Core Courses

All nuclear engineering core courses are offered once a year. In addition to nuclear engineering courses, students are required to take the electrical engineering, engineering mechanics, and mechanical engineering courses listed below. Students must pass prerequisite courses before enrolling in a course. Please refer to the University Bulletin for prerequisites needed prior to registering for a course. These core courses require a C or better for graduation:  NucE 301, NucE 302, NucE 309, NucE 430 and NucE 450.

NucE 301: Fundamentals of Reactor Physics (4 cr.) Fall Semester
Nuclear reactions and interactions relevant to nuclear engineering including fission, cross-sections, reaction rate calculations, energy depositions rates and radioactive decay.

NucE 302: Introduction to Reactor Design (4 cr.) Spring Semester
Static and dynamic reactor theory applied to basic reactor design problems.

NucE 309: Analytical Techniques for Nuclear Concept (3 cr.) Fall Semester
This course is an introduction to many of the analytical techniques used in the nuclear engineering discipline.

NucE 310W: Issues in Nuclear Engineering (2 cr.) Fall Semester
Societal and technical issues facing nuclear engineers, including safety, operations, waste, regulation, public acceptance, economics, ethics and radiation.

NucE 403: Advanced Reactor Design (3 cr.) Fall Semester
Physical principles and computational methods for reactor analysis and design. Multigroup diffusion theory; determination of fast and thermal group constants; cell calculations for heterogeneous core lattices.

NucE 430: Design Principles of Reactor Systems (3 cr.) Fall Semester
Nuclear power cycles; heat removal problems; kinetic behavior of nuclear systems; material and structural design problems.

NucE 431W: Nuclear Reactor Core Design Synthesis (4 cr.) Spring Semester
Technical and economic optimization of nuclear systems.

NucE 450: Radiation Detection and Measurement (3 cr.) Spring Semester
Theory and laboratory applications of radiation detectors including proton, neutron, charged particle detectors, NIM devices and pulse-height analysis.

NucE 451: Experiments in Reactor Physics (3 cr.) Fall Semester
Acquisition and processing nuclear and atomic data; application to nucleonic phenomena of importance in nuclear engineering.

EE 212: Introduction to Electronic Measuring Systems (3 cr.)
Electronic devices and characteristics, amplifiers, and feedback, electronic instruments and recording systems. Designed for non-electrical engineering students.

E MCH 211: Statics (3 cr.)
Equilibrium of coplanar force systems; analysis of frames and trusses; noncoplanar force systems; friction; centroids and moments of inertia.

E MCH 212: Dynamics (3 cr.)
Motion of a particle; relative motion; kinetics of translation, rotation and plane motion; work-energy; impulse-momentum.

E MCH 213: Strength of Materials (3 cr.)
Axial stress and strain; torsion; stresses in beams; elastic curves and deflection of beams; combined stress; columns.

E MCH 315: Mechanical Response of Engineering Materials (2 cr.)
Mechanical response measures and design theories for engineering materials; elastic and plastic response as affected by stress, strain, time, temperatures.

E MCH 316: Experimental Determination of Mechanical Response of Materials (1 cr.)
Experimental techniques for mechanical property measurement and structural testing.

ME 300: Engineering Thermodynamics I (3 cr.)
Basic thermodynamic concepts, first and second law of thermodynamics, properties of pure substances.

ME 320: Fluid Flow (3 cr.)
Thermodynamic and dynamic principles applied to fluid behavior; ideal, viscous, under internal and external flow conditions.

ME 410: Heat Transfer (3 cr.)
Transient heat conduction; convection in laminar and turbulent flow; heat exchanger devices; boiling and condensation; radiation.

Career Resources
Study Abroad


The Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering at Penn State is one of the nation’s largest and most successful engineering departments. We serve more than 1,000 undergraduate students and more than 330 graduate students

We offer B.S. degrees in mechanical engineering and nuclear engineering as well as resident (M.S., Ph.D.) and online (M.S., M.Eng.) graduate degrees in nuclear engineering and mechanical engineering. MNE's strength is in offering hands-on experience in highly relevant research areas, such as energy, homeland security, biomedical devices, and transportation systems.

Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering

137 Reber Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-4400

Phone: 814-865-2519