The SAO Predoctoral Program is designed for graduate students wishing
to carry out all or part of their thesis research at the Smithsonian Astrophysical
Observatory. Therefore, applicants must have completed preliminary coursework
and examinations prior to the start of the SAO Predoctoral Program. Applicants
must gain approval of the Department Head of their particular university
as their degrees will be granted by their home institutions. For application instructions and a login to the application, please see the Admissions page.
an Advisor: All applications to the Fellowship Program
are required to list the SAO scientist who has agreed to serve as a sponsor
for each proposed research project. Applicants must directly contact SAO
scientists in their particular research areas.
ALL APPLICANTS MUST EITHER HAVE FUNDING FROM THEIR HOME INSTITUTION OR OBTAIN FUNDING DIRECTLY FROM THEIR SAO ADVISOR.
- A full list
of potential advisors is listed here.
- A partial
list of predoctoral project openings is available.
- The consent form for potential advisors is available here.
of the Award: The SAO Predoctoral Fellowship is awarded
for a period of six months or more dependent on the project. It is possible to renew or extend a SAO Predoctoral
Fellowship Award based on the availability of funding, satisfactory progress, and the agreement of both the home
institution advisor and the SAO advisor.
Date: The Program accepts applications through a rolling admissins process. Once a start date
is established with the SAO Advisor, the applicant must submit application material 6 weeks before he/she intends to
begin their appointment.
Stipends for the current academic year are $31,284. Funds may also be
available for relocation, travel, and other expenses.
Predoc Research Review Committee: In order to support and evaluate
the research work of each predoctoral candidate while in residence at
SAO, a Predoctoral Research Review Committee (PRRC) is established for
each SAO predoc consisting of three members. Each predoctoral candidate
presents their work annually to their committee for review and discussion. The
evaluation form is available here.
Harvard-Smithsonian Monthly Graduate Seminar: SAO Predoctoral Fellows have the opportunity
to present their work in a monthly lecture series with Harvard University Graduate Students.