Education Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is intended to help new students find the answers to common questions. If the answer isn’t there, feel free to contact the UNENE Administrator by phone or email.

Disclaimer – this is an unofficial guide – as always, the University Graduate Calendar rules apply if there is an inconsistency.



Overview – Read Me First There is a lot of good material in this presentation – please read it first.

Generally the FAQ uses examples from McMaster as they are typical – as/if we get amendments from other universities, we’ll add them.

Academic Integrity In your professional life, you may be encouraged to collaborate, share ideas, and copy other people’s work. In a university setting, your individual performance is evaluated, and this may place significant constraints on the extent of using other people’s work.

In simple terms, you need to understand exactly the extent of collaboration, if any, your professor allows. He/she may ask you to work jointly on a project (or tell you not to); he may allow discussion of assignments but not copying; he may not permit any collaboration on assignments; he will almost certainly not allow any collaboration on a test or an exam. You need to make sure you fully understand the ground rules, and if they are not clear, ask him/her.

The university has expectations for your conduct, which are high for graduate students, who are considered to be in a position of trust. Details of these expectations can be found at

Please note that if you do end up on the wrong side of this policy, as confirmed by the university’s processes, you will likely fail the course in which the incident occurred, and may be removed from the UNENE programme.


  • If you enrolled at McMaster, you are required to have taken two courses in order to re-register after your first year:
    • SGS #101 / Academic Research Integrity and Ethics
    • SGS #201 / Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act
  • Most of the other UNENE universities have a similar requirement to take an Academic Integrity training session. If they do not, you are required to take the UNENE mini-course given by the UNENE Programme Director – see

Admission You’ll need an Honours degree in engineering, science or mathematics; typically a B (75%) average depending on the admitting university. We also consider any relevant work history and the likelihood of your success based on marks and experience. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee acceptance. The process takes at least a month after you have submitted a complete application. You’ll need transcripts, academic references, and a letter; apply on-line at
Application Students are generally admitted to the program in September and January, although this is not rigid, and you can apply and start courses at any time. Application deadlines are outlined on the on-line application system,

Contacts UNENE web site:

McMaster Grad. Studies –

UNENE Programme Director: Nik Popov –

Administrative: Areti Tsiliganos –

Areti Tsiliganos should be your first port of call for basic questions.

Core Courses To graduate from the UNENE M.Eng. programme, you need to have completed a total of 10 courses (or 8 courses plus an Engineering Project (q.v.)). Four of those courses are “core” courses and are compulsory. They are:

  • UN 0502 / Nuclear Plant Systems and Operations
  • UN 0802 / Nuclear Reactor Analysis
  • UN 0803 / Nuclear Reactor Safety Design
  • UN 0804 / Nuclear Reactor Heat Transport System Design

Typically each core course is given only every other year so you need to plan ahead.

To graduate from the UNENE Diploma programme, you need to have completed a total of 4 courses. At least two of those courses must be ‘core’ courses from the list above.

Cost $2250 per course + incidental fees – the latter vary from University to University. Your employer may pay, if you get agreement beforehand and if you pass the course. If your employer does not pay, you will need to do so – UNENE does not have scholarships nor does it subsidize tuition. You are responsible for payment of tuition to the university when you have registered for a course.
Credited Courses


Generally if you have completed an undergraduate course that is considered equivalent to a UNENE course (and obtained a degree), you will not be given credit for the course toward the UNENE program – i.e. no ‘double dipping’. Typically you will have the option of taking another course, doing a project equivalent to a course, taking the similar UNENE course, or in some unique circumstances doing the “delta” between an undergraduate and graduate course. Please contact the UNENE Programme Director if you want to discuss your particular case.
Distance Education While attendance in a real classroom is always a much better learning experience, all UNENE courses are given using distance education tools, so that remote students have an option to participate over the Internet, in real time, in the “live” class. The sessions are also recorded in case you miss a class or want to refresh your memory.  If you are remote, you may choose to use this option but you MUST attend at least one weekend class per course in person and you MUST attend the final exam in person. Distance education is NOT intended for students in the GTA – such students are expected to attend all classes in person.

We are currently using WebEx as our tool for Distance Education.

Technical details are in: Getting Started with Distance Education Technology

Dropping a Course You can drop a course any time before the second weekend of the course, but no later.
Email We communicate mostly by email as you are scattered in many locations – please ensure the UNENE Administrator has your correct email address and tell her if it changes.
English (not) Applicants whose native language is not English will normally be required to furnish evidence of their proficiency in the use of the English language and to supply this evidence as part of their application. The most common evidence is a score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), administered by the Educational Testing Service (Princeton, N.J., USA). In Engineering, a TOEFL (iBT) score of 80 (550 on the paper-based TOEFL test or 213 on the computer-based TOEFL test) is necessary; in other Faculties a minimum of 92 (580 or 237) is required. The Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB), conducted by the Testing and Certification Division of the English Language Institute, University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109 USA), is, however, the preferred test. A score of 85 is considered acceptable in the Faculties of Science and Engineering; 90 in the other Faculties.

Other evidence of proficiency in English will also be considered – for example if you have been working at a nuclear company in Canada for some time and your supervisor can supply an assessment.

Equipment Some courses require a laptop computer. You are expected to bring your own. In some courses you need to buy a textbook. Other  courses do not require you to buy textbooks and the professor will supply you with the text and/or overheads. Much of the material is already on the UNENE web site.
Evaluation Of you: this is up to your course professor but is typically a combination of tests, assignments, projects, and exam(s). Find out early in the course what his/her plan is.

Of your professor: toward the end of each course, we’ll ask for a student volunteer to hand out evaluation forms. The volunteer will ask you to fill them out in class; he/she (not your professor) will collect them, and mail them directly to UNENE. Your professor does not see the raw forms but the UNENE Administrator prepares a summary (no names or identifying material) which we send to your professor and to the Programme Director and post on the (restricted) area of the UNENE web. This feedback is valuable to us and to your professor. Please fill in the forms when asked.

Food Food is available for purchase at nearby locations. Some UNENE professors bring in treats.
Foreign Education? UNENE is aimed at students already working in the industry in Canada. If your academic background is outside Canada, you still apply the same way but the process may take longer if we have to check out the equivalence of the institutions you attended.  Proof of proficiency of the English language is required.
Graduation UNENE students participate in their university graduation ceremonies – check out your home university for details. The Programme Director will hood you if you so wish. UNENE also hosts a separate celebration dinner and gives out a certificate.

In more detail: When you finish 10 UNENE courses, you can attend the next Engineering Convocation ceremony. If you want some written acknowledgement before then, it will vary by university but McMaster is typical: once Graduate Studies approves the paperwork, you may request a transcript from the Registrar’s Office which will show you have completed the required courses of the program. You can also submit a ‘Request for Letter Confirming Clear to Graduate’.

Location Courses are normally given “live” on 4 alternate weekends in Whitby at the Durham College – Whitby Campus – Skills Training Centre.We routinely use Distance Education for every course to allow remote students to participate “live” without the travel, and the lectures are also recorded to allow everyone to review the material. However you must turn up in person for at least one weekend.
Missed Class? Please don’t – the courses are so concentrated that missing one weekend means you’ve missed a quarter of the course. If however you know you can’t attend a session due e.g. to shift work, business travel, etc., speak to your prof. beforehand – and review the lecture later using the Distance Education technology.
Passing You need a B- in each course to pass. If you fail a course, your case is reviewed first by the UNENE Programme Director who will recommend to the Department Head and thence Graduate Studies whether or not you will be allowed to continue in the M.Eng. programme. They will make a decision based on (but not always the same as) the recommendation. In most cases if your past performance has been good and the failure is seen as an aberration, you’ll be given one more chance – in that case, normally you would have to repeat the course; exceptionally, you might be allowed to take another one instead. If you fail a second course (or the same one twice) you would be removed from the programme.
Ph.D. The UNENE M.Eng, is course-based and is not designed to take you into the research stream – so if you want to take a Ph.D., you’d be far better off taking a research-based Masters. You might be able to carry on to a Ph.D. after a UNENE M.Eng. but you’d have to convince a professor (with evidence) that you have the required research skills.
Project For the UNENE M.Eng. (only) you can do an Engineering Project instead of two courses – see item below. Highlights:

  • Your project should be industry-based. It does not have to be physically done at a University, unless you plan it that way. It can be done at your employer’s laboratories if you have their permission.
  • You need an industrial supervisor and an academic one
  • The project must be over and above your regular day job
  • Your first product is a project proposal which details the budget, deliverables, scope, etc. It must be approved by your supervisors and the UNENE Programme Director
  • You can take two terms to complete the project work and reports
  • You should have completed 5 or more courses before officially doing the project.
  • Since the project counts as two courses, you need to register (and pay) twice. And you should spend at least the same amount of time as you would spend on two courses.
  • UNENE does not provide financial help for the “Project Course”, neither provides financial help to students for taking any graduate course.  Because the primary recipients of UNENE graduate education are students fully employed in the industry, it is expected that they will receive financial help from their organizations.  This is how UNENE education programs are funded.  If the topic of the Project Course is of high importance to the organization where a student works, then the best way for such student is to request financial help through that organization.

For more details, please contact the UNENE Programme Director or the UNENE Administrator. The projects have worked out well so far and we encourage you to do them.

Programme Requirements To graduate from the UNENE M.Eng., you must complete 10 half courses within a 5 year period (or 8 half-courses plus a Project). Four of those are compulsory core courses, as noted above. The Master’s Degree awarded will be an M.Eng. with a University Network of Excellence in Nuclear Engineering designation.

To graduate from the UNENE Diploma, you must complete 4 half-courses with a 3 year period, including at least two core courses.

Both  programmes are offered on a part-time basis only since the target clientele are working professionals. If for some reason – e.g. illness, foreign posting – you think you will miss the deadline, talk to the Programme Director or to the UNENE Administrator beforehand.

References – in your reports and assignments UNENE expects that students know how to reference material appropriately in assignments and projects. For a summary of acceptable standards of referencing, please follow the link at However note that most professors will accept references only from reputable books, journals and organizations; the reliability of blogs, Wikipedia, You-Tube, FaceBook etc, is too variable for a submission in a graduate course.
References – personal You’ll need to submit academic references as part of the admission process. Academic means university professors who can provide an objective evaluation of your work and capabilities to do graduate-level courses. If you are absolutely not able to get them, Grad. Studies may accept references from the manager for whom you work, if he/she is qualified to judge your academic ability (ideally holds a Ph.D). References from work colleagues who are not so qualified are generally not sufficient. Don’t even bother submitting personal references.
Refreshers UNENE students come from a wide variety of backgrounds and may or may not have taken the undergraduate courses that are expected in all the areas covered by the UNENE graduate courses. In particular we have noticed a large variability in students’ backgrounds in thermodynamics, math., chemistry and physics. We offer optional discipline refreshers in these key topics before the relevant formal course starts, for those of you who feel a bit rusty. Your UNENE course professor will assume you have that knowledge, so if you’re not sure, take the refresher – it does not impact your academic nor UNENE status. Refreshers are offered each year and are tied to the formal course schedule – check the schedule on the web site The refresher is at no cost to you, but you need to register with the UNENE Administrator six weeks in advance. The refresher is open to UNENE students and any employee of UNENE industrial members.
Registration For the UNENE M.Eng. programme you can register at any of the partner universities (McMaster, Waterloo, Western, Ontario Tech and Queen’s).

For the UNENE Diploma programme you can register at McMaster or Ontario Tech only.

Where you register affects only the name of the University on your degree/diploma. All the classes are common. You may not get official confirmation of your registration before your course starts. In that case, go to the course anyway and the paperwork will catch up.

Special Circumstances Sometimes things happen outside your control – e.g. you get sick, have to travel on business for an extended period, etc. If you can, talk to your professor (or us) beforehand, or at any rate as soon as you are able to. We can’t solve every problem but it’s a lot easier if we don’t have to deal with a fait accompli. Universities have official policies on their web sites dealing with such circumstances.
Time The lecture time for “live” courses is typically 40 hours per course in total, after business hours or on weekends. Your time should be double or triple that in addition.
Transfers In principle you can transfer either way between the Diploma and the M.Eng. So for example if you start the Diploma and part-way through decide you really want to do the M.Eng., you can apply to transfer, and get credit for any UNENE courses that you have completed. Similarly, if you enrolled in the M.Eng. and change your mind, you can transfer to the Diploma and keep credit for completed UNENE courses. There is one catch; if you have completed the UNENE. M.Eng. or the Diploma and have graduated, you cannot then transfer courses for credit to the other programme (that is called “double-dipping” – getting credit for the same course towards two programmes).

Each application for a transfer is evaluated individually – it is not automatic.

Credit for courses to the UNENE Diploma or M.Eng. from other programmes or other Universities are looked at on a case-by-case basis. Likewise they cannot already have been used to get a degree/diploma. In addition, any course for which credit is being requested has to be essentially identical to a UNENE course.

Tuition Fees You are responsible for payment of tuition when you register for a course. UNENE and the university where you register are not responsible for any outstanding balance on your Student Account.

Please check with your home university for guidelines and policies.