Program Overview

Lowell Observatory welcomes applications to its predoctoral program. Deadlines are May 1 and December 1 of each year; under exceptional circumstances, applications may be considered in between these deadlines. For questions concerning the application process or the program guidelines, contact Dr. Will Grundy (grundy at lowell dot edu, 928-233-3231) or Dr. Lisa Prato (lprato at lowell dot edu, 928-233-3213).


We aim to provide students a unique and scientifically rich research environment with opportunities not necessarily available to them at their home institutions. The expectation is that, at the end of two to three years, the student will have completed research which qualifies for the fulfillment of the Ph.D. degree at the home institution. We desire in part to foster a cooperative relationship between the student's home university and Lowell Observatory and to strengthen collaborative ties between the institutions by means of the predoctoral program.


Predoctoral applicants must be currently enrolled in a Ph.D. granting graduate program and in good academic standing, having completed the required institutional coursework, thesis requirements, and qualifying examinations, or pending completion of such. Throughout the duration of the predoctoral program, the student will remain enrolled at the home institution and will graduate with the Ph.D. degree from that institution. Students must have approval of their home institution before initiation of the application process.

Advisor at Lowell

Applicants must contact a potential research advisor at Lowell well before beginning the application process to develop a thesis proposal. Selecting an advisor is the most important decision a student will make in the pursuit of a Ph.D. Once a project is defined, the student should follow the formal application process with the advisor's sponsorship. Be sure to initiate contact well before the deadline to allow time for the development of a successful research proposal!

Co-advisor at Home Institution

We require that students identify a co-advisor at their university to maintain formal communication between the insitutions and to verify that the university research requirements are being fulfilled. Students should visit their home institution at least once a year to discuss progress and to present current results to their department.

Compensation and Benefits

We offer a competitive student stipend, plus health insurance.

Length of Award

Initial appoinment is for two years with extension possible in one-year increments pending satisfactory progress.

Start date

Approximately February 1, July 1, or by agreement with the Lowell Observatory advisor.


Program Overview
Program Requirements
Research Projects
About Lowell


You'll be based at Lowell's historic campus, one mile west of downtown Flagstaff at an elevation of 7,200'.


Predoctoral students have full access to the observing facilities at our dark-sky sites at Anderson Mesa and Happy Jack, southeast of Flagstaff.


Research programs at Lowell introduce students to cutting-edge collaborations with international teams.


The Flagstaff area provides a vast array of opportunities for outdoor activities, from mountain biking to skiing to horsebackriding.