Nuclear, Plasma and Radiological Engineering

Nuclear, plasma and radiological engineering focuses on how sources of nuclear energy and radiation are developed and used. Many of the exciting applications of this major are in energy production, materials processing, and science. This degree is also relevant for biomedical and industrial fields. In your classes you will think about the big picture of energy production and consumption. You will study radiological technology, risk assessment, and analysis. In this major, you can learn how to ensure homeland security through detection technology. Our program is also a good fit for students interested in current and developing fission and fusion technology. With this degree, you can learn how to make computers, cell phones, and game consoles better, cheaper, and faster.

Career options include controls and control systems, energy policy and security, fusion energy, government and state regulations, health physics, materials performance and processing, medical diagnostics and therapy, microelectronics, nuclear and medical instrumentation, power plant design, supervision operations and safety, and waste management.

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Highlights

  • Our nuclear, plasma, and radiological engineering program offers three undergraduate degree paths: Plasma and Fusion; Power, Safety and the Environment; and Radiological, Medical and Instrument Applications
  • 60% of students reported having an internship or co-op during their degree program.
  • 93% of students reported securing their first choice destination upon graduation.
  • The average starting salary for a nuclear, plasma, and radiological engineering graduate is $69,000 with a median signing bonus of $5,000.

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What You'll Study

Nuclear, plasma and radiological engineering (NPRE) at Illinois is renowned for its expertise on issues surrounding the production, transport, and interactions of radiation with matter and the application of all nuclear processes. This includes leadership in traditional areas of nuclear fission for production of electric power and guiding the development of advanced nuclear systems for more efficient production of energy resources. As a student you take classes like modeling nuclear energy systems, plasma fusion science, neutron diffusion transport, and radiation protection.

The curriculum also emphasizes nuclear fusion for near-term scientific applications and for its development as a future clean energy source. NPRE students can choose from three concentrations in order to customize their education around their interests. These concentrations include: plasma and fusion; power, safety and the environment; and radiological, medical, and instrument applications.

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Minor in Computer Science

The CS Minor is offered for students seeking significant knowledge of digital computing without the more complete treatment of a major in computer science. This minor may be taken by any student except majors in the Computer Science degree programs and in Computer Engineering.

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Post-Graduate Success

Students in the NPRE curriculum develop an ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics. About sixty percent of our NPRE graduates continue their education in graduate school, and about thirty-three percent take positions in industry.

Common career options for NPRE graduates include the following: controls and control systems, energy policy and security, fusion energy, government and state regulations, health physics, materials performance and processing, medical diagnostics and therapy, microelectronics, nuclear and medical instrumentation, power plant design, supervision operations, and safety, and waste management. The average salary between 2019-20 for NPRE grads was reported as $69,000.

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93%
employed or continuing education

33%
employed after graduation

60%
attending graduate school

$69,000
average starting annual income

Sample employer destinations: Exelon, Entergy, Exelon Generation View All

Sample grad school destinations: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of California, Berkeley View All

Upcoming Events

Information Sessions
Meet with faculty, advising staff, and current students from the Department of Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering (NPRE). There will be a brief presentation on the NPRE program with time for Q&A. Time allowing, and based on interest of attendees, we will offer a virtual tour of some of our lab facilitates where our research takes place.

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NPRE student working in a lab

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Applying to The Grainger College of Engineering opens the door to your future as a successful engineer. Get started by scheduling a visit, requesting information, or submitting your application.