A Collaborative National Center for Fusion & Plasma Research


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What do I need to qualify for the NUF program at PPPL?

A: Students in engineering, mathematics, computer science, physics, or other related fields, who are U.S. Citizens and are matriculated at a U.S. college or university, are invited to apply. Students should have taken at least one course in electricity and magnetism beyond introductory physics.

Q: If I am a graduating senior, or have already graduated by the time the NUF program starts, am I still eligible to apply?

A: No. This program is intended primarily for students completing their junior year, but highly motivated students completing their sophomore year are eligible. 

Q: My school doesn't end in time for the start date. Can I start late?

A: No. An important part of the program is the introductory course in plasma physics taught during the first week.  You will find a copy of a sample agenda at the end of this page.

Q: Do I have to send official transcripts, or can I send unofficial transcripts?

A: You will upload your official transcript with your application; there is no need to mail your transcript to us.

Q: I don't have health insurance. Can I participate if I get health insurance by the start of the program?

A: Yes. You must have current health insurance coverage while participating in the program.

Q: How much will I get paid?

A: Summer undergraduate interns will receive $500/week for 10 weeks of research.

Q: When do I get paid?

A:  You will receive 50% of your stipend a few weeks before the program begins and you will receive the other 50% a week before the program concludes. 

Q: Can I get direct deposit?

A: No. You are not a PPPL employee and not entitled to receive direct deposit.

Q: Does the program pay for food?

A: The program will provide three meals a day during the first week ONLY. From the second week of the program until the conclusion, you are responsible for your meals.

Q: Is there a dress code?

A: The Lab is a fairly casual atmosphere; often jeans are the norm. You will need closed-toe shoes, this is a must. You can contact your mentor for suggestions specific to your work site. There is one public event (a poster session) for which you will need business attire (Gentlemen should plan to wear shirt & tie, slacks and dress shoes. Ladies should plan to wear skirt-suit or dress blouse and dress pants and dress shoes).

Q: What are the work hours during my 10-week internship?

A: You are required to work 40 hours per-week, just like any full-time job. While regular work hours at the lab are 9AM to 5PM, you should speak to your mentor about the flexibilty of your hours (FYI-the lab is open from 7AM to 7PM). Please note that you will not have access to the lab before 7AM and should be done for the day by 7PM. 

Q: Do I have to pay taxes on the educational stipend I receive while participating in a PPPL internship?

A: PPPL will issue W9 form to undergraduate internship participants. PPPL is not allowed to give tax advice, please consult a tax professional.

Q: I am a Permanent Resident of the United States. Am I required to provide documentation?

A: Yes, if accepted into the program, you will be required to provide a copy of your Permanent Resident status during badging.

Q:  What are the age requirements to be eligible to participate?

A:  Participants must be 18 years of age by the start of the program.

Q: Can I miss a couple of days during the program for vacation?

A: No, participants are required to attend the entire program and not take any time off.

Q: Do I need to arrange my own travel?

A: No, PPPL's travel department will arrange and pre-pay for flights/train/bus and reimburse for mileage (within Department of Energy Travel Guidelines).

Q: What are the DOE’s travel guidelines?

A: Travel Guidelines: UP TO $1,000, will be paid for coach airfare (within the United States) from home or school to PPPL/Princeton, PPPL/Princeton to research site (if applicable) and from PPPL/Princeton to home or school. DOE regulations require that we use the lowest available airfare. Travel by car will be paid at a rate of $0.56/mile, not to exceed the cost of equivalent airfare. 

Q: Do I need to arrange my own housing?

A: No. The Science Education Department Program Administrator will make all housing arrangements at PPPL (Princeton University dorms) as well as housing for those that will conduct their research off-site (another Lab or university). Housing information will be sent a week prior to your arrival at Princeton. The program will also cover the costs of housing. 

Q: Will I be allowed to park on-site?

A: Yes, parking permits will be issued to participants. Once you arrive on Princeton University's main campus and check-in, you will be issued a parking permit, if you chose to drive your personal vehicle. Conference Services will instruct you where you may park. However, on the first week of the program, you must arrive by 8:00 AM daily and cannot leave until late in the day and you will have to take a Lab shuttle. If you will remain at PPPL during the summer and you have your vehicle, you will notify security at the time of your badging and they will issue you a parking decal which allows you to park onsite.

Q: What is the mailing address at PPPL that I may use to receive my mail/packages?

A: You may have your mail sent to:


NUF (your name)


PO Box 451

Princeton, NJ 08543



NUF (your name)


100 Stellarator Road

Science Education

Princeton, NJ 08543 (Fed-Ex or UPS)

Q.  I need a letter of recommendation; can the Science Education staff write one for me?

A.  No. Letters of recommendation are to be written by the mentor, not the Science Education staff.

Don't see your question here? Please contact Deedee Ortiz at dortiz@pppl.gov.

Associated Files: 

U.S. Department of Energy
Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory managed by Princeton University.

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Princeton University
Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory
P.O. Box 451
Princeton, NJ 08543-0451
GPS: 100 Stellarator Road
Princeton, NJ, 08540
(609) 243-2000