3 credits in EGMN
19 June – 2 July 2017
$1,000 + airfare + applicable VCU tuition. Find full details on the Budget Sheet!
Sama Bilbao y Leon
30 April 2017
The Global Education Office and the Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering, in conjunction with the Technical University of Dresden, are pleased to offer an innovative summer study-abroad program in Germany. This two-week practicum course in nuclear reactor physics for VCU undergraduate and graduate students in mechanical and nuclear engineering will make use of the unique capabilities of their AKR-2 training reactor
, which is Germany’s most modern research nuclear reactor. The program will also include language training and lessons on German culture, the history of the region and the history of the nuclear industry in Germany and in Europe. This program is made possible in part by support from the VCU Global Education Office.
VCU’s Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering Scholarships
The Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering will provide up to 2 scholarships to help defray the costs of students participating in this study abroad program. The Department will accept applications up to February 28, 2017. Please contact the Program Director for application requirements and process.
Course and credit options:
EGMN 591: Special Topics: Study Abroad in Nuclear Engineering in Dresden, Germany (3 credits)
The Education Abroad office will enroll students in the course upon receipt of the registration.
The primary objective of this course is to allow VCU mechanical and nuclear engineering students to develop hands-on skills in nuclear reactor physics by making use of the unique capabilities of the AKR-2 advanced experimental reactor. Students will also be able to conduct experiments that illustrate real world applications of nuclear research reactors, such as the production of radioisotopes for medical and industrial purposes or the utilization of neutron activation analysis techniques for the identification of unknown samples. Experiments may include:
- Reactor start-up procedures
- Control rod calibration
- Critical experiment
- Adjoint flux function
- Demonstration of neutron activation and decay of various radioisotopes
- Identification of radionuclides by means of high resolution gamma spectroscopy
- Determination of neutron flux distribution
Complementing the experimental work performed at the reactor, students will receive a condensed introduction to nuclear reactor dynamics that will help them better assimilate and understand the behavior of the AKR 2 reactor.
In order to maximize cultural immersion, the course will also include daily lessons on the basics of the German language and the German culture, the history of the region and the history of the nuclear industry in Germany and Europe. Tours of local historical monuments and attractions, as well as technical visits to nearby industrial facilities will be included.
All lectures and laboratory sessions (except German language classes) will be conducted in English by faculty and staff from the Technical University of Dresden with the support of VCU mechanical and nuclear engineering faculty.
The program is open to junior and senior VCU students enrolled in the BS in Mechanical Engineering program with a Nuclear Engineering major concentration, and to graduate students enrolled in VCU’s MS or PhD in Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering programs.
Prerequisites are EGMN-352 (Nuclear Reactor Theory) for undergraduate students and EGMN-610 (Topics in Nuclear Engineering) for graduate students.
The program is open to a maximum of 10 students. If more than 10 students register for the program, the Program Director will develop additional selection criteria based on students’ GPA, seniority, research involvement, etc.
Accommodations and meals
Students will live in shared double rooms in a TUD-affiliated student residence. Breakfast is provided each morning. For lunch and dinner, students have the option of eating at the university’s inexpensive student cafeterias.
Students will have 2 hours of German language instruction each morning. They will spend afternoons in the nuclear reactor lab. Cultural tours and technical visits will take place on some afternoons and on weekends.
Sama Bilbao y León
is an Associate Professor in Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering and the Director of VCU’s nuclear engineering program. Her research interests include experimental and computational thermal-hydraulics, two-phase flow and heat transfer for nuclear applications, the design of advanced nuclear power plant concepts, as well as energy and environmental policy, energy planning and nuclear infrastructure development in support of emerging nuclear countries and other developing countries. She is fluent in Spanish and English with a working knowledge of French and German. She spent 3 years in Austria working for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). One of her roles there was to organize international workshops and courses for international participants all over the world, including all content, logistics, management and budgetary aspects. She has also organized events in Austria, Italy, South Korea, China, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Russia, etc.
is a Professor in nuclear engineering at the Institute of Power Engineering at the Technical University of Dresden. He is also the Director of the AKR-2 Nuclear Training reactor. Dr. Lange research work focuses on reactor dynamics, non-linear analysis and stability behavior in boiling water reactors.
A valid passport is required to leave the US. If a student does not already have a passport, they are advised to begin the application process as soon as they are accepted into the program. The processing time for new passport applicants can be as long as 8 weeks. For students who already have passports, they will need to verify that the passport’s validity dates extend 6 months past their return date. For more information about passports and the application/renewal process, please consult the State Department's website
Payment of fees
In order to complete the application, students are required to submit a $250 registration fee and deposit. This $250 registration fee and deposit is refundable in two cases: if the program is cancelled, or if a student is rejected by the faculty member based on their qualifications to participate in the program. Reasons for rejection could include, but are not limited to, GPA, lack of a pre-requisite, unacceptable or inappropriate statement of interest, etc. and are at the discretion of the faculty program director. However, if a student pays the fee and is not given final acceptance to the program based on failing to complete application requirements, as determined by the Education Abroad office or faculty director, the $250 is non-refundable.
Students will receive two separate charges to their student accounts for this program: one charge will reflect the balance of the program fee (minus the $250 deposit and application fee) and the other charge is for VCU tuition costs (based on the number and type of credits being taken by the student). These bills will be charged through VCU Student Accounting and should appear by May 2017.
Please note: While these charges may post to the student’s account simultaneously or separately, it is the student’s responsibility to make sure the account balance is paid before the billing due date.
Withdrawal procedures and financial commitment policy
All withdrawals must be made formally in writing and submitted to the Director of Education Abroad. Otherwise, the program fee will not be refunded. After committing to the program, students deciding to withdraw will be held accountable for a portion of or the entire program fee based on the following schedule:
- Formal withdrawal submitted later than 30 days before the first day of the program abroad: 100% of the program fee will be charged
- Formal withdrawal submitted within 30-60 days before the first day of the program abroad: 75% of the program fee will be charged
- Formal withdrawal submitted within 60-90 days before the first day of the program abroad: 50% of the program fee will be charged
In the event an unexpected emergency occurs within 30 days before the first day of the program abroad, students must provide a physician’s certification that his/her condition prohibits participation. In this case, refunds will be limited to only those funds VCU is able to recover or that have not already been spent on behalf of the student.
See above for refund policy on $250 registration fee and deposit.
Students should schedule an appointment with their physician or at a travel clinic (such as VCU Student Health) at least 4 to 8 weeks before the program to inquire about recommended and/or required vaccines/immunizations. It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that all routine and travel immunizations are up-to-date.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on recommended and required immunizations for travelers. To view the health risks and requirements for the country to which you will be traveling, please visit the CDC's website
Health Alert: Zika Virus
The CDC has issued a travel alert for countries where the Zika virus is prevalent. Check the CDC’s travel notices
regularly as new countries are being added to this list. Check VCU Student Health
to stay updated as well.
VCU Student Health offers in-depth pre-travel consultation with a health care provider as well as most of the vaccines recommended for safe travel. Prescriptions for recommended medicines are also available. Please visit their website
for full details.
Every effort is made to provide updated and accurate information at the time of publication. The sponsors reserve the right to make necessary changes to the programs and costs. The university reserves the right to revise or alter all fees, regulations pertaining to student fees, and fee collection procedures at any time.