Frequently Asked Questions


  1. General
  2. Eligibility
  3. Applications
  4. Selection
  5. Participation
  6. Sponsor


When is the application deadline?

The application deadline for the 2025 Spring Term is October 2, 2024 5:00 PM ET.

How is the Covid-19 pandemic affecting WDTS traineeships?

DOE national laboratories/facilities make their own decisions about the conduct of their WDTS programs based on laboratory operating status, regional and local public health concerns and regulations, mentor availability, and other considerations. When on-site programs are not feasible because of the pandemic, laboratories may opt to cancel traineeships or to offer virtual traineeships for certain projects. If you have been offered a traineeship, contact your laboratory for more information about its status.

Who administers this program for the Department of Energy?

The DOE Office of Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists (WDTS) manages this program in collaboration with the DOE Laboratories/Facilities who host the student participants.

What is it like to intern at a DOE national lab?

Watch research mentors and former interns answer frequently asked questions about what it is like to intern at a DOE national lab and offer advice for completing the SULI applications. Click hereto view.


What is a full-time student?

A full-time student is defined as a student who is enrolled for the number of hours or courses the school considers to be full-time attendance (as defined by the Internal Revenue Service).

Can I apply if I don't currently have Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status, but I know I will get it before my appointment starts?

No, you must have your Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status at the time of applying (by the application deadline).

I am a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR), but my passport from my home country has expired. What do I list for my passport number and expiration date?

You are not required to have a valid passport to apply to the SULI program. If you are a LPR with an expired passport, list your old passport number and the expired expiration date.

This program states that it provides opportunities to undergraduate students. If I will graduate before the internship term for which I am applying, am I eligible to participate?

The SULI program is for undergraduates and recent graduates.  Recent graduates may apply if the time period between receipt of an undergraduate degree and the beginning of the SULI term is two years or less.  The undergraduate degree may be an associate's degree, bachelor's degree, or combined BS/MS degree.  Students who have completed one of the aforementioned degrees and are now enrolled in a graduate studies program are also eligible to apply.

I'm an undergraduate student, but I won't be 18 years old for another year. If this program is for undergraduate students, why can't I participate?

Eighteen is the minimum age for participation regardless of your education level.

Am I eligible to apply if I am a college freshman?

Freshmen are eligible if they have completed one semester (or one academic quarter if their college/university is on a quarter system) as a matriculated student at the time of application; have completed at least 6 credit hours of postsecondary courses in science, mathematics, engineering, or technology disciplines; and have completed at least 12 credit hours towards a degree by the time they apply to SULI.  Undergraduate course credits obtained prior to college/university enrollment cannot be substituted. 

Do I have to have health insurance coverage to apply or can I wait until I'm selected to acquire it?

You do not have to have health insurance at the time of applying, but you must have health insurance in order to begin your appointment.

I have an undergraduate GPA of 2.95, am I eligible?

Yes. To be eligible to apply you must have a minimum cumulative college/university GPA of 3.0. Considering significant figures, a GPA of 2.95 rounds up to a 3.0 GPA. Your GPA must be verifiable on your undergraduate transcripts.

I have an undergraduate GPA of 2.94, am I eligible?

No. To be eligible to apply you must have a minimum cumulative college/university GPA of 3.0. Considering significant figures, a GPA of 2.94 rounds to a 2.9 GPA.


Can I apply to more than one program within the same term?

No, you can be considered for only one program per term, and may only submit one application per term. The online application system will allow you to access applications for multiple programs (e.g., SULI and CCI, SULI and VFP, etc.) within the same term , but will only allow you to submit once, thereby limiting you to one application. Once the first submission is made, the system will block additional submission attempts within that term, regardless of program, and will return a message stating that a submission has already been received.

Can I transfer my previous recommendations to my new application?

No, recommendations cannot be transferred from previous applications or from applications created on the previous system. The recommendation form has changed. To request new recommendations, please visit your status page to request new recommendation forms for your recommenders.

Can I reuse my essay responses from my previous application for my new application?

Applicants may reuse or update their responses from a previous internship application. It is the applicant’s responsibility to provide responses that are up to date and that clearly and accurately address the questions being asked in the application. The applicant must manually type or copy and paste responses into a new application; the application system will not automatically load previous responses into a new application.

Do I have to click on the “Submit Application” button to complete my portion of the online application before asking my recommenders to submit their recommendations online?

No, you can request your recommenders as soon as you begin the application by submitting the name and contact email in the recommender section of the application. An automated email will be sent to your recommender with the information about how to submit a recommendation on your behalf. You are responsible for ensuring that recommenders submit their recommendation online before the application deadline.

I have already submitted my application but realize I made a mistake. Is there any way I can fix this?

There are a couple of ways to make changes to your application before the application deadline. 1) You can log into your account and update your personal contact information, change recommenders (if recommendations have not yet been received from them), and send reminders to recommenders at any time before the deadline. 2) If you wish to make other revisions to your application (for example, to your educational information or essays), you must un-submit your existing application, revise your existing application, and then resubmit the application. You must resubmit your transcripts (if you are a student), but any letters of recommendation that have already been submitted on your behalf will transfer to your new application; you do not need to re-request them. Revised applications must include all required materials and must be submitted before the deadline.

Once the application deadline has passed, you can still update your personal contact information but cannot make any other changes.

Do my recommendation letters need to be submitted by the deadline?

Yes, the two required letters of recommendations must be submitted electronically by the application deadline. Recommenders must submit their letters through the online form. Emailed letters, letters in any other form, or late letters will not be accepted.

Can I submit my application before receiving my recommendations?

Yes. Your application can be submitted before receiving your recommendations.

Can recommendations be sent by e-mail?

No, recommenders must use the electronic process. A URL unique to your application will be sent to the individuals you selected to submit a recommendation on your behalf. Each person writing a recommendation for you will complete the online recommendation form and submit it electronically. This is the only way to ensure that your recommendations are properly linked with your application.

What do I do if my recommender does not receive the system-generated message requesting my recommendation?

If the application system generated email request for recommendation is not received by the recommender, please check that their email address is entered correctly on the application, or advise the recommender to check their email filter settings. Depending on these filter settings, the recommendation request email message might have been received into a “Trash” or “Spam” message inbox. Recommenders will receive the Recommender Request via email from, and to ensure delivery, they may also consider adding onto their safe recipients list.

Whom should I ask to write my letters of recommendation?

Recommendations should be requested from individuals familiar with your academic achievements and professional accomplishments. College faculty members who teach science, technology, engineering, or mathematics courses are the best references, but you may also use former high school teachers, lab assistants, teaching assistants, or employers (especially if they work in a research or technical setting). Recommendations are not allowed from family members, friends, or friends of family members. 

Can I delete a recommendation and replace it with another?

You cannot delete a recommendation once it has been received by the online system. You may request up to 3 recommendations for your application, but the first two that are completed in the system will be the ones included with your application for review.

What do I do if I or my recommender is unable to submit the application or recommendation due to unforeseen medical needs or situations?

WDTS strives to honor reasonable accommodations. Applicants and letter of recommendation writers must submit request for reasonable accommodations to assist with application submission before the application deadline. A message must be sent before the deadline at the following email address

How do I enter my cumulative GPA?

The online application system will automatically calculate your cumulative GPA using information you enter directly from your transcript(s). All accredited postsecondary institutions attended as a currently matriculated student, and any institutions attended as a matriculated postsecondary student during the 5 years preceding the start of the current or most recent enrollment, must be entered. (This does not include college or university courses taken while solely a high school student.) The system will require entry of semester hour and quality point information for each attended institution. Additionally, a transcript for each of the aforementioned institutions must be uploaded into the application system.

Why isn’t the online application correctly calculating my grade point average (GPA)?

Grades of P/NP (pass/no pass), I (incomplete), and W (withdrawal) are not factored into the GPA. Check that the Attempted Credits and Earned Credits you report do not include courses with grades of P, NP, I, or W.

Your GPA is determined by dividing your total quality points (your course grades multiplied by the total credit hours assigned to those courses) by the number of attempted credit hours. A 4.0 GPA scale assigns grades as follows:

A+ = 4.33
A = 4.00
A- = 3.70
B+ = 3.33
B = 3.00
B- = 2.70
C+ = 2.30
C = 2.00
C- = 1.70
D+ = 1.30
D = 1.00
D- = 0.70
F = 0

Please note:
Credits = Credits Number/GPA provided on your transcript
Quality Points = Credits Number*GPA provided on your transcript
GPA = Quality Points/Credits Number

What is a matriculated student?

A matriculated student is defined as one who has applied for, been formally admitted to, and has registered for one or more courses in a degree granting program to which he/she has been admitted.

Am I required to submit transcripts?

Yes, applicants are required to list on their application their current (or recently-graduated) college or university, as well as all other academic institutions  attended as a matriculated postsecondary student during the 5 years preceding the start of the current enrollment, and to provide a transcript for each.

What is the requirement to be considered a recent transcript? 

A recent transcript is defined as the transcript printed or accessed no earlier than the opening date of the application for the 2024 Summer term.

What are the requirements for transcripts?

  • Transcripts must not include your Social Security number or full date of birth including month, day, and year.. Erase or blacken out this information so that it is not legible, otherwise your application will be rejected.
  • Transcripts must be the most recent available at the time of application.
  • Transcripts must include your name and the name of your college or university. If this information is not visible on your unofficial transcript, then you should obtain an official transcript that includes it. 
  • Transcripts must be in English; if they are not, an English translation must be provided. 
  • Transcripts must show grades and a cumulative grade point average if your university provides this information.
  • You must upload a PDF copy of all required postsecondary official/unofficial transcripts to the online application system. See the information on submitting transcripts on the How to Apply page.
  • Either official or unofficial transcripts provided by your college or university are acceptable. *** Degree audits and transcripts that specifically state they are advising reports are unacceptable.

Can I submit unofficial transcripts?

Two forms of unofficial transcripts are acceptable to submit with your completed application:

  1. An official transcript that has been signed by the university/college registrar sent to you in a sealed envelope that you have opened (and thus made unofficial), or
  2. An unofficial transcript provided electronically to you directly from your university/college via either a website or email and marked “unofficial.”

PDF copies of transcripts must have your Social Security number and full date of birth erased or blackened out, otherwise your application will be rejected. Transcripts uploaded into the system must also be clearly legible, must be labeled with your name and the name of the university/college, and must clearly show all courses and course grades and cumulative GPA. Transcripts that do not clearly identify your name and institution or are not legible will be considered invalid, and your application will be rejected. Screenshots of transcripts are not allowed. *** Degree audits and transcripts that specifically state they are advising reports are unacceptable.

Why must Personally Identifiable Information (PII) such as Social Security numbers and birth dates be removed?

The Department of Energy has Directives regarding the use and protection of PII on its computer systems. To minimize the risk of identity theft, and to protect applicants, any submitted transcripts or application materials must have all social security numbers and/or dates of birth removed (blanked out, blackened out, made illegible, etc.) prior to uploading into the application system. Any applications found to contain PII in the form of Social Security numbers and/or dates of birth will be deemed non-compliant and will not be released to host laboratories or facilities for review or consideration.

I’ve scanned my official transcripts but the electronic scan has a VOID watermark all over it. Is this a valid transcript to submit with my application?

If it is a scan of your official transcript, is legible, and it clearly shows your name, institution name, and GPA/grade information then it is a valid transcript.

How do I select a host laboratory/facility?

The online application will ask you to select your first and second choice DOE laboratories from a drop-down list of laboratories offering internship opportunities for the program, term, and scientific/technical areas to which you are applying. Beginning in 2018, applicants to Spring and Fall terms also have the option to select “any host laboratory,” in addition to their first and second choices.

Choose a laboratory based on the research and/or technical areas that interest you. You will need to do your own exploration regarding which laboratories and subject areas interest you most. The WDTS website is a good starting point and contains information on participating DOE laboratories, their scientific research programs, and their webpages. Some sites only participate in the Summer Term and therefore internships may not be available if you are applying for a semester term.

What should I do if I don't have a preference of a laboratory/facility?

You must select at least a first and second choice laboratory. It is to your benefit to make two different choices.

Can I get in touch with scientists at the laboratories/facilities I've chosen? Is this advisable?

Yes. As you explore the laboratories'/facilities’ websites you may identify scientists, engineers, programs, or divisions you would like to contact. The more you know about a laboratory, the better chance you have of making a laboratory choice appropriate to your interests and skills. However, potential technical/research advisors are NOT authorized to offer you an appointment. If you are selected you must receive an official letter from the Department of Energy’s WDTS online application system. This notification will be followed by an official offer letter from the laboratory or its administrative agent. You have not been given an official offer until you receive these two things.

Will you let me know if I am missing parts of my application?

The online application system will highlight the required elements of the application that have not been completed. You will not be able to submit your final application until all the required elements have been provided.


How does the selection process work?

The review and selection process occurs in several steps:

  1. First, submitted applications are reviewed by the Office of Science to verify applicant eligibility and to confirm all the required application materials have been provided. An applicant must satisfy all eligibility criteria and have submitted an application comprising all required materials in order to be considered. Student applications with transcripts that show Social Security numbers or dates of birth will be rejected without further review. Erase or blacken out this information so that it is not legible.
  2. Next, eligible and compliant applications are released to applicants’ first-choice laboratories for merit review and possible selection. Advisors at the host laboratories select students whose applications are highest ranked and whose skills, knowledge, and interests are best aligned with available projects.
  3. Applications that were not selected by first-choice laboratories are then released to second-choice laboratories for review and consideration.
  4. (For Spring and Fall terms beginning in 2018): Applications that were not selected by first- or second-choice laboratories are released to all other participating laboratories that have projects available in applicants’ designated research areas, as long as the applicants have opted to be considered by “any host laboratory.” Other laboratories are not required to review or consider these applications, however.

A student may receive only one internship offer per term, and if an offer is declined, another will not be made that term.

How are applications judged?

Applications will be assessed based upon the applicant’s performance in completed academic coursework, and especially coursework in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM); strength of recommendation letters; expressed scientific interests; and the applicant's background, experience, accomplishments, and interests as they relate to the research programs at the host laboratories.

Why am I asked if I have participated in any other DOE programs? Does answering yes to this question help or hurt my chances of being selected?

Your response to this question will not affect the selection process for your application. DOE collects this for internal information purposes only to gauge whether applicants know about or have participated in other DOE programs. SULI participants may have a maximum of 2 SULI internships.

What are my chances of getting selected?

The chances of being selected depend on factors including the quality of a given application, the total number of applications submitted, the number of applications requesting the same first and second choice laboratory placements, the number of available internship opportunities at each laboratory, and the availability of funds. These factors vary each year so it is not possible to predict an individual’s chance of being selected for any given application cycle.

The online application system includes a Laboratory Selection Tool that allows you to see the percentages and numbers of applicants selected and placed at the various DOE laboratories during recent terms. This tool is only available from within the application. Lists of program participants for recent years are also available at the internship program website.

Is this program only for natural science, engineering, mathematics, or computer science majors?

The SULI program focuses on providing research internships in areas of science, engineering, technology and mathematics relevant to and supported by the Department of Energy R&D programs. While applicants are not required to major in areas of natural science, engineering, mathematics or computer science, applicants who demonstrate education, aptitude, and interest in these fields will be most competitive.

When and how will I find out if I've been selected?

You will receive an e-mail message from DOE notifying you of your selection. The status page of your application account will also indicate whether you have been selected for an internship offer. This will be followed by an email with a more detailed offer package from the host DOE laboratory’s education office including an appointment letter and other documents explaining the details of your appointment. Please make sure the email address on your account is current.

The date of the beginning of the offer period is provided on the Key Dates page. Check your status page frequently after this date as you will only have 10 calendar days in which to accept an offer once it has been made. The offer may come from your first or second choice laboratory. You will only receive one offer during the application cycle. If you do not accept the offer, an additional or alternative offer will not be given.

Laboratory project advisors/mentors are not authorized to make appointment offers to you directly. Official notification must come first from DOE and then from the laboratory education office.

If I decline an offer from my first choice laboratory/facility will I be considered by the second choice laboratory/facility?

No. If you decline an offer you will not be extended another offer.

If I don't get selected this time, will my application be reviewed again next year automatically or do I have to reapply?

No. You must reapply.

If I request a certain field of study am I guaranteed to be placed in it if I am accepted into the program?

DOE tries to match the applicant’s interests with available projects and advisors at the DOE laboratories, but this is not always possible. Project advisors read applications carefully and look for students they think would benefit from being in their lab or project group.


What if I can only participate for a portion of the appointment period due to other commitments?

Participation requires a full-time commitment for the duration of the appointment period. You should plan to be at the DOE facility full time and avoid obligations that will interrupt your appointment. Internship appointments are for 10 weeks during the Summer Term and 16 weeks during the Fall and Spring Terms. Flexible start and end dates may be available to you; check with your laboratory of interest for more information.

Is there any flexibility in start and end dates?

Appointments are for 10 weeks in the summer and 16 weeks during the Fall and Spring terms. Although you must participate for the entire appointment period, you may have flexibility at some laboratories for start and end dates. Some DOE laboratories/facilities may have set dates. If you are extended an offer and you have restricted availability, check with the laboratory to see if it can accommodate you.

Do I get any vacation during the appointment period?

The program does not include vacation or sick leave. You are not expected to be present on days that your laboratory is closed due to a holiday. Most research advisors will help you design a schedule that is mutually agreeable.

How often do I receive a stipend payment and where does it come from?

You will receive your stipend check according to a pre-arranged schedule from the DOE laboratory/facility hosting and administering your appointment. It varies from host institution to host institution. Once you have accepted an offer, you will be given a pay schedule.

What is my tax liability for the stipend I am paid as a participant in this program?

DOE cannot give participants tax advice. All stipends paid to you are reported to the Internal Revenue. Some laboratories do not withhold taxes from these payments; participants at these labs should give consideration to filing Form 1040-ES on a quarterly basis and paying estimated income taxes in order to avoid late payment penalties. Participants should consult a tax expert with their questions.

What kind of travel reimbursement will I receive?

Participants are reimbursed for one domestic round trip to the host laboratory (if permanent address is more than 50 miles from the host laboratory). Transportation expenses will be reimbursed on the basis of the most direct route. Travel by a private automobile will be reimbursed at the current government rate up to a maximum of $500.00 or the cost of the lowest commercial airfare, whichever is lower. Travel by air will be reimbursed at the cost of the lowest commercial airfare.

Where will I live?

It depends on the host DOE laboratory/facility. Some sites have housing already arranged or have onsite housing; at others you need to arrange it yourself (these sites generally provide information to help you.). The program generally provides either a housing allowance or pre-arranged housing. Housing allowances are taxable. In some cases, your housing situation may result in costs to you over and above the housing allowance. In some cases, students who live within 50 miles of the host site are not eligible for housing or housing allowances.

Can I receive undergraduate credit for my internship?

You will need to check with your university/college to see if your research experience qualifies for college credit. DOE and the laboratory/facility that administers your appointment can provide you with the appropriate documentation if your university/college does provide this option.

Does the program pay any tuition costs I might incur while participating if I am taking this for college credit?

No. Tuition and fees incurred during your participation in the program are not reimbursable.

By participating in this program, do I become an employee of the host laboratory/facility, or DOE?

This varies from host institution to host institution. At some laboratories/facilities you will be considered a temporary employee. At others you will be considered a program participant and will not enter into an employer/employee relationship with the host laboratory/facility, or DOE.

Do I have to prepare a report or give a presentation at the end of my appointment?

Yes, you will be asked to prepare a research report, in consultation with your research advisor. You will also be required to provide a poster or oral presentation. Host institutions will arrange poster sessions for students or require oral presentations at the end of the appointment.

What should I expect from the mentoring relationship at the laboratory?

Your research advisor should provide the following: on-going technical guidance and advice; appropriate materials, equipment, technical and clerical support, and office space for you to perform your research activities; and a professional and stimulating intellectual atmosphere.

Whom should I contact if I have problems which I have been unable to resolve on-line?

You can send your questions to DOE here.

What forms of government issued photo-identification do host institutions accept?

The 2005 REAL ID Act prohibits federal agencies from accepting noncompliant driver’s licenses as proof of identity for access to restricted (i.e., non-public access) areas of their facilities.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) provides current information on the acceptability of driver’s licenses (and ID cards) of all U.S. states and territories with respect to the REAL ID Act. Please see the following website:

Acceptable alternate forms of Photo-ID include:

  • U. S. passport or Passport Card
  • A military ID or other government issued photo-ID card


What is the source of funding for this program?

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Science provides the funding for this program.

Why is the DOE involved in education?

For over 60 years the Department of Energy has supported the education and training of scientists, engineers, and technology specialists to maintain the scientific and technical workforce needed to address the Department’s and Nation’s complex challenges in energy, national security, the environment, and discovery science.

How do I properly acknowledge WDTS support in publications or presentations?

To help maintain accountability and accuracy of its federally-mandated assessment and reporting functions, WDTS requires funded work to appropriately acknowledge its support in the presentations and publications resulting from its funding. When acknowledging WDTS support, please use the following statement - “This work was supported in part by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists (WDTS) under the Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internships (SULI) program.”