Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory

Delivering science and technology to protect our nation and promote world stability

Graduate Research Assistant Program

Point your career towards Los Alamos Lab: work with the best minds on the planet in an inclusive environment that is rich in intellectual vitality and opportunities for growth.


  • Program Manager
  • Scott Robbins
  • Student Programs
  • (505) 667-3639
  • Email
  • Program Coordinator
  • Emily Robinson
  • Student Programs
  • (505) 665-0964
  • Email

Gain relevant work experience while pursuing a graduate degree

The Graduate Research Assistant Program (GRA) is a year-round internship program that provides students with relevant research experience while they are pursuing a graduate degree. This educational program is designed to complement the students' education with work experience related to their chosen field of study. In some cases, students can arrange to conduct masters or doctoral thesis research at the Lab. There are appointments in both the technical and professional fields.

Information for prospective students

Eligibility requirements

  • Provide documentation of acceptance into a graduate program.
  • Enroll in and successfully complete a minimum of 6 graduate credit hours per semester. All students MUST remain enrolled at their university while working at the Lab during the academic year. NOTE: Students must provide the program coordinator with current, official transcripts annually to remain eligible. See the Annual Transcript Review section for additional information.
  • Have and maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.2 on 4.0 scale. NOTE: Students must provide the program coordinator with current, official transcripts annually to remain eligible. See the Annual Transcript Review section for additional information.
  • Pass a pre-employment drug test.

How to apply

To apply, you will need to complete an online application in iRecruitment at jobs.lanl.gov. Students are required to upload a cover letter, resume, and transcript. For step-by-step instructions visit How to Apply and read the Student opportunities section. If you have problems with the online application, visit Application Process Issues for assistance.

Selection process

Students are selected on the basis of field of study, grade point average, and research interests. Most mentors select students by searching the resume database in iRecruitment. We recommend you explore the Lab's website and locate projects/programs/research that interests you and aligns with your educational goals. You may contact individuals listed on these webpages and inquire about potential student internships and inform them of your interests. You may also review the Student Symposium Abstracts Book to identify prospective mentors.

Many students are selected for internships after networking with Lab employees. Some of our mentors will advertise specific opportunities but most search iRecruitment when they are in need of a student.

Hiring process

  1. The student will complete paperwork specified by the mentor for the hiring package.
  2. The mentor will submit a hiring package to Human Resources (HR) for approval.
  3. Upon approval, an official offer letter is emailed to the student.
  4. The student reviews and accepts the offer, and returns the signed offer letter to HR within two weeks of receiving the letter.
  5. Once the signed offer letter is returned to HR, the student schedules a drug test. When a negative test result is obtained, HR will confirm a start date and the student will be scheduled for new hire orientation. NOTE: Students should not report to their worksite until they have gone through the hiring and orientation process.

Post-Master’s category

The Post-Master's category of the GRA program offers graduate students the opportunity to participate in the GRA program after receiving a master's degree. This category applies to those students who have been awarded a master's degree within the past three years but have not yet been accepted into another master's program or a PhD program. Post-Master's students may remain in this category for up to two years.

To remain in the GRA program after the two-year maximum in the post master's category, students must be accepted and enrolled in another graduate program (master's or PhD).

Mandatory policies for student interns 

Annual Transcript & Salary Review Process

This process enables the Student Programs Office to ensure year-round and returning students continue to meet our eligibility requirements and are progressing in their academic programs. It also ensures that students are being compensated in accordance with their level of academic attainment. Student appointments will only be extended if they have complied with the review process, met or exceeded our eligibility requirements, and academic progression is shown. This review process only applies to students pursuing a bachelors or graduate degree. This does NOT apply to High School interns, any student in a post appointment, or new summer hires. 

Official transcripts must be sent to:                                  

Emily Robinson

P.O. Box MS T001

Los Alamos, NM 87545

Or via email to errobinson@lanl.gov

If a student fails to submit an official academic transcript by the below deadlines, they will be subject to termination. It is the responsibility of the mentor to communicate these important deadlines to students who are away at their universities. A memo will be sent to mentors and year-round students notifying them of the review process every December. See the transcript review schedule below:

Semester System Student Deadline: February 28th of every year

Quarter System Student Deadline: April 20th of every year

GRA Program time limit policies

If you have a BS/BA degree:

  • 4 years for students pursuing MS degree
  • 7 years for students pursuing PhD
  • 7 years for students pursuing MS and PhD

If you have an MS degree:

  • 2 years for students pursuing 2nd MS degree
  • 4 years for students pursuing PhD
  • 6 years for students pursuing new field MS and PhD degree

If you have received a PhD:

  • Individuals may remain in the GRA program for up to three months after receiving a PhD

Work schedule policies

9/80 work schedule
Summer students, post baccalaureate, post masters, and GRA students working on a thesis or dissertation are eligible to participate in the 9/80 work schedule. The student must have permission from the mentor to work this schedule, and it must be requested and approved through the payroll system.

Summer students
All students are eligible to work full-time (40 hours a week or the 9/80 schedule) during the summer months. In addition, students are not required to be enrolled in courses over the summer.

Year-round students
Students participating in some special undergraduate programs, post baccalaureate appointments, post-master's appointments, and GRA students working on a thesis or dissertation are excluded from the 30-hour per week work restriction.

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