Nuclear Packaging Graduate Program

Available Credentials

The University of Nevada, Reno Mechanical Engineering (ME) Department’s Nuclear Packaging Graduate Program consists of the following two 9-unit graduate certificates:

  • Graduate Certificate in Nuclear Packaging (GCNP), and
  • Graduate Certificate in Transportation Security and Safeguards (GCTSS).

The requirements for these certificates are found by clicking on the links at the bottom of this page.

Compared to research-based graduate credentials, such as MS or Ph.D. degrees, graduate certificates are more applied-knowledge-based and require less time to complete. Both certificates require four units of essential/required coursework, which involve 4 weeks to complete. Each also requires students to select five units of electives based on their interests and needs. 

Course Locations, Schedule, and Registration

All the required courses and most of the electives for these programs were developed with support from the US Department of Energy (DOE) Packaging Certification Program (PCP). They are offered at these DOE National laboratories, over one or two-week periods. 

The DOE PCP publishes the schedule and course fees for these national laboratory classes at its Packaging University website. Students who enroll, pay the lab fee, and successfully complete a course will earn a certificate of completion from the lab offering the class. If students wish to earn University of Nevada, Reno graduate credit for a course, they must additionally enroll at University of Nevada, Reno (and pay a $60 fee), pay a University of Nevada, Reno course fee ($450/unit), and successfully pass the course. Currently there are 14 national laboratory courses available for graduate credit. 

Students who wish to earn one of the graduate certificates must also enroll in that certificate program, complete each required and elective course with a C grade or better, and complete the full 9-unit curriculum in 6 years or less with an average grade of B or better. 

The Nuclear Packaging Program Enrollment manual describes the full enrollment process. Students must complete the course enrollment process before the first day of class.  


Early career professionals and university students who are working in the nuclear packaging, transportation security and safeguards, or related fields as an employee or intern are eligible to earn 3-units of elective credits toward the graduate certificates by completing NP 640 - Nuclear Packaging Internships. This unique opportunity is as supervised independent use of engineering skills for professional project planning, performance, and communications, conducted under the guidance of a site supervisor and University of Nevada, Reno faculty member. 

Program Background and Goals

The DOE Packaging Certification Program (PCP) has supported national laboratories to offer courses on various engineering and management topics related to Nuclear Packaging and to Transportation Security and Safeguards since 1986. These courses have been taught by experienced subject matter experts, and taken by professionals from industry, government, and national laboratories, from within and outside the US.  In anticipation of increased demand for these skills but upcoming retirements, the DOE PCP supported the University of Nevada, Reno Mechanical Engineering Department to develop graduate curricula. These curricula are designed to provide a depth and breadth of knowledge and skills to train the next generation of well-prepared professionals. 

In 2016, the Nuclear Packaging Graduate Program began offering the two unique graduate certificates described earlier, for professionals and university students. They incorporated proven content of the existing courses, as well as new material. 

The goal of the program is to motivate new and experienced engineers and managers to obtain a depth and breadth of skills in the areas of Nuclear Packaging and Transportation Security and Safeguards. To do this, the program intends to:

  • Help professionals and university students qualify for employment and/or advancement in the industry by giving:
    • Practical nuclear packaging skills that support the engineering and management needs of the US Department of Energy, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, National Nuclear Security Administration, and nuclear industry.
    • Professional contacts with the experts who teach program courses, and the cohort of students taking them, and
    • University credentials from the University of Nevada, Reno, whose research and graduates in this area are well known to the nuclear industry.
  • Help nuclear industry and agencies
    • Identify, recruit, train, retain, and advance motivated employees, and
    • Gain credibility with clients by hiring well trained and well-connected employees.

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