Higher Education Research Experiences - Thesis/Dissertation Research

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)
Reference Code
How to Apply

Applicants must apply through www.Zintellect.com. All profile and application questions/requirements must be completed and submitted and references returned before application can be reviewed.

The profile and application will require:

  1. Contact information
  2. Education information (i.e. dates of attendance/graduation, GPAs, majors, etc.)
  3. Awards and honors
  4. Employment information and nature of work
  5. Information on special skills, research, areas of interest and /or expertise
  6. An updated resume
  7. Contact information for references, including email addresses
  8. Unofficial academic record showing name, school name, current/enrolled classes and GPA - official transcript is not required)
  9. Availability dates (if applicable)

For questions, contact HERE@orau.org.

Application Deadline
10/12/2018 4:00:00 PM Eastern Time Zone

Higher Education Research Experiences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (HERE at ORNL) provides research opportunities and associated activities for participants at all levels, beginning the term before college entrance through thesis/dissertation research, and higher education faculty. The program is designed to complement academic programs by utilizing the unique resources of Oak Ridge National Laboratory to enhance science, mathematics, engineering, and technology education; encourage careers in science and technology, and improve scientific literacy. At the same time, the program contributes to the Laboratory mission.

Application Deadline

This is a continuous posting.  Applications will be reviewed and selected as opportunities become available. Suggested dates to apply by for best chance of selection (application does not close, you may continue to apply):

  • Summer: February 1
  • Fall: June 1
  • Spring: October 1


  • Thesis research: flexible; suggested minimum of 1 year to maximum of 2 years
  • Dissertation research:  flexible; suggested minimum of 1 year to maximum of 3 years
  • Full-time and part-time appointments


  • Thesis research stipend: $625/week paid bi-weekly; pro-rated if part-time
  • Dissertation research stipend: $650/week paid bi-weekly; pro-rated if part-time
  • $150/week housing allowance for students whose permanent address is 50 miles or more from Oak Ridge; pro-rated if part-time
  • One round trip (limited to $500 total) for students whose permanent address is 50 miles or more from Oak Ridge

Before you get started on your application, you should:

  1. Review the research areas at ORNL to assist you in determining what area might fit your career path.  You can see the six discipline areas at www.ornl.gov and begin exploring each one.
    1. For example, if you choose Clean Energy you will learn more about the 3-D printed Shelby Cobra or see a few of the disciplines at ORNL that span this area of research.  If you dig deeper into the Related Publications/News/Research Highlights at the bottom of the page, you will be able to review articles, press releases, etc. that can help you identify key words, important terminology, papers, etc. that can be used as you answer application questions or update your resume.
    2. You can also type an area of interest or key word into the search box at the top right corner on www.ornl.gov and explore the links that are provided to identify key researchers at ORNL or to go to the webpages of the directorates or divisions.  For example, typing “Environmental Science” would lead to the link for the Environmental Sciences Division and the core areas in that division.
    3. And look under the Our People page at www.ornl.gov to find contacts for Divisions, Directorates, and User Facilities at ORNL.  These pages will provide further information which can assist you in identifying potential contacts in your areas of interest.

After you have completed your application, you may want to reach out via email (use the Find People or Our People links at www.ornl.gov to obtain the email address) to the researchers you identify and let them know about your interest for the summer and why you would be a good fit for that researcher’s projects and the division.  Showing initiative through this connection process and discussing your passion for science and research and how it relates to what is happening at ORNL is a great way for you to introduce yourself to potential mentors.  You should reference the ORNL research you have done as well as your background and interest in these emails and in appropriate application questions and essays.  For pool-based programs such as HERE, this personal connection is the key to “standing out” from the hundreds of applications received each cycle.

For more information, visit Science Education Programs at ORNL or contact HERE@orau.org.


An applicant must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPRs are subject to DOE clearance approval for laboratory entry) - verification required
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.5/4.0 - copy of academic record (official transcript will not be required) showing name, school name, enrollment, and GPA required
  • Be performing Master's or PhD thesis/dissertation research with coursework completed - verification required
  • Currently enrolled as advanced degree candidate in a U.S. accredited institution in a STEM field or related discipline - verification required
  • Have medical insurance during appointment - verification required
  • Submit two references - one academic preferred
Eligibility Requirements
  • Citizenship: LPR or U.S. Citizen
  • Degree: Currently pursuing a Master's Degree or Doctoral Degree.
  • Overall GPA: 2.50
  • Discipline(s):
    • Business (11 )
    • Communications and Graphics Design (6 )
    • Computer Sciences (17 )
    • Earth and Geosciences (23 )
    • Engineering (27 )
    • Environmental and Marine Sciences (13 )
    • Life Health and Medical Sciences (47 )
    • Mathematics and Statistics (11 )
    • Nanotechnology (1 )
    • Other (8 )
    • Other Physical Sciences (12 )
    • Physics (16 )
    • Social and Behavioral Sciences (36 )

I certify that I am a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident; will be at least 18 years old prior to the start of the appointment; have a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher; am currently enrolled as an advanced degree candidate at a U.S. accredited institution in a STEM field or related discipline, am performing Master’s or PhD thesis/dissertation research, and have completed all coursework.