Nuclear Decommissioning and Waste Management MSc/PG Diploma

This masters degree course is for students with science-based backgrounds, such as undergraduate degrees in Geosciences, Chemistry, Physics and Engineering, who are interested in a career in the Nuclear industry.

The course covers a wide range of the skills required to work in the nuclear industry and is co-taught with the academic staff from the Schools of Physics and Chemistry.

Download the Nuclear Decommissioning and Waste Management course brochure (PDF 147KB)

This degree course will provide students with the relevant skills, knowledge and understanding in nuclear sciences (nuclear physics and radiochemistry), geosciences (including geochemistry, geophysics and hydrogeology) and materials science, to prepare graduates for a career in nuclear decommissioning, waste management and remediation.

Why study this course

Nuclear Power StationThe University of Birmingham has a long and established track record of research and education in the nuclear sector, including reactor technology, metallurgy and materials, decommissioning and waste management, dating back to the earliest days of the nuclear industry. The University runs one of the longest-standing Masters level courses in the nuclear sector (over 50 years), in the Physics and Technology of Nuclear Reactors (PTNR). The University has extensive links to the nuclear industry and regulators both within the UK and internationally, including National Nuclear Labs, Japan Atomic Energy Agency, Idaho National Labs, NAGRA, British Energy, AMEC, Serco, HSE (NII), Atkins, Babcock Marine, Westinghouse, UKAEA, EDF, E.ON and RWE NPower.


1. Nuclear Radiation and Dosimetry (10 credits) - Semester 1

  • Nuclear Radiation and Decay 
  • Radiation Detection 
  • Radiation Dosimetry 
  • Radiation Protection

2. Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Radiation Shielding (10 credits) - Semester 1

  • Reactor Systems 
  • Nuclear Fuel Cycle 
  • Radiation Shielding 
  • Introduction to radiochemistry 

3. Processing, storage and disposal of nuclear wastes (20 credits) - Semester 1

  • Waste forms and classification 
  • Waste Processing and Treatment 
  • Encapsulation 
  • Waste Management and Storage 
  • Geological Storage 

4. Site Decommissioning and Environmental Management (20 credits)-Semester 2

  • Environmental Impact of Nuclear Power 
  • Site Monitoring and Assessment 
  • Decommissioning 
  • Environmental Remediation 
  • Environmental Modelling

5. Policy, Regulation and Management (20 credits) - Semester 2

  • Policy, Public Perception and Accountability 
  • Nuclear Regulation for Waste Management 
  • Programme Management and Contracts 
  • Project Appraisal and Financing 

6. Practical & Applied studies A ( 20 credits) - Semester 1

  • Radiation Detection and Measurement Lab 
  • Materials & Analysis Lab 
  • Computing & Numerical Analysis

7. Practical & Applied studies B ( 20 credits) - Semester 2

  • Materials & Analysis Lab 
  • Computing & Numerical Analysis 
  • Case Study Exercise

8. Project Work and Thesis (60 credits)

View full module descriptions (PDF 115KB)

Related staff

Fees and funding

Tuition fees for 2017/18 are as follows:

  • UK/EU students: £8,910 full-time, £4455 part-time
  • International students: £19,890

Learn more about fees and funding.

Scholarships and studentships

Some students on this programme receive BBSRC or EPSRC funding. 
International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government.

For further information contact the School directly or email

Entry requirements

A 2:1 Honours degree in a relevant subject (eg, Physics, Engineering, Mathematics, Geoscience or any Physical
Science subject). Lower entry requirements may be acceptable if you demonstrate appropriate knowledge and skills.

Learn more about entry requirements.

International students
We accept a range of qualifications from different countries – learn more about international entry requirements. Standard English language requirements apply.

How to apply

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

Apply now

120 credits are assessed through taught modules and 60 credits are awarded following the successful completion of the independent project which is assessed through a written report. A variety of assessment methods are used, including laboratory exercises, written coursework, case study reports, oral presentations and standard examinations.

Assessment methods

Module Assessment
1. Nuclear Radiation & Dosimetry 100 % Exam
2. Nuclear Fuel Cycle & Radiation Shielding 100 % Exam
3. Processing, Storage & Disposal of Nuclear Wastes 100 % Exam
4. Site Decommissioning & Environmental Management 100 % Exam
5. Policy, Regulation & Management 100% Coursework
6. Field, Laboratory & Computing Studies A 100% coursework:
Radiation Detection Lab report
Materials & Analysis lab report
Modelling report
7. Field, Laboratory & Computing Studies B 100% coursework:
Materials & Analysis lab report
Modelling report
Case study report
8. Research Project Project report

Related research

There is currently a significant shortage of skilled graduates in the field of nuclear decommissioning and waste management, both within the UK and globally. This degree course is a response to the skills shortage, and seeks to train high quality graduates for the Nuclear Industry. The sector will grow, and the demand for high quality graduates increase with the decommissioning of the current fleet of reactors.

The research skills acquired will also provide a strong foundation for those wishing to undertake further postgraduate study towards the award of a PhD.

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Our unique careers guidance service is tailored to your academic subject area, offering a specialised team (in each of the five academic colleges) who can give you expert advice. Our team source exclusive work experience opportunities to help you stand out amongst the competition, with mentoring, global internships and placements available to you. Once you have a career in your sights, one-to-one support with CVs and job applications will help give you the edge.

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