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Nuclear Science, Technology, and Policy
7054 Haycock Road
Falls Church, VA 22043
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The Nuclear Science, Technology, and Policy Graduate Certificate integrates policy and management with nuclear science and technology to prepare students from diverse educational backgrounds for careers managing and leading nuclear policy organizations across a spectrum of activity in safety, security, safeguards, and non-proliferation. The Certificate courses offer fundamental knowledge of concepts in nuclear science and technology that are relevant to policy issues, and also provide an introduction to topics in safety, security, and nonproliferation, which occupy the bulk of government concerns with nuclear issues. Finally, the Certificate will allow students to interact with policymakers in the field through briefings, simulations, and exercises at the Certificate’s Northern Virginia locations and institutions, agencies, and other partners in Washington, DC. Available Spring 2019.
How to Apply:
Fill out the online application for participation in the certificate program.
Upon processing of the application, you will be contacted
with information about the submission of additional
required materials. Thank you for your interest.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the Graduate School and completing a Graduate Certificate Application are required for all students. For both degree-seeking and non-degree-seeking students, the Graduate School requires completion of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a GPA of 3.0 or better for admission to Certificate Status. Applicants with an undergraduate GPA < 3.0 may qualify for Commonwealth Campus admission. Students pursuing a degree and a certificate simultaneously are classified within their degree program. Certificate credits may be used to meet degree requirements if they are appropriate for inclusion on the degree Plan of Study. The faculty administering the Certificate will assist students with determining course selection.

Course Requirements

The total number of credit hours required is 12. The Certificate requires completing two dedicated (“core”) courses: the anchor course, STS/SPIA/NSEG 5284, and a capstone course (offered as GRAD 5134 Interdisciplinary Research – this course will only count toward the Certificate when it is offered as the Nuclear Science and Technology Policy Certificate Capstone). In addition, each student selects one technical course, and one social sciences course (“electives”). Since some electives are offered under “advanced topics” course numbers, these courses can only count toward the certificate if they are offered on specific topics. We have provided a tentative list below (related); this list is not meant to be comprehensive. The certificate faculty will consider other related courses, existing and new ones, to count as electives toward the certificate. In all instances, the selection of elective courses needs to be approved by a student’s advisor.

The core courses will be co-taught by faculty members from engineering/science and policy/STS. The two core courses explicitly target both technical and non-technical students.

The anchor course is designed to provide a broad overview of both technical and non-technical matters related to nuclear science, technology, and policy, and to introduce fundamental terms, categories, and processes, often in a hands-on manner.

The capstone course will include two main activities: 1) critical analysis of technical challenges and policy dilemmas in the nuclear fields; 2) engagement with specific case studies and current issues. For both activities, we will invite experts from various government and nonprofit organizations in the Washington DC Metro area to give seminars and to participate in the formation and evaluation of case studies. The students in the capstone will engage in a semester-long problem-based learning project that they will develop with their peers and instructors throughout the semester. They will apply the conceptual tools, theories, and methods learned in the other certificate courses, and present a final report to a relevant agency or decision-maker.

List of courses

  Core Courses

STS/NSEG/SPIA 5284 (anchor course), Nuclear Nonproliferation, Safeguards, and Security. Technical essentials, policy analysis, theoretical perspectives of nuclear energy and nuclear nonproliferation. Fundamentals of the nuclear fuel cycle, management of international safeguards, threat of nuclear terrorism, and challenges for global nuclear industry. Pre: Graduate standing (3H, 3C).

 GRAD 5134 Interdisciplinary Research. Taught as the Capstone in Nuclear Science, Technology, and Policy. Seminar-style series of lectures, discussions, and active-learning exercises, with one semester-long problem-based learning assignment (depending on student numbers in two or more teams). This allows students to apply the tools acquired in the anchor course in interdisciplinary teams, with real-world relevance. The results of the project(s) will be presented to one or more stakeholders outside the university. Outside speakers will be recruited from industry, government agencies, national labs, community organizations, etc. Pre: Graduate standing (3H, 3C)


Electives, Technical Courses

NSEG 5114, Nuclear Engineering Fundamentals. A foundations course in nuclear engineering to prepare graduate students for all subsequent graduate work in the field of nuclear engineering.  Topics include neutron physics, reactor theory and kinetics, basic reactor design and operation, and overall power plant operation. Pre: Graduate standing (3H, 3C)

 NSEG 5124, Nuclear Reactor Analysis. Nuclear reactions and fission process. The fission chain reaction. Neutron diffusion and moderation. Introduction to reactor theory. One-speed diffusion model of a nuclear reactor. Neutron slowing and multigroup diffusion theory. Nuclear reactor kinetics. Introduction to reactor core physics design. Reactor physics analysis. Pre: 5114 (3H, 3C)

 NSEG 5134, Applied Monte Carlo Methods for Particle Transport. This is a general course on the Monte Carlo Methods which uses fundamental particle transport concepts to demonstrate various methodologies and examine associated issues. The topics covered include: random processes; random number generation techniques and testing; fundamental formulation of Monte Carlo (FFMC); various sampling procedures; fundamentals of probability and statistics as needed for MC simulations; non-analog or variance reduction techniques; various tallying procedures; representation of physical models based on combinatorial geometry; solving integral formulations via MC; importance sampling and the use of importance function; use of MC for eigenvalue problems; MC methods in parallel and vector environments; and use of MC for simulation of various real-life problems. Pre: Graduate standing (3H, 3C)

 NSEG 5204, Nuclear Fuel Cycle. Uranium nuclear fuel cycle: mining, conversion, enrichment, fuel manufacturing, in-core fuel management and refueling, spent fuel storage, reprocessing/recycling and final disposition as waste in a geologic repository. Introduction to nuclear safeguards and nonproliferation as applied to each step of fuel cycle. Pre: Graduate standing (3H, 3C)

 NSEG 5214, Nuclear Power Plant Systems and Operations. Nuclear reactor startup and shutdown, reactivity control, casualty procedures, refueling, initial startup of new plants, standards and codes, ethics and integrity. Pre: 5114 (3H, 3C)

 MSE 5384G, Advanced Nuclear Materials. Introduction to materials for nuclear applications with emphasis on fission reactors. Fundamental radiation effects on materials; material properties relevant to structural, moderator, reflector, blanket, coolant, control shielding and safety systems; processes such as nuclear fuel cycles, fuel enrichment and reprocessing, and related structural systems. Pre: Graduate standing (3H, 3C)

 NSEG 5424, Reactor Thermal Hydraulics. Fundamental processes of heat generation and transport in nuclear reactors. Heat generation by fission and radiation interactions; spatial distribution of heat generation; heat transport by conduction and convection. Effects of boiling and critical heat flux. Fundamentals of reactor thermal and hydraulic design. Pre: 5114 (3H, 3C)

 NSEG 5604, Radiation Detection and Shielding. Radioactive decay, interaction of charged particles and photons with matter, methods of radiation detection and radiation dosimetry, counting statistics, external radiation protection using time, distance and shielding. Pre: Graduate standing (3H, 3C)

 NSEG 6124, Advanced Nuclear Reactor Analysis. Neutron transport theory: derivation and solution techniques of the neutron transport equation. Analytical solution methods; discrete ordinates method; spherical harmonics method. Integral form of the transport equation. Monte Carlo method. Introduction to neutron transport computer codes and their application in reactor core and shielding design. Pre: 5124 (3H, 3C)

 NSEG 6334, Nuclear Reactor Safety Analysis. Hazards of nuclear reactors; analysis of hypothetical design basis accidents; engineered safeguards and safety design principles; nuclear criticality safety; reactor containment; reactor safety codes; and probabilistic risk assessment. Pre: 5114 (3H, 3C)


Electives, Social Sciences and Policy Courses

PAPA 5254, Homeland Security and the Terrorist Threat. A multidisciplinary introduction to the theory, strategy, decision-making, and doctrine of Homeland Security as practiced in the U.S. Describes the threat, nature of current global conflicts in which the U.S. is engaged, America’s foreign and domestic policy responses to 9/11, and strategic and operational homeland security functions. Designed to promote subject matter understanding, simplification of issues, and consensus decision-making. Pre: Graduate standing (3H, 3C)

 PAPA 5354, Homeland Security Response and Recovery. Multi-disciplinary policy course focused on emergency response and recovery following catastrophic manmade and natural disasters in the U.S. Emphasis on strategic and operational decision making; response models and strategies; the preparation, response and recovery roles and responsibilities of federal, state, and local jurisdictions; and federal policy alternatives to address the complex resource challenges of multi-jurisdictional response planning and operations execution. Designed to promote subject matter understanding, simplification of issues, and consensus decision-making. Pre: Graduate standing (3H, 3C)

 GIA 5514 (PSCI 5514), Global Security. This course examines the changing nature of global security. It offers an introduction to the meaning of global security at a time of rapid change in international affairs. It examines the traditional sources of insecurity in the international system, the rising concerns and threats to global security from ethnic conflicts and failing states, and the emerging new security agenda arising from challenges to global stability including threats arising from poverty, discrimination, environmental degradation and the lack of human rights. This course seeks to understand the root causes of insecurity and the various challenges to international stability in the contemporary international system. Discussions include the policy implications of these security challenges, the mechanisms developed by the international community, and the response of states and other actors in the international system to meet these challenges today. Pre: GIA 5444 or PSCI 5444 or UAP 5264 (3H, 3C)

 GIA 5664, Energy and Environmental Security (new course, under review). Assesses how energy and natural resources affect human conflict, security, and risk. Considers theories of scarcity and human ecology pertaining to causes of wars. Examines case studies of different natural resources to identify drivers of risk, resilience, and sustainability. Pre: Graduate standing (3H, 3C).

 STS/SPIA 6554 Energy Policy: Historical and Contemporary Issues. Social-scientific perspectives in energy policy. National and international topics and controversies such as fossil fuel resources, climate change, energy security, and the debate over nuclear power. Comparison of international perspectives. Challenges involved with management and regulation of large technological systems, the politics of expertise at the intersection of global climate change and energy security, and the changing character of our global energy infrastructure. Pre: Graduate standing (3H, 3C).

 STS/SPIA 6564, Risk in Contemporary Culture. Examines the phenomenon of risk from a variety of qualitative perspectives. Considers what constitutes a risk, and who decides what risks to take. Critically addresses notions of safety, reliability, and probability underlying risk assessment and risk management. Focuses on the role of expertise, trust, and communication in risk regulation. Discusses which democratic policy instruments facilitate stable, consensual decisions in contemporary societies. Pre: Graduate standing (3H, 3C).

 PSCI 5464 (ASPT 5464), Critical Security Studies. Provides an overview of the critical study of security in world politics. Introduces alternative conceptualizations of security to the military-focused, state-centric security/strategic studies. Considers constructivist, post-structuralist and critical theoretic attempts to conceptualize the nature of security. Compares and contrasts these approaches with widely-accepted understandings of security in light of key debates in contemporary security studies. Pre: PSCI 5444 or GIA 5444 (3H, 3C)

 PSCI 5474 (GIA 5474), Global Governance. Examination of the norms, institutions and practices developed by the international community to address systemic global governance problems: genocide, failed states, transnational corruption, displaced persons, AIDS, poverty. Role of United States in World community examined. Power of international organizations versus states. Capacity problems of both. Future of United Nations and global governance considered. Pre: Graduate Standing. (3H, 3C)

 PSCI 5514 (GIA 5514) Global Security. Security examined as an essentially contested concept. Traditional national security and emergent global security discourses and agendas explained. Security institutions and organizations analyzed. Questions of power, identity and representation examined as factors delimiting security conceptions, practices and agendas. Pre: Graduate Standing. GIA 5444 or UAP 5264 or PSCI 5444 (3H, 3C)

 PSCI 5524, U.S. Foreign Policy After September 11. Course offers a historical and analytical evaluation of U.S. foreign policy after this epochal change especially with regard to the war on terror, geopolitics in the Middle East, and relations with new global powers after the end of the Cold War. Pre: PSCI 5484 (3H, 3C)


Related Courses (course can count toward the Certificate only when taught on the specific topic listed after the colon)

PAPA 6254, Advanced Topics in Public Policy: Critical Infrastructure Protection and Resiliency. An introduction to the policy, strategy and practical application of critical infrastructure protection and resiliency from an all-hazards perspective. Describes the strategic context presented by the 21st century risk environment, as well as the challenges and opportunities associated with infrastructure -related public-private partnerships, information-sharing, risk analysis and prioritization, risk mitigation, performance metrics, and incident management. Students will be exposed to complex intergovernmental and public-private sector policymaking, operational planning and crisis management. Designed to promote subject matter understanding, critical analysis of issues and insight into senior leader decision making. Includes a practical examination of stakeholder interaction and key subject matter areas through an interactive tabletop exercise and research paper assignment. Pre: Graduate standing (3H, 3C).

 PAPA 6264, Advanced Topics in Policy Systems Management: Homeland Security and Prevention. Consideration of the critical integration of national security and homeland security policies and operational activities at the federal, state, and local levels to create management systems that function effectively in complex environments. This course examines the relationship between national security policies that manifest themselves in the international arena and homeland security policies that focus on U.S. domestic issues. Includes advanced study of information sharing, critical infrastructure, law enforcement, transportation systems, borders, and response and recovery operations. Also investigates the possibilities and limits for prevention and mitigation activities at all levels of government. Pre: Graduate standing (3H, 3C).

 PAPA/STS 6664, Advanced Topics in Science and Technology Policy: Complexity, Emerging Policy, Doctrine and Strategy. Variable topics in science and technology policy. Includes advanced study of science, technology, and economy; science, technology, and power; strategies for research and development policy, public and private sector; transfer of technology; technological forecasting; government regulation and responses; science policy assumptions and challenges, specialist knowledge and expertise; state and academic knowledge production; issues of race, class, gender, and national identity in policy work. Pre: Graduate standing (3H, 3C).