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 2017 Fall SULI Term is May 31, 2017, 5:00 PM ET.

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 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. However, graduating or recent graduates are eligible to apply as “graduating seniors” under the following two circumstances: (1) you have not yet started a program of graduate study and you will not matriculate as a graduate student prior to completing your SULI term and (2) the time period between receiving your undergraduate degree and starting your SULI term is less than one year.

Consider the following example:

  • If you graduated in May 2014 you are not be eligible to apply to the 2015 Summer SULI Term.

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?

No, you must have completed one year as a matriculated student at the time of application. That is, you must have been enrolled for at least one year as a matriculated undergraduate student at the time of applying. Undergraduate course credits obtained prior to enrollment cannot be substituted.

I’m enrolled in my first year as an undergraduate student, but because of undergraduate courses and AP credits prior to enrolling my university has me listed as a sophomore. Am I eligible to apply?

No, you must have completed one year as a matriculated student at the time of application. That is, you must have been enrolled for at least one year as a matriculated undergraduate student in a degree program at the time of applying. Undergraduate course credits obtained prior to 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 undergraduate 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 undergraduate 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?

No, the essay questions have changed in the new application so you will need to draft new essays.

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?

No, once you click on the “Submit Application” button to submit your application you cannot change the application content. You can still update your personal contact information and change recommenders or send reminders to recommenders, but that’s it.

Do my recommendations need to be submitted by the application deadline?

Yes, the two required recommendations must be submitted electronically by the application deadline. Recommenders must submit their form through the online system, recommendations in any other form 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 website form 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.

Who should I get to write my l recommendations?

Recommendations 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 former high school teachers, lab assistants, teaching assistants, or employers (especially if they are in a research setting). Family members are not recommended unless you have had a formal working relationship with them.

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.

How do I enter my cumulative GPA?

Beginning with the 2015 Summer Term, the online application system will automatically calculate your cumulative GPA using information you enter directly from your transcript(s). The total number of accredited undergraduate institutions attended as a matriculating student must be entered. Based on this entry, the system will require entry of semester hour and quality point information for each attended institution. Additionally, a transcript for each listed institution must be uploaded into the application system.

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, to be eligible, applicants are required to provide transcripts for every college or university that they have listed as attended on their DOE SULI application. This must be the most recent transcript(s) available at the time of application. You must upload a “.pdf” copy of all undergraduate official/unofficial transcripts to the online application system. See the information on submitting transcripts on the How to Apply page.

Can I submit unofficial transcripts?

There are two forms of unofficial transcripts that 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 is unofficial) and scanned and social security numbers and date of birth blackened out prior to uploading into the application system, or
  2. An unofficial transcript provided electronically to you directly from your university/college either via a website or email and is marked “unofficial.”

PDF copies of transcripts uploaded into the system must be clearly legible, must be labeled with your name and the name of the university/college, must clearly show all courses and course grades and cumulative GPA, and must have your social security number and date of birth blackened out. Transcripts that do not clearly identify the applicant’s name and institution or are not legible will be considered invalid.

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, undergraduate institution, 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 laboratories/facilities based on a drop-down list of DOE laboratories/facilities that provide internship opportunities for the SULI Term to which you are applying. The WDTS website contains information on currently participating DOE laboratories/facilities and the scientific research programs carried out at those sites.

You will also find links to home pages of each participating laboratory/facility. You will need to do your own homework on which laboratories/facilities and research areas interest you most. Choose a laboratory based on the type of research and the subject matter that interests you. If you are interested in biology, for example, choose a site that has research projects in that discipline. Some laboratories/facilites only participate in the Summer Term and 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 a first and second choice laboratory. It is to your benefit to make two different laboratory/facility 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, programs, or divisions you would like to contact. The more you know about a laboratory/facility, the better chance you have of making a laboratory 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 DOE WDTS online application system. This notification will be followed by an official offer letter from the laboratory/facility 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 requirement elements have been provided.


How does the selection process work?

To be considered, an applicant must meet all eligibility criteria and have submitted an application comprising 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 SULI 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 internships.

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 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 determine an individual’s chance of being selected for any given application cycle. WDTS plans to support over 700 internships across all of the DOE National Laboratories in 2013.

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 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/Facility’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 for when the offer period begins is provided on the Key Dates page.

Check your status page frequently 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.
Research 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, to the extent possible, the applicant’s research interests with available research projects and research advisors at the DOE Laboratories or Facilities, but this is not always possible. Please also keep in mind that research advisors read your applications carefully and look for students who they think would benefit from being in their lab.


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. Summer appointments are for 10 weeks and Spring and Fall appointments are for 16 weeks.

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?

You will be reimbursed for inbound and outbound travel between your home or school and the appointment site, if the distance is more than 50 miles one way. Reimbursements are made according to the standard travel policy of the DOE laboratory/facility administering your appointment. In general, these polices require that transportation expenses be reimbursed on the basis of the most direct route, that travel by a private automobile is reimbursed at the current government rate up to a maximum of $500.00 or the cost of the lowest commercial airfare, whichever is lower, and that travel by air is 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 non-REAL-ID Act compliant 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) has determined that regular driver’s licenses (and ID cards) from the following jurisdictions are not acceptable (current as of October, 15, 2014):

  • American Samoa, Arizona, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, New York, Oklahoma, Washington

Acceptable alternate forms of Photo-ID include:

  • U. S. Passport or Passport Card
  • An Enhanced Driver’s License or Enhanced ID-Card issued by the states of Minnesota, New York, or Washington
  • A military ID or other government issued Photo-ID card

For the latest information on the REAL ID act, including states currently issuing non-compliant ID documents, please visit:


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 Internship (SULI) program.”

Last modified: 3/20/2017 8:01:51 AM