Opportunities > Student Programs

Student Programs

Student Observing Support

The NRAO maintains a fellowship program to support astronomical research by graduate and undergraduate students at U.S. universities and colleges. This program is intended to strengthen the proactive role of the Observatory in training the next generation of scientists and telescope users.

Summer Students

NRAO has summer positions available through the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program, the National Astronomy Consortium (NAC), and other research positions. Our summer student program has had more than 1,000 participants since 1959. Under the supervision of an NRAO staff member, each student is given a project that may involve any aspect of astronomy, including original research, instrumentation, telescope design, or software development. These projects often result in scientific publications. Summer programs are available for both undergraduate and graduate students.

Grote Reber Doctoral Fellowships

The Grote Reber Doctoral Fellowship Program enables Ph.D. students in the final years of their thesis to conduct research at one of the NRAO sites or at the GBO site under the supervision of an Observatory advisor. The program is jointly sponsored by the Observatories and by the student's home university. The program supports thesis projects in radio astronomy, radio instrumentation, or computational techniques.

National Astronomy Consortium (NAC)

The National Astronomy Consortium (NAC) is a program led by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) and Associated Universities Inc., (AUI) in partnership with the National Society of Black Physicists (NSBP), and a number of minority and majority universities to increase the number of students from underrepresented and underserved groups and those otherwise overlooked by the traditional academic pipeline into STEM or STEM-related careers. The NAC program aims to support STEM students who otherwise may be overlooked by the traditional academic pipeline by placing them in a cooperative, diverse team over the summer and beyond.

Post-Bacc Fellowships

The NRAO/GBO Post-Baccalaureate Fellowship Program is a new initiative in 2023 for students in between their undergraduate and graduate educations.  The program provides research experience and support to students intending to strengthen their applications to Ph.D. programs in astronomy or a related field. The student will work on site either in Socorro, NM, Charlottesville, VA, or Green Bank, WV on a research project under the guidance of a scientific staff mentor. Appointments may last from 9 to 12 months. The program supports research projects in radio astronomy and related fields.

NINE Program

The goal of NINE is to foster worldwide partnerships with fast-growing radio astronomy communities and to benefit each participant, their partnering location, and the radio astronomy community as a whole. For eligibility, and to learn more about the NINE program, please visit go.nrao.edu/NINE

PING Program

The Physicists Inspiring the Next Generation program is a collaboration between the National Society of Black Physicists (NSBP), the NRAO and AUI to expose traditionally underrepresented minorities to radio astronomy science and engineering. The undergraduate students selected for the program will be located in Green Bank, WV, where they will be partnered with an astronomer or engineer engaged in cutting-edge research. As part of this program the PING students will also have an intensive education outreach experience, serving as instructors and mentors for middle school students during a 2-week physics/astronomy research camp.

Graduate Student Researchers

The NRAO maintains a program to support students who are in the early years of a graduate student program at their university -- most often in their first or second year of graduate studies -- and who are interested in pursuing research in radio astronomy, instrumentation, or areas of electrical engineering or computer science closely related to radio astronomy observing techniques or data analysis.

Co-Op Education & Undergrad Research Positions

The Co-op and Undergraduate Student Research program provides opportunities for undergrads in engineering, applied physics, or computer science to enrich their classroom learning experience by working closely with NRAO technical staff on projects at the technological forefront in radio astronomy instrumentation.

RADIAL Program

The Radio Astronomy Data Imaging and Analysis Lab (RADIAL) is a partnership between NRAO, 14 minority-serving institutions (MSIs) of higher education, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-M) Center for High-Throughput Computing (CHTC) to establish a virtual institute for data-intensive research in radio astronomy.  In collaboration with UW-M, RADIAL operates a Research and Training Experience for Undergraduates Program in Astronomy and Astrophysics for students attending RADIAL partner MSIs.

Robert L. Brown Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award

This award program has concluded.

The Robert L. Brown Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award was administered by Associated Universities, Inc. (AUI) and the NRAO on behalf of Bob Brown’s friends and family to honor Bob’s life and career. The Award was given to a recent recipient of a doctoral degree from any recognized degree granting institution in the United States, and was substantially based on new observational data obtained at any AUI operated facility and considered to be of an exceptionally high scientific standard value and impact within and beyond the area of study. The Award was given from 2015 – 2022, and consisted of $1000, a framed certificate, and an invitation to give a lecture at the NRAO.