Nuclear Engineering

Study mode:On campus Study type:Full-time Languages: English
Local:$ 1.39 k / Year(s) Foreign:$ 1.39 k / Year(s) Deadline: Jan 15, 2024
43 place StudyQA ranking:1490 Duration:2 years You need IELTS certificate

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Clean, affordable and reliably available energy is of paramount importance for the well-being of industrialized economies and the development of emerging countries. Nuclear power is one of the principal options for closing the growing energy gap in a mid-term perspective and, depending on the availability of new generations of nuclear facilities and technologies, also a potentially crucial resource in the long-term.

The program in Nuclear Engineering aims to :

  • provide in-depth knowledge on the fundamentals and technology of harnessing nuclear fission for energy supply
  • present the basic principles and challenges of controlled nuclear fusion
  • provide knowledge on nuclear techniques in medical research and industry
  • present a view on the complete nuclear energy conversion system and the entire fuel cycle from uranium mining to the back-end
  • offer the background necessary to integrate nuclear energy into

energy systems as a whole

Students will spend the first semester at EPFL, the second at ETH Zürich, and the third and fourth principally at the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI).

Holders of the Master of Science EPF-ETH degree in Nuclear Engineering will qualify for an interesting, multidisciplinary profession with excellent job opportunities in industry, research and national authorities. Tasks that are on the agenda represent scientific and technical challenges for motivated young engineers and researchers.

Core Courses

The Core Courses lay the foundation of the Master's program in providing students with core knowledge according to the program’s goals and the qualification profile. Core Courses are described in the course catalogue, with an indication as to whether they are compulsory. All examinations can be repeated only once. If a compulsory course is not passed during the examination repetition, the student will be de-registered from the program without a degree. All students select a set of elective courses complementing the compulsory core subjects of the program in consultation with their tutors. This curriculum should guarantee a solid, versatile educational foundation and take the student’s talents and expectations into account at the same time. The tutor also supervises the student during the entire Master's degree program, keeping track of his/her progress and providing guidance when necessary.

Semester 1

Number Unit Lecturer
151-2011-00L Neutronics (EPFL)   
151-2013-00L Reactor Experiments (EPFL)   
151-2015-00L Reactor Technology (EPFL)  H.-M. Prasser
151-2019-00L Advanced Fossil and Renewable Energy Sytems (EPFL)   
151-2021-00L Hydraulic Turbomachines (EPFL)   
151-2023-00L Nuclear Fusion and Plasma Physics (EPFL)   
151-2025-00L Introduction to Particle Accelerators (EPFL)   
151-2041-00L Medical Radiation Physics (EPFL)   
151-2043-00L Radiation Protection and Radiation Applications (EPFL)   

Semester 2

Number Unit Lecturer
151-0156-00L Safety of Nuclear Power Plants  H.-M. Prasser,
V. Dang,
L. Podofillini
151-0160-00L Nuclear Energy Systems  H.-M. Prasser,
I. Günther-Leopold,
S. Hirschberg,
W. Hummel,
P. K. Zuidema
151-2017-00L Nuclear Materials  M. A. Pouchon,
A. Pautz,
P.-P. Spätig

Semester 3

Number Unit Lecturer
151-0104-00L Uncertainty Quantification for Engineering & Life Sciences  P. Koumoutsakos
151-0150-00L Advanced Topics in Nuclear Reactor Materials  M. A. Pouchon,
P.-P. Spätig,
M. Streit
151-2037-00L Nuclear Computations Lab  A. Pautz,
H. Ferroukhi
151-2039-00L Beyond-Design-Basis Safety  H.-M. Prasser,
L. Fernandez Moguel,
B. Jäckel,
T. Lind,
D. Paladino
151-2045-00L Decommissioning of Nuclear Power Plants  A. Pautz,
M. K. J. Brandauer,
F. Leibundgut,
H.-M. Prasser


The courses in the category “Electives” can either serve to add depth to scientific and technical knowledge related to the chosen specialization or add breadth to the range of skills in other disciplines, such as economics, management or the humanities. The courses may be selected from among the complete master's level course catalogue of ETH Zurich and EPF Lausanne. At least 4 credit points must be obtained from courses from the section of humanities or, respectively, from entrepreneurship and technology management.

Semester Project

In the Semester Project, students gain their first experience of research and development in the nuclear engineering field, deploying the knowledge and competences acquired in the first two semesters. The project is generally realized within six full-time study weeks in the third semester at the Paul Scherrer Insitut (PSI), parallel to the PSI courses, and concluded with a written report and a presentation.

The supervisor of the Semester Project is always a professor from ETH Zurich or EPF Lausanne. With the approval of the tutor, the Semester Project can also be completed under the supervision of another ETH professor, with the same requirements.

The enrollment for the Semester Project is required in myStudies with the associated details (start date, submission deadline, title, supervisor). The registration is final when the supervisor and the tutor approve it.

At the end of the 2nd semester, NES organizes a day trip for the nuclear engineering master's students at PSI. Each one of the seven laboratories of the NES (i.e. LRS, LTH, AHL, LES, LEA, LNM, LRC) presents possible projects to the students on which they can work during their Semester Project; later on, they might continue their Master's Thesis on the same project (upon agreement). During this day-trip visit, the students also have the opportunity to visit the main experimental facilities located at PSI.

Number Unit Lecturer
151-1020-00L Semester Project Nuclear Engineering 

Industrial Internship

The aim of the Internship is to bring the student into contact with the professional work environment in the industry. During this period, the student will have the opportunity to be involved in ongoing projects at the host institute.

The Internship is compulsory, must be at least 12 weeks long and can be carried out during the third semester.

Students have to complete an Internship in units and institutions of the nuclear utilities in Switzerland, in ZWILAG or NAGRA, at the Swiss nuclear regulator ENSI or in one of the companies offering services to the nuclear industry. Students can also search for opportunities in the fields of radiation protection, monitoring and nuclear medicine. Alternatively, the Internship can be carried out in a foreign industrial company. Students may organize their Internship independently, or they can ask their tutors for advice and support. The tutors will help the students establish contact with the industrial enterprise. They are ready to discuss tasks, the work plan and results.

To acquire the 8 ECTS for the Internship, all students must submit a letter of confirmation from the company and the approval of the Internship from their tutor to Student Administration. It is necessary to include the Industrial Internship in the registration on myStudies in order to receive the credit points.

Master's Thesis

The Master of Science in Nuclear Engineering is concluded by the completion of a scientific thesis. The thesis is aimed at enhancing the students’ ability to work independently towards the solution of a theoretical and/or experimental research and development problem in nuclear engineering.

The Master's Thesis (30 ECTS) involves the full-time workload of a full semester (25 weeks), allocated in the fourth semester of the Master's program.

In general, the Master's Thesis is pursued in one of the research laboratories of the Nuclear Energy and Safety Department (NES) at PSI or the ETH Domain’s research institute, which is Switzerland’s main player in R&D related to nuclear (fission) energy. A senior NES scientist, under academic mentorship of the responsible professor, is identified for direct supervision of the Master's research.

Alternatively, Master's Theses can be accomplished in the Laboratory of Nuclear Energy Systems at ETH Zurich or in the Laboratory of Reactor Physics and Systems Behaviour at EPF Lausanne. The definition of the work plans for each Master’s Thesis, as well as the goals, is monitored by the supervising professor, who doesn’t have to be the tutor.

Before starting the Master's Thesis, all students must have obtained at least 80 of the 90 course work credits (including the 8 credits for the Semester Project). All students must register the Master’s Thesis on myStudies with all the details: start date, submission deadline and title, and also upload the project description. The thesis is only registered definitely after confirmation by the supervisor and the tutor.

  • Candidates should have a Bachelor’s degree from a reputable university and excellent academic results. The strong interdisciplinary character of the Master in Nuclear Engineering is reflected in the fact that the program is open to a wide range of Bachelor’s degree holders in exact sciences and engineering. Candidates are expected to have a solid background in mathematics, physics and a good engineering foundation.​
  • Your resumé (curriculum vitae)
  • Copy of your University degree(s) or Bachelor's degree. If you don't have your degree yet, you will bring it to the Registrar's Office upon registration at EPFL*.
  • Legalized transcripts from each university you have attended.
  • A statement of purpose. See hereunder for a more detailed explanation.
  • Three recommendations (except holders of any EPFL Bachelor's degree applying in another field than their original field and except for candidates from another Swiss university applying to a Master in the same field of study as their Bachelor).
    During the electronic application process, you will have to give the details of three referees, who will then be requested to produce recommendation letters for you directly to EPFL. See hereunder for a more detailed explanation.
  • Your identity card or passport.
  • For foreigners who already live in Switzerland: your residence permit.
  • Extra documents such as TOEFL or GRE scores, research publications or other portfolios of your previous work, are welcome but not compulsory. We will only consider documents uploaded in your online application form. (No documents sent by postal mail).
  • Application fee CHF 150.


  • Excellence Fellowships
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