Administrative Unit: Engineering Physics
College/School: College of Engineering
Admitting Plans: M.S., Ph.D.
Degrees Offered: M.S. in Engineering Mechanics; M.S. in Nuclear Engineering and Engineering Physics; Ph.D. in Engineering Mechanics; Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering and Engineering Physics
Minors and Certificates: Doctoral Minor in Engineering Mechanics; Doctoral Minor in Nuclear Engineering

A broad program of instruction and research is offered in the principles of the interaction of radiation with matter and their applications, and in several areas of engineering physics. The program has strong engineering and applied science components. It emphasizes several areas of activity, including the research, design, development, and deployment of fission reactors; fusion engineering; plasma physics; radiation damage to materials; applied superconductivity and cryogenics; and large-scale computing in engineering science.

The master's degree may be pursued as a terminal degree in the fission area and in various engineering physics areas, but it is not generally recommended as a final degree in fusion research; students interested in fusion should plan to pursue the Ph.D. degree. About 40 percent of the current graduate students hold undergraduate degrees in nuclear engineering, about 40 percent in physics, and about 20 percent in other disciplines such as mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, mathematics, and materials science.

The department is considered to have one of the top five nuclear engineering programs in the nation over the last 40 years. It incorporates several research organizations including the Wisconsin Institute of Nuclear Systems, the Pegasus Toroidal Experiment Program, the Fusion Technology Institute, and the Center for Plasma Theory and Computation.

Research may be performed in areas including next generation fission reactor engineering; fluid and heat transfer modeling for transient analysis; reactor monitoring and diagnostics; fuel cycle analysis; magnetic and inertial confinement fusion reactor engineering, including the physics of burning plasmas, plasma-wall interactions, neutron transport, tritium breeding, radiation damage, and liquid-metal heat transfer; experimental and theoretical studies of plasmas including radio frequency heating, magnetic confinement, plasma instabilities, and plasma diagnostics; industrial plasma physics, such as plasma processing and plasma source ion implantation; superconducting magnets and cryogenics; and theoretical and experimental studies of the damage to materials in fission and fusion reactors.

The department places considerable emphasis on establishing research teams or group research, as well as traditional research activity by individual faculty members and their students. The groups frequently involve faculty, scientific staff, and graduate students from several departments, adding a strong interdisciplinary flavor to the research.

Students sometimes perform thesis work at national laboratories such as Argonne National Laboratory, Idaho National Laboratory, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, and Los Alamos National Laboratory.

The master of science and doctor of philosophy degrees in engineering mechanics are offered within a graduate program covering contemporary areas in both theoretical and applied mechanics. With the guidance of a major professor, a program can be designed to meet an individual student's needs and interests.

Faculty: Professors T. Allen, Blanchard (chair),  Bisognano, Bonazza, Crone, Drugan, Fonck, Hegna, Henderson, Kammer, Kulcinski, Lakes, Moses, Pfotenhauer, Plesha, Smith, Sovinec, Waleffe, Wilson; Associate Professors M. Allen, Witt; Assistant Professor Schmitz; Affiliate Professors Bednarz, Bier, Deluca, Graham, Ma, Mackie, Miller, Morgan, Nellis, Porter, Robertson, Szlufarska, Thomadsen, Trujillo, Vanderby