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Graduate Opportunities

ORNL offers graduate students and recent graduates several distinct opportunities to stay engaged with research. Students at ORNL are able to participate in short-term research appointments, internships, and get involved with the ORNL-UTK graduate program. Whether you are seeking a short break after a master's degree or looking for a cutting-edge graduate program to solve energy problems, ORNL has something for you.


"GO!" program

The overarching GO! program offers a unique chance to earn a degree from a leading research university, while conducting research at the nation’s largest multi-program science and technology laboratory. From designing revolutionary materials for energy generation, storage, and use to helping to secure cyberspace, you will have the opportunity to conduct basic or applied research that:

  • Strengthens the nation’s leadership in key areas of science.
  • Increases the availability of clean, abundant energy.
  • Restores and protects the environment
  • Contributes to national security.

GO! students initially follow course work at their home university though,  in some cases they may take specialized courses from other participating universities. The program is designed to be flexible in the time spent doing thesis research at the home university and ORNL, and offers a unique graduate experience including:

  • Interdisciplinary courses matched to research goals.
  • Mentoring by world-class faculty and research scientists
  • Access to some of the world’s most advanced scientific and engineering facilities.
  • An international environment that offers opportunities to network with other graduate students and postdoctoral fellows from diverse backgrounds.
  • An entrepreneurial culture that stimulates technology transfer.

Doctoral research programs have been established at:

Boston University, Colorado School of Mines, Duke, Florida State University,  Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), Michigan State University, Michigan Technological University, Middle TN State University, North Carolina State University, Ohio State University, Oregon State University, Purdue, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), Rice University, Tennessee Technical University, Texas A&M University, UC-Davis, University of Florida, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Memphis, University of Missouri,  University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Tennessee –Chattanooga, University of Tennessee-Knoxville,  University of Virginia, University of Wisconsin Madison, University of Nevada-Las Vegas, Vanderbilt University, Virginia Tech and Washington State University. Applications for this program must be made to the partner university.

For more information please contact Moody E. Altamimi at

The Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Graduate Education

In 2010 the Tennessee General Assembly granted ORNL and the University of Tennessee approval to initiate an interdisciplinary doctoral program focused on Energy Sciences. The Bredesen Center honors Governor Phil Bredesen, who served Tennessee from 2003 to 2011, in recognition of his leadership in education and economic development for the state.  Since its inception numerous students from across the nation have joined the program to advance science, technology, engineering, and mathematics research related to energy. The Bredesen Center is a special program that leverages the capabilities of the Department of Energy's largest lab for open science.  Both undergraduate and master's students are encouraged to apply. For more information please visit or contact The Bredesen Center Assistant Director, Mike Simpson, at

Georgia Tech Fellowship Program at Oak Ridge National Laboratory

This distinguished Georgia Tech/ORNL fellowship program aims at providing the brightest students with the research credentials and experience that will lead to a highly successful and productive career. Whether you choose to pursue a career at ORNL or elsewhere, conducting your thesis research as a Georgia Tech/ORNL Ph.D. Research Fellow is the best way to begin. Fellowship awardees will spend the first two years of graduate studies completing required courses and Ph.D. candidacy requirements within their chosen School of study at Georgia Tech. Typically you will start your research by getting acquainted with the fundamental research concepts and the research project while at Georgia Tech and then transition to a mainly ORNL based research fellowship with mentorship provided by both Georgia Tech faculty and ORNL subject-specific experts. Tuition and stipend funds are provided throughout the course of study, including time spent on thesis research at ORNL.

For more information contact Ian Anderson at, or send an email to

Post-Master's Program

This program allows recent master’s graduates the opportunity to participate in cutting-edge research with ORNL principal investigators. Generally there is no citizenship requirement; however, each position has specific qualifications. Position-specific applications are accepted year-round. Positions are primarily for one-year appointments and may be renewed. A  master’s degree is required, and these positions are primarily for those within five years from their degree award. Apply Now!

GEM Fellowship

ORNL is a proud employee partner of the National GEM Consortium, a non-profit group established to help underrepresented minorities in STEM attend graduate programs. ORNL GEM Fellows spend at least one summer conducting research at our Lab as a part of the fellowship program. To learn more information about GEM or to apply please visit or contact Paresh Patel at


In 2012, more than 400 graduate and recent graduates at the Bachelor’s and Master’s level were engaged in research at ORNL.  These students participated in a wide range of research activities including summer, fall, and spring internships. Graduate internships are open to both international and U.S. citizens although some programs may have specific citizenship requirements. For more information or to apply to internships at ORNL please visit