NASA internships provide an incredible opportunity for high school, undergraduate, and graduate students to gain experience in an array of science and technology fields.
From engineering to computer science to astrophysics, NASA internships and fellowships offer the chance to explore new and exciting career paths. NASA internships provide students with real operational experiences at actual NASA facilities as well as other experiential learning opportunities.
Types of NASA internships and fellowships
There are four main programs offered at 10 locations in the US, with lots of opportunities under each program. There are also international programs and a NASA-sponsored program at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Four different programs
Here are the four primary NASA internship programs:
- OSTEM — NASA Office of STEM Engagement (OSTEM) internships allow high school and college-level students to contribute to NASA projects under a mentor’s guidance.
- Pathways — The Pathways program offers current students and recent graduates internships that are pathways to full-time employment at NASA upon graduation.
- Fellowships — NASA Fellowships allow graduate-level students to pursue research projects in response to the agency’s current research priorities.
- International — Through the agency’s International Internships Project, university students from qualified countries have a unique opportunity to gain experience through interning! Students will work with like-minded interns and be guided by a mentor at NASA.
The Office of STEM Engagement (OSTEM ) has many different internship opportunities available. This program is for STEM students and resembles the typical internship program. This is a paid internship (stipend) and is offered across NASA’s 10 facilities in the fall, spring, and summer.
Key eligibility requirements for the OSTEM program:
- Applicants for this internship must be U.S. Citizens and meet a minimum 3.0 GPA requirement.
- OSTEM opportunities are available at the high school, undergraduate, graduate, and educator levels.
You can find OSTEM internships at the NASA STEM gateway site here. You can easily find what is currently being offered by accessing the project list, filtering based on skill set or desired location (whether it be physical or virtual). Be sure to apply individually for any opportunities that interest you!
NASA even has a useful YouTube channel for OSTEM applicants that you can find here.
NASA Pathways Internship Program
This program is structured as a multi-semester experience, so student can learn more about what it is like to work at NASA and NASA can learn more about the students. The Pathways Internship Program is designed to prepare students for a career at NASA, and the intention is to give job offers to the students who successfully complete the program.
This program looks for candidates who are well-rounded students who can demonstrate curiosity, team-orientation, excellence, a passion for exploration, agility, and resilience. For this program, NASA is looking for students who share and exemplify NASA’s vision, mission, and core values.
Students who participate in this program will have educational opportunities throughout their participation and will engage with NASA career professionals.
Key eligibility requirements for the Pathways program:
- Be a U.S. citizen;
- Be at least 16 years of age;
- Be enrolled or accepted for enrollment on at least a half-time basis in an accredited educational institution and maintain enrollment at least half-time as defined by the institution;
- Be pursuing a degree or certificate;
- Currently have and maintain a cumulative 2.9 grade point average on a 4.0 scale;
- Be able to complete at least 640 hours of work;
- Required to sign a Pathways Participant Agreement;
- Required to undergo a pre-employment background investigation;
- Male applicants over 18 must certify that they have registered with the Selective Service System, or are exempt from having to do so under the Selective Service Law; and
- Be able to begin work for multiple semesters.
Types of internships offered through the Pathways program
Internships for the Pathways program are available in the following fields:
Engineering, Science, and Technology
- GS-899: Engineering
- GS-1399: Physical Sciences
- GS-0099: Safety & Occupational Health
- GS-199: Social Sciences
- GS-299: Human Resources
- GS-399: Administration and Program Management & Analysis
- GS-599: Accounting & Budget
- GS-1099: Communication & Public Relations
- GS-1199: Procurement and Contracts
- GS-1599: Math & Statistics
- GS-2299: Information Technology
How to apply for the Pathways program
Students interested in pursuing an internship with Pathways should visit USAJobs.gov and explore the current vacancies!
Do your research. Learn about the type of work performed at each of the NASA facilities so that you’ll be able to find your best fit. Be sure to look only at the internships available at a NASA facility that works for you and matches your career interests.
Prepare your application. Create your profile, craft an impressive resume, and subscribe to alert notifications for position openings when you visit USAJobs.gov! With this proactive approach, you’ll be the first to know about career opportunities with us.
Apply during the open application window. When you apply, be sure to apply to the vacancy that aligns with BOTH your academic major and preferred geographic location(s) in order to route your application to the type of work you’re interested in.
If you have any questions about the Pathways program, you can reach out to the point of contact for the NASA facility that you are interested in through these contacts below:
- Ames Research Center
- Armstrong Flight Research Center
- Glenn Research Center
- Goddard Space Flight Center, Wallops Flight Facility, and The IV&V Facility
- NASA Headquarters
- Johnson Space Center & The White Sands Test Facility or visit the JSC Pathways Program site
- Kennedy Space Center
- Langley Research Center
- Marshall Space Flight Center
- NASA Shared Services Center
- Stennis Space Center
NASA Fellows participate in a center-based research experience.
NASA Fellowships aim to support graduate-level projects and proposals, which will contribute to a NASA research opportunity.
Fellows get to participate in unique NASA related research projects that serve NASA’s missions.
Here are some of the key attributes of the NASA Fellowships:
- NASA Fellowships support graduate-level projects and proposals that contribute to a NASA Research Opportunity.
- Graduate Students in the Fellowship program coordinate with NASA career professionals and are exposed to NASA’s innovation culture.
- Fellows participate in prestigious conferences and a Center Based Research Experience.
Three ways to apply for NASA Fellowships:
- GEM Fellowship Opportunities — NASA Fellowship Activity in partnership with The National GEM Consortium engages underrepresented and underserved minorities in STEM Graduate Academic programs. To learn more about this program, visit The National GEM Consortium.
- MUREP Funding Opportunities — NASA Fellowship Activity awards training grants to Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) using Minority University Research Education Project (MUREP) funds. For a list of planned solicitations, visit the EONS Grant Forecasting webpage.
- Other Fellowship Opportunities — For all other Fellowship opportunities, visit the Learners Opportunities.
Students from the following countries can apply through the affiliated space agency in their country below:
- Australia: Victorian Space Science Education Center (VSSEC)
- Brazil: Brazilian Space Agency (AEB)
- Canada: Canadian Space Agency (CSA)
- Europe: European Space Agency (ESA)—Program on hold
- Israel: Israel Space Agency (ISA)
- Jordan: Crown Prince Foundation
- Lithuania: Agency for Science, Innovation and Technology (MITA)
- Mexico: Mexican Space Agency (AEM)
- New Zealand: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE)
- Norway: Norwegian Space Center (NSC)
- Portugal: Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT)
- South Korea: Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI)
- Sweden: Swedish National Space Agency (SNSA)
- Trinidad and Tobago: National Institute of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (NIHERST)
- United Arab Emirates (UAE): UAE Space Agency (UAESA)
International students can apply through here.
Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)
NASA also sponsors interns at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California.
The NASA internships at JPL is for STEM students interested in working with the scientists and engineers who’ve helped make JPL the leading center for robotic exploration of the solar system. There are varied programs available across the STEM spectrum for undergrads, graduate students, postdocs and faculty. To learn more or to apply, click here.
The NASA internship program offers a unique and exciting opportunity to work alongside experts in the field of science and technology. With a variety of programs available, students are sure to find one that fits their needs. Whether you’re an undergraduate, graduate student, postdoc or high school student, there is something for everyone at this world-renowned institution. If you’re willing to put in the effort and dedication it takes to apply for these internships, then you could be on your way towards launching your career into new heights!