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Graduate Student Opportunities at ORNL

Enhance your expertise and collaborate with many of the nation’s leading science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) experts as you complete your research. Opportunities are available for current Master’s and Ph.D. students to participate as members of research teams at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

All programs on this page are limited to current graduate students from an institution of higher education in the United States, except where noted. You must be at least 18 years old by the first day of your appointment. Application deadlines vary by program. Click on the program name to learn more about each.

ProgramEligibilityDurationCommitment
Advanced Short-Term Research Opportunity (ASTRO)
  • Current Graduate Student
  • No citizenship requirement
  • Open to Foreign Institutions
Year-round - 1-6 months, with add’l 6 months possible Full-time or part-time
Higher Education Research Experiences - Graduate Students (HERE)
  • Current Graduate Student
  • U.S. Citizen/LPR
  • 2.5+ GPA
Year-round – 
8-weeks to 52-weeks
Full-time or part-time
Higher Education Research Experiences - Thesis/Dissertation (HERE)
  • Current Graduate Student
  • Courses Completed
  • U.S. Citizen/LPR
  • 2.5+ GPA
Year-round – 
1-year minimum 
Add’l 1-2 years possible
Full-time or part-time
Nuclear Engineering Science Laboratory Synthesis (NESLS)
  • Current Graduate Student
  • No Citizenship Requirement
  • 3.0+ GPA
Year-round - 
10-weeks to 52-weeks
Full-time or part-time
Volkswagen Distinguished Scholars (VW)
  • Current Graduate Student
  • U.S. Citizen/LPR
  • 3.5+ GPA
10-week, Summer Full-time
ORNL Intern Folami Alamudun

Folami A.

Computer Science, Ph.D. Student
Texas A&M University
Research Focus:

“I contributed to research that could decrease false negatives on mammogram cancer screenings. When radiologists view a mammogram, they look for a concentrated area of white on the breast, but sometimes this can be hard to see if the spot is just developing. Radiologists are looking at developing search patterns which can more quickly identify these problem spots before they turn into cancer. My research specifically tried to understand and model these patterns, with the goal of developing visual aids for computer diagnostic tools and training.”

Experience Gained:

“During the program I developed data analysis skills that will contribute to my long-run professional goals of conducting computational analytics research at a national lab.  In the future I hope to use computers to improve human efficiency, energy acquisition, utilization and conservation, and environmental sustainability.”

Thoughts on Program:

“My favorite part of the program was meeting with the people here. ORNL has somehow created a mix of very diverse and approachable people. This makes it a great place to perform research.”

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