Accelerator Science and Engineering

Michigan State University (MSU) offers PhD and master's graduate students in physics, astronomy, and engineering an exciting training opportunity in accelerator science and engineering. Students completing the curriculum will be certified, well-trained, and ready for productive careers in areas where there are critical workforce needs nationally.

Best nuclear physics programs

The MSU Accelerator Science and Engineering Traineeship (ASET) program 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. Additionally, each year approximately 26 percent of U.S. nuclear physics graduate students receive part of their training at MSU.

The ASET program at MSU leverages unique campus-based equipment, systems, and experts at the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) and National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (NSCL), extensive ASET faculty and research support in several MSU academic programs, and resources at U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories. Partnering academic programs at MSU include the Department of Physics and Astronomy and the College of Engineering. More than 20 MSU faculty members serve as both research and academic advisors to students in the training program. After training, students are placed in U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories to further their training.

The Accelerator Traineeship Advisory Panel (ATAP) is a national advisory committee established to help guide MSU’s Accelerator Science and Engineering Traineeship program and its outcomes.

The ASET certification includes specialization in one of the following areas, which are the major ASET areas in the United States experiencing critical workforce needs:

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

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.  

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

Support for several kinds of graduate fellowships in ASET is provided by 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.