Abstract This paper presents the optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) properties of neutron dosimeters in powder and in the form of pellets prepared with a mixture of Al 2O 3:C and neutron converters. The neutron converters investigated were high density polyethylene (HDPE), lithium fluoride (LiF), lithium fluoride 95% enriched with 6Li ( 6LiF), lithium carbonate 95% enriched with 6Li ( 6Li 2CO 3), boric acid enriched with 99% of 10B ( H 3 10 BO 3 ) and gadolinium oxide (Gd 2O 3). The proportion of Al 2O 3:C and neutron converter in the mixture was varied to optimize the total OSL signal and neutron sensitivity. The neutron sensitivity and dose-response were determined for the OSL dosimeters using a bare 252Cf source and compared to the response of Harshaw TLD-600 and TLD-700 dosimeters ( 6LiF:Mg,Ti and 7LiF:Mg,Ti). The results demonstrate the possibility of developing an OSL dosimeter made of Al 2O 3:C powder and neutron converter with a neutron sensitivity (defined as the ratio between the 60Co equivalent gamma dose and the reference neutron absorbed dose) and neutron–gamma discrimination comparable to the TLD-600/TLD-700 combination. It was shown that the shape of the OSL decay curves varied with the type of the neutron converter, demonstrating the influence of the energy deposition mechanism and ionization density on the OSL process in Al 2O 3:C.