
  • EVEN 3398 Nuclear Environmental Protection

To receive a minor in nuclear engineering, a student must complete three of the above courses as engineering electives in the current curriculum with a grade of “C” or better in each. Plus any three of the following courses with a grade of “C” or better in each

  • MEEN/CHEN 3347 Thermodynamics
  • MEEN 3348/CHEN 3310 Heat Transfer
  • MEEN/CHEN 3392 Fluid Mechanics
  • MEEN 4344 Control of Systems
  • CEEN 3311 Strength of Materials
  • EEEN 3331 Circuits and Electromagnetic Devices


Undergraduate Students

NRC Nuclear Engineering Scholarship (Undergraduate Students)

Current scholarship program lasts till  Spring 2020. Please download the  application form and the  service agreement. Applicants must use personal   non-TAMUK email on page 3 of the service agreement.   Except  the signatures, other information on the service agreement must be typed (handwritten is not accepted). Applicants may contact Dr. Xue   Yang,  if there is difficulty in editing the pdf file.

Deadline: deadline for each long semester is the midsemester point, however, the committee may continue to accept applications till all spots of that semester are filled. Do not hesitate to contact Dr. Xue Yang if you have any questions.

Program Features:

  • Total Number of Scholarships available for each year is 8.
  • Open to undergraduate students from  all majors who register for Nuclear Engineering minor.
  • Stipend:   $10,000/academic  year.
  • Travel: Limited support for traveling to national conferences.
  • Commitment: Serve six month in nuclear-related employment. 


  • U.S. Citizen, noncitizen nationals of the U.S., or U.S. permanent residence
  • GPA of 3.0 or higher.
  • Full-time junior or senior standings of Nuclear Engineering minor at Texas A&M University – Kingsville.
  • Demonstrated interest (through essays and/or course selection) to pursue a career in  nuclear related sciences or engineering fields.

Citgo Scholarship:

  • New applications will be available until Monday, November 1,   2017  @ 5 pm, for Fall 2017 Scholarship.
  • Freshmen Scholarship - details coming soon.

Graduate Students:

  • Mechanical Engineering Graduate students - application form, can be faxed to 361-593-4026
  • Industrial Engineering Graduate students - application form, can be faxed to 361-593-4026

College of Engineering:

Students can check out the scholarships available for the  College of Engineering here


Freshman, persistence, and academic scholarships are available. All students are encouraged to log on and check the scholarships at   Javelina Scholarships Website 

Regional and National:

Undergrads and Grad students should apply! TAMUK students typically are very successful with this program.

NRC Nuclear Engineering Doctoral Fellowship

Current fellowship program lasts until July 2022. Submit your application package to Dr. Xue Yang. Please contact Dr. Xue Yang if you have any question.

Deadline: rolling basis. The application is reviewed and evaluated immediately until all positions are filled. 

Program Features:

  • Available fellowship positions: up to two per academic year.

  • Open to all current and future Ph.D. students in TAMUK SESE and EVEN doctoral programs who are or will be doing nuclear-related Ph.D. dissertations.

  • Stipend: the fellowship of $1,600/month and tuition coverage for two years.

  • Travel: limited support for traveling to professional conferences.


  • US citizen, permanent resident, or noncitizen national.

  • GPA of 3.3 or higher (new/future/perspective students: undergraduate and master GPA; current PhD students: TAMUK doctoral curriculum GPA).

  • Admitted to TAMUK SESE or EVEN doctoral programs.

  • PhD dissertation topic is in broad areas of nuclear science, engineering, and technology.

  • Commitment: serve 1 year in nuclear-related employment in US after graduation. 

Nuclear faculty members:

Students are encouraged to choose the following faculty members as their advisor and contact them to determine dissertation topics. The student applicants may work with other faculty members, as long as the dissertation topic is nuclear-related as determined by the fellowship committee.

SESE doctoral program:

  • Dr. Xue Yang, Assistant Professor, Mechanical/Nuclear Engineering. Area of interests: reactor physics, radiation transport, numerical methods, parallel computing, atomic simulation of plasma-material interactions.

  • Dr. Yousri Elkassabgi, Professor, Mechanical Engineering. Area of interests: thermos-hydraulic modeling, computational fluid dynamics.

EVEN doctoral program:

  • Dr. Lee Clapp, Professor, and Chairman, Environmental Engineering. Area of interests: groundwater restoration, groundwater modeling, contaminant fate, and transport modeling, biogeochemical modeling, health physics, environmental monitoring.

The median salaries annual earnings of mining and geological engineers, including mining safety engineers, were $61,770 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $48,250 and $77,160. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $36,720, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $93,660.

According to a 2003 salary survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, bachelor’s degree candidates in mining and mineral engineering (including geological) received starting offers averaging $44,326 a year.

In 2002, nuclear engineers were employed in around 16,000 jobs. Half of these were in the utilities sector, one-quarter were employed by professional, scientific, and technical services firms, and 14 percent were hired by the Federal Government. A large number of nuclear engineers employed by the Federal Government work as civilians in the U.S. Navy, while the remaining were employed by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Nuclear Engineering Job and Employment Opportunities:

It is predicted that profitable job opportunities are available for nuclear engineers because the small quantity of nuclear engineering graduates are expected to equal the number of job openings. Due to the fact that nuclear engineering is a relatively small occupation, the predicted increase in employment will open some avenues for jobs but job opportunities will mainly be a result of retirement and transfers of existing engineers.

Almost scant or no growth is expected in the employment of nuclear engineers through 2012. Cost as well as safety issues are dissuading public support of nuclear power and research and as such no new commercial nuclear power plants have been constructed in this country for a long time. However, nuclear engineers will be in demand in order to run the existing nuclear plants, industries and research. Also, nuclear engineers will be expected to continue R&D activities, mainly to develop future nuclear power sources. Nuclear technology, especially in defense related areas, will also attract nuclear engineering graduates. The current concern over the improvement and enforcement of waste management and safety regulations will also increase demand for such engineers.


Historic earnings information:

In 2002, the median salaries received by nuclear engineers were $81,350 annually. The middle 50 percent received salaries which lay between $67,970 and $92,930. The lowest 10 percent received salaries which were below $58,350, and the highest 10 percent received salaries above $111,260. In 2002, nuclear engineers who were employed in supervisory and non-supervisory as well as in management jobs by the Federal Government received average salaries of $73,769 a year.

In a 2003 salary survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, nuclear engineers with a bachelor’s degree received starting salaries of $50,104 on an average in a year.

Seasoned engineers may earn more.