Undergraduate Program

Undergraduate Advisor
Robert D. Busch

Degree Offered

  • Bachelor of Science in Nuclear Engineering (B.S.N.E.)

Mission Statement

The Bachelor of Science in Nuclear Engineering (B.S.N.E.) degree program in the Department of Nuclear Engineering provides an outstanding education that prepares students to be productive and responsible members of society, with the skills and knowledge to be successful in their professional careers or post-graduate studies. This is accomplished by engaging students in a variety of academic, research and service activities, and fostering a learning environment that is supportive for a body of students that is diverse in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, and prior educational background.


Nuclear engineering is an exciting, rapidly-evolving field that requires engineers with an understanding of physical processes of nuclear energy and an ability to apply concepts in new and creative ways. Nuclear engineers are primarily concerned with the control, monitoring and use of energy released in nuclear processes. Some nuclear engineers work on the design and safety aspects of environmentally sound, passively safe, proliferation resistant nuclear fission reactors. Still others are looking to future energy solutions through development and implementation of nuclear fusion systems. Others are helping in the exploration and utilization of outer space by developing long term, reliable nuclear energy sources. With the renewed concern in environmental science, nuclear engineers are working on safe disposal concepts for radioactive waste and on methods for reduction of radiation releases from industrial facilities. They also work in developing a wide variety of applications for radioisotopes such as the treatment and diagnosis of diseases; food preservation, manufacturing development, processing and quality control; and biological and mechanical process tracers. For each of these fields there are numerous opportunities for nuclear engineers in basic research, applications, operations and training. Moreover, nuclear engineers with advanced computational skills are in strong demand in the national security, medical physics and radiation processing fields.

The mission of nuclear engineering education is to give the student an excellent understanding of nuclear processes and fundamentals and provide the physical and engineering principles that lead to applications of the basic processes. The goal of the program is to provide rigorous Nuclear Engineering education and training at the Bachelor of Science level. Our undergraduate program is built on an academically strong, research-oriented faculty and a sound graduate program in Nuclear Engineering. This strong foundation is enhanced by the nearby presence of three national laboratories dealing in Nuclear Engineering research (Los Alamos National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories and Air Force Research Laboratory).

The educational objectives for graduates of the Nuclear Engineering undergraduate program are:

  • to meet or exceed the expectations of employers of nuclear engineers,
  • to pursue advanced study if qualified,
  • to achieve leadership roles in their communities and/or professions.

The most up-to-date version of the educational objectives is available at the department Web site.

The program emphasizes the broad knowledge and intellectual values of a liberal arts education and the fundamentals of engineering science at the lower levels and engineering design and computational tools at the upper levels. The course of study in nuclear engineering gives the student broad training in the fundamentals of mathematics, physics, chemistry and engineering, followed by professional specialty course work involving radiation interaction with matter, radiation transport, radiation detection and protection, nuclear reactor theory and safety, thermalhydraulics and nuclear systems design. Students also select technical electives that allow them to explore in-depth areas of interest in nuclear engineering. The graduate nuclear engineer finds a wide variety of career opportunities or is well prepared to pursue advanced graduate studies.

The goal is to produce highly motivated Nuclear Engineers who have strong verbal and written communication skills and excellent engineering training and knowledge. Graduates have an ability to design, conduct and analyze experiments and experimental data. They have an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility and of the background to understand societal impact and risks/benefits of engineering solutions. Our program provides an academic experience focusing on technically current material, with opportunities for interested undergraduate students to participate in nuclear engineering research projects.

The Department seeks to graduate students capable of making decisions, analyzing alternatives and creating integrated designs that are solutions to engineering problems with economic and political constraints. To help achieve this, design is integrated into courses, from the sophomore through senior year. The philosophy for design is to expose the student to a variety of design topics representative of the types of assignments they may expect in an industrial setting. The faculty feel they should be given exposure to modern computational and design tools and that they should have experience working in groups as well as individually.

Nuclear Engineering students begin their program design experience during their sophomore year with an introduction to open-ended problems and design concepts. This experience continues throughout the program with open-ended work a part of each semester. As students move through the program, the breadth and depth of the design experience increases from a few examples in the introductory courses to a wide variety of projects associated with hardware, systems, and experiments. In their junior year, students are exposed to experimental design and participate in a series of design problems applied to nuclear and radiological systems. Economic issues of design are identified early in the sequence and are integrated throughout our upper level courses. During the senior year, students are exposed to more detailed facets of the design process and design integration. This work culminates with a capstone nuclear design course taken during the second semester of the senior year. This course involves a complete system design, integrating technical, economic, safety and environmental issues at senior year depth. Here, teamwork and careful analysis of trade-offs are essential components for a successful design.


To earn a baccalaureate degree in nuclear engineering, a student must apply to and be admitted to the baccalaureate program in the Department of Nuclear Engineering. For students who have entered the University of New Mexico as freshmen, application to the program is typically made in the sophomore year. In most cases, such students will have been admitted to the School of Engineering as pre-majors (see “Admission to the School of Engineering” in the School of Engineering section of this Catalog). Transfer students may apply to the program as soon as they have met the program admission requirements discussed below. To ensure that they receive the proper advisement, the department strongly encourages all students who are interested in entering the baccalaureate program in nuclear engineering to apply to the department as soon as they are eligible.

The criteria for admission to the baccalaureate program in Nuclear Engineering are specified in detail in the advisement brochure, which may be obtained from the department. There are 18 credit hours of freshman year technical subjects required by the School of Engineering for admission, and a minimum GPA of 2.50 in those courses is required for admission to undergraduate study in Nuclear Engineering. A total of 26 credit hours applicable to a degree is required for admission with a GPA of at least 2.20. All applicants must have completed ENGL 110 or its equivalent before admission. All courses required in a Nuclear Engineering baccalaureate degree program must have grades of "C-" or better for satisfying both admission and graduation requirements.

Policy on D or D+ Grades

Students admitted or readmitted to the Nuclear Engineering degree program may not apply a course toward the Bachelor of Science in Nuclear Engineering degree if the highest grade earned in the course is a "D+" or less, regardless of where that grade was earned.

Curriculum in Nuclear Engineering

The Bachelor of Science in Nuclear Engineering program accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.

Credit hours required for graduation: 124 (1)

First Year First Semester
NE 101 Introduction to Nuclear Engineering 1
CHEM 121 General Chemistry 3
CHEM 123L General Chemistry Laboratory 1
ENGL 110
(or ENGL 112;
or ENGL 113)
Accelerated Composition
(or Composition II;
or Enhanced Composition)
MATH 162 Calculus I 4
Core Humanities Elective (2) 3
Second Semester
PHYC 160 General Physics 3
CHEM 122 General Chemistry II 3
CHEM 124L General Chemistry II Laboratory 1
MATH 163 Calculus II 4
ENGL 120 Composition III 3
CS 151L Computer Programming Fundamentals for Non-Majors 3
Second Year First Semester
NE 230 Principles of Radiation Protection 3
PHYC 161 General Physics 3
MATH 264 Calculus III 4
ENGL 219 Technical and Professional Writing 3
ECON 105 Introductory Macroeconomics 3
Second Semester
NE 213 Laboratory Electronics for Nuclear Engineers 3
NE 231 Principles of Nuclear Engineering 3
NE 314 Thermodynamics and Nuclear Systems 3
NE 371 Nuclear Materials Engineering 2
MATH **316 Applied Ordinary Differential Equations 3
Third Year First Semester
NE 311 Introduction to Transport Phenomena 3
NE 315 Nuclear Engineering Analysis and Calculations 3
NE **323L Radiation Detection and Measurement 3
CE 202 Engineering Statics 3
Nuclear Engineering Technical Elective (3) 3
Second Semester
NE 312 Unit Operations 3
NE 313L Introduction to Laboratory Techniques for Nuclear Engineering 3
NE *330 Nuclear Engineering Science 3
Technical Elective (4) 3
Core Fine Arts Elective (2) 3
Fourth Year
(5) (6)
First Semester
NE *410 Nuclear Reactor Theory 3
NE 462 Monte Carlo Techniques for Nuclear Systems 3
NE 464 Thermal-Hydraulics of Nuclear Systems 3
NE *497L Nuclear Engineering Computational Methods 3
Core Humanities Elective (2) 3
Second Semester
NE *413L Nuclear Engineering Laboratory I 3
NE 452 Senior Seminar 1
NE 470 Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Materials 3
NE 498L Nuclear Engineering Design 4
Core Second Language (2) 3
Core Social and Behavioral Science Elective (2) 3


(1) To count towards graduation credit hours, each course must be completed with a grade of "C-" or better. 

(2) Students should consult the UNM Catalog, LoboTrax, or an advisor to obtain a list of acceptable courses to fulfill the core curriculum requirements. These courses may be taken whenever convenient. Courses used to fulfill the UNM Core curriculum require a grade of "C" or better.

(3) The Nuclear Engineering Technical Elective is chosen from a list of approved upper-division nuclear engineering courses with the approval of the student's advisor.

(4) The Technical Elective is chosen from a list of approved upper-division technical courses with the approval of the student's advisor.

(5) Students must file an application for the B.S.N.E. prior to the completion of 95 credit hours of applicable courses.

(6) Students are encouraged to take the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) examination during their senior year. The FE exam is the first formal step towards professional registration.

Nuclear Engineering Laboratories

The nuclear engineering laboratories are equipped with an AGN-201M nuclear training reactor; a hot-cell facility with remote manipulators; a graphite pile; several solid state detectors for alpha, beta and gamma radiation; computer based data acquisition, analysis and control systems; and supporting radiation measurements systems. In addition to the well-equipped laboratories on campus, the advanced reactors and radiation equipment of Sandia National Laboratories, Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute, Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Air Force Research Laboratory are utilized for instruction and research.

Computer Facilities

Computers provide the basic computational tool for today’s modern engineer. The department maintains a computer pod equipped with PC computers. Additional computers are available in the many University of New Mexico computer pods maintained by the University of New Mexico’s Information Technology Services. Freshman engineering students are introduced to the many computer facilities and programming. Numerical analysis is an important part of each year’s instruction in engineering, and by the senior year students make extensive use of sophisticated neutron transport and thermal hydraulics production codes. In addition to these technical software packages, students also gain experience with mathematical packages such as spreadsheets and symbolic manipulation software.

Honors Program

Eligible freshmen and upperclassmen in the Department of Nuclear Engineering are urged to enroll in the Honors Program. Nuclear Engineering students may graduate with Baccalaureate Honors, Departmental Honors, or both. Information is available from departmental advisors.

Cooperative Education

Nuclear engineering students may participate in the cooperative education program. Excellent opportunities exist throughout the country for undergraduate students. For further information, refer to the Section III: Cooperative Education Program section of this Catalog, or contact the Director of Career Services.


NE 101. Introduction to Nuclear Engineering. (1)

NE 213. Laboratory Electronics for Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Engineers. (3)

NE 230. Principles of Radiation Protection. (3)

NE 231. Principles of Nuclear Engineering. (3)

NE 311. Introduction to Transport Phenomena. (3)

NE 312. Unit Operations. (3)

NE 313L. Introduction to Laboratory Techniques for Nuclear Engineering. (3)

NE 314. Thermodynamics and Nuclear Systems. (3)

NE 315. Nuclear Engineering Analysis and Calculations. (3)

NE **323L. Radiation Detection and Measurement. (3)

NE *330. Nuclear Engineering Science [Nuclear Engineering Analysis and Calculations]. (3)

NE 371. Nuclear Materials Engineering. (2)

NE *410. Nuclear Reactor Theory. (3)

NE *413L. Nuclear Engineering Laboratory I. (3)

NE 439 / 539. Radioactive Waste Management. (3)

NE 449. Seminar in Hazardous Waste Management. (1, no limit Δ)

NE 452. Senior Seminar. (1)

NE 462. Monte Carlo Techniques for Nuclear Systems. (3)

NE 464 / 564. Thermal-Hydraulics of Nuclear Systems. (3)

NE 468 / 568. Introduction to Space Nuclear Power. (3)

NE 470. Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Materials. (3)

NE *485. Fusion Technology. (3)

NE 491 - 492. Undergraduate Problems. (1-3 to a maximum of 6 Δ, 1-3 to a maximum of 6 Δ)

NE 495 - 496. Nuclear Engineering Honors Problems I and II. (1-6 to a maximum of 6 Δ, 1-6 to a maximum of 6 Δ)

NE *497L. Nuclear Engineering Computational Methods. (3)

NE 498L. Nuclear Engineering Design. (4)

NE 499. Selected Topics. (1-3, no limit Δ)

NE 501. Nuclear Engineering Seminar. (1, no limit Δ)

NE 502. Nuclear Engineering Research Methods Seminar. (1, no limit Δ)

NE 508. Nuclear Engineering Research Seminar. (2 to a maximum of 20 Δ)

NE 511. Advanced Nuclear Reactor Theory. (3)

NE 513L. Graduate Nuclear Engineering Laboratory. (1-4 to a maximum of 4 Δ)

NE 515. Special Topics. (1-3, no limit Δ)

NE 520. Radiation Interactions and Transport. (3)

NE 523L. Environmental Measurements Laboratory. (1-4 to a maximum of 4 Δ)

NE 524. Interaction of Radiation with Matter. (3)

NE 525. Methods of Analysis in Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Engineering. (3)

NE 527. Radiation Biology for Engineers and Scientists. (3)

NE 528. External Radiation Dosimetry. (3)

NE 529. Internal Radiation Dosimetry. (3)

NE 539 / 439. Radioactive Waste Management. (3)

NE 551 - 552. Problems. (1-3, no limit Δ; 1-3)

NE 564 / 464. Thermal-Hydraulics of Nuclear Systems. (3)

NE 568 / 468. Introduction to Space Nuclear Power. (3)

NE 591. Practicum. (3 or 6 to a maximum of 6 Δ [6])

NE 599. Master's Thesis. (1-6, no limit Δ)

NE 610. Advanced Nuclear Reactor Theory. (3)

NE 699. Dissertation. (3-12, no limit Δ)

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Office of the Registrar

MSC 11 6325
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131

Phone: (505) 277-8900
Fax: (505) 277-6809