The JPL Planetary Science Summer School is an intensive one-week workshop for graduate, doctoral and postdoc students who are interested in a career in planetary exploration to learn the process of developing a robotic space mission through concurrent engineering.

In one week, participants will be challenged to develop an early mission concept study based on a typical NASA Science Mission Directorate "announcement of opportunity." Team members will assume roles including principal investigator, project manager, and mission and system designers, and partner with JPL's Advanced Projects Design Team, Team X, to prepare a presentation for a proposal authorization review board. Prior to the week-long session, a series of reading assignments and webinars will help participants develop a good understanding of top-level science requirements and instrument priorities.

This workshop is designed to prepare the next generation of scientists and engineers to participate in space missions of the future by providing an in-depth, first-hand look at mission design, lifecycle, cost, schedule, and the trade-offs inherent in each.

Dates for 2016 session: July 25-29, 2016


- Graduate, doctoral and postdoc students interested in a career in planetary exploration. Masters-level students and faculty will be considered on a space-available basis.

- Open to U.S. citizens, legal permanent residents (LPRs), and foreign nationals living within the U.S. at the time of application. (Preference will be given to U.S. citizens and LPRs.) Due to security issues, citizens of U.S. State Department Designated Countries are not eligible.

- Participants must be available full-time (40 hours-plus per week) during the week-long session. Successful applicants will be required to participate in several group webinars in the weeks prior to the summer school, requiring three to four hours per week.


- There is no registration fee. Limited funds are available to provide partial support for travel and lodging.

To qualify for financial support you must meet the following requirements:
- Be selected to participate in the summer school
- Live within the United States at the time you file your application
- Request financial support in your application.
Note: Civil servants, JPL employees, Caltech students and employees, and individuals living outside the United States are not eligible for financial support.

- Participants must initially incur all expenses and will be reimbursed six to eight weeks after a participant's travel expense report is received at JPL. A travel report form must be completed after the participant returns to their point of origin, and must include the original hotel and transportation receipts. Copies of receipts are not acceptable. Rental car expenses will be approved on a case-by-case basis. When processed by JPL's travel auditing department, checks will be issued to reimburse the individual for 80 percent of expenses up to a maximum of $1,000 per person. It is JPL policy to mail reimbursement checks to home addresses only and not to institutions. Allow six to eight weeks after the travel reports are received at JPL to receive reimbursement checks.

The application deadline for the summer 2016 session has passed. The next session will be in the summer of 2017.

How to Apply:

Visit the JPL Planetary Science Summer School website and fill out the online form.

You will need:
- A signed letter of recommendation, on letterhead, from your faculty advisor or current supervisor

Contact Info:

Program Coordinator:
Leslie Lowes
(818) 393-7734

Program Support:
Jessica Parker
(818) 354-6986

Program Website: