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Application Form and Information


The purpose of the USRA Distinguished Undergraduate Awards is to provide college scholarship awards to students who have shown a career interest in the sciences or engineering with an emphasis on space research, space science education, or aeronautics-related sciences. Five scholarship awards have been established which honor individuals who have made contributions to science and the US Space Program. Students will be matched to the scholarship award most appropriate for their area of study.


Up to five undergraduate scholarship awards are available in amounts up to $5,000 each year. Awards are for one year only. All scholarship awards will be paid directly to the recipients.


  1. Applicants must be full-time undergraduate students attending a 4-year accredited college or university in the United States at the time the award is received.
  2. Applicants must be majoring in a field of science or engineering, including life sciences or science education, with application to fields in space science or aerospace engineering.
  3. Applicants must be within two years of a B.S. or B.A. in a space science related field of science or engineering (including life science and science education with application to fields in space science or aerospace engineering) by the time the award is received.
  4. Applicants must have a Cumulative GPA of 3.50 or greater.
  5. Applicants must be US citizens or lawful Permanent Residents.
  6. Previous USRA scholarship winners are not eligible.
  7. Non-US students attending USRA Member Universities located outside the United States are also eligible to apply. Applicants must be citizens of the country in which the university is based. In addition, all application materials must be in English, and eligibility with regard to academic grades and number of years to undergraduate degree must be equivalent to that for U.S. applicants. We recognize the differences in education systems among different countries and will apply reasonable interpretations of the guidelines. (The eligible non-US universities are University of Toronto, University of British Columbia, University of Leicester, University of Sheffield, Chinese University of Hong Kong, University of Stuttgart, University of Cologne, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, Tel Aviv University, University of Canterbury, University of Sydney, University of Bern, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), University of Zurich, Seoul National University, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), and Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology.

The USRA Distinguished Undergraduate Awards are awarded without regard to race, sex, religion, age, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. USRA maintains impartiality in the selection of scholarship awards, and scholarships are awarded solely based on the merits of the application. USRA will not award scholarships to applicants who are not qualified and reserves the right not to award a scholarship in a given year.


Applicants must complete the online application below by August 9. Letters of Recommendation must be submitted by applicant's references by August 16. The application must include:

  1. A completed application form. Only completed application forms will be considered.
  2. A one page (< 600 words) statement stating the applicant's career goals, and relevant past accomplishments and education in the field of space research, aerospace related engineering, or space science education. Please include the applicant's name at the top of the page.
  3. A half-page (< 325 words) description of particular examples of extra-curricular activities that demonstrate leadership or having a broader impact. These may include K-12 activities, community outreach, mentoring, a space science or engineering club/organization, advancing diversity in STEM with regard to gender and/or minorities, or other ways of giving back to the community. Note that the quality and impact of the activity are more important than the number of activities. Limit is no more than three examples. Please include the applicant’s name at the top of the page.
  4. Two letters of recommendation with at least one from a professor, mentor, or school official at the college level. We recommend the letter writers be personally familiar with the applicant’s accomplishments, performance, skills, character, and/or experience. We also recommend, where possible, that at least one letter be from a research/project advisor. NOTE: Application forms should be submitted with enough lead time for references to submit letters of recommendation before the August 16 deadline. See instructions below for details.
  5. An official college transcript showing two or more years of college credits including GPA. The transcript should include grades from the Spring 2023 semester. If the two or more years include credits transferred from another university, college, or community college, a transcript from that institution should also be submitted.
  6. A Resume/CV of no more than 2 pages. It should include a list of any college or university you have attended (including your current one), with the dates attended and degree earned (if applicable). It should also include school and community honors and employment history (including dates). Also include a list any leadership positions you may have held in a college/university organization or in a significant project. You may also include research or engineering projects you have been involved with and any publications and/or conference presentations.

All of the above items must be submitted before the application will be considered. See instructions below for details.


  1. Demonstrated interest in space research, aerospace engineering, or space science education.
  2. Student essay, in its reflection of student interest, accomplishments, understanding of chosen field of interest, and writing quality.
  3. Letters of recommendation.
  4. Quality and impact of leadership, outreach etc. of extra-curricular activities.


  1. Obtain an "Unofficial" transcript from your school or your school's web site.
  2. Enter this transcript into your computer (you may save it, use a scanner, or use some other input device.)
  3. Save your transcript as a PDF file.
  4. Make sure the file is less than 2.5 MB in size. Larger files will not be accepted.
  5. Make sure the file is legible on the screen and when printed.
  6. Submit the file along with your application form below.
  7. You may be asked to submit an official transcript via postal mail if you are selected.
  8. Programs may reject/dismiss you if there are discrepancies between unofficial and official transcripts.


  1. Two recommendations are required to complete your application. At least one of these individuals should be a current teacher or school official at the college level.
  2. Contact your references and ask if they are willing to give a letter of recommendation BEFORE submitting the application form.
  3. Tell your reference to expect an email from "[email protected]" entitled "USRA Scholarship Letter of Recommendation Request". Ask that they whitelist that address in their spam filter, if possible.
  4. Provide the email addresses of your references in the application form below.
  5. When you submit your application, the system will e-mail a request to your reference, which will include instructions and a link for them to use to upload your letter of recommendation as a PDF file.
  6. We will notify you by email when we receive a letter of recommendation. It is your responsibility to ensure both letters of recommendation are submitted before the August 16 deadline. Late applications due to pending Letters of Recommendation will not be accepted.
  7. If your reference loses the request email, have him/her notify [email protected].

IMPORTANT NOTE: Do not wait to the last minute to submit your application. Your references will need time to respond to the email request we send them. Remember, all letters of recommendation must be received by the August 16 deadline.

Questions about the application process may be directed to [email protected] or 410-740-6253.

Note that Student Applications must be received by 11:59 PM CDT on August 9. Letters of Recommendation must be received from applicant's references by August 16.

The deadline for submitting applications for 2023 has passed. Please check back here in the Spring of 2024.