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; 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.

Fall Deadline December 15
Spring Deadline October 1
Summer Deadline December 15
GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) Required.*
English Proficiency Test Every applicant whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English must provide an English proficiency test score and meet the Graduate School minimum requirements (
Other Test(s) (e.g., GMAT, MCAT) n/a
Letters of Recommendation Required 3

The Graduate School sets minimum requirements for admissions. Academic program admission requirements are often more rigorous than those set by the Graduate School. Please check the program website for details and admissions deadlines.

Graduate School Resources

Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and restrictions related to funding.

Program Resources

Admission and funding are separate decisions. Not all admitted students are offered support. International applicants must secure a research assistantship, teaching assistantship, fellowship, or independent funding before admission is final. A portion of the top domestic applicants is invited to visit Madison in March. The funding for RAs comes from faculty research grants. Each professor decides on his or her own RA offers. Funded students are expected to maintain full time enrollment.  See the program website for additional information.

Minimum Graduate School Requirements

Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.

Major Requirements


Face to Face Evening/Weekend Online Hybrid Accelerated
Yes No No No No

Mode of Instruction Definitions


Minimum Credit Requirement 30 credits of technical coursework approved by the student's faculty advisor
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 16 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement 15 of the required 30 credits must be in graduate-level coursework from nuclear engineering, math, physics, chemistry, computer science, or any other engineering department except E P D; courses with the Graduate Level Coursework attribute are identified and searchable in the university's Course Guide (
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.00 GPA required.
Other Grade Requirements Courses in which grades of BC, C, or below are received cannot be counted toward the degree except as follows: 1) Credits of C will be allowed provided they are balanced by twice as many credits of A or by four times as many credits of AB, 2) Credits of BC will be allowed provided they are balanced by twice as many credits of AB or by an equal number of credits of A.
Assessments and Examinations Students who do not complete a thesis must pass an oral exam that is administered by a three-member committee. Passing the PhD qualifying exam satisfies the MS oral exam requirement unless the student is submitting an MS thesis. Students who complete a thesis must defend it orally in front of a three-member committee, and at least two must be members of the UW-Madison Graduate Faculty.
Language Requirements No language requirements.

Required COURSES

The following courses, or courses with similar material content, must be taken prior to or during the course of study: N E 427 Nuclear Instrumentation Laboratory; N E 428 Nuclear Reactor Laboratory or N E 526 Laboratory Course in Plasmas; N E 408 Ionizing Radiation or N E/​MED PHYS  569 Health Physics and Biological Effects.

Thesis track1: maximum of 12 credits for thesis; at least 8 credits of N E courses 400 level or above; remaining credits (also 400 level or above) must be in appropriate technical areas2; at least 9 credits must be 500 level and above; up to 3 credits can be seminar credits.

Non-Thesis track1: at least 15 credits of N E courses at the 400 level or above; remaining 15 credits (also 400 level or above) must be in appropriate technical areas2; at least 12 credits must be at the 500 level or above; up to 3 credits can be seminar credits.

For both the thesis and non-thesis options, only one course (maximum of 3 credits) of independent study (N E 699 Advanced Independent Study, N E 999 Advanced Independent Study) is allowed.

Graduate School Policies

The Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures provide essential information regarding general university policies. Program authority to set degree policies beyond the minimum required by the Graduate School lies with the degree program faculty. Policies set by the academic degree program can be found below.

Major-Specific Policies

Prior Coursework

Graduate Work from Other Institutions

With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 6 credits of graduate coursework from other institutions toward the minimum graduate degree credit requirement and the minimum graduate coursework (50%) requirement. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

UW–Madison Undergraduate

With faculty approval, students who have received their undergraduate degree from UW–Madison may apply up to 7 credits numbered 400 or above toward the minimum graduate degree credit requirement. This work would not be allowed to count toward the 50% graduate coursework minimum unless taken at the 700 level or above. No credits can be counted toward the minimum graduate residence credit requirement. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

With faculty approval, students who have received an ABET-accredited undergraduate degree (not including UW–Madison) may be eligible to apply up to 7 credits of their undergraduate coursework toward the Minimum Graduate Degree Credit Requirement. No credits can be counted toward the Minimum Graduate Residence Credit Requirement, nor the Minimum Graduate Coursework (50%) Requirement. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master's degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

UW–Madison University Special

With program approval, students are allowed to count up to 15 credits of coursework numbered 400 or above taken as a UW–Madison Special student toward the minimum graduate residence credit requirement and the minimum graduate degree credit requirement. UW–Madison coursework taken as a University Special student would not be allowed to count toward the 50% graduate coursework minimum unless taken at the 700 level or above. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s is not allowed to satisfy requirements.


A semester GPA below 3.0 will result in the student being placed on academic probation. If a semester GPA of 3.0 is not attained during the subsequent semester of full time enrollment (or 12 credits of enrollment if enrolled part-time) the student may be dismissed from the program or allowed to continue for one additional semester based on advisor appeal to the Graduate School.


Each student is required to meet with his or her advisor prior to registration every semester.


15 credits

Time Constraints

Candidates must pass an oral examination on completed coursework or on the thesis if the thesis option is chosen. Students have two attempts to pass this examination with at least one month elapsing between attempts. Candidates who have passed the PhD qualifying examination will be excused from the oral master’s examination.

Grievances and Appeals

These resources may be helpful in addressing your concerns:

NEEP Grievance Procedures

Students who feel that they have been treated unfairly have the right to a prompt hearing of their grievance.  Such complaints may involve course grades, classroom treatment, advising, various forms of harassment, or other issues. Any student or potential student may use these procedures.

  • The student should speak first with the person toward whom the grievance is directed. In most cases, grievances can be resolved at this level.

  • Should a satisfactory resolution not be achieved, the student should contact the program’s Grievance Advisor to discuss the grievance. The Graduate Student Coordinator can provide students with the name of this faculty member, who facilitates problem resolution through informal channels. The Grievance Advisor is responsible for facilitating any complaints or issues of students. The Grievance Advisor first attempts to help students informally address the grievance prior to any formal complaint. Students are also encouraged to talk with their faculty advisors regarding concerns or difficulties if necessary. University resources for sexual harassment concerns can be found on the UW Office of Compliance website.

  • If the issue is not resolved to the student’s satisfaction, the student can submit the grievance to the Grievance Advisor in writing, within 60 calendar days of the alleged unfair treatment.

  • On receipt of a written complaint, a faculty committee will be convened by the Grievance Advisor to manage the grievance.  The program faculty committee will obtain a written response from the person toward whom the complaint is directed. The response will be shared with the person filing the grievance.

  • The faculty committee will determine a decision regarding the grievance. The Grievance Advisor will report on the action taken by the committee in writing to both the student and the party toward whom the complaint was directed within 15 working days from the date the complaint was received.

  • At this point, if either party (the student or the person toward whom the grievance is directed) is unsatisfied with the decision of the faculty committee, the party may file a written appeal. Either party has 10 working days to file a written appeal to the College of Engineering.

The Assistant Dean for Graduate Affairs ( provides overall leadership for graduate education in the College of Engineering (CoE) and is a point of contact for graduate students who have concerns about education, mentoring, research, or other difficulties.

The Graduate School has procedures for students wishing to appeal a grievance decision made at the college level. These policies are described in the Academic Policies and Procedures at



Graduate School Resources

Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career. 

  1. Demonstrate a strong understanding of mathematical, scientific, and engineering principles in the field.
  2. Demonstrate an ability to formulate, analyze, and independently solve advanced engineering problems.
  3. Apply the relevant scientific and technological advancements, techniques, and engineering tools to address these problems.
  4. Recognize and apply principles of ethical and professional conduct.



Blanchard, Bonazza, Bronkhorst, Crone, Hegna, Henderson, Lakes, Schmitz, Smith, Sovinec, Sridharan, Waleffe, Wilson (chair)


Allen, Witt


Choy, Couet, Geiger, Franck, Notbohm, Thevamaran, Zhang


Anderson, Bednarz, Bier, Engle, Graham, Kolkowitz, Ludois, Ma, Miller, Morgan, Nellis, Pfotenhauer, Porter, Prabhakar, Robertson, Szlufarska, Thoma, Thomadsen, Trujillo, Vanderby


Abdel-Khalik, T. Allen, Bisognano, Callen, Carbon, Conrad, Cook, Corradini, DeLuca, Drugan, Emmert, Fonck, Hershkowitz, Kammer, Kulcinski, Mackie, Malkus, Moses, Plesha, Sandor, Schlack