The Nuclear Course Load

It is now around the Ides of September in 2015.  University application season is from around September to December of each year in order to enroll in the following year’s Fall semester.  Thus, I set my sights on the Ides of September 2016 to finish my self-propelled study phase.  Immediately following my final thesis paper I will begin writing applications and soliciting for letters of recommendation to transition to Step 2 of the plan in the Fall of 2017: attending a Nuclear Engineering Graduate Program!  My current internment employment contract will end sometime between January and June 2017 giving me a nice Fusion-warmed (via the Sun…we’ll talk more about this later) summer to enjoy before putting on my graduate-level thinking cap.

Without further ado I have 52 weeks to complete my undergraduate and graduate Nuclear Science and Engineering (NSE) self-study.  In terms of prior qualifications for MIT’s NSE degree I have only Calculus I and Physics I, and although I have more than enough Computer Science (I-III) to fulfill the CompSci requirement, I am really starting from scratch here when it comes to core NSE requirements.  NSE is essentially Physics and Math… which I do enjoy, but had sorely neglected in pursuit of my B of A.  For my B of S I am going to stick it to my formerly humanitarian self and ignore MIT’s undergraduate humanities requirements entirely…also seeing as I already did the obligatory freshman Underwater Chinese Basket Literature classes back at the University of Southern California a few years ago – I feel that I’m justified.

So, for undergraduate this leaves me with:

  • (3) Math Courses
  • (2) Non-Nuclear Physics Courses
  • (2) Engineering Courses
  • (4) Core Nuclear Physics Courses
  • (2) Upper Division Nuclear Physics Courses
  • (1) Nuclear Systems Design Project
  • (1) Undergraduate Thesis

And to roll right into a graduate degree I will add:

  • (1) Math Course
  • (3) Quantum Physics Courses
  • (2) Engineering Courses
  • (4) Upper Division Nuclear Physics Courses
  • (1) Graduate Thesis

I have 26 courses to complete in 52 weeks.  You’re out of your orbit you might say.  You’ve gone utterly ionic you might say.  You’re absolutely as unstable as U-235…okay, pushing it, I know.

All in good time.

…is my answer to how I will complete these.  And with this in mind: It is the understanding and the ability to apply concepts and equations on realistic problem sets that I seek from this whole sprint-marathon.  I will trade repetition for time, and I will move rapidly from one concept to the next once I am able to apply my understanding of the current concept to achieve the proper results for a variety of problem sets—that is—to pass the quizzes and tests.

Stay tuned for what a 5-year course load looks like crammed into 52 weeks.  Yowza!



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