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Programs : Brochure

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  • Locations: Oak Ridge, TN, United States;
  • Program Terms: Fall
  • Program Homepage: Click here
  • Restrictions: Grinnell applicants only
Grinnell Approval Deadlines/Program Dates:
Grinnell Approval Deadlines/Program Dates:
Term Year Grinnell Approval Deadline Grinnell Decision Date Program Start Date Program End Date
Fall 2019 12/05/2018 02/18/2019 TBA TBA
Fact Sheet:
Program by Theme: Science & General Science Subject Areas of Interest: Environmental Protection & Conservation, Environmental Studies, Global Energy Issues
Language of Study: English Campus Program Advisor: Leslie Lyons
OCS Contact: Alicia Stanley Min. GPA: 3.0
Housing: Apartment
Program Description:

 Oak Ridge National sign

Why study at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory?

  • Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee is a U.S. Department of energy multi-program laboratory focusing on national and global energy and environmental issues.

  • The ACM program enables students in the sciences and social sciences to join ongoing investigations at ORNL and gives them the opportunity to conduct research using state-of-the-art scientific equipment. During the Interdisciplinary Seminar, biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics and social science students are exposed to the wide range of research carried out by ORNL scientists from many fields and participate in field trips to various research facilities.

  • In the Advanced Course, students choose from a variety of options offered by faculty members in chemistry, biology, physics, mathematics, economics, and computing. Independent studies in other areas are also available.

  • During the Research Component, each student is expected to devote at least 35 hours per week to a research project under the guidance of an ORNL staff scientist. Research opportunities exist in biology, concentrating on the effects of radiation; all branches of chemistry - nuclear, inorganic, and organic -; nearly all phases of physics, particularly nuclear, solid state and plasma physics; and interdisciplinary studies.

  • In the social sciences, research options exist in such areas as urban development, environmental impact statements, attitudinal surveys, and energy supply-and-demand analysis, supported by strong computing facilities and data resources.

  • Selection to the program may include a stipend of up to $3,600, depending on funding.

Program Overview

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 receive significant funding to participate, including a $6,800 stipend (contingent on funding from the U.S. Department of Energy and/or ORNL) and a $1,800 housing allowance to cover living expenses.  For the duration of the semester, students are housed in an apartment complex in Oak Ridge.  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 visit the Denison ORSS page.

To see the brochure:

Open to all majors and may be of particular interest in these subject areas:

National and Global Energy and Environmental Issues


Upper class standing in chemistry, biology, physics, math, physics and social science.  Priority is given to fourth year students but third years of exceptional ability are considered.