Physics and Technology of Nuclear Reactors Masters\MSc

The environmental impact from the use of fossil fuels and the uncertainties in their sources of supply has led to many alternative energy sources being investigated. But of these, only nuclear fission power is at present sufficiently developed to provide an economically viable alternative to fossil fuels.

This programme began in 1956 with the build of the first nuclear reactor in Britain. Since then we have continually updated the areas of study and degree of specialisation to reflect the increasing sophistication of the field. At the same time we have maintained the overall breadth of the course, because we feel this allows new entrants to the field to gain a perspective that will be of continuous help in their future careers.

EU Referendum

Answering your questions and concerns about the outcome of the EU referendum.

The taught element from September to May consists of 180 credits. You will also undertake a 60-credit research project which may be undertaken within the industry.

In the autumn and spring semesters, you will study all of your taught modules. In the summer you will work on your own research project chosen from a wide range of topics in the field. This project may be conducted at the University, but more frequently in recent years we have arranged for projects to be undertaken within industry, giving students an opportunity for direct interaction and enhancing their employment prospects.

Studentships are sponsored by the nuclear industry in the UK, and these provide excellent and effective entry routes into careers in this stimulating field for physicists, mathematicians, metallurgists or engineers.

Related links

This programme is also available as a 2-year part-time course.

Why study this course

  • Studentships are sponsored by the UK nuclear industry, providing excellent and effective entry routes into careers in this stimulating field for physicists, mathematicians, metallurgists or engineers
  • Expand your horizons with visits to a variety of nuclear establishments throughout the academic year visits are made to a variety of nuclear establishments
  • Spend one day at a training reactor where the reactor operators are trained


This course consists of 180 credits. You will study all of the core modules below which
comprise 120 credits and undertake a 60-credit research project.

Nuclear Instrumentation, Radiation Dosimetry and Protection – 20 credits
– Covering Particle Detectors, Neutron Radiation Physics, Nuclear Electronics, Radiation Dosimetry, Radiological Protection and Radiation Shielding 

Radiation Transport, Thermal Hydraulics and Reactor Engineering – 20 credits
– Covering Radiation and Charged Particle Transport, Thermal Hydraulics and Reactor Engineering, Fusion, Statistics,
Reactor Physics and Reactor Kinetics 

Reactor Materials, Reactor Systems and NDE – 20 credits
– Covering Metallurgy, Reactor Systems and Safety Analysis, Nuclear Fuel Cycle, Non-Destructive Testing, Reactor Control  and Radio Chemistry.

General Paper – 20 credits
– Covering Environmental Implications of Nuclear Power, Reactor Materials, Financial Appraisal, Decommissioning and Industrial Lecture Series.

Practical Skills – 40 credits
– Covering Physics Laboratory, Physics Metallurgy Laboratory, Computing and Numerical Analysis, Reactor Safety Exercise, Seminars and Presentations.

Research Project – 60 credits
– Covering project work and thesis

Please note: The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods.

Related staff

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2018/19 are as follows:

  • UK/EU students: £9,000 full-time, £4500 part-time
  • International students: £20,610

Learn more about fees and funding.

Scholarships and studentships

We offer a range of postgraduate scholarships for taught programmes and research opportunities to ensure the very best talent is nurtured and supported at postgraduate level.

Additional scholarships can be found in the funding database.

Contact the department for further information.

Entry requirements

A 2:1 Honours degree in a relevant subject (eg, Physics, Engineering, Mathematics or any Physical Science subject). 2.2 degrees may be considered on a case-by-case basis depending on modules taken and interview performance etc. 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

International students requiring visas

Monday 2 July 2018 is the application deadline for international students who require a visa to study in the United Kingdom. We are not able to consider applications for 2018 made after this date; a new application should be made for September 2019. Applications will reopen for 2019 entry by 21 September 2018.

Before you make your application

You may wish to register your interest with us to receive regular news and updates on postgraduate life within this Department and the wider University.

Making your application

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

This programme covers a wide range of the skills required to work in the nuclear industry and is co-taught with world-leading academic staff from different Schools within the University.

Learning is via lectures and practical sessions, supported by field trips and industry seminars.

A variety of assessment methods are used, including laboratory exercises, written coursework, case study reports, oral presentations and standard examinations.

This programme is a response to the current skills shortage in this area and trains high quality graduates for the nuclear industry. This is a growing sector and the demand for graduates will increase resulting in an excellent potential  or rewarding careers. The research element of the programme also equips our graduates to go on to further study for a PhD.

University Careers Network

Preparation for your career should be one of the first things you think about as you start university. Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Birmingham degree, our Careers Network can help you achieve your goal.

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.

If you make the most of the wide range of services you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.