Graduate studies

Thank you for your interest in graduate study in experimental or theoretical nuclear physics, nuclear chemistry, nuclear astrophysics, cryogenic engineering, or accelerator science, and related computational science.

bestMichigan State University’s (MSU’s) graduate programs in these areas leverage the world-unique Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB), a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science (DOE-SC) user facility on the campus of MSU. MSU’s nuclear-physics graduate program is ranked #1 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Our graduates are well prepared for outstanding careers in research, education, and industry.

FRIB is the world’s leading rare isotope facility, opening new nuclear science frontiers.

Earn your graduate degree through MSU’s Physics and Astronomy department, Chemistry department, or College of Engineering by working with the world’s top faculty and staff at FRIB. FRIB faculty have joint appointments with FRIB and the corresponding MSU department. Apply for graduate degrees through the appropriate MSU department (see How to Apply below) in these exciting areas of study: 

Nuclear physics and astrophysics: Graduate students in nuclear physics and astrophysics will have the opportunity to conduct leading-edge research at FRIB to map the nuclear landscape, to understand the forces that bind nucleons into nuclei, to answer questions about the astrophysical origin of nuclear matter and to address societal needs related to nuclear science and technology. Apply to the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Nuclear chemistry and radiochemistry: Graduate students in nuclear chemistry use FRIB to probe how nuclear matter assembles itself in systems from nuclei to neutron stars, understand neutron reactions important for homeland security and astrophysics, and provide applications for society, including in medicine and industry. Graduate students in radiochemistry will have the opportunity to bridge the cutting-edge technology at FRIB to other fields: byproduct radionuclides from FRIB are collected and purified for use as research tools in other areas like nuclear medicine, biosystems radiotracing, and nuclear data for security applications. Apply to the Department of Chemistry.

Accelerator physics and engineering: Graduate students in accelerator physics and engineering can do thesis work at FRIB, leveraging the world-class equipment, systems, and experts at FRIB—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 do thesis work at U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories. Apply to the Department of Physics and AstronomyApply to the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

MSU Cryogenic Initiative: Graduate students in cryogenic engineering will train on state-of-the-art technologies and advancements in the cryogenic field at FRIB in addition to classroom teaching. A partnership between the College of Engineering and FRIB, the initiative helps fill a national need to educate and train the next generation of cryogenic system innovators. Apply to the Department of Mechanical Engineering.


Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) are a priority for the FRIB Laboratory. As a federally funded laboratory in a public university, FRIB commits itself to fostering a safe, diverse, equitable, and inclusive work and research environment which values respect and personal integrity. Learn more about FRIB’s DEIB efforts. Users, guests, students, and employees at the FRIB Laboratory share a common interest—to contribute to society through scientific discovery. This venture is best conducted when everyone behaves in a welcoming and respectful manner, as detailed in FRIB’s Code of Conduct.  

The MSU departments affiliated with FRIB take a holistic approach to recruiting graduate students. Academic excellence 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 experiences and value leadership, contributions to a diverse educational community, as well as personal circumstances. We appreciate that there are many paths to the successful completion of a PhD degree. Our programs offer flexibility as students transition from course work to research and provide strong mentoring and support networks that allow them to thrive.  

How to apply

To apply, you must go through the appropriate academic department. Please visit the following application sites:

Application deadlines are approaching fast. Apply today! 


Please let us know when you apply so we can look for your application at the appropriate department.

We invite you to contact the FRIB faculty member in charge of graduate student recruiting directly:

You may also direct questions to