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Recruiting Graduate Students Through An Introductory Nuclear Science And Engineering Course And A Newly Implemented Undergraduate Minor Program

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Trends in Nuclear Engineering Education II

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.976.1 - 8.976.5



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Paper Authors

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Brian Hajek

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Audeen W. Fentiman

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

Recruiting Graduate Students through an Introductory Nuclear Science and Engineering Course and a Newly Implemented Undergraduate Minor Program


Brian K. Hajek and Audeen W. Fentiman The Ohio State University Nuclear Engineering Program


Five years ago, an effort was undertaken in the Nuclear Engineering Graduate Program at The Ohio State University to re-invent the only undergraduate nuclear engineering course in the Program to make it a key recruiting tool for new graduate students. As this effort succeeded, it became apparent that additional success might be achieved if an undergraduate minor were established. Taking a little over one year from conception to University approval, the minor is now in place, effective Fall Quarter, 2002.

This fall, we can measure the success of these efforts by the increasing enrollment trends in all Nuclear Engineering core courses. Currently, expressed interest in continuing with nuclear engineering studies and/or employment exceeds the original goals of 3 – 5% for the Introduction course efforts by more than a factor of two.

Introduction to Nuclear Science and Engineering Course

Since the beginning of the Nuclear Engineering Program at The Ohio State University, an introductory course has always been part of the curriculum. This original course, designated Nuclear Engineering 505, was meant to be a first course that concentrated on nuclear reactor core design with a heavy dose of diffusion theory and reactor kinetics. It was designed to provide an in-depth basis for students to enter advanced courses in reactor statics and kinetics. For over 30 years, very little changed in this course – except the enrollment.

NE 505 was the only truly undergraduate course in the curriculum. Taught each Fall and Spring Quarter, it was expected to be the first course for students interested in nuclear engineering, and provided a brief overview with an emphasis on health physics and diffusion theory. By the mid nineties, as enrollments were dropping, so were the offerings of NE 505. In 1995 and 1996, the Spring Quarter offerings of 505 were cancelled. Finally, in 1997, the faculty decided that a change was needed. The course was no longer serving its purpose. It needed to be re-invented.

In Spring, 1997, with an enrollment of only four students (Minimum enrollments of 12 students are required for a faculty member to receive credit for teaching a course at the 500 (junior, senior, and non-major graduate) level.), continuation of the course was in jeopardy. However, it was decided not to cancel the course, but to drastically change the syllabus in real time as it was being taught to this small class.1

The primary change was to introduce the breadth of nuclear engineering applications, beginning with a brief history of nuclear science, and following this with a discussion of

Hajek, B., & Fentiman, A. W. (2003, June), Recruiting Graduate Students Through An Introductory Nuclear Science And Engineering Course And A Newly Implemented Undergraduate Minor Program Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11953

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