Graduate Fellowship

How Graduate Fellowships Work

Graduate fellowships are awarded on the basis of academic excellence, scientific potential, and compatibility of the students' interests with current HAO research pursuits. Students selected to participate in the program will conduct research with one of the scientists at HAO on a mutually agreeable theoretical or experimental project. If the student is an official Ph.D. candidate, it is expected that the research will constitute the doctoral dissertation. The cooperating university must accord the supervising HAO scientist membership on the student's thesis committee (preferably as co-chair) and provide the appropriate faculty appointment, as required for this purpose. An official Ph.D. candidate is also eligible for the annual Newkirk Fellowship competition.

HAO Graduate Fellows also enjoy the use of a wide range of technical facilities in their thesis work. These include access to the HAO Unix computers, NCAR IBM computer system, and the HAO and NCAR libraries and data archives. HAO graduate fellows are eligible to participate in active theoretical and observational ventures, such as thermospheric general circulation modeling or the advanced Stokes polarimeter experiment, and may utilize the Mauna Loa Solar Observatory in Hawaii.

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Salary and Benefits

GRA positions are half-time positions. Graduate Fellows are expected to devote themselves fully toward the completion of their Ph.D. thesis and are entitled to all benefits normally afforded to NCAR employees. In addition, HAO may pay university tuition in part or full amount based on a mutual agreement with the student's university.

HAO Graduate Fellows will need to discuss potential funding sources with their faculty contact. One potential source is the annual Newkirk Fellowship competition.


The student must be enrolled full-time in a university graduate program having common interest with HAO research goals and must be working on a research project in cooperation with an HAO staff member. It is expected that the student will spend a significant portion of time in residence at HAO, including summers.

The student's progress will be reviewed on a yearly basis, with an eye to scientific achievement as well as continued academic suitability.

How To Apply

The following may be submitted at any time to apply to be a HAO Graduate Fellow:

  • Brief description (1-2 page) of the research project to be undertaken with a HAO scientific staff member;
  • Letters of recommendation from three university faculty members or research supervisors (one of whom must be the HAO scientific staff member) who are familiar with the student's work must accompany the application. Please note that it is the student's responsibility to request that the letters be sent to HAO.
  • Official transcripts of undergraduate and graduate courses.


Materials listed above should be sent to:

Caitlyn Quinn
HAO Visitor Committee
High Altitude Observatory, NCAR
P.O. Box 3000
Boulder, CO 80307-3000

Consideration of Graduate Research Fellowships will be performed continuously throughout the year. Further details may be obtained by sending an e-mail to Caitlyn Quinn ( or Dr. Matthias Rempel (

Links to other NCAR Fellowship Programs

NCAR Advanced Study Program