Undergraduate research opportunities

Undergraduate students with different interests and backgrounds participate in research and other activities at FRIB. At present, undergraduates at FRIB come from more than 20 different majors. A large fraction of these students are from the MSU Department of Physics and Astronomy, the MSU Department of Chemistry, and the MSU Department of Engineering, but students from many other MSU departments, find exciting projects and valuable experience at FRIB as well.

Because FRIB is conveniently located in the middle of MSU campus, it is relatively easy to pursue a research project on a continuing basis during regular semesters. In addition, there are opportunities to get engaged during the summer, including for students from other universities and colleges. To learn about specific faculty members at FRIB, review the FRIB faculty profiles. For more information, contact the FRIB Office for Education, Workforce, and Career Development. Students are also welcome to reach out to individual faculty about research opportunities in their research areas.

Undergraduate research applications through Handshake

Undergraduate students interested in pursuing a research project can submit an application through Handshake to opportunities listed as “Student Research Assistant I or II.” (To apply on Handshake, log in using your MSU NetID (e-mail) and password.) Make sure to provide all the requested information so that your application can easily be processed and considered. The qualifications vary depending on the project. In general, students in physics, chemistry, or engineering with an interest in nuclear, astrophysical, or accelerator sciences are encouraged to apply.

For more details, visit the undergraduate student employment opportunities page.

Professorial assistants

Each year, several freshmen and sophomore students work as professorial assistants with FRIB faculty. The Professorial Assistants (PA) program is organized through the MSU Honors College. Professorial assistants work with FRIB faculty for one or two years and sometimes continue as undergraduate student researchers at FRIB after their sophomore year. Consequently, they are be heavily engaged with research and are important members of a research group. For details, visit the PA program page on the Honors College website.

NS3 – Nuclear Science Summer School

NS3 is a summer school for undergraduate students that introduces participants to the field of nuclear (astro)physics. NS3 is primarily intended for students who do not have the opportunity to take nuclear (astro)physics courses at their own institutions. NS3 is hosted by MSU and offers lectures and hands-on activities on selected nuclear (astro)physics topics. The school activities at FRIB include lectures by local and visiting researchers, experience in a nuclear physics laboratory, a tour of the facility, discussions with graduate students and faculty, and more. NS3 is supported by the US National Science Foundation. For details, visit the NS3 page.

Research Experience for Undergraduate Students

The MSU Department of Physics and Astronomy and the MSU Chemistry Department host Research Experience for Undergraduate Students (REU) programs supported by the National Science Foundation. Every year several REU opportunities exists in nuclear and accelerator science at FRIB. Details about the REU programs can be found at: 

At FRIB, projects in theoretical or experimental research are available in the fields of nuclear physics, nuclear chemistry, nuclear astrophysics, and accelerator science and engineering. This is an outstanding opportunity to participate in forefront science at a major nuclear science laboratory. The program also features weekly seminars by faculty and staff, trips to other facilities and social events. Besides the mentoring from the faculty member you work with, you also receive mentoring from graduate students who can tell you all about graduate school and research from their perspective. 

Conference Experience for Undergraduate Students and the University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum 

Undergraduate students who participate in research will have opportunities to present their work. Besides reporting progress during group meetings, undergraduate students can present their work at the University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum (UURAF), which is held every year in spring. Registration for UURAF opens in January.

Undergraduate students can also participate in the Conference Experience for Undergraduate Students (CEU) program. This program, which is supported by FRIB and managed through the University of Wisconsin La Crosse, provides a "capstone" conference experience for undergraduate students who have conducted research in nuclear physics. It provides them the opportunity to present their research at the annual American Physical Society Division of Nuclear Physics meeting.  Additionally, it enables the students to converse with faculty and senior scientists from graduate institutions about graduate school opportunities. Support for travel and lodging are awarded on a competitive basis. Many undergraduate students who performed research at FRIB have participated in the CEU program.

Director's Research Scholar program

The Director's Research Scholar (DRS) program offers research opportunities at FRIB to highly qualified undergraduate students with a focus on those who have not had opportunities to pursue research in STEM fields. This is a paid employment opportunity, and participation in the program is contingent upon successfully meeting employment eligibility and on-boarding requirements. Students selected for the DRS program will be provided with a mentoring network, which includes their faculty advisor, graduate students and/or postdocs of their research group, and the DRS program coordinator at FRIB. For details, visit the DRS page.

Honors Research Seminar

The Honors Research Seminars (MSU Course UGS 200H) are designed particularly for first- and second-year Honors College students and provide an opportunity to engage in research in close association with MSU faculty. The seminars are listed as UGS 200H in the course search on the Student Information System. FRIB hosts the “From Atomic Nuclei to Stars: Research at the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (NS)” section of the Honors Research Seminars. Students will learn about research projects that FRIB faculty and staff are working on, and they will join a research group to get hands-on experience in areas at the forefront of experimental or theoretical nuclear science and accelerator science.

Physicists Inspiring the Next Generation: Exploring the Nuclear Matter

Physicists Inspiring the Next Generation: Exploring the Nuclear Matter (PING) is a program that targets both pre-college students and undergraduate students (who serve as mentors). It was launched in 2014 as a collaboration between the National Society of Black Physicists (NSBP) and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) in partnership with Associated Universities, Inc. PING is funded by the National Science Foundation.

The Institute for Nuclear Science to Inspire the Next Generation for a Highly Trained workforce

The Institute for Nuclear Science to Inspire the Next Generation for a Highly Trained workforce (INSIGHT) is a support network of research traineeships to broaden and diversify nuclear physics created by the Office of Nuclear Physics within the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science. Founded in 2020, INSIGHT also offers its own traineeship program for students from Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), leveraging the scientific opportunities at FRIB. Currently, INSIGHT supports 13 traineeship programs across the U.S. and partners directly with MSIs. INSIGHT is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science.

Summer Research Opportunities Program

The Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP) is a gateway to graduate education at Big Ten Academic Alliance universities. The goal of the program is to increase the number of underrepresented students who pursue graduate study and research careers. SROP helps prepare undergraduates for graduate study through intensive research experiences with faculty mentors and enrichment activities. The MSU SROP Program provides an opportunity to combine professional development with applied work experience in your career field. MSU SROP typically convenes the third weekend of May and ends the last weekend of July.

FRIB Accelerator Science and Engineering Traineeship program

FRIB’s Accelerator Science and Engineering Traineeship (ASET) program provides practical training in accelerator science and engineering. Undergraduate students can participate in FRIB’s summer internship programs, which offer a variety of research opportunities and provide student financial support. These students work side by side with MSU faculty and research staff who develop state-of-the-art accelerator science and technology at a world-leading accelerator facility.