Student Opportunities

Students often write asking if they can work at NASA Ames. Yes, its possible for undergraduate and graduate students, but the system is very selective. There are no formal opportunities for high school students, however, so just do well in math, physics, chemistry, and computer science, and be patient.

NASA has revised their undergraduate application portal so that one application makes you a candidate for all NASA programs and centers ( This site gives the several annual deadlines for consideration for these 10-15 week, full-time positions. Filling out the application materials and getting letters of reference from your professors and other mentors takes time, and selections are very often made 1-3 weeks before the formal submission deadline, so don’t wait until the last minute. These opportunities are highly competitive with dozens of applicants from all around the country for each open position, so be specific about your skills, talents, and interests. In general, we tend to accept upper-division students (juniors and seniors), but only before graduation unless the student is on the way to grad school.

Exceptional senior undergraduates are also able to apply for the NASA Academy at Ames for Space Exploration, for which the Ames portal is: (POC: This is an intensive, summer-long program involving hands-on project experience, lunar science, and Mars habitability. Other centers have similar opportunities.

If you and your advisor have prior contact with a NASA scientist who actually has funds available, which is increasingly unusual, you could be hired directly through the Education Associates Program: (

The nearby SETI Institute has in the past hosted numerous undergraduate students through their Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program ( You can contact them directly.


The Space Science and Astrobiology Division has a number of graduate students that visit briefly or work here for an extended time as part of their graduate program. Essentially all of these students come here as a result of an agreement between their thesis advisor and a NASA scientist, and many of our scientists sit on dissertation committees, both here and in other countries. NASA no longer awards graduate fellowships through the centers; there may be opportunities available directly through NASA HQ that your advisor can look into.You can also check under “Fellowships” at