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Astronaut Scholarship

Overview and Introduction

Created in 1984 to honor the Mercury 7 astronauts, the Astronaut Scholarship is not just for students in aerospace engineering. Like the Goldwater Scholarship, its mission is to promote future U.S. scientists in all STEM fields.  The scholarship offers up to $15,000 and an invitation to network with other scholarship winners at an induction ceremony at the Astronaut Hall of Fame.  

The scholarship is for students planning research careers.  Students planning to pursue an MD only and conduct clinical research are not eligible, but those planning to pursue an MD-PhD and career in biomedical science research are eligible. 


  • Academics: Most successful applicants have at least a 3.8 GPA and at least one year of sustained involvement in one or more research projects. 
  • Citizenship: U.S. Citizenship
  • Degree-Level: Sophomore or junior standing with full-time enrollment. 

Application Deadlines

  • Campus Deadline: Second Friday in January by 12:00pm.
  • Endorsement:  The Astronaut Scholarship does not accept direct applications. 
    Students must be nominated by the U-M STEM Scholarship Committee. See STEM RCA page for application details. 

Astronaut Scholarship Selection Criteria:

  •  Scholarship nominees must be engineering or natural or applied science (e.g. astronomy, biology, chemistry, physics, earth science, computer 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. However, those intending to perform biomedical research are eligible.
  • Scholarship nominees are those students who have shown initiative, creativity, and excellence in their chosen field. Special consideration is not given to aeronautical/astronautical engineering students or those intending to pursue careers as astronauts. 

Application Summary

U-M STEM Research Career Award: All students who apply for U-M nomination to the U-M STEM Reseach Career Award will also be considered for nomination for the Astronaut Scholarship.  Students interested in the Astronaut Scholarship should follow the directions for the U-M STEM Research Career Award.  No additional application is required. 

U-M nominees for the Astronaut Scholarship will be announced in early January. The nominees will work with ONSF to complete the final nomination package before the February national application deadline.

Faculty Nomination: Faculty members may nominate a student for the Astronaut Scholarship by sending a letter of recommendation directly to ONSF.  The deadline for faculty nominations to be received and considered is the first Monday in December.