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MPhil in Nuclear Energy

Course Description

The MPhil in Nuclear Energy, provided by the Department in collaboration with the Cambridge Nuclear Energy Centre, is a one year full-time nuclear technology and business masters for engineers, mathematicians and scientists who wish to make a difference to the problems of climate change and energy security by developing nuclear power generation. The combination of nuclear technology with nuclear policy and business makes the course highly relevant to the challenges of 21st century energy needs, whether in the UK or in countries across the globe.

The MPhil is part of the University of Cambridge's Strategic Energy Initiative in response to the prospect of a nuclear renaissance in the UK and around the world. The aim is to provide a masters-level degree course in Nuclear Energy which will combined nuclear science and technology topics with business, management and policy teaching. Students will be equipped with the skills and information essential to responsible leadership of the international global nuclear industry.

The course recognises that, though the prospects for nuclear energy are now better than they have been for twenty years, the nuclear sector is situated within in a wider market for energy technologies, and has no special right to be developed. The political, economic and social contexts for nuclear power are as important as the technical merits of the designs of reactors and systems. The course therefore has a multi-disciplinary emphasis, aiming to be true to the reality of policy-making and business decision-making.

This course is for students who have a good degree in Engineering or related science subject and who wish to gain the knowledge and skills to build a career in the nuclear and energy sectors. Secondary career paths might include nuclear proliferation prevention, radiological protection, nuclear governance, nuclear medicine and health physics. While the prime focus of the course is to equip students for roles in industry, there is a path towards research through preparation for a PhD programme. The modular open architecture of the course allows students to tailor the degree to suit their background, needs and preferences.

See the website http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/courses/directory/egegmpmne

Course detail

The course will equip its graduates with a wide range of skills and knowledge, enabling them to fully engage in the nuclear sector.

Graduates will have developed a knowledge and understanding of nuclear technology, policy, safety and allied business. They will have received a thorough technical grounding in nuclear power generation, beginning with fundamental concepts and extending to a range of specialist topics. They will also be equipped with an appreciation of the wider social, political and environmental contexts of electricity generation in the 21st century, with a firm grounding in considering issues such as climate change, energy policy and public acceptability.

The programme will cultivate intellectual skills allowing graduates to engage with the business, policy and technical issues that the development and deployment of nuclear energy poses. These include skills in the modelling, simulation and experimental evaluation of nuclear energy systems; critically evaluating and finding alternative solutions to technical problems; applying professional engineering judgment to balance technological, environmental, ethical, economic and public policy considerations; working within an organisation to manage change effectively and respond to changing demand; understanding business practice in the areas of technology management, transfer and exploitation.

The programme will also develop transferable skills enabling graduates to work and progress in teams within and across the nuclear sector, including the management of time and information, the preparation of formal reports in a variety of styles, the deployment of critical reasoning and independent thinking.

Finally, graduates will have research experience having planned, executed, and evaluated an original investigative piece of work through a major dissertation.


The MPhil in Nuclear Energy is based in the Department of Engineering and is run in partnership with Cambridge Judge Business School and the Departments of Materials Science and Metallurgy, and Earth Sciences.

The programme consists of six compuslory courses in nuclear technology and business management, and four elective courses chosen from a broad range of technical and management courses. These elective courses enable the student to tailor the content of the programme to his career needs; they range from wholly management-oriented courses to technical courses in preparation for an engineering role or further research through a PhD. A long research project is required, with topics chosen from a list offered by members of staffed and Industry Club members, and linked to the principal areas of energy research in their respective departments and companies.

Students are also expected to attend field visits, a Distinguished Lecture Series and weekly seminars, and are able to benefit from research skills training offered by the Department.


A large individual research project will be undertaken, which will be examined in two parts. The first part will include a report (of up to 4,000 words) and a five-minute oral presentation. The second part is assessed through the writing of a 15,000 word dissertation, including a fifteen minute oral presentation.

All students will be required to complete at least four items of coursework.

All students will take at least three written examinations, of 1.5 hours each.


Students wishing to apply for continuation to the PhD would normally be expected to attain an overall mark of 70%.

How to apply: http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/applying

Funding Opportunities

UK applicants are eligible to apply for scholarships of £7,000; these scholarships are funded by the MPhil's industrial partners.

To apply for a scholarship, eligible applicants must list the Nuclear Energy Scholarship in Section B(4) of the online GRADSAF form. People wishing to be considered for a scholarship must submit their application before the end of May 2016.

General Funding Opportunities http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/finance/funding

Visit the MPhil in Nuclear Energy page on the University of Cambridge website for more details!

Student Profiles

Nuclear Energy - 3 Awards

Despite the recent, unprecedented events at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, global nuclear investment appears likely to continue after a period of careful consideration of the lessons that need to be learned. In the UK, the Government has commissioned a review of existing nuclear.Some of the biggest companies and organisations in the nuclear industry are lending their support to the new MPhil in Nuclear Energy which will prepare the engineers and scientists of tomorrow to preclude and eliminate incidents such as those recently witnessed in Japan.These events show how the design of nuclear facilities must encompass very infrequent and extreme conditions. For over 20 years, such issues have been at the centre of the design of new reactors. The Fukushima accident also demonstrates the key importance of vigilant and knowledgeable staff to plan for and if necessary manage major incidents. The MPhil in Nuclear Energy focuses on ensuring that the reactor designs are extremely robust and that staff working in the nuclear industry have the best possible technical and management preparation for the challenges of their career.Industry recognises the importance of attracting the best students to the nuclear industry at the start of a major programme of UK investment. Therefore, it has been decided to offer a small number of competitive Scholarships. These will assist for the most able UK and EU students with the costs of taking the Nuclear Energy MPhil course.

Value of Scholarship(s)



Top home (UK & EU) students for the MPhil in Nuclear Energy

Application Procedure

Applicants for the MPhil in Nuclear Energy will be given details of how to apply with an offer for the course.

Further Information


Entry Requirements

Applicants for this course should have achieved a UK II.i Honours Degree. This course has been designed for top engineers and scientists with some experience post degree, not necessarily in the nuclear industry, or new graduates who want to equip themselves with the knowledge and the skills to build a career in nuclear energy. Applicants should have well-developed technical skills and a good degree in Engineering or a related science subject (such as Physics, Chemistry or Materials Science).

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