student and faculty


Graduate Fellowships

Image of 3 people looking at stars
If your passion is space,
Wash U is your place. 

Fellowships from the McDonnell Center provide a generous stipend to incoming graduate students in the Departments of Physics or Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences. These two-year fellowships are offered to outstanding students expressing a special interest in one of the research areas of the Center. The fellowships provide a nine-month academic year stipend plus tuition remission. Renewals for a second year are contingent upon satisfactory progress and continued involvement in the space sciences. An additional stipend is provided for one summer of support for research.

McDonnell Center Graduate Fellowships

These fellowships may be offered to any highly qualified student from around the world.

McDonnell Astronaut Fellowships

Three special awards, established in memory of the astronauts who lost their lives in preparation for our first lunar landing, are offered to exceptional students who are also U.S. citizens:

  • The Roger B. Chaffee Fellowship
  • The Virgil I. Grissom Fellowship
  • The Edward H. White II Fellowship

McDonnell Center Named Fellowships

  • The Larry A. Haskin Fellowship - This fellowship was established in memory of Professor Larry A. Haskin, respected teacher, researcher, and former chairman of the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Washington University in St. Louis.
  • The Ernst K. Zinner Fellowship - This fellowship was established in memory of Professor Ernst K. Zinner for his contributions to the field of Cosmochemistry.  Professor Zinner had a dual appointment in the Departments of Physics and Earth and Planetary Sciences.

Graduate students interested in the space sciences should apply to one of the following departments:

Postdoctoral Fellowship Opening

Application Deadline

Fall 2024

Washington University in St. Louis invites applicants to conduct independent research as a postdoctoral fellow of the McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences (MCSS) in the broad field of space sciences.  We welcome applicants with interests in Astromaterials, Cosmochemistry, or Meteoritics; Experimental, theoretical, or observational Astrophysics; Planetary Science; Particle and Nuclear Physics, Cosmology and Gravitation; and Earth as a Planet. In their application materials, the candidate should describe their research interests and list potential collaborators from among the faculty fellows of the MCSS. The initial annual salary is $66,000 with additional funds available for research expenses and travel support.

Candidates must have a PhD or be a May 2024 degree candidate specializing in one of the fields listed above and have a record of excellent scholarship. Ideal candidates will have demonstrated expertise in relevant observational, lab-based, theoretical, and computational methodologies.

The initial appointment will be for a one-year period, renewable for a second year. Washington University in St. Louis is committed to the principles and practices of equal employment opportunity and especially encourages applications by those underrepresented in their academic fields. It is the University’s policy to recruit, hire, train, and promote persons in all job titles without regard to race, color, age, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, protected veteran status, disability, or genetic information.

Applications should include a curriculum vitae and a 2-page statement of interest or research proposal, and the names and contact information for three professional references. Applicants are responsible for contacting referees. Referees will need to have their letters uploaded to the link provided by the application site. Applications and letters will be accepted beginning in fall 2024.  Questions related to the search or application process may be directed to


McDonnell Center Named Postdoctoral Fellowship

The Robert M. Walker Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Experimental Space Sciences - This fellowship was established in memory of Professor Robert M. Walker, the founding director of the McDonnell Center.  Walker was a pioneering physicist who shaped research in the space sciences worldwide.  

MCSS Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowship Application

Application Deadline March 29, 2024

This fellowship is geared toward undergraduate students who may be considering graduate school. McDonnell Center faculty fellows guide the student on a specific space-science-related research project during the summer. Students interested in applying should discuss potential research with a McDonnell Center faculty member. The term is for ten weeks in the upcoming summer. There will be a total of ten fellowships with five awarded to students in the Department of Physics and five awarded to students in the Department of Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences. These fellowships are intended to be $4000 from MCSS and $1000 from the faculty mentor.

Student Application Form

Mentor Nomination Form

I'm blown away by the idea that the chemistry of small crystals can help us understand larger planetary systems. I decided to go to grad school at WashU because I wanted to hone my “forensic” skills and learn how to decipher those chemical signals and could have access to a full suite of analytical instruments and incredible experimental facilities. I work with Mike Krawczynski on a project that involves detailed petrography using optical microscopy and WashU’s electron microprobe. I couldn’t have made a better choice in graduate school; I feel extraordinarily lucky to attend WashU and to be a McDonnell Center Fellow.

―Andrea GoltzMcDonnell Center for the Space Sciences Graduate Fellow