Opportunities: SAO Predoctoral Program: Application Instructions
  1. Application materials are due 6 weeks before the intended start date of your fellowship award.
    Application materials, including those not submitted online, must be received 6 weeks before the start date of your award for full consideration. Incomplete applications -- and/or applications received after the deadline -- will not be considered. We strongly suggest that applicants begin the online application process early so all questions and issues that arise from this process are resolved before final submittal of applications materials. All questions, including technical questions related to our online program, may be directed to predoc@cfa.harvard.edu.
  2. Note: After logging in to the online application, select "View Status" to check what is still incomplete before your final submission. All edits and changes to your application are accepted until the final deadline.

  3. Application Procedure
    Applicants should complete the entire application ( with the exception of the Transcript of Grades) on the web, including the uploading of files listed below. If you are unable to apply online, contact predoc@cfa.harvard.edu.

    The online application process begins with your initial registration that includes providing an email address and self-generated password. After your password is verified, select "Edit Application" to enter your Personal Data, Areas of Proposed Research, Proposed Research, File Uploads, and References.

  4. Uploaded Files Required All uploaded files must be in 12-point font
    • Curriculum Vitae
    • Summary of previous and current research (limited to three pages including references and figures).
    • Research proposal (limited to three pages including references and figures).

    Note: pdf files can be uploaded into the application. Use the "Browse" button or type the full path and file name in the box provided. For best results, upload pdf files. If you are unable to do so, Word documents or plain text files are acceptable.

    You may review previously loaded files by clicking on the numbered link provided.

  5. Transcript of Grades
    An official transcript of your courses and grades must be mailed by the Registrar or equivalent authority at your university to the Fellowship Program Coordinator (see address listed under "Letters of Reference"). If records are not in English, original records must be submitted with certified English translations. All translations must be literal and complete versions of the original records.
  6. Letters of Reference
    Each applicant should arrange for letters of reference to be submitted by three individuals ("referees") familiar with her or his scientific abilities. Further, applicants should convey the following message to their referees: If English is not the first language for the applicant, please provide an assessment of her or his proficiency.

    These letters must be received by the application deadline and should be emailed directly to the Fellowship Program Coordinator at predoc@cfa.harvard.edu as Word or pdf attachments. Plain text is also acceptable. Applicants should emphasize to their referees that the letters must be received at CfA at least 6 weeks before the start of your fellowship award to enable the fellowship selection committee to review them.

    Applicants are responsible for ensuring that letters of reference have been received. Use the "View Status" feature to check if receipt of each letter of reference has been recorded. If your referee is unable to send a copy of your reference electronically, he/she may send it to:

    Fellowship Program Coordinator
    Center for Astrophysics
    60 Garden Street, MS 67
    Cambridge, MA 02138

  7. SAO Advisor
    All applicants must list the name and contact information of their Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) Advisor in their applications. By listing an SAO Advisor, the applicant indicates that this SAO staff member has agreed to supervise and provide funding for the applicant's research. Once this contact information has been listed in the application, the Fellowship Coordinator will seek written confirmation of sponsorship from the SAO Advisor before marking the section as "Done" in the "View Status" section of the application. A list of SAO research staff is available in the SAO overview from the Smithsonian Opportunities for Research and Study.
  8. Approval from Department Head of Home Institution
    In order to be eligible for an SAO Predoctoral Fellowship, applicants must be enrolled in a Ph.D. program. The applicant is also responsible for communicating to the Department Head of her/his home institutiton that a SAO Predoctoral Research Review Committee (which includes the SAO Advisor) will monitor and support these research activities. An email confirmation must be sent by his/her Department Head to the Fellowship Program Chair at predoc@cfa.harvard.edu. The message should include the following:
    • a statement that the student is enrolled as a full time graduate student
    • approval of the student's plan to pursue doctoral research at SAO

    A sample letter is provided here.

  9. Requests for Information
    Requests for additional information on application procedures and supporting documents should be addressed to: predoc@cfa.harvard.edu

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Clay Fellow Warren Brown