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HERE at ORNL - Thesis or Dissertation Research

Higher Education Research Experiences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (HERE at ORNL) provides research opportunities and associated activities for thesis or dissertation research. The program is designed to complement academic programs by utilizing the unique resources of ORNL to enhance science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education, encourage careers in science and technology, and improve scientific literacy, while at the same time contributing to the Laboratory mission.


  • Applications are accepted on a year-round basis; refer to suggested deadlines for appointment periods
  • Flexible appointment durations for Master’s thesis - suggested minimum of one year to maximum of two years
  • Flexible appointment durations for Ph.D. dissertation - suggested minimum of one year to maximum of three years
  • Full-time or part-time research or technical appointments may be offered


  • Master’s thesis research - $625/week stipend
  • Ph.D. dissertation research - $650/week stipend
  • $150 housing allowance and limited travel reimbursement, if permanent address is at least 50 miles from ORNL. Learn more about Housing for ORNL Research Participants.


  • Be currently enrolled as a graduate student at a U.S. accredited institution - verification required
  • Be performing thesis or dissertation research with all classwork completed - verification required
  • Have a cumulative minimum GPA of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale - copy of academic record required
  • Be 18 years or older by the start of appointment
  • Be a U.S. Citizen or Legal Permanent Resident at the time of application - verification required
  • Have medical insurance during appointment - verification required
  • Have two references - one academic preferred


  • Complete program requirements, and avoid activities that could present a conflict
  • Attend enrichment activities, including professional development workshops, Laboratory tours, lectures, seminars, and poster presentations. Please note that these activities are optional and dependent upon mentor approval
  • Behave in a responsible and professional manner
  • Complete pre- and post-appointment surveys
HERE Internship Term Spring Summer Fall
Suggested Deadline* October 1 February 1 June 1

*Applications are accepted and selections are made year-round. Follow the suggested deadline dates for greater chance of selection.

Next Steps

If you are ready, you can apply to HERE at ORNL – Thesis or Dissertation Research now.

Higher Education Research Experiences (HERE) at ORNL

ORNL Intern Abisola Kusimo

Abisola Kusimo

Mechanical Engineering, Graduate Student
Stanford University

“Additive manufacturing is currently under-utilized because of its large cost, and we are working to bring the cost down and also make it more competitive and complementary with traditional manufacturing techniques. My project involved designing and printing a 20-foot-long truss bridge on the Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM) machine to test its ability to produce structural components. It currently costs $1000 per pound to 3-D print a part, but BAAM technology has been able to shrink the cost to $10 per pound.”


“I did not know that it was possible to 3-D print with bio-derived materials. I also hadn’t realized that so little was known about the technology in general. This makes it a very exciting field to work in and allows for many new discoveries involving the potential of the technology.”


“Constantly being on the brink of something so cutting edge and groundbreaking is exciting! I had no idea that this kind of work was happening every day in national laboratories, but it has certainly expanded my thinking for the job possibilities with a doctoral degree.”

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