Eligibility and Requirements


  • You must have completed the requirements for a Ph.D. or an equivalent doctoral degree before beginning the NASA Postdoctoral Program (NPP) Fellowship.
  • You must meet one of the following criteria to be eligible to apply to the NPP:
    • U.S. Citizenship
    • U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status
    • Foreign national eligible for an Exchange Visitor J-1 Visa status
      Foreign nationals are not required to hold the J-1 Visa at the time of application, but if selected for the fellowship, they must obtain the J-1 Visa before starting the NPP appointment.
    • Applicant for LPR, asylee, or refugee in the U.S. at the time of application with 1) a valid EAD card and 2) I-485 or I-589 forms in pending status
  • Since each NPP Fellowship is tied to a specific research opportunity located at a NASA Center or program institute, you must relocate to the Center or program institute that supports the opportunity to which you were accepted. In the case of virtual centers such as the NASA Astrobiology Program, you must relocate to the university location of your advisor as listed on the research opportunity. Establishing and maintaining residency at the Center or at the location of the advisor is required to begin the appointment and to remain in the program.
  • You must not have held an NPP appointment for five years prior to applying. NPP Fellows are eligible for another award five years after the end of the previous appointment. Some NASA Centers may require a security or visitation clearance before you start your appointment. The NASA Center representative will notify you in advance if a clearance is required.
  • You cannot start your NPP appointment until all appointment requirements are met. This includes completing and returning all required forms and documentation to ORAU. ORAU will not issue an advance stipend check, start stipend payments, or approve relocation travel until all requirements are met.


NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellows must meet the following program requirements:

  • Fellows must have fulfilled all of the eligibility requirements in order to receive their award.
  • Fellows are stipend recipients and not employees of either NASA or ORAU or of the host institution.
  • Fellows must provide proof of health insurance, either through the health insurance plan offered by ORAU, or from another qualified plan. If insured under another qualified plan, the Fellow must provide ORAU with the insurer name, policy number, and copies of the front and back of the insurance card.
  • Fellows are required to maintain all safety, security, IT security and other training requirements of the host Center at which they are residing.
  • Relocation costs must be pre-approved by ORAU 60 days prior to travel.
  • Fellows must commit to resident participation at an approved NASA site for the duration of the appointment, and avoid obligations that will interrupt the research during the appointment.
  • Fellows are required to adhere to the host institution's requirements for prior review and approval of all material to be published. This includes material that will appear in print (including poster presentations at meetings) or material prepared for oral presentation.
  • Fellows are required to report all inventions made as a result of the appointment promptly to the director or patent counsel of the host institution and also to ORAU.
  • ORAU does not assert any rights to inventions made during the appointment.
  • NASA requires that Fellows be fully involved in the research and educational opportunities available in the NPP appointment. Fellows may not provide services for compensation to a third party, or supplement their stipends through simultaneous employment, grants, or other sources of income that compete with the fellowship.