Graduate Research

NSCL is the premier rare-isotope accelerator facility in the U.S. It is also a premier training ground for graduate students and its graduate program is ranked #1 by U.S. News & World Report.  By working with some of the world’s top faculty and staff in experimental and theoretical nuclear physics and astrophysics, as well as in accelerator physics and engineering, graduate students at NSCL are prepared for outstanding careers in research, education and industry. 

NSCL is unique: a national laboratory based on a university campus. Graduate students from the Physics & Astronomy and Chemistry departments, as well as from the College of Engineering conduct research in experimental, theoretical and astrophysical nuclear physics, as well as in accelerator physics and applied research. 

MSU is also the site for the Facility for Rare Isotope Beam (FRIB), a new national user facility for nuclear science, funded by the Department of Energy Office of Science (DOE-SC), Michigan State University (MSU), and the State of Michigan. While FRIB is under construction, NSCL continues to operate with rare-isotope beams provided by the Coupled Cyclotron Facility and to develop novel experimental equipment that enable cutting-edge science now, and in the future with FRIB. Strong programs in theoretical nuclear physics and astrophysics guide the experimental program.  Consequently, a wide variety of graduate research projects are available.  Essential to a doctoral degree is to develop and then demonstrate the ability to conduct vital, independent research. The strong interaction between the experimental and theoretical scientists, and the frequent visitors and users of the facility, create an open and academically stimulating atmosphere.

With an advanced degree related to nuclear physics, you can teach or conduct research at a university or in industry, or get into law, policy making, or financial business. After 40 years, we have an alumni network that includes people in leading positions all over the world. Faculty members, researchers, leaders in industry and executives with major corporations can all be found in this group. Not only can they help you make a decision on your future career path, they can help you get you there.

MSU is considered one of the most beautiful university campuses in the nation. The Red Cedar River flows through it, connecting the traditional ivy-covered brick buildings of the original campus with the newer facilities, such as the state-of-the-art science building, the athletic complex, the medical and law colleges, and the Wharton Center for the Performing Arts. At the heart of the campus—and of MSU’s land grant heritage—is a magnificent 140-year-old horticultural garden, its park-like beauty setting the tone for all landscaping throughout the campus. In combination with the outstanding research opportunities, it is no wonder that researchers from all over the world come to MSU to perform research, making the campus a diverse community with people from a wide range of ethnic, racial, political and religious backgrounds.

Further details about the research performed by faculty at NSCL can be found in the NSCL graduate student brochure. You can also contact the NSCL Associate Director for Education, Artemis Spyrou at

Ready to Apply? Please visit the following application sites:

We encourage you to take the GRE in late fall and to apply early (before the end December). We start making offers for assistantships in January and continue until our positions are filled, but no later than April 15. Especially qualified incoming graduate students are automatically considered for additional fellowships if the application is complete by January 1.

You are welcome to contact the NSCL faculty person in charge of graduate student recruiting directly by e-mail or phone: Professor Artemis Spyrou (517-908-7141 )for Physics,  and Professor Sean Liddick (517-908-7690) for Chemistry.

Accepted applicants residing in North America will be invited to visit NSCL. You will have a chance to see the exciting research atmosphere at NSCL and get to know our faculty, graduate students and staff.