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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 current 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
  • Spring deadline: January 6
  • Summer deadline: February 28
  • Fall deadline: September 15
  • 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; increasing to $629/week on May 1, 2020
  • Second Year (Sophomore) - $593/week; increasing to $693/week on May 1, 2020
  • Third Year (Junior) - $653/week; increasing to $663/week on May 1, 2020
  • Fourth Year (Senior) - $726/week; increasing to $826/week on May 1, 2020
  • Master’s Student - $863/week; increasing to $963/week on May 1, 2020
  • Ph.D. Student - $935/week; increasing to $1,035/week on May 1, 2020
  • Class status is defined by the college/university and is based on completion prior to ORNL report date
  • $175/week housing allowance (paid with stipend) and limited travel reimbursement, if permanent address is at least 50 miles from Oak Ridge


  • Be currently enrolled at an accredited U.S. institution 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 of 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
  • Please note that these activities are optional and dependent upon mentor approval
  • Complete pre- and post-appointment surveys

Spring- January 6, 2020
Summer- February 28, 2020
Fall- September 15, 2020