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Postgraduate Study

Course closed:

Nuclear Energy is no longer accepting new applications.


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

Students must take modules with a total value of ten credits. Five modules are compulsory and are:

NE1: Reactor physics (1 credit)

NE2: Reactor engineering (2 credits)

NE5: Nuclear safety (0.5 credits)

NE6: Nuclear policy (1 credit)

NE7: Nuclear practice (0.5 credits)

A further four nuclear energy modules are available, of which students must choose at least one:

NE3: Nuclear materials (1 credit)

NE4: Fuel cycle, waste and decommissioning (1 credit)

NE8: Computational reactor modelling (1 credit)

NE9: Advanced fission and fusion systems (1 credit)

To make up the remaining required credits, students may choose from a wide variety of modules from the Department of Engineering, the Department of Physics, the Judge Business School, and others. 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 are able to benefit from research skills training offered by the Department.

One to one supervision

Approximately 20 hours per year (for the purpose of discussing the research project).

The University of Cambridge publishes an annual Code of Practice which sets out the University’s expectations regarding supervision.

Seminars & classes

8 hours per year.


160 hours per year.


18 in day visits, plus approximately 12 hours as part of some electives per year.

Small group teaching

20 hours per year.

Literature Reviews

There are no formal literature review exercises, but students are expected to spend approximately two hours reading for every hour spent in class. The work for the dissertation would normally include a literature review.

Posters and Presentations

As part of the dissertation project, students will be required to make two assessed oral presentations: a ten-minute presentation on the "project motivation and plan" (at the close of the dissertation-planning phase), and a fifteen-minute talk at a dissertation conference taking place approximately a month before submission.


Students can expect to receive reports at least termly from the course director, via an online system. Students will also be able to submit an online self-evaluation report in the first term. 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 fortnightly feedback. Students will be marked on effort and progress at two key points (early March and late June).


Thesis / Dissertation

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 fifteen-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 (and may be required to complete more depending on the range of modules available in the upcoming year).

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 may be required to take more depending on the range of modules available in the upcoming year.

Practical assessment

Some coursework may be connected to laboratory exercises.


The assessment of some elective modules may include an oral or poster display component.

Key Information

11 months full-time

Study Mode : Taught

Master of Philosophy

Department of Engineering

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Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Applications open
Sept. 4, 2023
Application deadline
May 16, 2024
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2024

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Course Funding Deadline
Dec. 5, 2023
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 11, 2023

These deadlines apply to applications for courses starting in Michaelmas 2024, Lent 2025 and Easter 2025.

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