Undergraduate Research Student Internships - Spring 2024

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)
Reference Code
Application Deadline
10/23/2023 11:59:00 PM Eastern Time Zone

Diversity is Key

Scientific discovery is a team effort. Researchers, engineers, and technical and business professionals support achievements in science and technology by helping to manage and operate research projects and facilities. We believe the teams required to solve the nation's most pressing scientific challenges are those that combine a wide range of backgrounds and perspectives.

Undergraduate Research Student Internship Program Details

  • 16-20 week Spring internship
  • Full-time participation (40 hours/week) or part-time participation (20 hours/week) for students enrolled in school full-time.
  • Appointments will start on January 8, 2024. Appointments will end on April 26, 2024. Dates for individual appointments may be flexible to account for academic calendars. For students with conflicts that are not academic calendar related, they may elect to start on January 16, 2024, and end on May 3, 2024.
  • Full-time appointments will be conducted on-site in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Part-time appointments can be virtual or on-site in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. 

A few helpful tips before you start an application:

  • Review the science areas at ORNL to determine what best fits your career goals. You will find the eight discipline areas at www.ornl.gov.
    • For example, if you choose Clean Energy, you will find a variety of news, current research highlights, and more. You can explore other research areas, or related links and organizations to identify your areas of interest and key words, important terminology, papers, etc. that can be used as you answer application questions or update your resume.
    • Type a key word about your research interests into the search box at the top right corner on www.ornl.gov and follow the links provided to identify key researchers at ORNL and/or the webpages of the related directorates or divisions.  For example, typing “Environmental Science” leads to the link for the Environmental Sciences Division.
    • You will find general contacts and can access many of the Division or User Facility pages under "Our People". 
  • After you have completed your application, reach out via email to the researchers of interest you have identified (use the Contact - Find People - Staff Directory link at www.ornl.gov to enter a name and obtain an email address).
    • Tell them about your background and describe how your career objectives and interests relate to their research.
    • Include an updated resume/CV in the email and let them know which programs you have applied to at ORNL.
    • Showing initiative by reaching out to discuss your passion for science and research is a great way to introduce yourself to potential mentors. This personal connection can be the key to “standing out” from other applications. The URSI program uses a "pool" application posting where multiple mentors will consider candidates with a variety of interests for different educational project opportunities, so this can be a critical step for selection success.


Students must be a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) at the time of application.

Eligibility Requirements

To be considered for this opportunity, as of October 2023, applicants must:

  • Meet one of three criteria noted below:
    • Applicants may be currently enrolled as a full-time undergraduate student in a degree-seeking program at an accredited college or university (including accredited community colleges) at the time of application
    • Applicants may also be a recent associate or bachelor's graduate from an accredited institution (including recent graduates currently enrolled or planning to enroll in graduate studies that are not yet eligible for the ORNL Graduate Research Student Internship program). The time period between receipt of an undergraduate degree and starting the URSI appointment must be two years or less.
      • Applicants must have completed at least one semester (or academic quarter, if applicable) and at least 12 credit hours toward a degree at the time of application.
    • Be a veteran of the United States Armed Services who has received their DD-214 no more than 4 years prior to the start date of the internship (to be verified with a DD Form 214 and a high school diploma or GED).
  • Have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.00 on a 4.00 scale at the time of application
  • Be at least 18 years of age

Application Review and Appointment Offer Process

  • Applications are reviewed directly by ORNL researchers with an available project.
  • Selections and appointment offers will be made on a rolling basis starting on or around October 31, 2023.
  • Selected students must respond to their offer within seven (7) days of receipt of the offer.

During the Appointment

Appointments require a commitment to the research program at ORNL. The participant's research must be conducted in a manner and according to a time schedule that meets the overall research needs of ORNL.


All URSI participants are required to submit an appointment reflection and present a poster or technical talk at the end of the program.

Participants may also have the opportunity to collaborate on manuscripts and/or to join conferences, poster sessions, and other opportunities to present or publish their research.


Participants receive a biweekly stipend. Stipend payments and housing allowances are taxable. There will be a delay after starting before you receive your first stipend. You should be prepared to cover all personal expenses for the first 30 days of your appointment.

  • Stipend: $750 per week (paid bi-weekly)
  • Housing allowance: $250 per week (paid bi-weekly)


Eligible participants whose permanent address is more than 50 miles from ORNL will receive a travel reimbursement of up to $1,000 for round-trip domestic travel to and from ORNL.


All awards and active participation in the program are contingent upon security access approval to Oak Ridge National Laboratory, agreement with the Terms of Appointment, and completion of all contingencies in the offer letter. All contingencies of an appointment offer must be met before the applicant can begin an appointment.

  • Students are subject to DOE clearance approval for laboratory access.
  • URSI participants are required to have coverage under a health insurance plan for the duration of the appointment period and must provide proof of such coverage. It is your responsibility to secure insurance coverage before arriving at the appointment site.

The application will require:

  • Profile information
  • Educational details (i.e. dates of attendance/graduation, GPAs, majors, etc.)
  • Relevant Experience
  • Awards and honors
  • Statement of Purpose: goals, experience, skills, and personal information
  • Research areas of interest
  • An updated resume or CV, 2 page limit (.pdf upload)
  • Academic records - For this opportunity, an unofficial transcript or copy of academic records may be submitted showing name, school name, current/enrolled classes, and GPA (.pdf upload)
  • Recommendations (2) - The application will be considered incomplete and will not be eligible for review and consideration until two recommendations are received. Applicants will provide contact information for recommenders, including current email addresses. Applicants are encouraged to request multiple recommendations and begin contacting recommenders immediately upon submitting an application. Recommendation letters will be uploaded in Zintellect and should address the applicant’s academic record and potential for success in a STEM internship, as indicated by intellectual merit, research/technical, communication, and teamwork skills. Applicants must provide at least one letter from a faculty member. Recommenders cannot be a family member. The first two recommendations received via Zintellect will meet the program requirement.

All documents must be submitted via Zintellect. All application components must be completed and received in the system in order to be considered.

For questions, contact ORNL-USO@orise.orau.gov.

Eligibility Requirements
  • Citizenship: LPR or U.S. Citizen
  • Degree: High School Diploma/GED, Associate's Degree, or Bachelor's Degree received within the last 48 months or currently pursuing.
  • Overall GPA: 3.00
  • Academic Level(s): Post-Associate's, Post-Bachelor's, or Undergraduate Students.
  • Discipline(s):
    • Chemistry and Materials Sciences (12 )
    • Computer, Information, and Data Sciences (17 )
    • Earth and Geosciences (21 )
    • Engineering (27 )
    • Environmental and Marine Sciences (14 )
    • Life Health and Medical Sciences (48 )
    • Mathematics and Statistics (11 )
    • Physics (16 )
    • Science & Engineering-related (2 )
    • Social and Behavioral Sciences (29 )
  • Age: Must be 18 years of age
  • Veteran Status: Veterans Preference, degree received within the last 48 month(s).

I certify that all information I have provided is correct and accurate to the best of my knowledge.

I also confirm that one of the following is true:

  • I am currently enrolled as a full-time undergraduate student in a degree-seeking program at an accredited college or university (including accredited community colleges) at the time of application
  • I am a recent associate or bachelor's graduate from an accredited institution (including recent graduates currently enrolled or planning to enroll in graduate studies that are not yet eligible for the ORNL Graduate Research Student Internship program). The time period between receipt of an undergraduate degree and starting the URSI appointment must be two years or less.
  • I am a veteran of the United States Armed Services who has received a DD-214 form no more than four years from the start date of the of appointment period.

The ORISE GO mobile app helps you stay engaged, connected and informed during your ORISE experience – from application, to offer, through your appointment and even as an ORISE alum!