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Graduate, Undergraduate & Internship Programs

The Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian is committed to providing pathways to development for the next generation of astrophysicists. Our degree programs and internships give students at the graduate and undergraduate levels the opportunity to actively participate in research under the direct supervision of prominent scientists in the field.

Graduate Programs

Harvard University Department of Astronomy

The Department of Astronomy at Harvard offers a rich and varied program of theoretical, observational, and experimental graduate work leading to the Ph.D. in astronomy. Students enjoy opportunities to conduct research in nearly every branch of astronomy and astrophysics and access to CfA's extensive facilities.

SAO Predoctoral Program 

SAO's Predoctoral Program is open to current graduate students pursuing thesis research in astrophysics or related fields. Applicants engaged in theory, observation, instrument development, or laboratory experiments at a university or college are strongly encouraged to apply.

SAO/University of Southampton Astronomy Masters Program 

Students enrolled in the University of Southampton's (UK) Honors Astronomy can also do research for their Masters thesis at SAO through participation in the SAO/University of Southampton "Astrophysics with a Year Abroad (M. Phys.)" program. While academic oversight remains with the Southampton advisor, the SAO host provides day-to-day scientific direction on work on a topic of mutual interest during the September to May academic year.

Undergraduate Programs

Harvard University Department of Astronomy

The Department of Astronomy offers three options for Astronomy concentration: basic, honors, and joint honors. The most frequently pursued joint honors combination is with physics although other choices are available. Secondary fields in the department are also offered.

 

Internship Programs

SAO REU Summer Intern Program

The SAO Summer Intern Program invites undergraduates interested in careers in astronomy, astrophysics, physics, or related physical sciences the opportunity to work with a CfA staff member on a research project. Funded by the National Science Foundation and the Smithsonian Institution, the program is open to students enrolled in a degree program leading to a bachelor's degree.

SAO/NSF Solar REU Program

The SAO/NSF Solar REU Intern Program invites undergraduates interested in careers in solar physics, astrophysics, physics, or related physical sciences the opportunity to work with a CfA staff member on a solar physics research project. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the program is open to students who are US citizens enrolled in a degree program leading to a bachelor's degree.

SAO Latino Initiative Program

The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory Latino Initiative Program (SAO/LIP) is a unique internship program that welcomes talented undergraduate science majors who participate in the Urban Massachusetts Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Programs located on the campuses of the University of Massachusetts. Partnering with the University of Massachusetts (UMASS), the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) provides summer internships to 6 students within the consortium annually. With generous support from the National Science Foundation, the Program sponsors seminars and outreach activities that raise awareness about the journeys, accomplishments, and ambitions of Latinos and other underrepresented communities within physics and astronomy. The Program has welcomed undergraduate majors in physics, computer science, chemistry, biology, and engineering, which is reflective of the increasing interdisciplinary nature of science.

Banneker Institute Summer Program

Banneker Institute summer program is a ten-week research and study experience. We prepare undergraduate students of color for graduate programs in astronomy, focusing on research, graduate coursework, and social science education.

My adviser is not only a leading scientist in the field, but an incredible mentor who always makes time for me and believes no question is stupid. He has roped in the support of 2 other scientists with specific expertise in computational and observational work, so that all aspects of my project are extremely well-supervised. SAO is the friendliest, most active place I ever worked, and has already set me up for my next job. I am sad to leave because I love it so much here!
- Urmila Chadayammuri, 2020 SAO Predoctoral Fellow