For our 2017 Online Master’s of Engineering in Nuclear Engineering ranking we have generated a list of all regionally accredited colleges and universities offering online programs of study leading to a Master in Nuclear Engineering and ranked them according to our weighted methodology which uses publicly available data including U.S. News scores, tuition rates, return on investment according to Payscale.com, graduation rates, and cohort default rates to produce an overall score of 1-100. The top 10 scoring programs are those included in this ranking.
The need for qualified nuclear engineers is expected to increase as energy consumption continues to grow. Countries throughout the world increasingly rely on their nuclear power plants for fuel production, to reduce their dependence on oil and the environmental impacts of fossil-fired fuel. Hundreds of additional nuclear scientists and engineers will also be needed each year in the United States to fill the demand in a variety of fields such as medicine, manufacturing, agriculture, and security. Engineers with a specific background in nuclear engineering are needed to help meet workforce demands in the nuclear industry including careers in areas such as nuclear power equipment manufacturing, utility industries, engineering consulting firms, and government. Professionals with a masters degree will enjoy benefits of greater job security, higher level positions, and increased salary than those holding a bachelor’s degree. Online programs of study make it easy for working engineering professionals to gain these advantages without disrupting their current employment.
It should be noted that in building our ranking we take both in and out-of-state tuition into consideration. However, attending college in your state of residency will always be more affordable and ultimately provide a better return on investment than attending an out-of-state school. Where applicable, any program on this list offered through a public college or university that is in your state of residency should be considered among those at the top of the list.
Note: Tuition rates listed are estimates and total tuition costs will vary from student to student and program to program based on a number of factors.
#1. Kansas State University
Kansas State University is a public institution of higher learning founded 1863 and is one of the nation’s first land-grant institutions. The main campus is located in the city of Manhattan and is nationally recognized for its student-run “K-State Proud” organization which works to create financial awards for low-income students. The university is integrated into the local community such that students and community members often work together on initiatives to improve the community. Undergraduate students are encouraged to participate in research programs through one of the university’s many research centers. U.S. News & World Report ranks K-State #146 in “National Universities,” #77 in “Top Public Schools,” #16 in “Best Nuclear Engineering Programs,” and #22 in “Best Online Graduate Engineering Programs.”
K-State’s College of Engineering aims to provide an outstanding undergraduate educational experience while continuing to conduct outstanding research related to energy, health, infrastructure, and information technology. The College offers an Online Master of Science in Nuclear Engineering degree program designed for working professionals who have already obtained a bachelor’s degree in engineering and have some nuclear engineering training. Students may complete the program through a thesis or non-thesis option. A minimum of 30 credits are required for completion of the degree. Kansas State provides very low tuition rates and a good reputation which earns it its position in our ranking.
Accreditation: Kansas State University is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
#2. North Carolina State University
North Carolina State University in Raleigh is a public land-grant research university located in North Carolina’s technologically thriving central region. The university has become known as one of the most technologically advanced collaborative learning spaces in the world and as having made some of the most groundbreaking advances in science and technology. The university is ranked #92 in “National Universities,” #6 in “Best Nuclear Engineering Programs,” and #12 in “Best Online Graduate Engineering Programs” by U.S. News & World Report.
The College of Engineering at North Carolina State University is home to nearly 30 research centers and laboratories providing a diverse range of research opportunities to enhance the education students receive in the classroom. The college strives to build a collaborative environment where students and faculty can work to provide solutions to societal needs and enhance the economic development and quality of life of the citizens of North Carolina, our nation and humankind. The Master of Nuclear Engineering is designed for students with an undergraduate degree in an engineering discipline or the applied sciences who wish to pursue a graduate degree in nuclear engineering. A minimum of 30 credits with no thesis requirement must be completed to earn the degree. The strengths of the NC State program include its first-in-the-nation university nuclear reactor program along with research in fission, fusion, radiation physics and applications. NCSU’s low rate of tuition and high reputation earn it its place in our ranking.
Accreditation: North Carolina State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
#3. University of Maryland College Park
Located in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, the University of Maryland in College Park is a public research university and is the flagship campus of the University System of Maryland. UMD is a highly ranked university by multiple national and international publications and is currently ranked #56 in “National Universities,” and #19 in “Top Public Schools,” according to U.S. News and World Report.
The A. James Clark School of Engineering at UMD features the only Neutral Buoyancy Research Facility housed on a college campus as well as many other research labs, centers and institutes that provide valuable resources to graduate and undergraduate engineering students alike. The Online Graduate Program in Nuclear Engineering provides a strong, flexible, highly analytical education leading to the Master of Engineering degree. The program requires a minimum of 30 credits for completion of the degree. The university’s excellent reputation and its low tuition rates have earned it its place at #3 in this ranking.
Accreditation: The University of Maryland College Park is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
#4. University Engineering Alliance
The University Engineering Alliance offers Online courses in Nuclear Engineering through leading university professors at Baylor, Kansas State University, Texas A&M, University of Kansas, University of Missouri, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Oklahoma State University, and University of Texas-Austin. Students may be enrolled through any one of these other member institutions to take courses through the Alliance. Students may apply to receive their Master of Science in Nuclear Engineering through one of the degree granting institutions in the alliance including Kansas State University or the University of Texas. Students may also contact any one of the other member institutions to see about potentially fulling on-campus degree requirements at a distance through online Alliance courses.
Accreditation: Varies by institution.
Tuition: Varies by institution
#5. Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Worcester Polytechnic Institute is a private institution of higher learning located in Worcester, Massachusetts. The college was founded in 1865 and is one of the nation’s first engineering and technology universities. The university is comprised of 14 academic departments offering over 50 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Undergrads at WPI are tasked with two major projects throughout their studies, one in their chosen major and a second project on an open-ended problem at the intersection of science, technology, and society. U.S. News & World Report ranks WPI # 57 in “National Universities” and #66 in “Best Electrical Engineering Programs,” as well as #36 in “Best Online Graduate Engineering Programs.”
Worcester Polytechnic Institute is known as one of the nation’s premier engineering and science focused universities. Engineering at WPI follows a hands-on, project-based approach to research and learning and is dedicated to turning today’s dedicated engineering students into tomorrow’s visionaries and innovators. The college offers online programs leading to Master of Science in Power Systems Management, and Master of Engineering in Power Systems Engineering. These programs provide students an opportunity to focus on nuclear systems while earning a Master’s in the broader discipline of Power Systems. The program is designed to challenge students to push themselves to understand society’s and technology’s complex issues in a broader context than what’s in front of them and to tackle society’s most pressing problems and uncover new ways of solving them. A minimum of 30 credits are required for completion of these degrees. Worcester’s above average scores in all of our value categories earn it its place in this ranking.
Accreditation: Worcester Polytechnic Institute is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
#6. University of Texas Austin
The University of Texas—Austin is one of the largest institutions of higher learning in the country and is considered to be one of the “Public Ivies,” or public institutions of higher learning offering a quality of education comparable to that of the private Ivy Leagues. UTA is ranked by U.S. News & World Report #52 in “National Universities,” and #16 in “Top Public Schools.”
The Cockrell School of Engineering is known particularly for its innovative programs in petroleum, civil, and environmental engineering, but offers a total of thirteen graduate degree programs that propel research and innovation, develop transformative technologies, and cultivate solutions to advance society. The Master of Science in Nuclear and Radiation Engineering is available at a distance through online study. The program is particularly interested in applicants with a strong background in mechanical or chemical engineering, physics, chemistry or applied math. This is a small, dynamic graduate program within the Department of Mechanical Engineering with strengths in nuclear fuel cycle, nuclear forensics, nuclear non-proliferation, applications of robotic handling of special nuclear materials and neutron beam port technology. A minimum of 30 credits and completion of a thesis are required for completion of the degree.
Accreditation: The University of Texas Austin is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
#7. Thomas Edison State University
Located in Trenton, New Jersey, Thomas Edison State University is a public institution of higher learning that provides flexible, high-quality, collegiate learning opportunities that are focused on non-traditional adult learners. Thomas Edison State University provides adults nationally and internationally with many ways to complete a quality degree, including credit by examination, assessment of experiential learning, guided independent study and credit for corporate and military training.
The Master of Science in Applied Science and Technology (MSAST) degree is an online program with a concentration option in Nuclear Energy Technology Management. The program is designed to meet the advanced, multi-disciplinary educational requirements of students interested in obtaining leadership positions in a variety of technical professions. The program focuses on developing the research analysis and critical evaluation skills necessary to support decision-making and problem-solving required to lead today’s technical enterprises. The core curriculum provides advanced learning in the modern tools of business management, leadership, applied science and technology. Between 36 and 39 credits are required for completion of the degree which includes the successful completion of a Master’s thesis.
Accreditation: Thomas Edison State University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Tuition: $24,048 – $26,052
#8. Pennsylvania State University World Campus
Established in 1855, Pennsylvania State University is a state-related research university with 24 statewide campuses. The university’s enrollment, including online learners is approximately 97,500 students. Pennsylvania State University World Campus is often referred to as “Penn State Online” and is the virtual campus of Pennsylvania State University. The World Campus was founded in 1998, but Pennsylvania State University has been offering distance education courses since 1892, when it developed one of the nation’s pioneer correspondence study programs for statewide farmers. Online offerings include programs in business, education, sustainability, engineering, homeland security, law, communication, nursing, and more. Penn State is ranked by U.S. News & World Report #50 in “National Universities,” #14 in “Top Public Schools,” #10 in “Best Nuclear Engineering Programs,” and #4 in “Best Online Graduate Engineering Programs.”
Penn State has a long tradition of offering top-notch engineering programs that are well known and respected across industry. The Online Master of Engineering in Nuclear Engineering at Penn State is designed for students who have an undergraduate degree in an engineering discipline, or the applied sciences from an ABET–accredited institution, you can prepare for these career positions with the Master of Engineering in Nuclear Engineering. Graduates can work for development laboratories, electrical utility companies, colleges and universities, nuclear power plants, engineering design firms, factories that make nuclear equipment, and private and governmental research, energy, and defense agencies. Course topics include radiological safety, radioactive waste control, design principles of reactor systems, reactor engineering, nuclear fuel management, heat transfer, and other current subjects. A minimum of 30 credits with no thesis are required for completion of the degree. Penn State’s outstanding reputation and low tuition costs earn it its place in this ranking.
Accreditation: Pennsylvania State University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
#9. Iowa State University
Iowa State University is a public research university located in Ames. The school is dedicated to creating, sharing, and applying knowledge to make the world a better place and works toward excellence in research and teaching. The university offers more than 100 majors and an abundance of student clubs and organizations to engage students in learning and build experiences outside of the classroom. ISU is ranked #108 by “National Universities,” and #52 in “Top Public Schools,” by U.S. News & World Report.
Iowa State’s College of Engineering, is committed to education, research, and engagement and has a strong history that traces back to the university’s earliest days. The College continues to lead technology development and innovation and emphasizes creativity in working to find solutions to real problems. The Online Master in Energy Systems Engineering is designed to develop professionals who can tackle energy challenges of the 21st century and provide sustainable energy sources for a growing world population. Students in this program can choose an emphasis in nuclear energy. A minimum of 30 credits are required for completion of the degree. Iowa State’s very good reputation and tuition rates earn it its place in this ranking.
Accreditation: Iowa State University is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
#10. Northeastern University
Located in Boston, Massachusetts, Northeastern University is a private research university, known for its opportunities for undergraduates as well as graduate students to become involved in research projects. Northeastern is best known for its cooperative education program which integrates classroom learning with real-world experiences, allowing undergraduate students to combine intermittent periods of study with full-time employment with one of the university’s partners. U.S. News & World Report ranks Northeastern #47 in “National Universities,” and #6 in “Most Innovative Schools,”
The College of Engineering at Northeastern University has a history of accomplishment and innovation in engineering research and education, particularly in the energy, environmental, health, and security fields. Undergraduate studies at the COE provide a variety of academic opportunities in the classroom and laboratory, through research and cocurricular activities, and through the cooperative education program, students are well prepared for self-discovery and professional development. The Online Master of Science in Energy Systems through the ALIGN program offers students with strong quantitative and problem-solving skills the opportunity to gain the knowledge and practical experience necessary to enter this high-demand field. The program integrates energy systems technology with business and financial-planning principles. It will prepare you to lead efforts in the design, development, planning, and implementation of new energy-generation investments, to realize energy efficiency improvements, and ultimately to have a lasting, positive impact on businesses, communities, the economy, and the global environment. The program is flexibly designed with a set of core courses in engineering knowledge and finance, complemented by a broad range of electives that can be taken across departments within Northeastern’s College of Engineering allowing students to focus their studies in nuclear power or other areas of interest. Northeastern University has good reputation, and solid return on investment scores as well as very good tuition rates which has earned it its place as best value college in our ranking.
Accreditation: Northeastern University is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.