Oak Ridge Science Semester in Oakridge, Tennessee (ACM)

Program Dates:

This is a Fall semester only program running from late August until Mid-December.

This program is currently paused for the duration of 2023 -2024.


Upper-class majors in biology, chemistry, computer science, and physics are eligible. Each year, Allegheny College will nominate one-two students maximum to ORSS and ORSS retains final approval of the applicant. The program is primarily designed for seniors, but juniors who give evidence of the capacities demanded at Oak Ridge may be considered. Applicants must have grade-point averages of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, both overall and in their majors.

Where: Oakridge, Tennessee

The Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) multi-program laboratory focusing on national and global energy and environmental issues. It is located in Oak Ridge, TN, near Knoxville. Located in the Cumberland Mountains of East Tennessee, the city of Oak Ridge did not exist until 1942. Opened to the public in 1949, Oak Ridge is now known throughout the world for its scientific research and development in energy, nuclear research, materials, and medical and environmental research with a population near 27,310.


The Oak Ridge Science Semester (ORSS) enables students to join ongoing investigations at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in research areas as diverse as astrophysics, cell biology, DNA sequencing, genetic mutagenesis, parallel computing, robotics, toxicology, and much more. Students spend 40 hours per week at the lab, including their research internship and interdisciplinary seminar. During the research component, students conduct research on a specific project under the guidance of an ORNL staff scientist. In addition, students are required to participate in an interdisciplinary seminar and may choose an optional advanced course taught by the Visiting Faculty Director  on the Pellissippi State Community College campus or select an alternative course from PSCC’s course offerings for the semester, subject to availability.

Housing & Student Life

Students will share an apartment with one or more roommates.  Students will live in apartments near the Pellissippi State Community College (PSCC) campus in the Hardin Valley area of Knoxville, Tennessee. Transportation is available on weekdays between PSCC and ORNL. Students may also bring their own vehicle if they choose.

Application Process

Allegheny students must apply for approval to study off-campus from the Global Education office AND apply directly to their chosen program.For this program, students should work on the Allegheny approval application at the same time as the host program application. The Allegheny approval application deadline is February 20 for fall programs and September 20 for spring programs. Study away approval applications will be reviewed immediately following the appropriate semester deadline. The separate application deadline to apply directly to this program will vary and could be before or after Allegheny’s approval application due date. Check directly on their website (linked at the top of this page) for deadline information. For more information about the study away application process, please visit the application steps page.

Fees & Costs

Students are charged Allegheny tuition, fees (including $800 off-campus fee).  Students participating in the ACM ORSS receive a stipend for their internship, subject to available funding. Students are responsible for arranging and covering their travel to and from Oak Ridge, linens, kitchen utensils, food, books, and other personal expenses.