Learner Opportunities

All Opportunities

For the convenience of students, post-doctoral fellows, young career researchers, and their mentors, this page contains a selection of opportunities. The list includes summer programs and scholarships for undergraduates and graduate students, post-doctoral fellowships, special programs for early career researchers, faculty members, and senior scientists. Some of these programs occur only at NASA centers, but others support students or scientists at universities. Some are funded through NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, but many are sponsored either by other directorates within NASA, the NASA Office of Education, or non-NASA organizations. Programs that cater to more than one group are listed in both relevant sections. This page will continue to grow. Please send information on other opportunities that can be included to help others. As well, a flyer is available for download, displaying a subset of opportunities.


Postdoctoral Opportunities

The NASA Postdoctoral Program (NPP): One to three year post-doctoral fellowships for highly talented national and international individuals to engage in research at NASA Centers, or at a NASA-affiliated research institution. There are also opportunities via this program to perform science administration work at NASA Headquarters. Although primarily for recent doctoral graduates, ‘senior’ NPP fellowships can also be awarded to researchers who have been active in their field for a substantial amount of time.

NAI Postdoctoral Fellowship Program: This program provides opportunities for Ph.D. scientists and engineers of unusual promise and ability to perform research on problems largely of their own choosing, yet compatible with the research interests of NASA and the member teams of the NASA Astrobiology Institute. Like the NPP, the NAI Postdoctoral Program is administered by Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU). Note that the NAI does not participate in every application/award cycle, see https://npp.usra.edu/ for additional information about the program.

NASA Hubble Fellowship Program (NHFP): This program supports outstanding postdoctoral scientists to pursue independent research in any area of NASA Astrophysics, using theory, observation, experimentation, or instrumental development. Starting with the fellowship program in 2018, the Hubble, Sagan and Einstein fellowships are merged into one program with a single application. The new NHFP preserves the legacy of NASA’s previous postdoctoral fellowship programs; once selected, fellows are named to one of three sub-categories corresponding to NASA’s “big questions": How does the Universe work? – Einstein Fellows; How did we get here? – Hubble Fellows; Are we alone? – Sagan Fellows

NHFP fellowships are tenable at U.S. host institutions of the fellows' choice, subject to a maximum of two new fellows per host institution per year, with no more than five fellows being hosted by a given institution in any three-year period (where the cumulative count begins with the 2018 fellows). The duration of the fellowship is up to three years: an initial one-year appointment, and two annual renewals, contingent on satisfactory performance and availability of NASA funds. To apply for the fellowships, visit here: https://nhfp.stsci.edu

Roman Fellowship: The Roman Technology Fellowship in Astrophysics (RTF) program provides early career researchers the opportunity to develop the skills necessary to lead astrophysics flight instruments/projects and become principal investigators (PIs) of future astrophysics missions; to develop innovative technologies that have the potential to enable major scientific breakthroughs; and to foster new talent by putting early-career instrument builders on a trajectory towards long-term positions. The Fellowship duration is one to five years (subject to a peer review process and availability of funds from NASA).

Jack Eddy Postdoctoral Fellowships: Through the Cooperative Programs for the Advancement of Earth System Science (CPAESS, formerly UCAR Visiting Scientist Programs) NASA helps to support the Jack Eddy Postdoctoral Fellowship Program that matches early career PhDs with experienced mentors at U.S. research institutions for two-year fellowships. The goal of the program is to train the next generation of researchers needed for the emerging field of Heliophysics. CPAESS releases an announcement of opportunity annually in the fall and applications are due in mid-January.

Pathways to Science:  167 different postdoc and early career opportunities posted on the site, including postdoctoral fellowships, grants, travel awards, mentoring opportunities, and more. Browse the full list of opportunities or use the advanced search page to narrow your results.

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Graduate Opportunities

Since 2007, SMD’s four science divisions (Earth Science, Heliophysics, Planetary Science, and Astrophysics) at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC, have supported graduate student-initiated research through the NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowships (NESSF). In 2018, however, NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD) began inviting proposals for graduate student research via a new solicitation entitled "Future Investigators in NASA Earth and Space Science and Technology" (FINESST) NNH19ZDA005K.

The FINESST solicitation replaced the 2019 call for new NESSFs. Universities should continue to request funding on behalf of existing NESSF grants via the NESSF19R solicitation. Rather than continue FINESST as a separate funding announcement, SMD expects to add this graduate opportunity as a cross-divisional appendix to SMD’s omnibus research solicitation, "Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Science (ROSES)". It is anticipated that this change will start with ROSES-2020.

NASA Space Technology Research Fellowships (NSTRF): U.S. citizen or permanent resident students that have applied to, have been admitted to, or are already enrolled in, a full-time Master’s or Doctoral degree program at accredited U.S. universities are eligible to apply. More information and application instructions can be found at http://solicitation.nasaprs.com/open by searching for NSTRF. This opportunity is typically posted in early September, Phase A Proposals are due in early November, and Phase B Proposals are due in May.

The National Consortium for Graduate Degrees for Minorities in Engineering and Science, Inc. Fellowship: GEM assists underrepresented minority students in obtaining M.S. degrees in engineering and Ph.D. degrees in engineering and the natural and physical sciences.

The National Space Grant College and Fellowship Project: 
The project contributes to the nation's science enterprise by funding research, education, and public service projects through a national network of 52 university-based Space Grant consortia. The consortia fund graduate fellowships and undergraduate scholarships for students pursuing careers in science, mathematics, engineering and technology, or STEM, as well as curriculum enhancement and faculty development.

NASA's Minority University Research and Education Project and other competitive programs announce when applications open for fellowships and scholarships for graduate and undergraduate students from the United States for study in the US at: https://intern.nasa.gov/. Since 2015 MUREP has been one funder (others included STEM Education and Accountability Projects) of the NASA Education Aeronautics Scholarship and Advanced STEM Training and Research Fellowship. The AS&ASTAR successor NASA Research Announcement (NRA) entitled NASA Fellowship Activity 2018 opened on Jan 17th. For deadlines, eligibility and informational webinars visit: https://nspires.nasaprs.com/external/solicitations/summary!init.do?solId={1CA633C8-7767-8658-6260-F318694A347B}&path=open

The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) provides recent master’s degree graduates research opportunities to help prepare for a STEM career while providing laboratory knowledge, for eligible fields and more information visit: https://orise.orau.gov/stem/internships-fellowships-research-opportunities/recent-graduates.html

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Undergraduate Opportunities

Undergraduate science and engineering students enrolled in an accredited U.S. 2- or 4- year institution can learn about NASA’s Lucy Mission to Jupiter’s Trojan Asteroids by applying to the Fall, Spring or Summer Lucy Student Pipeline Accelerator and Competency Enabler (L’SPACE) Virtual Academy. Each no-fee, on-line Academy runs 12 weeks for 1.5 hours/week plus homework and team projects. Students are required to have access a computer with 1) high-speed internet and 2) a headphone with a microphone. Successful students will receive a certificate to show applied workforce competency on internship, scholarship, or job applications.

The USRA Scholarship Awards provide college scholarship awards to students who have shown a career interest in science or engineering with an emphasis on space research or space science education, and aeronautics-related sciences. Applicants must be full-time undergraduate students attending a four-year accredited college or university that offers courses leading to a degree in science or engineering. Applicants must be within two (2) years of earning a B.S. or a B.A. in a field of science and engineering, including life science and science education by the time the award is received. Scholarship awards are made in the fall, with applications accepted during the summer. Deadline details are available at the website.

The NASA Student Airborne Research Program (SARP) is an eight-week summer program for rising senior undergraduate students to assist in the operation of instruments onboard an aircraft to sample atmospheric chemicals, and/or to image land and water surfaces in multiple spectral bands. Research areas include atmospheric chemistry, air quality, forest ecology, and ocean biology. Along with airborne data collection, students will participate in taking measurements at field sites. The program culminates with formal presentations of research results and conclusions. For more information see https://airbornescience.nasa.gov/nsrc/sarp

NASA's Planetary Geology and Geophysics Undergraduate Research Program: Undergraduates majoring in geology or related fields take part in an 8-week summer internship program, in which qualified students get to work with a NASA-funded planetary scientist at the scientist's home institution. In the past, sites have included NASA Ames Research Center, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the U.S.G.S. Astrogeology Branch in Flagstaff, Arizona, and many others. 

Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program: A competitively selected program designed to support current sophomore and junior undergraduate students to work with scientists at the SETI Institute and at the nearby NASA Ames Research Center on projects spanning the field of astrobiology from microbiology to observational astronomy.

The Lunar and Planetary Science Summer Intern Program: The Lunar and Planetary Institute invites undergraduates with at least 50 semester hours of credit to experience cutting-edge research working one-on-one with a scientist at the LPI or at the NASA Johnson Space Center on a research project of current interest in lunar and planetary science.

The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) provides recent bachelor’s degree graduates research opportunities to help prepare for a STEM career while providing laboratory knowledge, for eligible fields and more information visit: https://orise.orau.gov/stem/internships-fellowships-research-opportunities/recent-graduates.html

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