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 require an endorsement from the SAO scientist who has agreed to serve as an academic advisor and potential financial sponsor. Consequently, applicants must directly contact SAO scientists in their particular research area. Program applications must be initiated by an SAO scientist through an endorsement (form) uploaded to the application and a shared link to the applicant.
ALL APPLICANTS MUST EITHER HAVE FUNDING FROM THEIR HOME INSTITUTION OR OBTAIN FUNDING DIRECTLY FROM THEIR SAO ADVISOR.
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 $37,308. 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..