Prospective Students Q&A

Graduate Students

Where do I apply for admission?

Professor Hall is appointed in both the Department of Nuclear Engineering (UTNE) and the Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education (CIRE).  That means he can “take” students (i.e., serve as major professor) through either of these programs.  Both academic programs are very competitive, and have important differences in both their required curricula and processes.

Do I have to have an undergraduate degree in nuclear engineering?

Not at all.  If you are applying to the Department of Nuclear Engineering, we accept students with undergraduate degrees in the physical sciences and engineering.  Students who do not have undergrad degrees in nuclear engineering will have to take two senior level nuclear engineering classes to come up to speed.  These courses count for graduate credit, and so do not delay graduation.  Refer to the Nuclear Engineering Department information section in the Graduate Catalog for details.

The CIRE program accepts a broad selection of students from scientific and engineering fields.  Please see the CIRE website for more details on the CIRE application process, as it is slightly more complex than the traditional academic department route.

Do I have to be a US citizen to work in the Hall group?  Do you accept international graduate students?

US citizenship is not a requirement, and international students are welcome.  Importantly, however, many of our research sponsors require US citizenship for specific grants.  This can limit our ability to support non-US citizen students on assistantships.  Students with external support (e.g., external fellowships or support from their home countries) are not constrained in this way, and so we highly recommend developing these sources of support.

UT’s Center for International Education has a great deal of information for international students on their website.

Where have your graduate students gone to work after graduation?

Here are some of Professor Hall’s recent former graduate students and post-graduates, and their affiliations:

Battelle Memorial Institute: James White
National Nuclear Security Administration:  William Kauerz III and Dan Hanson
Olin Chlor-Alkali Products:  John Warren
Oak Ridge National Laboratory:  Jon Garrison, Tim Margrave, Denise Lee, Michael Shannon, Jeremy Townsend, and Janna Wells
Sandia National Laboratory:  John Howington
Savannah River National Laboratory:  Braden Brown
United States Air Force:  LT Ben Farr and CPT Lukis MacKie
United States Military Academy (West Point): MAJ Ed Peskie and CPT Josh Molgaard (both are faculty at USMA)
United States Special Operations Command:  LTC Sam Willmon
Y-12 National Security Complex:  Dr. Patrick Moehlen

Dr. Steven Kreek (LLNL), Dr. Bryan Bandong (LLNL), and COL Robert Pedersen (USAF) were postgraduate appointees with Dr. Hall during his tenure at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

I’m a full-time employee.  Can I pursue an advanced degree with you?

So long as you can continue to make progress on your classes and research, students who are also full-time employees can be quite successful in our program.  Professor Hall tries to develop research goals and thesis topics for students in this situation that takes advantage of their “day jobs” whenever possible.  We have several students from ORNL and Y-12 who are taking this route to an advanced degree.

Undergraduate Students

Do you have undergraduate research opportunities?

We engage undergraduate students in our research efforts where possible.  For the most part, these are students out of the engineering or science programs at UT, mostly from the UT Department of Nuclear Engineering.  Some of them have done very well, winning external recognition such as the American Chemical Society’s Coryell Award.

If you are applying to UT, you should be aware that the admissions criteria for the Engineering program are extremely competitive.