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Frequently Asked Questions

About the DOE Scholars Program

  • The DOE Scholars Program is a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)-wide program that complements other DOE workforce development initiatives. The program is designed with a variety of components that promote DOE's strategic objectives of creating a pipeline of highly qualified participants in disciplinary fields that support programs in mission-critical areas.

  • Visit the DOE website for a comprehensive look at the department and its programs.

  • The DOE Scholars Program offers opportunities to undergraduate and graduate students and recent graduate to receive hands-on experiences that provide them with an understanding of the mission, operations, and culture of DOE. Participants may be assigned to research, technical or policy-related projects.

  • The DOE Scholars Program main competition opens in October. This competition seeks candidates primarily for summer appointments. However, additional opportunities may be available during the year depending on the needs of the sponsoring offices. We encourage you to visit this site often for updates.

  • To be considered you must be pursuing a degree or have a degree in a science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) discipline or have demonstrated interest or experience in a STEM field that supports the DOE mission. The goal of the program is to prepare and motivate participants to pursue careers in STEM disciplines and in other disciplines that support the U.S. Department of Energy.

Eligibility

  • Eligibility requirements can be found at Am I Eligible?

    This is an equal opportunity program open to all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, age, sex, religion, national origin, mental or physical disability, genetic information, sexual orientation or covered veteran's status.

  • You must be a U.S. citizens at the time of application. No exceptions are allowed and proof of citizenship is required upon selection.

  • Participation requires a commitment for the duration of the appointment period. You should plan to be at the facility for the specified term and avoid obligations that will interrupt your appointment.

  • Some individual DOE offices may choose to give Veterans preference.

Application and Selection

  • The DOE Scholars Program competition for summer appointments opens in October and closes in December.

    The deadline for additional opportunities offered during the year depends on the needs of the sponsoring offices. We encourage you to visit this site often for updates.

  • You may upload unofficial transcripts or copies of the student academic records printed by the applicant or by academic advisors from internal institutional systems. You will have to provide copies of official transcripts if you are selected before you can start an appointment.

  • Applications for all opportunities offered through the DOE Scholars Program will be available in Zintellect, ORISE online application system. The electronic application will not allow you to "submit" an application until all required fields are completed. Once all questions in the application are completed, submit the application by clicking the "submit" button.

  • Absolutely. ORISE follows all federal rules and regulations regarding personally identifiable information and data collection.

  • No, however you may withdraw an application and submit a new one that is updated.

  • Your electronic application will be reviewed by sponsoring offices. Each office selects candidates based on the qualifications of the applicants and the needs of each individual office. Participation by a DOE location is dependent upon sponsoring office need and available funding.

  • Applications are reviewed in an electronic database by staff from the sponsoring offices. Your application will be judged on your educational background, experience, interests, skills and career goals.

  • Some sponsoring offices, like the Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, may choose to start reviewing applications and making selections as soon as applications are received to accommodate internal schedules. Applicants are encouraged not to wait until the last minute to submit applications.

    Typically, most selections will be made by April 30 for summer appointments. However, the selection process may be extended through May. Notifications will be made by email if you are selected.

    All ORISE appointments must be approved by each DOE office/site. ORISE will send a letter of appointment once this approval is received and the funding for the appointment is in place. Hosting office/site representatives, including potential mentors, do not have the authority to offer or guarantee a DOE Scholars appointment. Only ORISE, on behalf of DOE, can offer an appointment through the DOE Scholars Program.

  • You must have health insurance and provide proof of coverage in order to begin your appointment. That means that you will not be able to start your appointment or be eligible to receive a stipend payment until you have health insurance. Since some insurance providers have a waiting period from the time you apply, you may need to plan ahead in order to start your appointment at the desired time and still serve the full appointment. See Health Insurance for more information.

  • The number of DOE Scholars appointments varies each year. There is no way of knowing the number and quality of the applications received. One thing is certain, however: If you don't apply, you certainly won't be selected.

Appointment Information

  • Generally, summer appointments begin in June, but early starts may occur at sponsoring office request and depending on the candidate’s availability.

  • Your DOE mentor will let us know when you will be expected to report, and that starting date will be stated in your official appointment letter. Most summer appointments start in June, but factors such as class schedules, housing availability and facility schedules may result in an earlier or later starting date.

  • Typically, summer appointments are for 10 weeks but may be extended depending on the sponsoring office needs, funding and candidate’s availability.

  • Available appointments will be determined by participating DOE sites. Locations vary by year depending upon sponsoring office needs and available funding. See potential locations.

  • For summer appointments, you will have the opportunity to indicate your interest in a particular area of DOE research, DOE Headquarters office, a DOE site office, or location. Your preferences are taken into consideration in during the selection process.

  • Yes, the ORISE Travel will arrange and pay for travel from your home or institution if your permanent address is more than 50 miles from your appointment site. If you choose to drive, you will be reimbursed at the current federal reimbursement rate for actual mileage from your home or institution to the appointment site. Details of any allowance limitations would be contained in your letter of appointment. Reimbursements are made according to the federally approved travel policy. See ORISE Travel for more information.

  • Some of the appointments are located in areas without public transportation and having your personal vehicle may be needed. You are responsible for your own daily transportation to and from your appointment site.

  • You are responsible for securing your own living space and determining the means of local transportation prior to arriving at the assigned appointment site. Some appointment sites may be able to provide assistance in locating housing and/or provide additional funds for housing.

  • Your stipend will be based on your status by the application deadline. In order to receive the graduate student stipend, you must be enrolled as a graduate student by the application deadline or have completed your undergraduate or graduate degree.

  • ORISE administers all stipend payments and does not withhold taxes from these payments. You are responsible for reporting and paying the appropriate state and federal taxes. You are encouraged to consult a tax professional regarding state and federal income tax requirements.

  • No. Your appointment is not guaranteed until you receive, sign, and return your official letter. Additionally, if the DOE Scholars Program does provide travel assistance, it is important that you work with ORISE to verify that costs are allowable.

  • As a program participant, you are not entitled to vacation or sick leave; however, you are not expected to be present on days that your facility is closed due to a holiday. Occasional absences may be approved by your mentor.

  • Your stipends will be directly deposited into your bank account. A stipend schedule will be provided. You should be prepared to cover all expenses for the first 30 days of your internship.

  • You will need to check with your school to see if your experience qualifies for college credit. Your mentor or ORISE can provide you with the appropriate documentation.

  • No, you will not enter into an employer/employee relationship with ORISE, the host site, or DOE. You will be considered an educational program participant. You are not eligible to receive any employment-related benefits, such as paid vacation or sick/medical leave or unemployment compensation.

  • You will be asked to evaluate the experience at the end of the appointment. You may be asked to participate in seminars, poster sessions, and symposia during your appointment. You will be required to submit a final report at the end of the appointment including a brief description of the research conducted during your appointment, accomplishments, publications, and benefits to your educational and professional development.

  • Your mentor should provide the following:

    • On-going technical guidance and advice
    • Appropriate materials, equipment, technical and clerical support, and office space
    • A nurturing and stimulating intellectual atmosphere

    See Mentor Information and Responsibilities for more information.

General Questions

  • You may review eligibility and general program information for other education and research opportunities in Zintellect.

  • Email your questions to doescholars@orau.org. If you have questions after you are appointed, contact your mentor, the DOE Scholars Program Coordinator or ORISE for assistance.