Space Careers - Study Abroad

5 Study Abroad Schools for Students Seeking Space Careers

Space careers are a dream for many of today’s students.

Since the beginning of 2015, space exploration has been a hot topic. From the media coverage of Mars One’s search for volunteers to New Horizons reaching Pluto – following a nearly 10-year journey – the possibility of finding life, or anything for that matter (pun intended), beyond Earth is making headlines.

STEM Students who are interested in space careers should look beyond the borders of the United States for their education. Through working with international teams, U.S.-based students will gain global experience for an out-of-this-world career. Here are some great programs to share with your students:

1. University of Cambridge

The Institute of Astronomy (IoA) at this distinguished university in the United Kingdom was formally recognized in 1972, but programs in this field date back to the 19th century. On campus, students enjoy access to the Kavli Institute for Cosmology, Cambridge (KICC), the Bettcock Centre for Experimental Astrophysics, the Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory and the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics. Speakers with space careers visit the IoA and give presentations and speeches on innovations in the field.

2. Australia National University

This top-ranked Australian university is located in the country’s capital, Canberra. Students pursuing space careers in the fields of astronomy and astrophysics have an advantage, as the school’s Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics (RSAA) is located at the Mount Stromlo Observatory (MSO) and the Siding Spring Observatory is also part of the university.

3. National University of Singapore

Students who attend an American partner school of this university are permitted to apply for the Summer Research Program. The university allows students to choose a project in their field of study and the faculty member with whom they would like to work on research projects. Through the 12-week Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme in Science (UROPS), students will gain invaluable field research experience and forge priceless relationships with international experts in their area of study.

4. University of Helsinki

Programs within this school’s Geophysics & Astronomy department investigate topics such as galaxy formation, planetary geophysics, space plasma physics and space weather. Students who choose to study here can expect to work with more than 60 researchers and doctoral students, plus gain experience through collaboration with the Finnish Centre for Astronomy (FINCA) and European Sothern Observatory (ESO), while gaining experience at the Kumpula Space Cenre.

5. McGill University

While it’s located close enough to the U.S., this Montreal-based university has been noted on many lists that showcase the top schools for space sciences. Founded in 1821, McGill University’s faculty and alumni include 12 Nobel laureates. The school’s Department of Physics offers undergraduate programs and within this area, graduate programs are available through the Astrophysics and Cosmology Group, which is home to the McGill Space Institute and affiliated with the Centre for Research in Astrophysics of Quebec (CRAQ).

Whether your students are interested in private-sector space careers or securing a position with NASA, time spent studying abroad always enhances a resume. If choosing the latter, students should review our NASA-career checklist to ensure they are on the correct path to space careers with the agency. For those future astronomy-focused STEM students who are still uncertain regarding their space careers, inspire them with “Out of This World Things We’re Doing in Space Right Now.”

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