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Teaching Nuclear Engineering To Electrical Engineering Students

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Curriculum Development and Delivery Modes in Nuclear Engineering

Tagged Division

Nuclear and Radiological

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1363.1 - 12.1363.6



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Paper Authors


Robert Barsanti The Citadel

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Robert Barsanti is an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at The Citadel where he teaches and does research in the area of target tracking and signal processing. Before joining the faculty at The Citadel, he was an Assistant Professor and a member of the Beartrap post mission analysis system design team at the Naval Prostgraduate School in Monterey, CA. Barsanti holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Polytechnic University, an M.S. in Electrical Engineering, M.S. in Engineering Acoustics, and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School. Dr. Barsanti is a Member of IEEE, member of ASEE, and is a retired United States Navy Lieutenant Commander who served in the nations submarine force.

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

Teaching Nuclear Engineering to Electrical Engineering Students


Many undergraduate electrical engineering students in major universities are required to enroll in an elective course that is technical in nature and outside the mainstream of electrical engineering. This paper discusses the structure of a course in nuclear engineering to meet this requirement.


In the spring semester of 2004, The Citadel Electrical and Computer Engineering department offered a three credit hour lecture course in Nuclear Engineering as a technical elective for junior and senior level students. The course catalog1 description was “Introduction to the theory and application of nuclear energy. Topics include fission; nuclear fuels; nuclear reactor principles, concepts, examples, construction, operation, and ecological impact; heat transfer and fluid flow; radiation hazards and shielding; nuclear propulsion; and controlled fusion.”

The nuclear engineering course has been taught twice, once in the spring of 2004, and again in the summer of 2006. In the first attempt, a number of problems were encountered. The primary difficultly was that the planned number of topics was too ambitious and only a percentage of the topics were actually covered. This required the instructor to make significant mid-course corrections to the syllabus and resulted in reduced student acceptance.

The second time the course was offered the number of topics was reduced significantly. This resulted in a more focused curriculum. The remainder of the paper will discuss the details of topic and text selection, the structure of the course, and student acceptance and performance.

The paper is organized into four remaining sections. The first is background on The Citadel and its engineering programs. The second section describes the trials and tribulations of the first attempt at teaching this course. This is followed by the changes made to improve the course during the second attempt. Next, a discussion of the future plans for the course is provided. The last section of the paper is a summary.


The Citadel is a military teaching college in Charleston, S.C., with a day program student body numbering about 2000, and an evening program of graduate and professional studies with a student body of about 2000. The Citadel School of Engineering has two departments: civil and environmental engineering and electrical and computer engineering. The electrical and computer engineering department is composed of seven full-time faculty, teaching 36 courses to about 125 students from both the day and evening college program.

In 2003, the electrical and computer engineering department decided to offer a technical elective in nuclear engineering in response to a reduction in electives offered by other departments. This course which was in the catalog had not been taught in seven years because of the lack of

Barsanti, R. (2007, June), Teaching Nuclear Engineering To Electrical Engineering Students Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2998

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