Accelerator Science and Engineering Traineeship Program

Students completing the curriculum in the MSU Accelerator Science and Engineering Traineeship (ASET) program are certified, well-trained, and ready for productive careers in areas where there are national critical workforce needs. The ASET program offers an exciting training opportunity in accelerator science and engineering for master’s and PhD graduate students in physics and astronomy and engineering.

Steven Lund

The ASET program at MSU leverages unique campus-based equipment, systems, and experts at FRIB, extensive ASET faculty and research supports in several MSU academic programs, and collaboration resources at national laboratories.

Partnering academic programs at MSU include the Department of Physics and Astronomy and the College of Engineering.

ASET is part of MSU’s number-one ranked nuclear physics graduate program, according to the U.S. News & World Report’s rankings of graduate schools. Twenty-six percent of U.S. nuclear physics graduate students receive part of their education at FRIB. The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science (DOE-SC) Office of High Energy Physics, DOE-SC Office of Nuclear Physics, and the National Science Foundation (NSF) provide support for ASET graduate assistantships. After initial training at MSU, trainees will be placed in national laboratories to further their training.

The Accelerator Traineeship Advisory Panel (ATAP) is a national advisory committee established to help guide ASET and its outcomes.

Graduate studies

ASET graduate assistantships are available to qualified U.S. graduate students who wish to carry out their thesis research at FRIB.

Through ASET, master’s and PhD level candidates can work within a research group or on a specific project for the purpose of supporting the student’s thesis work. The university sets the academic standards and awards the degree in the specific academic program of study. FRIB strives to support students through their graduate studies.

ASET certification

The ASET certificate includes specialization in one of the following areas, which are the major ASET areas in the U.S. experiencing critical workforce needs:

  • Physics and engineering of large accelerators
  • Superconducting radio frequency technology
  • Radio frequency power engineering
  • Large-scale cryogenic systems

Student opportunities

In the ASET program, more than 20 MSU faculty members train and mentor the students. Also, more than 30 PhD scientists and engineers working in ASET areas at FRIB will enhance the student experience. Visit the Student Opportunities page to see the paid undergraduate research projects taking place in summer 2022.

Many MSU ASET students supplement MSU courses through participation in the U.S. Particle Accelerator School (USPAS), of which MSU Professor Steven Lund is the director.  

After training at MSU, trainees are placed in DOE national laboratories to further their thesis research. There is an extensive and flexible framework of national laboratory training partners. The partners include Argonne National LaboratoryBrookhaven National LaboratoryFermi National Accelerator LaboratoryLawrence Berkeley National LaboratoryLawrence Livermore National LaboratoryLos Alamos National LaboratoryOak Ridge National LaboratorySandia National LaboratoriesSLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, and Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility.

The partnerships with DOE national laboratories include:

  • internships,
  • practicums,
  • scientific meetings,
  • focused long- or short-term credit-bearing courses, and
  • workshops related to professional development of non-scientific skills (project management, entrepreneurial skills, science communication, technology transfer) required for large accelerator design, construction, and operation.

The partnerships integrate ASET students into their research program beyond the third year and support them until the completion of their theses.

The DOE-SC Office of High Energy Physics, DOE-SC Office of Nuclear Physics, and NSF provide support for several kinds of graduate fellowships in ASET.

Ready to apply or have questions? Please apply and inquire through our FRIB graduate studies page at