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, the  Carnegie Theoretical Astrophysics Center (CTAC) Fellowship, the Carnegie-Caltech Brinson Fellowship, and the Carnegie-Caltech Theoretical Astrophysics Fellowhips are available for the October 30, 2023 application deadline, i.e., for fellowships beginning in fall 2024.

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. Carnegie is also a full institutional member of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey V.  Scientific computing resources available include our 19% share in the Resnick HPC Center at Caltech in addition to local computing resources. Based in Pasadena, between the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the California Institute of Technology, the Observatories provides an exceptional research environment and access to resources for theorists, observers, and instrumentalists alike. Each fellowship provides ample support for travel, computing, and publications. A list of current and past fellows and their current positions is available here.

The Carnegie Institution strives to enable a scientifically excellent, equitable, and inclusive community, and therefore aims for diverse groups of people to collaborate and thrive at Carnegie.

If you are interested in having Carnegie host your Hubble, Jansky, NSF, or other fellowship, please contact Dr. Josh Simon. Externally funded fellows also have access to Carnegie’s observing and computing facilities described above.

Carnegie Fellowship (due Oct 30, 2023)

The fellowship is intended to encourage long-term research in observational 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 two years and may be renewed for an additional third year. 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. Josh Simon at

Carnegie Theoretical Astrophysics Center (CTAC) Fellowship (due Oct. 30,  2023)

The fellowship is intended to encourage long-term research in theoretical astrophysics, particularly in areas related to the ongoing efforts at the Observatories in star/galaxy/black hole formation and evolution, and cosmology (see ). Fellows are expected to carry out an independent program of research that complements and enhances both the theoretical and observational activities of the observatory - collaboration with observational colleagues is a key goal of the Fellowship. CTAC Fellows have full access to Carnegie's computational resources; previous fellows have utilized 1-2 million CPU hours per year. The fellowship is awarded for two years and may be renewed for an additional third year. The successful applicant must have completed the Ph.D. requirements before assuming the fellowship.

For further important details please read our job announcement at Please send any inquiries to Dr. Tony Piro at

Carnegie-Caltech Brinson Fellowship in Observational Astronomy (due Oct. 30, 2023)

This new joint fellowship provides a unique opportunity for candidates to make compelling use of the observing facilities, survey data sets, and collaborators at both Carnegie and Caltech. Caltech is a partner in the Keck Observatory, Palomar Observatory, and Owens Valley Radio Observatory, as well as LIGO and several space missions. The successful applicant will have standard access to the facilities of both institutions and will be expected to split their time evenly between the Carnegie and Caltech campuses throughout the fellowship term. Please find further details in our job announcement at Email inquiries may be sent to Dr. Josh Simon (Observatories) at or to Prof. Lynne Hillenbrand (Caltech) at

Carnegie-Caltech Theoretical Astrophysics Fellowship (due Oct. 30, 2023)

This joint fellowship is intended for candidates whose research would benefit from the collaborators and resources available at both Carnegie and Caltech. The Fellow will split their time between the Carnegie Observatories in Pasadena, and Caltech's Cahill Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics. The Theory Fellow is expected to carry out original research in any area of astrophysics, either independently or in collaboration with staff, faculty or students at the host institutions. The principal selection criteria will be outstanding research accomplishments and promise of future achievement. Preference will be given to researchers working in areas in which Caltech and Carnegie have active and overlapping interests. Please find further details in our job announcement at

How to Apply

Applications for all fellowships include a cover letter, a curriculum vitae and bibliography, an essay describing the applicant's previous research and future research plans (up to 5 pages including references), and a 1 page broader impact statement articulating the applicant’s past accomplishments and future plans in any of the following areas: contributions to diversity, equity, and inclusion, mentoring, service work, and outreach (see link for more information). 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. Applications for all Fellowships are due by October 30. Reference letters are due November 6.

Applicants for the Brinson fellowship do not need to submit a separate application to Caltech.  In addition to the application materials described above for the Carnegie Fellowship, Brinson applicants may optionally provide a 1 page statement describing how their proposed research will be synergistic with Caltech and Carnegie facilities and/or astronomers.  Alternatively, the cover letter and/or research statement may be used to clearly explain how the proposed work will capitalize on the unprecedented telescope access afforded by this position and enhance collaborative opportunities between the two institutions.

Applicants for the Carnegie Caltech Theoretical Astrophysics Fellowship must submit an application to both the Observatories and to Caltech via the "Apply Now" link below and by visiting and abide by the application procedures/deadlines described therein.

The salary for the Fellowships listed above is: $79,500.00 USD.

All applicants can select multiple fellowships they are interested in on the application form.  Their applications should explicitly address their interest in each fellowship.



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