Working at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory | Glassdoor

Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory Overview

Laurel, MD
5001 to 10000 employees
Nonprofit Organization
Aerospace & Defense
$1 to $2 billion (USD) per year
The Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) is a university-affiliated research center (UARC). APL solves complex research, engineering, and analytical problems that present critical challenges to our nation.

Mission: The Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) is a university-affiliated research center (UARC). APL solves complex research, engineering, and analytical problems that present critical challenges to our nation. ... Read more

Company Updates

  • We're seeking communications strategists to help our sectors, mission areas, and departments at Johns Hopkins APL tell their unique stories to both internal and external audiences. A newly-created position at the Lab, strategists will serve as trusted advisors to our technical staff and collaborate with our creative team to tell captivating stories and create compelling content.

  • We are seeking engineers, researchers, and experts in hypersonics to join our team at APL. You will be joining a hardworking team of scientists and engineers with a broad range of proficiencies that is committed to developing advanced prototypes. Our team is passionate about changing what is possible in these extreme environments. We strive to foster a collaborative environment with world-class expertise that achieves game-changing impact. Our APL team values integrity and innovative ideas that will ensure our nation’s preeminence in the 21st century.

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Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory – Why Work With Us?

Who we are

The Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) is a not-for-profit center for engineering and research and development. APL is a division of one of the world's premier research universities, Johns Hopkins University. As a University Affiliated Research Center, we serve as a liaison between government and industry—a trusted, impartial, and noncompetitive technical agent.  

What we do

APL solves complex research, engineering, and analytical problems that present critical challenges to our nation. That's how we decide what work we will pursue, and it’s how we've chosen to benchmark our success. APL works on more than 600 programs serving the Navy, Air Force, Army, NASA, and numerous other government agencies. The expertise we bring includes highly qualified and technically diverse teams with hands-on operational knowledge of the military and security environments. 

APL promotes work-life balance, health and financial peace of mind, and life-long learning with our generous package of employee benefits. 

Flexibility to fit your schedule

Our staff members enjoy flexible working hours and, when possible, remote work. Paid leave is offered for major holidays, up to seven sick days, and one personal day during the year. Paid leave is also available for military leave, jury duty, continuing education, and bereavement. Paid vacation and annual carryover is based on years of employment and staff level.

Education assistance for you and your family

APL encourages staff members to further their education. Our Part-Time Study Program pays tuition and fees for approved courses, through either prepayment or reimbursement, up to 24 credit hours per year. Dependent children of staff members (with at least 5 years of service at APL) are eligible to apply for college tuition scholarship grants up to $10,500 per academic year. 

The importance of a secure future

APL contributes up to 10.5% of staff members' pay to their retirement plans. This includes an APL contribution equal to 2.5% of pay, plus matching contributions of $2 for every $1 of staff member contributions, up to a maximum APL contribution of 8% of pay. Staff members become eligible for APL's contriubtions after one year of employment and are immediately 100% vested.

APL has you covered

APL offers medical, vision, prescription, and dental insurance to staff members and their families, including same-sex domestic partners. Staff members also enjoy life insurance, legal services, and disability benefit options.

For more information about APL's benefits, click here

College internships at APL

Our summer internship program offers students practical work experience and an introduction to APL. Students spend the summer working with APL scientists and engineers, conducting research, developing leadership skills, and growing professionally.

This summer, more than 350 interns from 100+ colleges interned at APL. These interns ranged from freshmen to Ph.D. level, worked on projects across APL, and had the opportunity to network throughout the summer at seminars, social events, and workshops.

Typical internship assignments may include:

  • Software Design and Development
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Testing and Evaluation
  • Hardware Design
  • Data/Systems Design
  • Scientific Research

Ready to apply? Click here

Commitment to STEM

We are committed to inspiring, engaging and preparing the next generation of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Through APL’s STEM programs, students from elementary to high school are able to build interest, develop skills, and explore real-world applications of what they are learning.

APL's staff members are passionate about their work, and many seek opportunities to engage their technical interests beyond APL’s missions. With STEM programs that reach over 3,000 students annually, our staff members are able to exercise their passions and expertise, while inspiring students and promoting the future of STEM.

STEM outreach and volunteer opportunities include…

  • Judging a science fair or competition. Regional and statewide STEM competitions rely on the technical expertise and objectivity APL’s staff members bring as judges. Our staff members have opportunities to evaluate student projects, review technical papers, and judge competitions.
  • Volunteering at a STEM event. Our MESA Program, which advocates for STEM education, equity, and access in Maryland, is involved with numerous events and programs for students grades 3-12. APL staff members can volunteer as event facilitators, team leaders, and logistics assistants.
  • Teaching a course. APL’s STEM Academy supports students in middle and high school by building skills that will help them be successful in their STEM pursuits. Our staff members help teach STEM Academy courses in MATLAB, Python, and Critical Thinking.
  • Mentoring a high school student. Each year, our ASPIRE High School Internship Program brings more than 200 high school juniors and seniors to APL, providing opportunities to work with APL staff mentors on technical projects.  
  • Preparing a student for college. APL’s College Prep Program works to help students who do not have anyone in their lives to mentor them through the college application process. APL staff members work with students on essay writing, SAT Prep and how to succeed once they get to college.

APL takes pride in our commitment to STEM and in our staff members’ dedication to making a difference in the lives of students. Want to learn more about APL’s STEM programs? Click here.

It’s going to take all of us to create the unimaginable

At APL, we are cultivating an environment where brilliant minds of all backgrounds come together to build on each other’s ideas and collaborate as inclusive teams. 
Fundamental to the success of our envisioned future is an environment that encourages creativity, is rich in diversity of thought, and promotes inclusion of new ideas. This kind of environment can only exist if APL is a place where race, gender, religion, or other such characteristics do not define talent, and where our staff are distinguished by their diversity.
One of the ways we embrace diversity and cultivate an inclusive environment is through our culture of employee clubs and resource groups. From the Asian American Heritage Club to our Allies in the Workplace group, APL's self-organizing clubs welcome and encourage participation by all staff members. Learn more about our clubs and resource groups here

Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory Reviews

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    Current Employee - Associate Professional Staff in Laurel, MD
    Current Employee - Associate Professional Staff in Laurel, MD
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    I have been working at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory full-time (Less than a year)


    Dynamic atmosphere, constant but relaxed work life, and great benefits. Extremely collaborative environment


    Parking, building and office space is compact

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Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory Photos

Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory photo of: One of our many collaboration spaces, Central Spark
Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory photo of: Advanced Cyber Analytics LIVE Lab
Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory photo of: GSEL Environmental Testing
Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory photo of: Winners of APL's innovation grant challenge
Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory photo of: Biomechanics & Injury Mitigation Systems Lab
Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory photo of: Broadcast Lab
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Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory Interviews



Getting an Interview

Getting an Interview





    Applied Research Mathematician Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Laurel, MD
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Easy Interview


    I applied online. The process took 3 weeks. I interviewed at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (Laurel, MD).


    As a preface: I'm heavily on the spectrum, and so interviews are inherently difficult for me to begin with.

    I applied for this job post-graduation and was offered an on-site without any sort of phone screen. I was extremely down on my luck with finding a job, and so I happily obliged. Well, about a week before the interview is scheduled to take place, the recruiter panicked and tried to contact me every way she could because she 'made a mistake' and thought I was still in school (yes, REALLY), and that I needed to contact her immediately and tell her what I've been doing since graduation. She accepted my reasoning, and the interview was still on.

    I interviewed with three groups while there. Several people from the first group made me feel unwelcome. One girl asked about how I ended up on the educational path I did; I mentioned the fact that I went to a community college for my freshman and sophomore years, and she literally facepalmed and sighed heavily and started taking notes like I'd lied on my resume (as I only listed my bachelor's and master's degrees for relevancy).

    After finishing my interview with the first group, the team lead escorted me to the next group. As we were walking between buildings, I remember inquiring with the team lead, 'Tell me about the ideal candidate you're hoping to hire.' She responded, 'We're looking for someone who can actually talk to people.' Of course, I was oblivious to what she was referring to, and I followed up with, 'Oh! I have lots of experience with talking to people, because I used to be a TA and taught a few classes!' to which she responds, 'Heheh... oh you seem so sure about that!' And hence each of the interviewers were probably relaying to her immediately after walking out of the room how poorly the interviews went.

    Second group, the dudes seemed like he was just reading off a script and took no notes. With the second group was the lunch interview (which they say won't be on the record). They were with people who'd just recently graduated as well. I tried having casual conversation with them like they're expecting. But, at one point one of the guys flat out told me, 'Hey man, you should probably eat instead of talking.'

    The third group was nice and I don't really have any qualms. They legitimately tried helping me out as if they REALLY wanted to give me the job, but unfortunately my interviewing skills didn't quite make the cut.

    I was told upon leaving that I would hear back about any offers in about 2-3 months' time. Well, no. I heard back literally the next week that it was a No from all three groups. So I pretty much have a guarantee that I've been blacklisted from JHUAPL.

    I have worked on my interviewing skills since then, and eventually found a job after about 2 years of unemployment, but the main point of my review is to highlight that YES, even though this is JHUAPL the interviewers can be rude. Even though I'm probably blacklisted because of the recruiter's mistake and bad interviews, this isn't a place I can foresee ever running back to.

    Interview Questions

    • Basic STAR questions. Literally any common interview questions guide will have the questions.   Answer Question
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Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory Awards & Accolades

  • The World's Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Healthcare, Fast Company Magazine, 2016
  • Laureate Award for Space Exploration, Aviation Week and Space Technology, 2016
  • Bicycle Friendly Business – Bronze Designation, The League of American Bicyclists, 2014
  • Bicycle Friendly Business - Silver Designation, The League of American Bicyclists, 2016
  • Bicycle Friendly Business – Bronze Designation, The League of American Bicyclists, 2013
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Pledges & Certifications

Veteran Hiring Commitment

Committed to helping America's military veterans find work

Tech Hiring Commitment

Helping to train, hire and promote more technology workers

Diversity Commitment

Has programs that support a diverse and inclusive workforce

First Job Programs

Maintain entry-level hiring and career development programs to give people career starts

Pledge to Thrive

Taking steps to prioritize employee well-being

Work at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory? Share Your Experiences

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