3 minute read

Scholarships in Astrophysics

Grants, Student Loans, & Fellowships

Obtaining a degree in astrophysics prepares students for jobs in planetariums, educational institutions, and observatories. The study of astrophysics often accompanies astronomy because of their association with outer space. As astrophysics majors, students learn about space objects like comets, stars, asteroids, and the affects of these objects and the earth. Students will have to take a variety of physics courses, as well as chemistry, and mathematics courses.

Paying for a good education can lead to frustration. However, most colleges and universities offer financial assistance to astrophysics students, especially in the form of scholarships. Scholarships in astrophysics are excellent supplements to a student’s financial aid package because they are free money opportunities that don’t have to be repaid. To obtain scholarships, students need to know where to look for them.

Where to Find Scholarships in Astrophysics

For general scholarships, which are typically based on merit and/or financial need, students should go to the campus financial aid office. For astrophysics scholarships, students should speak to departmental staff for scholarships specific to the field of astrophysics. Many institutions combine astrophysics with astronomy, physics, or natural science, so department names may do the same (ex: At Penn State, the department name is Astronomy & Astrophysics, and it is part of the College of Science). In addition, students can seek outside scholarships which are typically administered by local, regional, and national organizations. Here are some examples:

Braddock Scholarship —Penn State University offers this up to 15 scholarships to exceptional students majoring in astrophysics, and other areas of study. Pre-med students are not eligible. The scholarship pays for tuition, and room and board for up to four years.

Kenneth B. and Carole A. Yerrick Endowed Scholarship Fund—offered at Michigan State University, this scholarship is awarded to undergraduate students in their sophomore or junior year of school. Recipients must be majoring in an area of study associated with the College of Natural Science, which includes astrophysics. Recipients must be high school graduates of Midland County High School, Owosso High School, or from a Saginaw or Bay County school, with an excellent academic record. A resume and written statement are required for eligibility. Award amount varies each year.

Herbert T. Graham Scholarship—offered at Michigan State University, this scholarship is awarded to an undergraduate or graduate student who demonstrates financial need and academic excellence. Applicants must have a minimum grade point average of 3.0.

James T. Shipman Scholarships—these departmental awards are given to Ohio University incoming freshmen majoring in one of the bachelor’s degree programs within the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Award amount is $1,500 per year. This scholarship is renewable.

In addition, Ohio University offers several scholarships for continuing students within the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Each scholarship awards from $500 up to full tuition. They are: Darrell O. Huwe Scholarships; C. Paul and Beth K. Stocker Scholarships; Lila Ewers Scholarships; John Edwards Scholarships; Robert Gecsy Scholarships; and the Distinguished Professor Scholarships.

Whitford Prize—offered by the University of California—Santa Cruz, this cash prize of $500 is awarded annually to an outstanding graduate student majoring in degree program through the Astronomy & Astrophysics department.
Student Award for Excellence in Teaching—offered by the University of California—Santa Cruz, this $250 cash prize is awarded annually to astronomy or astrophysics students with an interest in teaching.

Dannie Heineman Prize—awarded by the American Astronomical Society and the American Institute of Physics, this prize is designed to recognize exceptional work in astrophysics.

Hans A. Bethe Prize—awarded by the American Physical Society, this prize recognizes exceptional work in theory, observations, and experiment in astrophysics, and other related fields.

Tips on Scholarships in Astrophysics

  • When seeking departmental scholarships, most institutions combine the two majors within the same department, or combine astrophysics with other majors.
  • Dig a little deeper for astrophysics scholarship opportunities on campus, and off campus. Oftentimes, astrophysics is associated with physics, natural science, astronomy, and other areas of study.
  • Check the financial aid office for general scholarships based on merit and/or financial need.
  • Be sure to know all scholarship deadlines and requirements to ensure all materials are returned in time for consideration.

Additional topics

Financial-Aid Articles