Astronaut Scholarship

Is it for you?

The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation was established in 1984 by the astronauts of NASA’s Mercury 7 mission to support the education of future leaders in the fields of science and technology. Current sophomores and juniors with exceptional motivation, creativity, and performance in STEM fields are eligible. The award is for up to $15,000 for one year with the potential for renewal (up to two years) if won as a sophomore and progress and grades are satisfactory. Winners attend an Astronaut Scholarship Foundation’s Innovators Weekend in August and join a life-long network of Scholarship alumni, astronauts, and Foundation supporters. 

What are the key dates?

Pre-application due: February 5, 2024, at 9 am ET

Campus deadline: March 4, 2024, at 9 am ET

To access and submit a pre-application and proceed to submit a full application for the campus deadline, you must be enrolled on  NFP’s Astronaut Applicants’ Canvas course. Please email us at nfp@jhu.edu to request access (please include your JHED if you are not using your JHU email).

Are you eligible?

Candidates for the Astronaut Scholarship must:

  • be U.S. citizens at the time of application.
  • be outstanding students who exhibit motivation, demonstrated potential, and exceptional creativity in a field of the natural or applied sciences, mathematics, or engineering (see official website for a PDF Document: full list of eligible fields of study).
  • have considerable research experience in their specific field.
  • intend to pursue research or advance their field upon completion of their final degrees. Students pursuing a practice in professional medicine are not eligible for the scholarship; however, those intending to perform biomedical research are eligible.
  • have completed two years of full-time study at the nominating institution by the end of the academic year during which they are applying.
  • be juniors or seniors at the beginning of the next academic year.
  • plan to be enrolled full-time during both semesters of ASF funding at the nominating institution.

How do you work with the NFP?

Students may not apply directly for an Astronaut Scholarship Foundation award. JHU nomination is required through a campus selection process (JHU may nominate two candidates in 2024). 

Faculty members may contact NFP directly to initiate a nomination, or students may contact NFP to inquire about the nomination process. Astronaut applicants work closely with us for the duration of the application process.

The timeline gives an overview of the application process and when to reach out to us. In preparation, see “have a closer look” below for more resources about the Astronaut Scholarship.

early FebruarySubmit pre-application form; have an individual advising meeting with NFP
mid-late FebruarySubmit application materials for JHU campus deadline; JHU can choose two nominees
MarchRevise applications (for nominees)
late MarchMeet official Astronaut deadline (for nominees)

Are you competitive?

The award is made primarily on the basis of merit, though financial need may be considered “given equally qualified nominees.” A competitive applicant has an unusually strong research record and demonstrates intellectual daring — initiative and creativity that has been noticed by a faculty member and/or research mentor. (NB: Special consideration is not given to aeronautical/astronautical engineering students or those intending to pursue careers as astronauts.)

In the campus selection process, as in the ASF selection process, emphasis is placed upon an applicant’s demonstrated potential or ability, as well as drive to do research and develop new ideas, inventions, and technology.

Applicants seeking a nomination must submit the following materials:

  • Personal Statement: Students must compose and submit a short statement of personal interests, activities, and goals (not to exceed one page, 12-point font). Research accomplishments and creativity should be highlighted.
  • Curriculum vitae or résumé (max 2 pages).
  • Academic transcripts: Include transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended (unofficial are acceptable).
  • Two letters of recommendation: Two strong recommendations must be submitted, one by the nominating professor at the student’s institution and the other by an additional faculty member in a STEM field. The nominating faculty member should know the student well enough to identify research achievements as well as a special drive or talent that foreshadows a creative career leading to the advancement of scientific knowledge and technology.

Additional application materials required of nominees:

  • Proof of US Citizenship: Nominees need to provide a copy of a birth certificate, a US passport, or naturalization papers.

Have a closer look:

Visit the Official Website

Astronaut Scholarship Foundation

Hear from JHU Recipients

HUB article about Vinay Ayyappan and Kathy Le, 2019 Astronaut Scholars

HUB article about Melissa Mai and Vinay Ayyappan, 2018 Astronaut Scholars

HUB article about Alfred Chin, 2017 Astronaut Scholar

Peer testimonial from Melissa Mai (2018 Astronaut Scholar)