Astronaut Scholarship

Provides $15,000 award to undergraduate researchers in math, science, and engineering

Astronaut Scholars at a glance:


  • Scholarship nominees must be U.S. citizens.
  • Scholarship nominees must be engineering or natural or applied science or mathematics students with intentions to pursue research or advance their field upon completion of their final degrees. Students intending to pursue a practice in professional medicine are not eligible for the scholarship. 
  • At the time of nomination, scholarship candidates must be at least second-year college students, have excellent grades (minimum 3.7), and have conducted a considerable amount of undergraduate research work in their field.
  • Scholarship nominees must be second or third-year students. Students must attend school full-time and remain in good standing during their ASF-supported academic year.

Selection Criteria:

  • This scholarship is fully merit based, and nominees are selected on their:
    • ability to display their creativity and move into unknown territory.
    • potential, ability, and drive to do research, develop new ideas, pursue inventions, and pursue innovative technologies.
    • exhibition of motivation, imagination, and exceptional performance in their field of academics and research.
    • conveyance of intellectual daring and a genuine desire to positively change the world around them, from both, or either, within the classroom or in their community.
    • recognition as a leader through their activities on campus or in the community.

Candidates for the Astronaut Scholars Program can affirm the following statements: 

  • I am committed to a research-focused career in science or engineering
  • I can secure two letters of recommendation from a faculty member or research mentor in STEM (one of these letters must come from a University of Chicago faculty member or research PI)
  • I have engaged in undergraduate research and can describe my intellectual and research trajectory, how this impacts my future plans for further study, and how my work exhibits academic excellence, imagination, leadership, and a vision for the future. 
  • I will benefit from and contribute to the community of Astronaut Scholars and program alumni.

Extensive Description

The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation was created to ensure that the United States would maintain its leadership in science and technology by supporting some of the very best science and engineering college students. Through the garnered support of former astronauts, industry leaders, educational institutions, and patrons, the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation awards merit-based scholarships to the best and brightest university students who excel in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Candidates for the scholarship must be nominated by their university (see application procedure below) and must exhibit leadership, imagination and exceptional performance in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The accomplishments of the Astronaut Scholar alumni have profoundly impacted our nation through technological innovations in health care, energy, defense, aerospace, homeland security, and so much more.

Deadline Information

University Nomination Deadline: Saturday, March 11, 2023

Eligibility Requirements

An applicant for the Astronaut Scholarship must be:

  • a citizen of the United States, either native born or naturalized
  • at least a sophomore applying for their junior year, or a junior applying to receive a scholarship for their senior year
  • enrolled in one of the participating universities in the Scholarship Program. 
  • enrolled for both semesters as a full-time student for the ASF-supported academic year.
  • seeking a STEM degree with intentions to pursue research or advance their field upon completion of their final degrees.
  • Students intending to pursue a practice in professional medicine are not eligible for the scholarship. However, those intending to perform biomedical research are eligible
  • Must have conducted a considerable amount of work outside the classroom in their chosen field of study. This may include laboratory research, cooperative education, internships, relevant military experience, entrepreneurial endeavors, and/or documented independent work resulting in technical papers, patents, or similar work product

Application Process

Students must be nominated by the University of Chicago to apply for this award.  The campus application requires the following:

  • Two (2) confidential recommendation letters from at least one UChicago faculty member and/or research PI and another faculty or research mentor familiar with your research and pursuit of academic excellence; uploaded to application site
  • A one-page personal statement (single-spaced) detailing a) your intellectual autobiography, including particularly relevant experiences while an undergraduate, b) your engagement in undergraduate research, including a brief description of your current research, and what you have learned through those experiences; and c) a brief statement about your plans for further graduate study, as well as your professional goals and career aspirations. 
  • Transcripts (unofficial; please do not send screen shots);
  • A CV/academic resume.

All campus application materials must be uploaded via the ONLINE APPLICATION PORTAL

The University committee will select four nominees for submission to the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation Scholarship Committee. The ASF National Scholarship Committee selects two recipients from each nominating institution. 

For more information on this opportunity, please contact: 
Nichole Fazio