RFP Fellowship Obligations


During the Fellowship period, Fellows are expected to be registered and enrolled as full-time graduate students and must perform study and research at their university within the objectives of the Fellowship program. During the summer months, Fellows conduct relevant research, enroll in summer classes, complete a practicum assignment, or perform a combination of any of these activities.

Refer to the Practicum section for a description of these assignments.

Terms of Appointment

Each Fellow must agree to the terms and conditions delineated in the letter of appointment and Terms of Appointment document including provisions for obtaining and maintaining a security clearance. A Fellow must agree that at the end of the Fellowship appointment period, he or she will become employed by the company operating the Naval Nuclear Laboratory at either the Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory or Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory. The required employment period will be one month for every two months of Fellowship support with a minimum obligation of one year. The employment obligation will be rounded to the nearest whole month.  Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory is located near Albany, New York and Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory is located near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Fellows must inform SCUREF of changes in address and must complete any evaluation/assessment questionnaires for Fellowship information and/or evaluation.

Annual Renewal of Fellowship

Each Fellowship appointment is renewed annually through a renewal application process. Each renewal is based upon the Fellow’s maintaining excellent performance and professionalism including, but not limited to, passing examinations in pursuit of a doctoral degree required by their academic department, progressing research toward completion of a doctorate degree, and otherwise maintaining eligibility for a doctoral degree (for example, maintaining necessary grade point average and good standing with their academic department and university).  Renewal forms along with supporting references and current official transcripts must be submitted to the USCA Special Programs, Charleston Office by January 31st of each year.  Obtaining a DOE security clearance is required prior to renewal.  All awards and renewals are subject to the continuing availability of funding.

Security Clearance

At the beginning of the Fellowship appointment, all Rickover Fellows will be required to complete applications for an “L” clearance with the DOE. This clearance will allow the Rickover Fellow to interact more freely with Naval Nuclear Laboratory engineering and scientific staff and to become a part of the Naval Reactors nuclear propulsion community. In most cases, it will take approximately six months for a Rickover Fellow to receive clearance. If clearance is not granted within one year of application or if the Fellow is notified that clearance processing cannot be completed, Fellowship support may be discontinued prior to the end of the current appointment year. No renewal appointments will be granted to Rickover Fellows who are not able to obtain a security clearance. It is expected that Fellows will maintain their security clearance for the duration of their appointment.


Rickover Fellows are required to participate in at least two practica for at least three months each at a Naval Nuclear Laboratory site to gain applied experience. As described above, a DOE security clearance must be obtained prior to the first practicum and maintained throughout the duration of the Fellowship. The first practicum is normally held during the summer at the end of the first year of the Fellowship. The practicum will be performed at the at either the Knolls or Bettis Naval Nuclear Laboratory site. Naval Nuclear Laboratory individuals who should be contacted regarding practicum assignments are listed at the end of this booklet.  Prior internships or similar appointments to DOE facilities may NOT be substituted for the practicum requirement associated with this Fellowship.

In addition, a required a physical exam, including drug screening, will be conducted at the Laboratory where the practicum will be performed.  Travel expenses for travel to complete the physical exam will be reimbursed per the GSA guidelines.

Required Approvals of Research Information

Research sponsored by the Rickover Fellowship Program in Nuclear Engineering can be published after appropriate review and approval.  Each Fellow is required to keep a notebook describing accomplishments made at school and while on practicum assignment at one of the two Naval Nuclear Laboratory sites.  The notebook’s content will be reviewed and approved at the Laboratory. External public releases such as, but not limited to, journal publications, conference proceedings/posters, and thesis documents are coordinated through the Laboratory advisor.  Each Fellow will work with their Laboratory advisor to submit information for formal review and approval no less than 25 working days prior to the required date of submission (e.g., conference submission deadline, defense date, or submission for graduation).  The Laboratory advisor will assist the Fellow in obtaining required approvals.

Publication Acknowledgment

DOE and SCUREF encourage Fellows to publish reports and articles in scientific and engineering journals. All publications must receive prior approval from the Naval Nuclear Laboratory.  The publication must show the joint affiliation of the Fellow with the university and, if appropriate, with the laboratory in which the research was conducted, and should acknowledge Fellowship support.  Fellowship support should be acknowledged in the following manner:

This research was performed under appointment to the Rickover Fellowship Program in Nuclear Engineering sponsored by Naval Reactors Division of the U.S. Department of Energy.

Thesis Research

Rickover fellows must perform their doctoral thesis research in one of the Rickover Fellowship Qualified Academic Areas, or in a related field with the approval of SCUREF.  A Naval Nuclear Laboratory scientific staff member is generally assigned to the fellow’s graduate committee by the fellow’s university. All thesis topics must be unclassified.