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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.

Program Eligibility Duration Commitment
Advanced Short-Term Research Opportunity (ASTRO)
  • Current Graduate Student
  • No citizenship requirement
  • Open to Foreign Institutions
Year-round - 1-12 months, with add’l 12 months possible Full-time or part-time
Computational Science and Technology Advanced Research Studies (C-STARS)
  • Current Graduate Student
  • No citizenship requirement
  • 3.5+ GPA
  • Prior computational experience
Year-round – 1 year minimum
Add’l 4 years possible 
Full-time or part-time
Higher Education Research Experiences - Graduate Students (HERE)
  • Current Graduate Student
  • U.S. Citizen/LPR
  • 2.5+ GPA
Flexible terms Full-time or part-time
Higher Education Research Experiences - Thesis/Dissertation (HERE)
  • Current Graduate Student
  • Courses Completed
  • U.S. Citizen/LPR
  • 2.5+ GPA
Flexible terms; 1-year minimum to 3-year maximum suggested Full-time or part-time
IACMI Internship Program
  • Current Graduate Student, under that heading)
  • 3.2+ GPA
  • 18 years old at the time of appointment
  • United States citizen
10-week, summer Full-time
Nuclear Engineering Science Laboratory Synthesis (NESLS)
  • Current Graduate Student
  • No Citizenship Requirement
  • 3.0+ GPA
Flexible terms; 10-week minimum suggested in summer Full-time or part-time
ORNL Intern Michael Moore

Michael Moore

Nuclear Engineering, Ph.D. Student
University of Tennessee, Knoxville

“My research focuses on reconfiguring past nuclear yield estimations for 80 atmospheric nuclear weapon tests conducted by the U.S. between 1948 and 1962. I explored the use of a non-traditional alternative method that predicts yield based on initial gamma radiation data. This early yield estimation could be crucial in the rapid response analysis of a post nuclear detonation event. A dose based prediction has the potential to allow for an accurate yield estimate, without requiring specific knowledge of the detonated nuclear weapon.”


“I have an excellent impression of my experience with ORNL and ORISE, and I would recommend the NESLS program to anyone who is genuinely serious about furthering their education in nuclear engineering. It was truly my mentor, Dr. Jodoin, who made my involvement rewarding, enjoyable and all around a phenomenal experience.”


“I appreciate the flexibility and willingness of the NESLS program to assist the interns in achieving a meaningful practicum that is tailored to the individual’s interests and strengths, while working with students’ complex schedules. Setting aside all of the specialized in-house codes, professional development courses, and networking opportunities for a moment, the experience of performing world-class research at a leading national laboratory is irreplaceable.”

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