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Oak Ridge Science Semester

Oak Ridge, Tennessee

Fall 2014 group

Fall 2014 Oak Ridge Science Semester group.

Read more: For Science Students, Oak Ridge Program Is a Transformative Experience

From current cutting-edge scientific research in energy and environmental issues, reaching back to its history as a pivotal element of the Manhattan Project in World War II, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is recognized as a leader in scientific and technological research. Located in Oak Ridge Tennessee, and managed by the U.S. Department of Energy by UT-Batelle, scientists and engineers conduct basic and applied research in a wide variety of fields. As the Department of Energy’s largest science and energy laboratory, their mission to advance the nation’s energy resources, environmental quality, and scientific knowledge provides an exciting and intellectually stimulating setting for science students looking to do rigorous research.

The Oak Ridge Science Semester (ORSS) enables students to join ongoing investigations at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in research areas as diverse as astrophysics, cell biology, DNA sequencing, genetic mutagenesis, parallel computing, robotics, toxicology, and much more. In their research, ORSS student participants use the sophisticated resources available at the Laboratory, including supercomputers, state-of-the-art electron microscopes, lasers, and analytical instruments such as a fourier transform mass spectrometer and a scanning tunneling microscope. Participants in this fall semester program join one of the research groups at ORNL, with a scientist from the ORNL staff serving as a mentor. This research experience, using the Laboratory's sophisticated resources, is the core of the program. Students are expected to contribute significantly to the design and methodological approach of their research activity, and often find this the most demanding and rewarding experience of their college careers.

Unlike most off-campus programs, students typically receive significant funding to participate, including an $8,000 stipend in fall 2015 and a housing allowance (both contingent on funding from the U.S. Department of Energy and/or ORNL). For the duration of the semester, students are housed in an apartment complex in Oak Ridge; the housing allowance covers the cost of the rent. The Oak Ridge Science Semester is administered by Denison University and is recognized by ACM and the Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA).

For more detailed information, please use the links located on the left-hand side of this page or visit the Denison ORSS page.

Quick Facts

  • Term: Fall semester
  • Language prerequisite: None
  • Language of instruction: English
  • Living arrangements: Apartment

Application deadlines

Fall semester 2017

Final deadline: March 1, 2017

Fall semester 2018

Final deadline: March 1, 2018

Program contacts

Emily Gaul
Assistant Director of Off-Campus Study Programs

11 E. Adams Street, Suite 800
Chicago, IL 60603
Phone: 312.561.5919

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Publications & Resources

Oak Ridge Science Semester brochure

Oak Ridge Science Semester

Follow us online

Arron Wolk The Oak Ridge Science Semester was an extremely positive and motivating experience for me. It gave me the opportunity to experience the scientific community first-hand. Not only did I work with incredibly knowledgeable and genuinely helpful people, but I was able to see what a career in science can really be like. I was given the opportunity to develop my own research project, a daunting but exciting proposition for an undergraduate. I was even able to present my work at a national conference. No other research experience has prepared me so completely for graduate work.

—Arron Wolk, Oak Ridge Science Semester, Fall 2007

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