Doctoral theses in the field of nuclear engineering which were completed within graduate studies of nuclear engineering (Jožef Stefan Institute – JSI and University of Ljubljana), at the JSI Reactor Engineering Division, are reviewed from the point of view of “basic” vs. “applied-oriented”. The particular topics studied include reactor thermal hydraulics, ageing and integrity of safety-related components, and severe accidents. The analysis shows a preponderance of basic theses over applied-oriented ones. The comparative merits of both kinds of theses for nuclear engineers intending to continue their careers in the nuclear industry are discussed. The survey of later positions of the considered holders of doctoral degrees in nuclear engineering shows that work on a basic thesis may still be an adequate basis for future careers in the nuclear or other industries.

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