There is a growing need for new engineers, physicists and materials science to join the growing nuclear sector in the UK and across the globe. The UK’s only current new build site is Hinkley Point C in Somerset, just 50 miles from Bristol, and the South West region is the second-largest centre for nuclear activity in the country.
The University of Bristol has a very strong record in attracting research funding and has a very high research quality ranking in the nuclear sector, particularly in the areas of nuclear materials science and engineering, nuclear systems and infrastructure.
The MSc in nuclear science and engineering is designed to give students a broad backing in the scientific and engineering considerations in nuclear fission and fusion plants, using a hand-tailored selection of nuclear focused lecture courses, site visits and research projects.
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Graduates will leave equipped with a familiarity with the nuclear industry and the specialised nature of its safety culture, and they will be prepared to enter the industry or continue towards further research.
Students will benefit from the South West Nuclear Hub Nuclear Careers Day, held every October, which introduces students to major employers in the nuclear sector, from the Bristol area and beyond.
Students are able to attend presentations from each company to learn about their graduate opportunities, and network with the speakers providing an invaluable opportunity to find out detailed information about potential career paths.
Many recent graduates have gone to work in the nuclear industry for major employers such as EDF, Atkins, Sellafield, nucleargraduates, Frazer-Nash Consultancy and Dounreay.
Others have successfully remained at the University of Bristol, or moved to other institutions like the University of Oxford, to undertake PhD study in nuclear and related fields.
Programme Content and structure
The programme is delivered full-time over one year. Students will form a cohort attached to the South West Nuclear Hub and will benefit from working with internationally leading research teams, helping them become the future experts of the industry.
There are taught and practical elements of the programme. The taught section consists of core units, which provide a solid foundation in the scientific and engineering subjects, and optional units, which offer an opportunity to explore topics of particular interest. Students are encouraged to broaden their studies by selecting at least ten credit points from the faculty outside their individual research project.
Total number of credit points (CP) for MSc – 180CP
Taught Programme – 100CP
- Core Units (70CP)
- Optional Units (select 30CP)
Practical Programme – 80CP
- Individual Research Project – 60CP – All Year (sole activity during semester 3)
- Group Project (20CP – Semesters 1 and 2)
For more information and examples of projects, please see the Projects tab.
For the full programme structure, please visit the University of Bristol programme catalogue:
The Group Project brings together students with different academic backgrounds (e.g. science and engineering) to propose a solution to a problem posed by industrial partners, or to tackle current problems facing the nuclear industry.
These are posed by the University’s industrial partners such as EDF, Sellafield Ltd., Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, National Nuclear Laboratory, Rolls-Royce, Radioactive Waste Management and Cavendish Nuclear. Th Group Projects helps students develop key skills sought by employers such as innovation, communication and leadership.
- Sellafield Decontamination Challenge - Sellafield Ltd.
- Planning a new nuclear reactor fleet and fuel cycle
- The radiation in the room: real-time tracking of active material carried by humans
- Graphite condition monitoring - Assystem
- What is the key success factor to establish a competitive UK Pressurised Water Reactor (PWR) fleet?
Students work on real projects and their work has real, tangible impact on industry practice.
“The University of Bristol MSc is a unique environment in which we, at Magnox, have found outstanding synergies.
For example, in 2018, a group project report has contributed to a change in our proposed strategy in which we are now intending to fully destress the Oldbury Reactors as opposed to managing the corrosion through care and maintenance, with savings of the order of millions of pounds.
This work combined multidisciplinary fields such as modelling by means, finite element analysis, fracture mechanics, general and pitting corrosion rates estimations, and more."
Chris Davies, Senior System Engineer (Civil), Magnox Ltd.
Individual Research Projects
These projects have academic supervision, but will often be accompanied by industrial support and/or be aligned to important industrial problems.
Potential project contributions for the nuclear MSc come from strategic partners such as EDF, Sellafield, National Nuclear Laboratory, Rolls-Royce and Radioactive Waste Management. At the University of Bristol we have access to a large suite of instrumentation, some of which is dedicated specifically to nuclear materials research. Some of the research instruments are unique in the UK. Students may also have the opportunity to work on the sites of the project partners.
It attempts to mirror a research and/or development project of the type that may be encountered upon graduation and as such contains elements of project planning, thereby offering an opportunity to experience the industry’s technical challenges and professional culture first-hand.
- Conceptual design of a fusion reactor demonstrator – UKAEA
- Exploring risk from multi-reactor sites for Small Modular Reactors – CRA
- Digital Image Correlation to study high-temperature deformation of nuclear structural materials – EDF
- Tuning UO2 thin films with chemistry, light and ionic liquids
- Intelligent path planning algorithm toward automated scanning of nuclear waste drums – KUKA, Sellafield Ltd.
- Simulating Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (FDNPP) fallout material to understand formational and dispersion mechanisms - Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA)
- Characterisation of the 3D Deformation in Nuclear Graphite at Elevated Temperatures - EDF, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
The Nuclear Science and Engineering programme offers students numerous opportunities to collaborate internationally with partner institutions.
École Nationale Supérieure d'Arts et Métiers (ENSAM)
The South West Nuclear Hub and the ENSAM have a strategic partnership agreement, building on an Erasmus + agreement signed in June 2017.
ENSAM is a very prestigious 'Grand Ecole' in France that specialises in Engineering and Technology, but also in the field of nuclear. It has established links with the EDF group, the Institut National des Sciences et Techniques Nucléaires (INSTN) and the Commission a l’Energie Atomique et aux Energies renouvelables (CEA).
Students are able to undertake a project exchange with ENSAM, meaning the Individual Project can be completed on an international topic with a supervisor from France.
Grenoble Institut Polytechnique (INP)
The Hub and Grenoble INP have a formal agreement for collaboration on nuclear research and education which was signed in January 2017. Like ENSAM, INP is a prestigious Engineering University in France
Since summer 2017, students from the INP have come to Bristol to undertake blue sky and industrially led projects. In return Nuclear Science and Engineering MSc students are able to virtually attend some of the taught elements of the INP courses. There is also the possibility for physical exchanges, administered under the Erasmus programme.
Materials Ageing Institute (MAI)
The South West Nuclear Hub and the EDF Materials Ageing Institute in Paris have signed a three-year training agreement.
Every year, two or more students will be offered the opportunity to go to the MAI for a week to receive high-end nuclear training. This will be delivered by both academics and industrial stakeholders such as EDF or the French Regulatory Authority.
Courses will be taught in English, and students will attend the course alongside MSc students from the Grenoble’s Institut Nationale de Physique. Travel and accommodation will be taken care of. This opportunity is available to highly motivated students who demonstrate they can represent the Hub well.
Each year Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy, Ltd. (Hitachi-GE) have offered five students from the UK the opportunity to undertake a three month internship, working alongside teams in Hitachi city, Japan. Thanks to the links between the South West Nuclear Hub and Hitachi-GE, University of Bristol MSc students have been successful in applying for this opportunity.
FuseNet - The European Fusion Education Network
The FuseNet programme offers internships and support packages for MSc students in fusion. The internship can take place at a fusion research centre or university involved in fusion research. This place is not limited to Europe.
How To Get Involved
You will be given further information once you start the programme during Welcome Week and by email from the MSc Administrator.
For any queries email email@example.com
Here’s what a few graduates from the MSc in nuclear science and engineering had to say about the course:
We were able to work with people from industry and get the exposure to the real world and enhance our professional network.
The MSc gave me the strong practical and analytical skills required for further research that led to me undertaking a PhD. The numerous guest lectures and conference visits gave me a great understanding of each aspect of the nuclear industry.
The Nuclear MSc enhanced my employability to the point where I know have a job in Hydrock, a nuclear consultancy firm in Bristol.
Sree Harsha Ramamurthy
I have always been inspired by the potential of the Nuclear Energy to solve the energy crisis and an MSc in nuclear science is the first step toward that career.
The Hub has a lot of opportunities for students to achieve their goals such as internships from industrial partners, PhD funding, nuclear career fair and so on.
For me, this MSc programme is like a sponge, it absorbs everyone with different backgrounds, it absorbs both science and engineering units and it absorbs different countries and cultures without being out of balance. Because of this, it is an excellent platform for brain storms and idea inspiration.
Graham Hemingway, Megan Taylor, Harvey Johnson
The MSc set me up really well, because the industry connections gave me a really good understanding of the problems and challenges in the real world, rather than just theoretically or academically.
Senior people came in from across the nuclear industry – from licensed companies to operators and consultancies – and it was really interesting to hear their opinions and to see how they look at a situation
These graduates were featured in a Physics World article in August 2018 speaking about their experiences and highlights of the programme.Read article
I registered for the MSc programme in 2016 and by Spring 2017 I was selected as one of three students from the UK for a Hitachi-GE summer internship in Japan.
This was an unforgettable experience.
Viktorija was featured in a Nuclear Institute magazine article in Spring 2018.
ApplyApply for the Programme
If you would like to find out more about the course, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 (0)117 33 17946
This programme is accredited by the Institute for Engineering and Technology.