Careers Advice

Summer Schools

Summer schools run from 2 to 12 weeks usually over the university summer holidays. You can gain in-depth knowledge as well as take part in research projects.


A great way to spend your summer as an undergraduate or postgraduate student is to attend a summer school! This is an opportunity to gain new skills in your field of interest and meet like-minded students as well as professionals. Below you can find a list of summer schools offered to undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD students. 

Canary Islands Winter School of Astrophysics: The IAC organises a Winter School every year for PhD students in La Laguna, Tenerife. The topic of the school changes every year.

ESA Academy: ESA Academy offers hands-on space projects as well as a training and learning programme for university students. There are various courses and experiments in different disciplines throughout the year. One of its main objectives is to attract future scientists and engineers to the space sector by transferring knowledge in all fields of ESA expertise. 

ESA-FAIR Radiation Summer School: The summer school takes place in Darmstadt every year and is open to PhD students and postdocs from ESA Member States. Its aim is to train students in basic heavy ion biophysics for both terrestrial and space applications. 

Europea​n Radio Interferometry School (ERIS): ERIS provides a week of lectures and tutorials on how to achieve scientific results from radio interferometry. It usually takes place in September/October every year. 

European Union in Space: Law and Technology: An intensive, interdisciplinary course hosted by the University of Genoa in Italy that covers the main (legal and technological) issues connected to the uses of space-based applications, in the context of EU legal framework. It is open to doctoral and post doctoral students, as well as researchers and young professionals in law, political science and engineering. 

International Science Engagement Challenge: ISEC is a new educational experience designed for people between the ages of 16 and 24 that takes place in Spain. All the participants have an opportunity to learn new skills and concepts while completing a project under the supervision of a qualified mentor with experience in the field. The main goal is to carry out scientific projects in an international, open minded, interdisciplinary, and collaborative environment.

Introduction to Astronomical Instrumentation: The Dunlap Institute’s annual, five-day summer school in Toronto, Canada provides a unique introduction to cutting-edge astronomical instrumentation for current and future telescope facilities. It is aimed at students who have finished at least the third year of an undergraduate program or are in the early years of a graduate program, and have a background in astronomy, physics or engineering.

Kavli Summer Program in Astrophysics: This program runs for 6 weeks (nearly) every summer alternating between various institutions world-wide and UC Santa Cruz. It brings together scientists to solve topical outstanding problems in astrophysics.

Leiden/ESA Astrophysics Program for Summer Students: LEAPS is an opportunity for students with an interest in astronomy and astrophysics to perform a 10-12 week summer research project in collaboration with a research scientist from Leiden Observatory or ESA. The program is open to all students not currently engaged in a Ph.D. program, who are enthusiastic about research in astrophysics.

Life in Space – Exobiology Summer University: 'The Origins of Life and Life in Space' is an annual two-week summer course offered by ESA. It is on exobiology and is open to students from all over Europe. The course usually takes place at the end of August/beginning of September at the Laboratoire Arago in Banyuls-sur-mer, France.

Petnica Summer Institute: PSI aims to provide lectures to undergraduate and early graduate students by senior PhD students, young postdocs and researchers. It is organised every summer in the Petnica Science Center in Serbia and it covers a large range of topics in theoretical physics and astrophysics.

Space Astronomy Summer Program: The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) brings college students to Baltimore, Maryland (USA), for the Space Astronomy Summer Program to work individually with STScI researchers and staff on projects that include data reduction and interpretation, software development, and scientific writing. The program runs from mid-June to mid-August and is primarily open to upper-division undergraduates. 

Space Robotics Course: In this course, small student teams are provided with a sophisticated rover system. The goal of the teams is to operate the rover in a Mars analog mission scenario on a test-bed. It is hosted by the Technische Universität Berlin. 

Space Summer School: It is offered by DAAAM Summer School and takes place at Zadar, Croatia in August. The course includes both the technical and business perspectives to show a big picture of the whole aerospace industry. 

Summer School Alpbach: This 10-day summer school takes place every summer in Alpbach/Tyrol, Austria. The topic of the summer school changes every year. Participants are engaged in an in-depth learning experience, attending stimulating lectures on various aspects of space science and engineering, and working intensely within four groups to define and design a space mission under the supervision of noted scientific and engineering experts.

Summer School Space Technologies: This summer school is organized by Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University. It is a space technologies course suitable for senior undergraduate and graduate students. The aim is to provide advanced techniques of space engineering and understanding of the core physics principles related to space exploration.

The International School for Young Astronomers (ISYAs): This is a project of the International Astronomical Union (IAU). ISYAs has a purpose of broadening the young students’ perspective from international lectures with up-to-date astrophysics, both on theory and observations. 

The Toruń Astrophysics / Physics Summer Program: TAPS is an opportunity for students interested in physics or astrophysics to lead a 4-week-long summer research project in Poland. It is open to advanced undergraduate & PhD students from all countries. The main component of the summer program is an active participation in the selected astrophysics / physics research project offered by the staff members of the Nicolaus Copernicus University.

Author

Theodora Varelidi Strati

Theodora is currently doing an Msc in Theoretical Physics at the University of Edinburgh.

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