Skip to content

Nuclear Engineering Science Laboratory Synthesis (NESLS)

The Nuclear Engineering Science Laboratory Synthesis (NESLS) program at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) provides nuclear engineering research opportunities and associated activities for undergraduate and graduate students.


  • Maximize the abilities of students through cooperative research with mentors at a national laboratory
  • Increase research opportunities
  • Provide a learning environment useful to both national laboratories and students
  • Train the next generation of nuclear scientists


  • Applications are accepted on a semester basis
    • Deadline: February 28 for summer; varies for fall and spring
  • Flexible appointment duration; suggested minimum of 10 weeks in summer with poster session required
  • Full-time or part-time research or technical appointments may be offered


  • First Year (Freshman) - $529/week
  • Second Year (Sophomore) - $593/week
  • Third Year (Junior) - $653/week
  • Fourth Year (Senior) - $726/week
  • Master’s Student - $863/week
  • Ph.D. Student - $935/week
    • Class status is defined by the college/university and is based on completion prior to ORNL report date.
  • $150 housing allowance and limited travel reimbursement, if permanent address is at least 50 miles from Oak Ridge. Learn more about Housing for ORNL Research Participants.
  • Up to $500 each way for travel reimbursement to and from Oak Ridge, if permanent address is at least 50 miles from Oak Ridge.


  • Be a full- or part-time student enrolled at an accredited U.S. college or university in a nuclear engineering, science, or eligible related degree –OR– a community college student working towards an Associate of Science or Associate of Engineering degree. If graduating with a degree before or during the appointment period, must provide proof on continuing education in an accredited degree-seeking program.
  • Have a cumulative minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale - copy of academic record required
  • Be 18 years or older
  • No citizenship requirement
  • Have medical insurance during appointment - verification required
  • Have two references - one academic preferred


  • Complete program requirements, and avoid activities that could present a conflict
  • Participate in a required poster presentation and all associated activities (if attending in the summer)
  • Attend optional enrichment activities (with mentor approval), including professional development workshops, Laboratory tours, lectures, and seminars
  • Behave in a responsible and professional manner
  • Complete pre- and post-appointment surveys


NESLS Internship Term Spring Summer Fall
Deadline* January 6 February 28 September 15

*Applications are subject to change each year.

Next Steps

If you are ready, you can apply to the NESLS program now. 


Nuclear Engineering Science Laboratory Synthesis (NESLS)

More research programs for: