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Cthames21 August 7, 2013 11:50

From MS in Nuclear Eng. going to CFD Job in another field

Let me begin by saying this might seem like a useless post, but I just wanted to hear the opinion of a real CFD person.

I have about one year left before completing my MS in Nuclear Engineering. Over the course of this past year I have come to thoroughly enjoy applying CFD to a wide variety of problems (not only problems relating to Nuclear applications). This began with my research, which dealt with CFD analysis for single-phase conditions within pressurized water reactor fuel assembly. Even though I was using a commercial code to perform the analysis, I was extremely curious as to how CFD is implemented on a software development level. I had to venture into the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering course offerings at my Univeristy, and after three classes relating to CFD, I am hooked. These classes not only displayed the methods for solving incompressible and compressible fluid flow problems, but also the governing equations and physics relating to these types of flow. I think I may be one of the few students in my department to know what the Rankine-Hugoniot conditions are. After the final class, which heavily iterated the DG method for solving fluid flow problems, the professor asked me if I would be interested in pursuing a phd in Mechanical Engineering with an emphasis in CFD. While I would love to do this, I have run into some financial issues that the normal graduate stipend cannot alleviate. Instead, I would prefer to find a job that would have me applying CFD to some set of fluid flow problems.

So to kind of finish this: Would it be possible for a Nuclear Engineering student (with a strong background in fluid flow and heat transfer) to obtain a CFD oriented job in a non-nuclear field?

I appreciate any feedback that can be given.



Aeronautics El. K. August 13, 2013 02:28

Since you enjoy both Nuclear physics (otherwise you wouldn't do a MSc in Nuclear Eng.) and CFD, then I think that your best option is to find a job where you'll be applying CFD on nuclear applications.
In non-nuclear applications I think they usually ask for Mech. or Aero. Eng.

cfdnewbie August 14, 2013 06:27

don't worry at all. You are an engineer by training, so you are familiar with the mathematical basics and the engineering way of methodical thinking. Nothing more and a lot of hard work is required.
Good luck, and enjoy the ride!

Cthames21 August 18, 2013 13:07

Thank you so much for your responses. I appreciate this feedback more than you can imagine. As it stands, pursuing the phd in Mechanical Engineering with an emphasis in CFD is what I really want to do. I also recently learned that some CFD research opportunities exist in the MechEng department here that require a student with Reactor Design/Analysis experience.

Thanks again,


cfdnewbie August 22, 2013 16:40

Dear Cameron,
good luck with your future plans. May I ask what school you plan on attending? You can also send me a PM, if you like, I might be able to give you some hints.

Whatever you decide to do, keep in mind that the broader your perspective, the better your chances of being hired are. A PhD in CFD will give you a strong mathematical and engineering background in mathematics, numerical approximation theory and computer science, so you will become an attractive employee to a great number of industries - after all, simulation is everywhere, right :)

Good luck in the future,
and by the way: DG is the choice of the future ;)

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