Postdoctoral Fellowship Program

Carnegie Observatories operates several post-doctoral fellowship programs in observational and theoretical astronomy and instrumentation. Not all fellowships are offered every year: the Carnegie Fellowship and the Carnegie-Princeton Fellowship are available for the November 1, 2015 application deadline, i.e., for fellowships beginning in September 2016.

Details of each fellowship program are outlined below.

All fellows are expected to pursue research topics of their choice. Fellows enjoy access to all of Carnegie’s observing facilities in Chile on the same basis as the scientific staff, including the two 6.5-meter Magellan telescopes, the 2.5-meter du Pont telescope, and the 1.0-meter Swope telescope, all at Las Campanas Observatory. In the recent past, Carnegie Fellows have generally received 3-5 nights of Magellan time per semester. Fellows will also have access to Carnegie's newly installed computer cluster consisting of 1472 cores. In support of fellows’ research programs, Carnegie provides ample funding for observing, travel, computing, and publication charges. A list of current and past fellows and their current positions is available here. Carnegie supports a diverse and inclusive scientific environment and encourages all eligible members of the community to apply. Applicants must be able to work legally in the U.S.

If you are interested in having Carnegie host your Hubble, Einstein, Jansky, Sagan or NSF fellowship, please contact Dr. Andrew Benson at Externally funded fellows also have access to Carnegie’s observing facilities described above.

Carnegie Fellowship (due Nov. 1, 2015)

The fellowship is intended to encourage long-term research in observational or theoretical astrophysics and/or instrumentation. We are particularly interested in applicants who have received their Ph.D. degree within the past three years. Fellowships are awarded for one year and may be renewed for two additional years. The successful applicant must have completed the Ph.D. requirements before assuming the fellowship. Please find further details in our job announcement at Email inquiries may be sent to Dr. Andrew Benson at

Carnegie-Princeton Fellowship (due Nov. 1, 2015)

This fellowship is a joint position between Carnegie Observatories and the Department of Astrophysical Sciences of Princeton. The Fellow is expected to work two years at the main offices of the Observatories in Pasadena and two years at Princeton, in an order to be negotiated with the applicant. The Fellow will have access to all of the resources and facilities of both institutions for the duration of the fellowship. In particular, Carnegie operates the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile (see a description of our available telescope and computational facilities at the top of this page) and provides an excellent environment for observational astrophysics and cosmology. The Department of Astrophysical Sciences at Princeton is a major partner in the Atacama Cosmology Telescope and the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, and is collaborating with the Japanese astronomical community on large imaging and spectroscopic surveys with the Subaru Telescope, focused on extragalactic astronomy and planetary systems around other stars.  Together with research groups in other departments in the university and the nearby Institute for Advanced Study, the department offers an unparalleled environment for research in theoretical and observational astrophysics and cosmology. 

For further important details please read our job announcement at Please send any inquiries to

Alvin E. Nashman Fellowship (not offered in 2015)

This fellowship is intended to support research in all areas of theoretical and computational astrophysics to be carried out at the Carnegie Observatories in Pasadena. The Nashman Fellow has full access to Carnegie's computational resources: previous fellows have utilized 1-2 million CPU hours per year. The fellowship is awarded for one year and may be renewed for two additional years. It is not available in 2015. The successful applicant must have completed the Ph.D. requirements before assuming the fellowship.

Carnegie Origins Fellowship (not offered in 2015)

The Carnegie Origins Initiative is a unique interdisciplinary program that addresses the conditions, within our solar system and exosolar systems, that give rise to planet formation and, ultimately, life.  Topics include, but are not limited to, observations and theory of stellar evolution, star-planet interaction, planet formation, detection and characterization of exosolar planets, and planetary evolution. The Fellow is expected to work two years at the Observatories in Pasadena and two years at the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism (DTM) in Washington DC, in an order to be negotiated. The Carnegie Origins Fellow is expected to carry out an original research program related to the Origins Initiative. The Origins Fellowship is not available in 2015.

How to Apply

Applications for the Carnegie Fellowship and the Carnegie-Princeton Fellowship include a brief cover letter, a curriculum vitae and bibliography, a brief essay describing the applicant’s current research, and a research proposal based on the facilities available at the Observatories. Applications may be submitted online using the link below. Please indicate the fellowships in which you are interested. Applicants must also provide the names and email addresses of three references, who will be emailed a link for electronic submission of their letters. Reference letters will be due November 15.


Applicants for the Carnegie-Princeton fellowship must ALSO submit their application to Princeton via (Requisition Number: 1500612). Note that three letters of reference must be submitted to BOTH Carnegie and Princeton via their respective online applications. The research plan should address how the applicant intends to use the resources and facilities available at both host institutions. Selection of the successful candidate will be made by a joint Carnegie-Princeton committee.  All applicants for the Carnegie-Princeton Fellowship will automatically be considered for all postdoctoral positions in the Astrophysical Sciences department at Princeton and for the Carnegie Fellowship at The Observatories; however, they should clearly state in the cover letter that they wish to be considered for the Carnegie-Princeton Fellowship.