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Course content

The MPhil in Nuclear Energy, provided by the department in collaboration with the Cambridge Nuclear Energy Centre and co-sponsored by a Nuclear Energy Industry Club, is a one-year full-time nuclear technology and business master's 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.

This course is for students who have a good degree in engineering or a 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.

Learning Outcomes

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 gain 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 compulsory 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 students to tailor the content of the programme to their 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 staff 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 benefit from research skills training offered by the department.


Students can expect to receive reports at least termly from their supervisor, via an online system. They will receive comments on items of coursework within four weeks of submission, and will have access to a University supervisor for their dissertation. All students will also have personal access to the course director and the other staff delivering the course. Once the research project has begun, supervisors will provide fornightly feedback. Students will be marked on effort and progress in early March and late June.



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


Students will be required to take ten taught modules. Some of these will be examined purely through coursework, and others through a combination of coursework and written papers. All students will be required to complete at least four items of coursework.

Written examination

Students will be required to take ten taught modules. Some of these will be examined purely through written examination, and others through a combination of coursework and written papers. All students will take at least two written examinations of 1.5 hours each, and at least one further, shorter written examination.

Practical assessment

Some coursework may be connected to laboratory exercises.

Funding Opportunities

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

Eligible applicants must indicate their desire to apply for the Nuclear Energy Scholarship in the 'Additional Information to Support Application' section of the online graduate application form. People wishing to be considered for a scholarship must submit their application before the end of May.

General Funding Opportunities

Apply using the Applicant Portal

The Apply Now button will take you to the Applicant Portal, where you can create and submit your application and supporting documents, and request references.

An application is complete when:

  1. you have submitted your application and supporting documents via the Applicant Portal
  2. you have paid the £60 application fee
  3. your referees have provided their references.

Applications are considered on a rolling basis (as they are received), and it is possible that all places will be filled before the advertised deadline.

Further information on How To Apply

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