The NWU has the largest and most established nuclear engineering programme in South Africa. We offer all options from the Postgraduate Diploma level, all the way through to a Doctor’s Degree (PhD) in nuclear engineering:
1.1 Postgraduate Diplomas
In the past, we had structured (Option-B) Masters degrees which contained all the theoretical nuclear engineering modules, combined with a research mini dissertation. However, we recently switched to pure research Masters degrees which consists of a full-length dissertation, without any theoretical modules. Therefore all the theory were moved to our Postgraduate Diplomas (PGDips):
1.1.1 Postgraduate Diploma in Nuclear Science and Technology:
This PGDip focuses on teaching the theory that prepares students for the Masters of Science (M.Sc.) in Engineering Sciences with Nuclear Engineering, which focuses on the optimisation of nuclear reactor design.
Click here to go to the section in the Yearbook that states the rules for this PGDip
1.1.2 Postgraduate Diploma in Nuclear Science and Technology with Nuclear Technology Management:
This PGDip focuses on teaching the theory that prepares students for the Masters of Science (M.Sc.) in Engineering Sciences with Nuclear Engineering and Nuclear Technology Management degree, which focuses on the optimisation of Nuclear Technology Management.
Click here to go to the section in the Yearbook that states the rule for this PGDip
Students should note that these two PGDips share six of their eight modules, so the differences between these PGDip’s are not large. However, the differences will become much larger when you go to the corresponding Masters degree where a focus on nuclear technology management will give you a very different training than a focus on nuclear reactor design. So, students should spend time beforehand to decide whether they want to go into nuclear reactor design or nuclear technology management.
If you want to discuss this issue, you are welcome to phone or WhatsApp our postgraduate programme leader, Prof. Dawid Serfontein (Cell: 082 787 2909), or to contact any of our other lecturers.
1.2 Masters degree in Nuclear Engineering
We recently switched to pure research Masters degrees which consists of a full-length dissertation, but with no theoretical modules. (All the theory have thus been moved to our postgraduate diplomas (PGDips), as described above):
1.2.1 Masters of Science (M.Sc.) in Engineering Sciences with Nuclear Engineering
This M.Sc focuses on the optimisation of nuclear reactor design. This degree thus focuses more on the so-called “hard-core” skills such as using mathematics, physics, and computer simulations to improve nuclear reactor designs
1.2.2 Masters of Science (M.Sc.) in Engineering Sciences with Nuclear Engineering and Nuclear Technology Management
This M.Sc. focuses on the optimisation of Nuclear Technology Management, which focuses more on the so-called soft-skills, especially management tasks such as analysing the profitability of different options, budgeting and nuclear project management.
While our two PGDips are quite similar in content, the differences become much larger when you go to the Masters degree where a focus on nuclear technology management will give you a very different training than a focus on nuclear reactor design. So, students should spend time before they choose which PGDip they want to enrol for to first decide whether they want to go into a career in nuclear reactor design or nuclear technology management.
1.3 Doctor's degree (PhD) in Nuclear Engineering
The PhD is a pure research degree which follows on one of the Nuclear Masters degrees. The aim is to make a unique new contribution to the field of Nuclear Engineering. Therefore it requires the student to be able to think originally and innovatively and to work very hard to turn this thinking into a proven research result and a logically written PhD thesis.
Click here to go to the section in the yearbook that states the rules for this PhD
One often sees that advertisements for nuclear engineering industry positions in the international market which state for example the following as minimum requirements:
- B.Eng. and a Masters in Nuclear Engineering, or a
- PhD in Nuclear Engineering
This suggests that engineers who want to enter the nuclear engineering industry might be sufficiently qualified if they have a Masters Degree in Nuclear Engineering.
However, scientists, who for example entered via an honours in physics and now want to enter the nuclear engineering industry might have to go all the way to a PhD in Nuclear Engineering to achieve this dream. So they should give very positive consideration to doing a PhD.
A PhD is not for the fainthearted! So if you want to do PhD: Congratulations you made a fantastic choice! However, please just remember to give 120% effort from day one in order to avoid disappointment down the road!
- Which lecturers will be available to assist me?
As was explained above, if you want to enter one of our Masters Degrees in Nuclear Engineering, you will first have to do the corresponding Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) in order to do your Nuclear Engineering theory modules. However, since the PGDips contains theoretical modules, as opposed to a research dissertation, you do not need a Study Leader for any of the PGDips and thus you do not need to search for one before you can start your studies.
However, as has been explained above, it is very important that you decide before you choose one of the two PGDips whether you want to go into a career in nuclear reactor design or nuclear technology management. In order to do this it should be very helpful for you to discuss this issue with one of our lectures. The standard point of contact is normally our postgraduate programme leader, Prof Dawid Serfontein, whom you can phone or WhatsApp on 082 787 2909 or email on Dawid.Serfontein@nwu.ac.za.
However, you are also free to discuss these issues with any of our lectures, see staff link below. Some of our lectures work at outside nuclear institutions, such as NECSA or overseas universities. They only come in to lecture one module and they might thus not be so well informed about the details regarding the different PGDip’s or the different Masters degrees. So, it might be better to contact one of our full-time NWU lectures: