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Evolution Of Nuclear Engineering And Radiation Health Physics At Oregon State University

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.270.1 - 3.270.6

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Paper Authors

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Stephen E. Binney

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Andrew C. Klein

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2577

Evolution of Nuclear Engineering and Radiation Health Physics at Oregon State University

Andrew C. Klein and Stephen E. Binney Oregon State University

The Department of Nuclear Engineering at Oregon State University (OSU) has consistently evolved and broadened its scope over the years to respond to changes in the research and curricular demands of the nuclear community. The changes to meet these demands have tended to be made gradually over time and after considerable thought and reflection.

The Department was originally established as a separate, stand-alone department in 1972, although nuclear engineering courses had been offered since 1957 in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. The first nuclear engineering program at OSU was the B.S. degree which was approved for delivery by the Oregon State System of Higher Education in 1968. The undergraduate degree program in nuclear engineering remains a vital part of the educational mission of the Department. Graduate degree programs at both the M.S. and Ph.D. levels were added one year later so that by the end of the 1960s, the full suite of degree programs (B.S., M.S., and Ph.D.) were offered in Nuclear Engineering.

A major curriculum revision also occurred in 1972, concurrent with the development of a four- year B.S. degree program in Nuclear Engineering Technology (NET). The NET program played a very important role in the Department for approximately nine years, until it was suspended in 1981. A total of 84 B.S. degrees in Nuclear Engineering Technology were awarded at OSU between 1972 and 1981. The suspension of this degree program was in large part due to limited financial support and to a misunderstanding by industry of the difference between a B.S. level NET graduate and a two-year trained nuclear technician.

Separately, a Radiation Health program functioned in the General Science Department of the College of Science at OSU from 1963 to the late 1980s. During this time the program transitioned from an x-ray technology program to a modern health physics program. Due to a dwindling nuclear-oriented faculty and an overall reduction in interest in this educational area in the General Science Department, the M.S. program was transferred in 1988 to the Department of Nuclear Engineering. In 1991 the B.S. program was also transferred. The Ph.D. component was added to the Radiation Health Physics program in 1997. Thus, presently the compete series of undergraduate and graduate offerings are now available at Oregon State in both Nuclear Engineering and Radiation Health Physics.

The undergraduate Nuclear Engineering program has been accredited by EAC/ABET since 1973. It is the only such accredited program in the Pacific Northwest and one of only two such degree programs on the west coast. The curriculum is both broad in scope and extensive in depth. Nuclear Engineering courses comprise 32% of the required 192 quarter credit hours. Other engineering, mathematics, and science courses constitute 46% of the curriculum, with the remaining 22% being liberal arts related. Primary components of the nuclear engineering courses

Binney, S. E., & Klein, A. C. (1998, June), Evolution Of Nuclear Engineering And Radiation Health Physics At Oregon State University Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington.

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