U.S. Particle Accelerator School


The U.S. Particle Accelerator School is a national graduate program that provides graduate-level training and workforce development in the science of particle beams and their associated accelerator technologies that are not otherwise available to the scientific and engineering communities. Our courses are intensive learning experiences. They allow students to learn complicated and difficult material in a reasonably short time period. The USPAS also promotes the development and publication of textbooks in accelerator science and technology.

Our program has evolved from a series of symposium-style schools to the academically rigorous university-style schools that have been conducted since 1987.  USPAS sessions offer both graduate- and undergraduate-level courses hosted by major U.S. research universities.  Each host university vets all course offerings, grants academic credit and maintains student transcripts.

The USPAS has developed a diverse and continually varying curriculum of courses ranging from fundamentals of accelerator science to advanced physics and engineering topics (course materials can be seen here). Our curriculum is meant not only to meet the needs of the increasing number of national laboratories interested in beams and accelerators but also to educate people to be able to cultivate the many technological opportunities bound to arise in the coming decade in the national laboratories as well as in the industrial, medical and university laboratories across the country.  Through this framework, universities across the nation can offer our high-quality advanced technology courses.

USPAS sessions are held twice a year (in June and in January) and are two weeks in duration. By successfully completing the course requirements which include lectures, daily problem sets and examinations, eligible students can earn host university credit. Typically, our minimum prerequisites are classical mechanics and electromagnetism at the junior or senior undergraduate level. However, specific prerequisites are listed in each course description.

Students pay a registration fee (included in this fee are two meals per day, course materials and course fees), housing costs and travel expenses. We offer limited financial support to both undergraduate and graduate students, interested parties should contact us at uspas@fnal.gov.

We have welcomed students from all corners of the world, from universities, laboratories, private companies, government and the military. Some of our students have been in the field for many years and are interested in a "refresher" course, while others are full-time students looking for additional classes to add to their education.

Our faculty are chosen from national laboratories, universities and private industry. The result is a large pool of prospective instructors with a rich variety of forefront knowledge and methods. We can therefore cover in our curriculum the broad spectrum of material needed to adequately represent the diverse, multi-disciplinary field of beam physics and accelerator technology.

More information about the USPAS and its programs can be found under Frequently Asked Questions.


The USPAS acts as a three-way partnership: 1) the USPAS Director and Office at Fermilab perform and coordinate all business and programmatic functions and activities of the School, 2) the USPAS Collaboration provides in-kind support of USPAS programs by covering all costs of their staff and faculty who teach at USPAS sessions, and 3) the major research universities nationwide that comprise the pool from which the USPAS selects hosts for its semi-annual programs.

The USPAS Collaboration is comprised of seven national laboratories of the Office of Science of the Department of Energy, one national laboratory of the National Nuclear Security Agency of DOE, and two National Science Foundation university laboratories.  The USPAS Director acts as the Convener and Executive Officer of the Collaboration.

The Collaboration provides in-depth support to the USPAS Director through its representatives on the Director's Advisory Council. At the request of the DOE Office of Science, institutional representatives are selected by the Laboratory Director of his/her respective member laboratory or NSF center.

USPAS Collaboration
Argonne National Laboratory
Brookhaven National Laboratory
Cornell University
Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Los Alamos National Laboratory
Michigan State University
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility