Astronaut Scholarship

Information Sessions: NISO Week Sept 18-21, 2023

Campus Deadline: February 22, 2024

Fields of Study: STEM (engineering, math, or natural or applied sciences)

Funding for: General scholarship applied to junior or senior year

Begin Application: Sophomore or junior year

Foundation Website:


The Astronaut Scholarship is funded by the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF), a nonprofit organization created by the Mercury 7 astronauts in 1984. The foundation strives to aid the U.S. in retaining its world leadership in science and technology by providing scholarships to the very best and brightest college students pursuing degrees in STEM majors at select institutions.

Purdue is a foundation member institution based on its history of producing significant numbers of professional scientists, academic scientists, engineers, and researchers. As such, six Purdue students are selected for nomination annually, three of whom are granted an Astronaut Scholarship of up to $15,000 for the following academic year. Special consideration is not given to aeronautical/astronautical engineering students or those intending to pursue careers as astronauts.

Scholars attend an orientation weekend in August/September each year that includes presenting their research at a technical conference, attending the Innovators Gala at which the the Neil Armstrong™ Award of Excellence is awarded to an Astronaut Scholarship alumus, and social/professional events that vary from year to year. Scholars also have the option to seek a mentor through ASF, which we strongly encourage Purdue Scholars to pursue. 

Eligibility Requirements

  • U.S. citizen
  • Working toward a degree in engineering, math, or natural or applied sciences
  • Current sophomore or junior during application period
  • Planning to pursue advanced degree(s) and a research career in engineering, math, or natural or applied sciences
  • Research experience here at Purdue and/or through research internship positions outside of the university

Candidate Profile

  • Participation in a considerable amount of research in your field
  • Excellent academic performance (GPA > 3.7)
  • Special drive or talent that foreshadows a creative career leading to the advancement of scientific knowledge and technology (clearly identified and discussed in the faculty nomination and recommendation)
  • Motivation, imagination, and exceptional performance in your field
  • Intellectual daring and a genuine desire to positively change the world around you

Application Components

  • application form (fillable PDF provided by NISO)
  • 2 recommendation letters
  • Resume
  • 1 page personal statement
  • Certified transcript (or transcripts)
  • Proof of citizenship (birth certificate, U.S. passport, or naturalization papers)

Application Procedure

Purdue nominates up to six students to the national foundation for consideration. As such, Purdue applicants are reviewed by an internal committee who selects nominees from the broader application pool. NISO is the campus hub for Purdue applicants. We encourage interested students to attend the information session in September as that is the kick-off to the application process.

Detailed campus application information is provided directly to applicants once they declare their intention to apply.