Undergraduate Summer Research Program (USRP)

Every summer, our department runs the Undergraduate Summer Research Program (USRP), in which 15-20 students carry out research projects under the supervision of faculty and postdoc advisors.  The summer starts with a week-long intensive workshop on computer programming and astronomical statistics.  Students then work one-on-one with a faculty member on an independent research project;  some even co-author research articles for peer-reviewed journals based on their summer research.  The topics that undergraduate researchers have tackled in the past have spanned all of experimental, observational, and theoretical astronomy. Participating in the summer program is an excellent introduction to research astronomy, and for students interested in majoring in astrophysics, it is a great way to learn whether this is something you would like to pursue for a career (many former participants have gone on to graduate school and to careers in astronomy and other sciences).

Sample Student Research Topics

  • Transport of Energetic Particles in Astrophysical Turbulence
  • Stellar Response to Hydrodynamic Mass Loss Extinction
  • Cross Sections of Onion-like Graphite in the Interstellar Medium
  • Blend Analysis of HATNet Transit Candidates
  • Automated Characterization of Resolved Binary Star Systems
  • WFIRST Astrometry: Centroiding on the Arms of the PSF
  • Dynamical Formation of Gravitational Wave Inspirals
  • Chaos in Bar Potentials
  • Searching for Ultra-Diffuse Galaxies beyond Galaxy Clusters using HSC
  •  Examining the Host Galaxies of Quasars
  • Understanding Mass Assembly of Luminous Red Galaxies in HSC Galactic Conformity and Stochasticity
  • Finding the Missing Baryons: Insights from Enzo AMR Cosmological Simulations

How to Apply

Applications to the Princeton Astrophysics Undergraduate Summer Research Program are limited to students enrolled in U.S. universities, U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

Princeton students should submit the following application materials through the University's Student Activities Funding Engine (SAFE) http://www.princeton.edu/studentfunding/

1) A brief essay consisting of approximately two paragraphs, no more than one page (reasonable margins, 12-point font).  The first paragraph should briefly describe course-work and/or previous research experiences that you feel are relevant.  The second paragraph should describe why you would like to participate. Please also indicate the subject in which you intend to major and your citizenship.

2) On a separate page please provide a list of the courses you have taken and the grades received (a screenshot from the registrar's website will suffice).

The deadline for applications from Princeton students is February 20, 2017.

All students receive a stipend adequate to cover housing and all local expenses for the duration of the summer program which will run from Monday, June 12 - Friday, August 11, 2017.  In addition, students from beyond the local Princeton area will receive travel support between their home and Princeton.

Applications of non-Princeton students were made through the National Astronomy Consortium (NAC):  https://science.nrao.edu/opportunities/student-programs/nac operated by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO).  NAC provides research experience and long-term mentoring and cohort support, and is directed to women and underrepresented minority undergraduate students studying astronomy or related fields.  The deadline for applications to be submitted through NRAO has passed.

If you have questions about the program, please contact:

Michael Strauss, Associate Chair of the Department (strauss@astro.princeton.edu).