Graduate Programs Offer UT-ORNL Resources, Capabilities

The University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory came together in 1998 to create the first university-national lab doctoral program: Genome Science and Technology. Today, the UT-Oak Ridge Innovation Institute’s Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education unites UT and ORNL resources and capabilities for its three doctoral degrees at UT Knoxville: Genome Science and Technology (GST), Energy Science and Engineering (ESE) and Data Science and Engineering (DSE).  

Through this unique partnership, students are mentored by world-renowned scientists in their fields, conduct their own groundbreaking research and engage in outreach activities that allow them to explore the many ways their expertise can be used in policymaking and entrepreneurship.

Energy Science & Engineering

ESE PhD students focus their research on issues critical to the environment and some of the important ways we interact with it. Areas resonate with U.S. Department of Energy priorities and industry needs, with a tailored integration of graduate courses across disciplines to provide deep expertise in a chosen specialty. Areas of study include electric and chemical storage systems, grid storage, mobility and electric vehicles.

Data Science & Engineering

The DSE PhD program partners with ORNL, home of the world’s fastest supercomputer;  UT Health Science Center in Memphis and UT Chattanooga to provide graduate researchers with some of the most powerful computing and data science platforms available anywhere in the world. DSE students in UT-ORII’s Bredesen Center use data to solve national and global-level problems in manufacturing, health and biological sciences, materials science, national security, transportation science, urban systems science and environmental and climate science.

Genome Science & Technology

GST offers both a PhD and master’s program for students to develop a firm foundation in life sciences, learn quantitative analytical techniques and gain the hands-on skills needed to answer some of the world’s most complex biological questions. The program is enriched by UT and ORNL’s two distinct research environments. 


Access to ORNL’s global-leading scientific resources

Mentoring by world-renowned UT and ORNL scientists

Interdisciplinary, customizable curriculum

Tuition waivers, health insurance and competitive stipends

“As a UT-ORII PhD student, I had the opportunity to work side-by-side with top researchers in my field who were pushing the boundaries of science. That research experience, combined with the Bredesen Centers’ focus on entrepreneurship and policy, is something that I couldn’t have gotten at any other school in the entire world and prepared me to be a future leader in science and in my field.”

Dustin Blake Gilmer
PhD – 2022 Bredesen Center Graduate