Argonne National Laboratory

Research Aide FAQ

Application and Eligibility

Are non-U.S. citizens eligible?

Yes, however, if you receive an offer to participate, you must be able to obrain Curricular Practical Training (CPT) approval on your 1-20 from your campus foreign student advisor and provide a copy to Argonne at least 10 days before you can begin working. 

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.

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.

Can I transfer my previous recommendations to my new application?

No, letters of recommendations cannot be transferred from previous applications.

Who should I get to write my letters of recommendation?

Letters of recommendation should be requested from individuals familiar with your academic achievements and your academic or professional accomplishments. College faculty members who teach science, technology, engineering, or mathematics courses are the best references, but you may also use lab assistants, teaching assistants, or employers (only if they are in a research setting).

Am I required to submit transcripts?

No, transcripts are not required

Can I get in touch with scientists in areas I've chosen? Is this advisable?

Yes. As you explore Argonne's websites, you may identify scientists, programs, or divisions you would like to contact. The more you know about a group, the better chance you have of making a choice appropriate to your interests and skills. HOWEVER, potential research advisors are NOT authorized to offer you an appointment. If you are selected you must receive an official letter from the Educational Programs at Argonne.

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

No, it is your responsibility to ensure that your application is complete and received before the deadline.

Selection Process

How does the selection process work?

To be considered, an applicant must meet all eligibility criteria and have submitted an application comprising ·of all required materials. Prior to the merit assessment and evaluation, an initial review of all applications will be conducted to verify applicant eligibility and ensure all the required application materials have been provided. Applications will then be subject to a merit review process and selection process. From the highly reviewed applications, research advisors at the host laboratories select those applicants whose skills, knowledge, and research interests are best aligned with the research projects available to interns for the pending 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 recommendations letters; expressed scientific interests; and the applicant's background, experience, accomplishments, and interests as they relate to the research programs at the host laboratories.

What are my chances of getting selected?

The chances of being selected depend on many factors: the total number of applications submitted, the number of applications requesting the same projects, the number of available opportunities at and the availability of funds. These factors vary each year so it is not possible to determine an
individual's chances of being selected for any given time period.

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

Students who are selected will be notified by e-mail. The e-mail will include the official offer package providing details of the project, salary, travel reimbursement and more.

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

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?

Argonne tries to match to the extent possible applicant's research interests with available research projects and research advisors, but this is not always possible. Please keep in mind that researchers read your applications carefully and look for students who they think would benefit from being in their lab.


Am I required to pass a drug test?

Yes. After you accept your offer, you will receive notification on the process of drug testing. The testing is paid for by Argonne. 

Please note: Use of Marijuana/Cannabis or its derivatives if prescribed is legal in some states in the United States and is legally used recreationally in some other countries. Having this drug in your system is NOT legal at United States Federal Contractor sites such as Argonne National Laboratory.

Am I required to pass a background check?

Yes, you will be required to pass a background check before the start date of your appointment will be determined.

Do I get any vacation during the appointment period?

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

How often do I receive my wages?

Students are paid every two weeks. However, you will not receive your first paycheck until 4 weeks after the start of your appointment.