National Radio Astronomy Summer Research Assistantships

Application Deadline

February 3, 2020


On-line Application Form


The NRAO has conducted a summer student research program since 1959, with over 1000 participants to date. Each NRAO summer student conducts research under the supervision of an NRAO staff member at one of three sites (Socorro, New MexicoGreen Bank, West VirginiaCharlottesville, Virginia), on a project in the supervisor's area of expertise. The project may involve any aspect of astronomy, including original astronomy research, instrumentation, telescope design, astronomical site evaluation or astronomical software development. Supervisors choose their own student candidates from all applications received, and the site to which a summer student is assigned depends on the location of the NRAO supervisor who chose them. Students are encouraged to review the webpages of NRAO staff for an idea of the types of research being conducted at the NRAO. On their application, students may request to work with a specific staff member or to work on a specific scientific topic, or to work at a specific site.

The program runs from 10-12 weeks over the summer, from late May to mid-August. At the end of the summer, participants present their research results as a short talk and submit a written report. Often, these projects result in publications in scientific journals. Financial support is often available for students to present their summer research at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society, generally at the winter meeting following their appointment. Besides their research, students take part in other activities, including a number of social events, excursions, and summer schools.  For example, Socorro students may travel to Apache Point Observatory and Sunspot; and Green Bank and Charlottesville students swap visits.  We also offer an extensive summer lecture series which covers aspects of radio astronomy and astronomical research.

  • The NRAO Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program is for undergraduates who are citizens or permanent residents of the United States or its possessions. It is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF)'s Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program.
  • The National Radio Astronomy Consortium (NAC) is a program for undergraduate students (1st-beginning 4th year) who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents, and are enrolled in an accredited U.S. undergraduate program (including community college). The NAC program is intended to increase the number of women and underrepresented minority students entering, and remaining in, STEM areas that support the field of astronomy (e.g., science, engineering, computing, EPO, and more), by providing research experience and long-term mentoring and cohort support. Summer research experiences range from 8-12 weeks, and can take place at one of the NAC partner sites. For more information, see

  • The NRAO Undergraduate Summer Student Research Assistantship program is for undergraduate students or graduating college seniors who are citizens, are from an accredited U.S. Undergraduate Program, or otherwise eligible to work in the United States. This program primarily supports students or research projects which do not meet the REU guidelines, such as graduating college seniors, some foreign undergraduate students, or projects involving pure engineering or computer programming.
  • The NRAO Graduate Summer Student Research Assistantship program is for graduate students who are citizens or permanent residents of the United States, enrolled in an accredited U.S. Graduate Program, or otherwise eligible to work in the United States.

Starting dates for REU and internship positions are flexible, usually beginning in late May.  These positions can run 10-12 weeks, based on the arrangement made between the student participant and their mentor.  NAC positions typically have a preferred starting date in the first week of June and a 10-week term.