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Conduct groundbreaking research at FRIB

Prepare for a rewarding career in nuclear science by conducting graduate student research in the areas of experimental or theoretical nuclear physics, nuclear chemistry, nuclear astrophysics, cryogenic engineering, accelerator science, and related computational science at the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) at Michigan State University (MSU). Whether you’re seeking a graduate degree in nuclear physics, chemistry, or engineering, MSU’s graduate programs leverage our world-leading rare isotope laboratory to make new discoveries. Our graduate students are well-prepared for outstanding careers in research, education, and industry.

World-leading rare isotope facility

FRIB, a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science (DOE-SC) user facility on the campus of MSU, is the world’s leading rare isotope facility. Graduate student researchers conduct groundbreaking research alongside a diverse group of scientists from around the world, using new and advanced instruments and technology.

Why study at FRIB?

As a graduate student researcher at FRIB, you’ll receive personalized instruction and support from expert faculty as you conduct unique research. Work alongside fellow scientists using cutting-edge technology to further scientific research that benefits society.

Individualize your learning experience

Work closely with your professors to tailor your learning experience based on your interests and career goals. Receive personalized instruction and research guidance to pursue your passions and explore the areas of science or engineering that interest you most.

Conduct groundbreaking research

Participate in and lead groundbreaking research to prepare you for a real-world career. As a student at FRIB you’ll become familiar with all stages of research: you will write research proposals, develop new theoretical methods, design and carry out experiments and new instruments, write software for data acquisition or simulations, analyze and interpret results, and write manuscripts for a peer-reviewed journal. Working alongside a diverse group of scientific researchers, you’ll gain hands-on experience in a modern accelerator facility, where you’ll explore new nuclear frontiers.

Work at world-class facilities

Our advanced facilities include what is designed to be the world’s most powerful heavy-ion accelerator. As the only DOE-SC user facility of its kind located on a university campus, you’ll work with world-leading faculty and staff and utilize state-of-the-art instruments and systems to conduct your research.

Learn more about our laboratory and instrumentation.

Benefit from a diverse and participative environment

To make world-leading discoveries, FRIB needs the nation’s and the world’s brightest minds. FRIB commits itself to fostering a safe and diverse work and research environment which values respect and personal integrity, and fosters broad participation.

Learn more about FRIB’s efforts.

Graduate student research opportunities at FRIB

Earn your graduate degree through MSU’s Department of Physics and Astronomy, Department of Chemistry, or departments in the College of Engineering by working with the world’s top faculty and staff at FRIB. MSU is a university with very high research activity, one of only 146 as classified by the Carnegie Foundation. As such, FRIB is uniquely positioned to train future scientists and technical experts as it carries out its research mission. Explore the theories you learned in nuclear physics courses in the world’s most advanced rare isotope research facility and make new discoveries with societal impact.

Nuclear physics and astrophysics

Earn your degree in nuclear physics or astrophysics while conducting leading-edge research at FRIB to map the nuclear landscape, understand the forces that bind nucleons into nuclei, answer questions about the astrophysical origin of nuclear matter, and address societal needs related to nuclear science and technology. MSU’s nuclear physics graduate program is a top-ranked program nationally, according to U.S. News & World Report. The faculty for the top-ranked program have joint appointments with FRIB and MSU’s Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Apply to the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Nuclear chemistry and radiochemistry

Explore how nuclear matter assembles itself in systems from nuclei to neutron stars as a graduate student in nuclear chemistry. Gain a deeper understanding of neutron reactions that are important for homeland security and astrophysics, and provide applications for society, including medicine and industry.

Or bridge the new technology at FRIB to other fields with radiochemistry. For example, byproduct radionuclides from FRIB are collected and purified for use as research tools in other areas like nuclear medicine, biosystems radiotracing, and nuclear forensics for security applications.

Apply to the Department of Chemistry.

Accelerator physics and engineering

As a graduate student in accelerator physics and engineering, you can conduct your thesis work at FRIB, leveraging world-class technologies, instruments, and experts in a world-unique opportunity on a university campus. The Accelerator Science and Engineering Traineeship (ASET) program partners with academic programs at MSU (including the Department of Physics and Astronomy and the College of Engineering) and offers opportunities to perform thesis research at U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories.

Apply to the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Apply to the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

MSU Cryogenic Initiative

Train on state-of-the-art technologies and make advancements in the cryogenic field at FRIB in addition to classroom learning. MSU’s Cryogenic Initiative—a partnership between the College of Engineering and FRIB—helps fill a national need to educate and train the next generation of cryogenic system innovators.

Apply to the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

Career outlook for nuclear scientists

Thanks to our rigorous academics and strong reputation, you’ll graduate in high demand with high job placement. A graduate degree in nuclear physics, nuclear chemistry, or engineering, combined with real-world research experience at FRIB, prepares you for a rewarding career in a variety of settings.

You will graduate well-qualified to pursue career paths in research at universities or national laboratories, or in industry; education at small colleges or large universities; scientific policymaking; or business.

Recent laboratory graduates work on cancer therapy, national security, environmental protection, car manufacturing, electronics, and more. As a FRIB graduate student, you’ll have access to our large network of FRIB alumni to create professional connections.

Check out what some of our alumni are up to. 

Review the alumni contact list to see laboratory alumni who have chosen to be listed and offered to be contacted by current students for advice, etc.

How do I get started in graduate student research at FRIB?

The first step to conducting graduate student research at FRIB is to apply through the appropriate academic department:

Once you have submitted your application and supporting documentation, please let us know that you’re interested in studying at FRIB so we can watch for your submitted materials.


Admission requirements

The MSU departments affiliated with FRIB take a holistic approach to recruiting graduate students. Academic distinctions and research experiences at the undergraduate level are important, but course grades and GPAs are not the only ways to evaluate excellence. We look at a broader range of a student’s application and value leadership, contributions to a diverse educational community, and personal circumstances. We appreciate that there are many paths to the successful completion of a PhD degree. Our programs offer flexibility as you transition from coursework to research and provide strong mentoring and support networks that allow you to thrive.

Learn more about the admissions and degree process.

Contact information

If you have questions about graduate student research at FRIB, please contact the FRIB faculty member in charge of graduate student recruiting directly:

You may also direct questions to

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