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Oak Ridge Science Semester

Oak Ridge, Tennessee

United States

Immerse yourself in research

Conduct real-world laboratory science research in your area of academic interest and work alongside career scientists at the prestigious Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

ORSS is recognized by the member colleges of the ACM and the Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA). 

Please note: The Oak Ridge Science Semester will return for Fall 2020. Please watch for details soon

See the Oak Ridge Science Semester website for full program details »


Fall semester (late August–mid-December)

Host institution

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)

Living arrangements

Students live in an apartment complex in the Oak Ridge area.

Student stipend

Typically, ORSS participants receive a significant stipend and housing allowance (dependent on funding from the US Department of Energy and ORNL), which help cover costs of the program. Selection into the Fall 2016 program carried a stipend of $8,000.

Application deadlines

Begin your adventure

Study at a cutting-edge research facility

“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, Colorado College, chemistry major

Join an ongoing research project at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, a cutting-edge research facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee that has been making strides in scientific and technological research since its establishment during World War II.

Become a member of the science community

“Oak Ridge provided me with more than just a great intellectual adventure, but I also made strong ties with other students in my program.”

—Lee Pedzisa, Colorado College, chemistry major

At the Oak Ridge facility, you’ll become a member of the science community while having access to state-of-the-art research technology. You’ll partner with a staff scientist to conduct research in an area of your interest, which could include anything from astrophysics to cell biology to robotics.

Be immersed in an intellectually stimulating research environment

As you contribute significantly to the design and methodological approach of the project, you’ll learn what it’s like to work in an exciting and intellectually stimulating research environment.

While you devote about 35 hours a week to your research, you will also participate in an interdisciplinary seminar. Some students also choose to take an additional advanced academic course.

Once-in-a-lifetime experiences

Tomomi Sunayama
Knox College

The Oak Ridge Science Semester gave me a great opportunity for scientific research. The attraction of this program was not only the research, but also the interaction between researchers.

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Arron Wolk
Colorado College

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. I was even able to present my work at a national conference.

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Lee Pedzisa
Colorado College

The Oak Ridge Science Semester was an amazing and extremely rewarding experience for me. I had the opportunity to participate in world-class research with some of the top researchers in the country.

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More student experiences »

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