Logo: University of Southern California

USC Viterbi Announces New Degree in Nuclear Engineering

New Master's Degree Program to focus on nuclear safety and security, launching online this fall
Katie Dunham
June 26, 2012 —

The USC Viterbi School of Engineering will launch a new nuclear power degree program in August. The Master’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering with a specialization in Nuclear Power, offered through the school’s Department of Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering, aims to prepare engineers for careers in power production from nuclear sources.

“A distinctive feature of this new program is the emphasis on new and emerging areas affecting the global nuclear power industry, such as nuclear security, safety culture and natural hazard risks,” said USC Viterbi Professor Satwinder Sadhal, who led the charge to create the degree. “The new program is designed to provide students a balanced curriculum with the rigor of science and technology together with the breadth of core courses needed for a solid foundation in the nuclear industry.”

The program was developed in response to a competitive grant proposal submitted to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) by Sadhal and co-investigators Professor Najmedin Meshkati, Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Dr. Isaac Maya, director of research for USC’s Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events. Curriculum for the program was also reviewed and approved by the regulatory commission’s staff.

Both the NRC and the U.S. Department of Energy have predicted an increasing demand for qualified personnel in the field of nuclear power, as large numbers of existing engineers retire. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Defense has shown a great deal of interest in educating personnel for the Nuclear Navy. Sadhal and his team hope the new program will play a substantial role in filling these critical needs.

USC Viterbi will offer the Master’s in Nuclear Power as a part-time online program through its Distance Education Network (DEN@Viterbi), in addition to the traditional on-campus format at USC’s University Park campus in Los Angeles, making it possible for working professionals to complete the degree while pursuing a full-time career.

”As a pioneer in the distance learning field for almost 40 years, DEN@Viterbi is proud to add this new Master’s program in Nuclear Power. By bringing the USC classroom to our students anytime, anywhere, qualified engineers from around the world will be able to enroll in nuclear engineering courses,” said Binh Tran, executive director of USC’s Distance Education Network.

Applications for the MS in Nuclear Power are currently being accepted for the fall 2012 and spring 2013 semesters, and students with a background in engineering, chemistry or physics are encouraged to apply. More information about the new degree is available at http://viterbi.usc.edu/gapp.