Why study MSc Nuclear Science and Technology?

Nuclear waste managementA new concept in postgraduate teaching, the course is run jointly with the members of the Nuclear Technology Education Consortium (NTEC), and offers particular expertise in the important area of nuclear waste immobilisation, decommissioning and clean-up. 

The consortium represents more than 90% of the nuclear postgraduate teaching expertise residing in the UK's universities and research institutes. You'll be taught by world-leading academics from the University of Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, London and Sheffield, and will have access to a one-stop shop of postgraduate training in nuclear science & technology, unparalleled in the UK.

Course breakdown

  • Duration: 1 year full time
  • Study locations: Students register with the university of their choice (Liverpool, Manchester or Sheffield) and visit other members of the consortium to attend their selected modules. Some modules require overseas travel. Details can be found on the NTEC website.
  • Fees: It's important to find out how much the fees are for your course and get advice on funding your studies. We recommend using the University's fee lookup tool
  • Entry requirements: a good honours degree in materials, a physical science (chemistry or physics) or a related engineering subject. For equivalent qualifications in your country, click here.
  • English language requirements: overall IELTS grade of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component, or equivalent
  • Course accreditation: Course accredited by The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), The Energy Institute (EI), The Institute of Materials Minerals and Mining (IoM3) and The Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE).

Course structure

Student in the ISLRegistered at Sheffield and based in the Department’s nuclear research group, NucleUS Immobilisation Science Laboratory (ISL), students will complete 8 modules covering the spectrum of the nuclear fuel cycle, such as reactor materials and nuclear waste management, followed by a research project and dissertation.

The modules available are:

Decommissioning, Waste and Environmental Management

Examines and explains the process of decommissioning and considers how the related requirements should be taken into account in plant and equipment design. It establishes the requirements of the decontamination and clean-up process.

Nuclear Safety Case Development

This module describes the statutory framework that regulates the nuclear industry and the overriding requirement to demonstrate, through an adequate and appropriate safety case, that all hazards associated with operations are effectively managed and controlled.

Processing, Storage & Disposal of Nuclear Wastes

This module reviews the basic approaches of nuclear waste management and gives an introduction to the scientific fundamentals of nuclear waste processing and disposal.

Management of the Decommissioning Process

Introduces the importance of making a sound case for a particular project to proceed. It covers both the financial and economic evaluation of projects, drawing the distinction between pure financial parameters and the broader economic cost benefit analysis approach.

Reactor Physics, Criticality and Design After reviewing the history of the industry, different reactor designs are considered together with an overview of their basic features. Reactor physics are examined in some depth, including nuclear physics, reactor physics, criticality and radioactive decay.
Nuclear Fuel Cycle The purpose of this module is to describe the nuclear fuel cycle and examine in detail, the technical, economical, safety and environmental issues involved during each stage. The module covers the entire cycle from the extraction of ore to the disposal of waste.
Radiation and Radiological Protection Explains the properties of different types of radiation occurring as a result of nuclear processes and identifies means whereby levels of radiation and dosages can be detected and measured. The principles of radiation protection and shielding are outlined and demonstrated through practical experience with radioactive sources and detection equipment.
Nuclear Safety Case Development This module describes the statutory framework that regulates the nuclear industry and the overriding requirement to demonstrate, through an adequate and appropriate safety case, that all hazards associated with operations are effectively managed and controlled.
Criticality Safety Management This module provides a comprehensive introduction to nuclear criticality safety and the management of nuclear criticality safety in facilities, or situations, where fissile materials are encountered outside a nuclear reactor.
Particle Engineering in the Nuclear Industry The understanding of particulate systems is of great importance to the modern nuclear industry from fuel manufacture, reactor coolant flows, and waste management. This module introduces methods to characterize particle properties, size, shape, roughness and surface charge, and explains how those properties affect the physical response of bulk fluids and powders.
Policy, Regulation and Licensing The nuclear industry is one of the most heavily regulated industries in the UK. Regulatory issues necessarily impact upon the development of national policy in environmental and energy areas. This module covers the international and national legal frameworks for nuclear power and radioactive waste management including licensing issues covered by the Nuclear Installations Act, discharge authorisations under the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016 and planning for new build.
Reactor Materials and Lifetime Behaviour This module describes the science and engineering of reactor materials, and the factors that influence the lifetime of these materials, including corrosion, environmentally-assisted fracture, and irradiation embrittlement. Other topics covered in this module include fracture mechanics and structural integrity, non-destructive evaluation techniques, as well as plant monitoring and lifetime issues.
Radiation Shielding This module gives an introduction to radiation shielding merging practical problems with industry standard transport codes in order to give a good understanding of the requirements for radiation shielding.
Reactor Thermal Hydraulics Fundamental to the design and safety of a nuclear reactor is the ability to remove energy safely from the core. This module therefore aims to describe the thermal hydraulic processes involved in the transfer of power from the core to the secondary systems of nuclear power plants.
Experimental Reactor Physics The module is based at the TRIGA low power research reactor facility of the Vienna University of Technology/Atomic Institute in Vienna. Reactor neutronics and dynamics are demonstrated through experimental measurements of neutron fluxes, control rod calibrations, reactivity measurements and reactor power calibrations. An understanding and appreciation of the instrumentation and controls of a reactor are gained during experiments and hands-on operating experience at the reactor control panel. Safety aspects of reactor operation and fuel handling and inspection are emphasised.
Severe Accidents

Module summaries are available here.

The core of each module is one week’s direct teaching at the institution delivering the module, where you would be travelling to, and may include, in addition to lectures, group work, presentation of topics, interactive discussion groups. Details of the modules can be found on the NTEC website.

On completion, students will obtain a sound understanding of the nuclear fuel cycle, ranging from the study of reactor physics, through to waste disposal, and the societal impact and regulation of nuclear energy.

How you'll learn

Individual subjects are presented in 'short course' taught format, providing excellent access to the programme for engineers and managers in full-time employment who wish to advance their skill and knowledge base. The core of each module is one week's direct teaching at the institution delivering the module.

As a full time student, although you will only be in actual teaching for 8 weeks of the year, there will be much more work for you to do than this. Four weeks before each module, you will receive pre-course reading and possibly pre-course assignments to be completed before the start of the module. There are also post course assignments to complete for the modules and revision for the exams. At points of the year, you will be working on pre-course work, post course assignments and revision at the same time.

Students register with the university of their choice (Liverpool, Manchester or Sheffield) and visit other members of the consortium to attend their selected modules. Students must register at the University where they will be completing their research project.

Nine modules are available in distance learning format. Each module contains the same syllabus as its counterpart delivered by taught teaching programme, has the same learning outcomes and are delivered once per annum at a fixed time in order to facilitate the concept of a 'virtual classroom'. The modules are available online for students to study for a period of 4 months.

Click here for additional information.

Meet our students
Dan Rutland

There is support in the Department in a number of ways. The staff are brilliant, my Tutors helped me find work that is really interesting, and is always offering advice. There is also funding opportunities so you can study worry free.


Academic support

Dr Martin C StennettMeet Dr Martin Stennett, Course Director and Experimental Officer in Nuclear Materials

Our network of world leading academics, at the cutting edge of their research, inform our courses providing a stimulating, dynamic environment in which to study.

You'll receive support throughout your course, plus a dedicated Supervisor for your research project.

If you have any questions about the course, please contact Postgraduate Taught Courses Team.



Students who undertake this course, after completion, are highly valued in the industry (both in the UK and worldwide) and work across many roles, such as:

  • Reactor operations
  • Safety case development
  • Higher research degrees (PhD)

Take a look at where our alumni are now working. Meet our alumni

Once you've made your decision and are ready to apply, follow our step by step guide. Apply now

*The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers.In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption. For more detail on the specific syllabus, course structure and specific content of modules, please contact Andrew Keating, Administrator for Taught Masters Courses, a.keating@sheffield.ac.uk.