Several dynamics and trends are driving the need for a dedicated program to educate the next generation of nuclear security experts and expand engineering design principles applied to the design and implementation of nuclear security systems. There are also ongoing discussions on a more time-sensitive need to build sustainable pipelines for experts across the aspects of nuclear security engineering—including to meet both the anticipated demand from advanced and small modular reactor (A/SMR) markets and forecasted personnel needs across the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) complex. In response, the University of New Mexico (UNM) has partnered with Sandia National Laboratories (Sandia) over the last three years to conceptualize, develop, and operationalize the Nuclear Security Engineering Program. This program consists of three pillars. First, the education pillar consists of traditional academic courses designed to meet the rigors of a graduate engineering curriculum. Second, the professional development pillar provides comparable levels of knowledge transfers in mechanisms more flexible for working professionals. Third, the research pillar consists of a range of joint and collaborative projects between Sandia researchers and UNM faculty and staff. The program has shown steady evolution over this period—as demonstrated by an increasing number of courses offered, inclusion of Los Alamos National Laboratory, leveraging a hybrid environment to host out-of-state students, and initiating research projects with UNM faculty. And the program recently took a significant step forward with the successful submission of an application to establish the graduate certificate in nuclear security engineering (as of the writing of this abstract). After briefly summarizing the history and evolution of UNM’s NSP program, this paper will describe the structure and elements of the overall program. Next, this paper will discuss the accomplishments of the program to date and provide additional details on the graduate certificate in nuclear security engineering. Lastly, this paper will review conclusions and insights from developing this graduate certificate, as well as highlight implications for continuing to advance the state-of-the-art in nuclear security as an academic discipline.