NASA internships and New Zealand Space Agency scholarships

Applications for our 2023 NASA JPL intern intake have closed. Watch this space for further updates.

What Internships are on offer in 2023?

In 2023 we are offering students the opportunity to undertake internships at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) under the Visiting Student Research Programme.

We are not currently offering internship opportunities for the International Internship (I2) programme hosted at NASA Ames Research Center.

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Programme

These internships are offered as part of the JPL Visiting Student Research Programme. New Zealand candidates interested in participating in the programme and the New Zealand Space Scholarship must apply to the New Zealand Space Agency.

This programme offers research opportunities to students who have a compatible research interest with NASA JPL. The programme takes place at NASA JPL facilities in California. Internships typically last 10 – 16 weeks.

As part of their internship, students are partnered with JPL scientists or engineers, who serve as the students' mentors. Students complete designated projects outlined by their mentors, gaining educational experience in their fields of study while also contributing to NASA and JPL missions and science.

Opportunities for collaboration with a diverse range of other interns and JPL staff are provided in both formal and informal settings.

Further information on the JPL Visiting Student Research programme can be found on the JPL website.

JPL Visiting Student Research Program(external link) — JPL California Institute of Technology

Will my internship be remote or in person?

The 2021 and 2022 JPL Internship Programme was offered on-line under the NASA JPL Covid-19 remote working conditions. It is expected students will be able to complete their internship onsite in 2023, however this is subject to NASA JPL and Covid-19 restrictions permitting.

Interested to hear more about what the internship programme is like?

Explore the vlogs and articles from previous interns

The New Zealand Space Scholarship

To help you undertake your internship, the New Zealand Space Agency will award New Zealand Space Scholarships to the successful students

The scholarship aims to:

  • Support New Zealand’s high-achieving students in space-related activities – the programme will give New Zealand’s future innovators, entrepreneurs and scientists a head-start in their careers by enabling them to develop technical skills at a world-leading space agency, build international professional networks and develop their understanding of the global space economy.
  • Build capability in the New Zealand space economy – New Zealand’s ability to leverage existing international space intelligence, thought-leaders and networks such as those at NASA is crucial as we continue to build capability in the New Zealand space industry. Over time, the programme’s alumni will provide a unique source of skills, knowledge and expertise into the New Zealand space economy.
  • Strengthen New Zealand’s connection to the global space network – the programme offers an opportunity to enhance New Zealand’s connection to the global space network.
  • Demonstrate New Zealand’s high-quality tertiary education – supporting New Zealand students to participate in the programme demonstrates that New Zealand tertiary education prepares students to achieve in STEM at the highest levels.

What does the scholarship cover?

The scholarship covers specified costs relating to the internships on offer, as follows:

  • Return economy airfares to the United States
  • Accommodation
  • Stipend (to cover food, travel and other related expenses)
  • Visa-related fees
  • Medical and travel insurance.

The scholarship will only cover costs associated with participating in the NASA internship. Any additional costs associated with personal travel during the internship period, or the candidate extending their stay in the United States is their own responsibility.

Alexander J. Willoughby Fellowship

The Alexander J. Willoughby Fellowship is a privately funded Fellowship which operates under the NASA JPL Visiting Student Research Programme. This fellowship is named after Alex Willoughby (who passed away in 2016 aged 2 years), the son of Glen and Kirsty Willoughby.

The Alexander J. Willoughby Fellowship will cover the specified costs relating to the internship at NASA JPL as follows:

  • Return economy airfares to the United States
  • Accommodation
  • Stipend (to cover food, travel and other related expenses)
  • Visa-related fees
  • Medical and travel insurance.

The Alexander J. Willoughby Fellowship will support one student to undertake an internship as part of this programme. To be considered for the Alexander J. Willoughby Fellowship, applicants must apply to the New Zealand Space Agency.

Hear more about previous interns’ experiences

Internship Application Process

The New Zealand Space Agency will select up to three high-performing students for internships at NASA JPL. Students must apply to the New Zealand Space Agency to be considered for the available internship positions and supporting scholarship and Fellowship. Students do not apply directly to NASA JPL.

2 places will be supported under the New Zealand Space Scholarship. These are open to current students across New Zealand. A third place will be supported through the privately funded Alexander J. Willoughby Fellowship and is open to students at the University of Waikato. The selection process for both the New Zealand Space Scholarship and the Alexander J. Willoughby Fellowship will be run jointly. The internship terms and conditions will be aligned. 

Applications close 2 October 2022. Late applications, or applications not submitted through the advertisement on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment recruitment website will not be accepted.

Applicants must be available between February 2023 and July 2023 to undertake their internship. Specific internship dates to be confirmed at the time of formal offers.

Apply here(external link)

Key dates:

  • Applications open: 29 August 2022
  • Applications closed: 4 October 2022
  • Application processing: October – November 2022
  • Face-to-face interviews for shortlisted applicants: Late November-early December 2022
  • Final applicant selection: Late December 2022
  • Internships start: From February 2023
  • Internships end: July 2023

Key dates are subject to change dependant on the volume of applications and processing requirements.

Last updated: 07 October 2022