The program of study (POS) provides academic knowledge necessary for future success in the stewardship sciences. The fellowship requires a university POS — approved by the academic department — that provides a solid background in high energy density physics, nuclear science or materials under extreme conditions. The major field must fall in one of these categories and the POS must demonstrate both depth and breadth by including courses in the physical, engineering, mathematical or computer sciences. 

Timely POS completion is an explicit commitment students and their advisors accept. The POS must be completed before the fellowship's third year.

Once a student is accepted into the fellowship, POS changes may be made only with advance consent from the program's advisory committee.