The World of NASA’s Internships and Interns

As a federal agency, NASA prides itself on providing internship opportunities that are unique, innovative, and full of excitement.  We are always in search of discovery and exploration of the next big technology break through.  NASA houses several programs designed to secure the next generation of explorers: whether on the Journey to Mars, the Asteroid Redirect Mission, or the endless search for Exoplanets.

Internships at NASA are very coveted positions for undergraduate and graduate students and for some recent college graduates as well.  I recently assisted in the selection of three interns that will round out the incoming summer class of over 60 interns.  The pool of applicants included candidates from all over the United States, including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Internships at NASA can be divided into two distinct categories: short-term and long-term.

  • NASA Pathways are long-term internships wherein selected students mesh their academic schedules with practical experience at a NASA center.  Interns who complete this program are then eligible to receive a full-time NASA civil servant position in their particular field of study.  The candidate’s academic schedule and NASA work schedule are negotiated between all parties involved.
  1. Be a U.S. citizen;
  2. Be at least 16 years of age;
  3. Be enrolled or accepted for enrollment at an accredited U.S. institution of higher learning on at least a half-time basis;
  4. Be pursuing a degree or certificate;
  5. Currently have (and maintain) a 2.9 grade point average;
  6. Be able to complete at least 640 hours of work prior to completing your degree/certificate requirements; and
  7. Meet any other requirements described in the announcement (some IEP positions require you to be pursuing specific majors).
  • NASA’s One Stop Shop for Internships (NASA OSSI), are short-term internships wherein selected students work only for an allocated amount of time.  These are generally offered in the summer, but may also be available during Fall and Winter semesters.
  1. Be a U.S. citizen.
  2. Pre-college applicants must be at least 16 years of age at time of application and a current high school sophomore, junior, or senior. Please note that if a student completes an academic level in the spring, they will be considered the next level for summer sessions (i.e. a high school senior that graduates in the spring would be considered a freshman for a summer opportunity).
  3. At the time the opportunity begins, undergraduate and graduate students must be accepted/enrolled full-time in an accredited U.S. college or university. Please note that high school seniors are considered college freshmen when applying for internships. Before beginning an internship, a high school senior must have been accepted to an accredited U.S. institution of higher learning with plans on attending full-time.
  4. Currently have (and maintain) a 3.0 or higher grade point average on a scale of 4.0. Please note if your college or university does not use a GPA system, you will need to explain its grading method in the application.
  • Recent Graduate Internships are available for recent college graduates.  Selected candidates will have an opportunity to join the NASA workforce under long-term or short-term agreements upon graduation.  However, there is a narrow application window; only graduates within six months following graduation are considered.  As a Recent Graduate appointee, you will be placed in a dynamic, one-year career development program.  If you successfully complete the program at NASA, you may be converted to permanent employment or term employment of up to six years


Lester Morales, M.D.
Educator Professional Development Specialist, NASA STEM EPDC
NASA Kennedy Space Center