Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory Predoctoral Fellowships

Funding Agency:
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) Predoctoral Program welcomes applications throughout the year from current graduate students pursuing thesis research in astrophysics or related fields. Applicants in theory, observation, instrument development, or laboratory experiments at a university or college are strongly encouraged to apply to this program that accepts applications on a rolling admissions basis. Online applications are due 6 WEEKS BEFORE THE INTENDED APPOINTMENT START DATE. For application instructions and a login to the application, please see the Admissions page.

Started in 1985, the Program has welcomed graduate students from universities around the world interested in carrying out all or part of their research under the guidance of SAO Scientists.

The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics creates a rich environment for collaborations among future colleagues by bringing together over 300 SAO scientists across a broad spectrum of scientific endeavors in nearly all areas related to astronomy, including: atomic and molecular physics, geophysics and atmospheric physics, the solar system, solar physics, planetary systems, the interstellar medium, stars and star formation, supernovae, compact objects, galaxies, extragalactic astronomy and cosmology.

Facilities include the MMT Observatory, Magellan, and other optical and infrared telescopes; radio telescopes, especially the Submillimeter Array on Mauna Kea, Hawaii; a large Beowulf cluster and network of workstations; a number of specialized laboratories; an outstanding library system; and access to data from a wide range of space missions, especially the Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Spitzer Space Telescope.

Application Materials are due 6 WEEKS BEFORE THE APPOINTMENT START DATE.

Agency Website

Funding Type



Grad/Prof Students


Engineering and Physical Sciences