Early Career Opportunities


Undergraduate, Graduate and Early Career

NASA’s Earth Science Division (ESD) offers a variety of research and learning opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students and those in the early stages of their careers. These programs provide invaluable support to ESD’s ongoing work using Earth observations to advance our knowledge of the planet’s interconnected and changing systems. The unique opportunities offered in Earth science research, engineering, applications, and technology help prepare the Earth science workforce of the future to continue the ESD mission and improve life on our planet.

For additional information, also see https://intern.nasa.gov.

Application and proposal requirements may change on a yearly basis. See individual program websites for additional details and official deadlines.


Student Airborne Research Program (SARP)

SARP is an 8-week summer program for rising-senior undergraduate students, who participate in scientific campaigns on NASA Airborne Science Program flying laboratories. Applications from U.S. citizens enrolled full-time at a 4-year U.S. college or university are due in January. https://baeri.org/sarp/

Future Investigators in NASA Earth and Space Science and Technology (FINESST)

Graduate students pursuing masters or doctoral degrees in Earth and space sciences or related disciplines at U.S.-accredited institutions may submit proposals to this program.  Announced in November, proposals are due the following February with selections announced in early summer. A FINESST grant can fund up to a 3-year research project, for a maximum of $50,000/year. Institutions submit proposals on behalf of the Principal Investigator and student (future investigator). Opportunities will be announced at https://nspires.nasaprs.com.


DEVELOP is an Applied Sciences training program that gives individuals experience applying Earth observations by working on interdisciplinary projects with state and local governments, nonprofits, and other organizations. Science advisors from NASA and partner agencies mentor participants at 12 locations nationwide. There are several opportunities throughout the year for students, recent graduates, and early or transitioning career professionals to apply. Applicants must be at least 18 years old, and those applying to work at NASA Centers must be U.S. citizens. For more information, go to https://develop.larc.nasa.gov.

NASA Postdoctoral Program

NASA postdoctoral fellows spend 1–3 years with scientists and engineers at NASA centers and institutes working on assignments in Earth and space sciences, aeronautics, space operations, exploration systems, and astrobiology. Stipends vary depending on assignment. Application deadlines are in March, July, and November. Fellows must have U.S. citizenship, lawful permanent resident status, or the exchange visitor J-1 visa. F-1 visa holders may also be considered. For more information, go to https://npp.orau.org/.

New Investigator (Early Career) Program in Earth Science

This single-investigator program supports outstanding research in Earth science for early career scientists and engineers. Proposals are solicited every 2-3 years. Award duration can be for up to 3 years. Institutions submit proposals on behalf of the PI. Opportunities will be announced at https://nspires.nasaprs.com.