[NRAO] at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory, with administrative headquarters on the Grounds of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia, manages facilities for radio astronomical research in New Mexico, Arizona, and West Virginia. The NRAO Very Large Array (VLA) and Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) radio telescopes are both operated from Socorro, New Mexico; and the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope is operated in Green Bank, West Virginia; and the advanced development phase for the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) will lead to the prototype antennas arriving at the VLA site in 2002. For over forty years, the NRAO has conducted a summer student research program in which the student works closely with an NRAO mentor on a research project. The site at which a summer student will work depends on the location of the NRAO supervisor to whom the student is assigned. Insofar as it is possible, student preferences will be accommodated.

What is Radio Astronomy? JPL has produced a useful Primer.

The salaries in the 2002 Summer Student Program are $1600 per month for undergraduates, $1850 per month for graduates. Please note that the number of weeks per month varies, but for a month with 4.3 weeks this means the undergraduate salary is $372 per week. Travel expenses between the NRAO site and the student's home or institution, whichever is more appropriate, will be reimbursed in accordance with the standard NRAO travel policy. Up to two days lodging will be reimbursed while the student is looking for a place to live. Although the summer students are expected to make their own arrangements for lodging, the NRAO personnel department can provide assistance. For students based in Green Bank, on-site Observatory housing is available at reasonable rates. Students are expected to be in residence for at least ten weeks but no more than twelve. The beginning date will be arranged individually between the student and mentor.

For examples of the types of research carried out by students at the NRAO, visit our 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, or 2001 program reports.

The majority of assistantships will be offered to U.S. citizens, undergraduate students who are currently enrolled in U.S. undergraduate institutions, and those who will not receive their degrees before or during the summer of 2002. A limited number of assistantships will be available for graduate students and graduating seniors.

Application for one of these NRAO summer research assistantships should be made on forms available from university department heads or from our website: The deadline for receipt of all of the following forms is January 25, 2002.

  1. Completed application form.
  2. Letter from applicant giving educational background and goals, and scientific experience
  3. Official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended. A list of courses in progress should also be sent.
  4. Letters of recommendation from three people who can evaluate the applicant's ability, experience, and potential.

Mail application materials, to:

    Summer Student Program Director
    National Radio Astronomy Observatory
    520 Edgemont Road
    Charlottesville, VA  22903-2475
    Telephone:  (434) 296-0225
All questions should be directed to:
The forms are also available via anonymous ftp to in directory: /pub/forms in postscript and WordPerfect formats.

For postscript please see:

  • application (postscript) and
  • recommendation (postscript),

    For (binary) WordPerfect format please see:

  • application (WordPerfect) and
  • recommendation (WordPerfect) ,

    For PDF format, readable with Adobe Acrobat readers, please see:

  • application (PDF) and
  • recommendation (PDF)

  • The deadline for receipt of application forms for Summer 2002 will be January 25.
    Notice of the decision on each application will be sent by March 1.

    High School Astronomy Programs

    The NRAO does not have a formal program for high school students. Science Service (202) 785-2255 published a Directory of Student Science Training Programs in 1994 with a focus on High School Students. Among these programs are those run by The Thacher School .

    Other Astronomy Programs

    If you are ineligible for our program, you may find a comprehensive list of summer job programs in the sciences at the American Physical Society listing. A new "Summer Employment Opportunities" list is available on the AAS Career Services page . This list will serve as a comprehensive source of all summer employment opportunities, especially for observatory programs, undergraduate opportunities, and graduate fellowship positions.

    Universe Semester - Columbia University - one would spend a semester at Biosphere 2 between Tucson and Phoenix. The Program is an intensive program in astronomy and astrophysics for college undergraduates and carries a full semester of Columbia University credit.

    Summer Astronomy Camp - sponsored by the University of Arizona Alumni Association.

    A more general list of programs is maintained at Sonoma State.

    The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is an equal opportunity employer. (M/F/H/V)

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    Modified on 2001-Jul-27 by Sheila Marks