Interested in working with us? Here is some information about what openings we may have for:
We do not currently have any positions available.
Build your career in sunny Florida!
We seek INDEPENDENTLY FUNDED RESEARCHERS at any stage of career to join our group in Orlando or to work with us remotely. Research may be in any area of planetary science. SENIOR RESEARCHERS CAN ADVISE PhD STUDENTS as dissertation committee chair. Physics affiliates (professors, lecturers, and most students; physics.ucf.edu) are located in the Physical Sciences Building on campus, which has excellent laboratory space, while most soft-money researchers are in the Florida Space Institute’s (fsi.ucf.edu) nearby offices in the Orlando Research Park. A shuttle bus and videoconferencing facilities connect the two buildings. The group has organized several research workshops, including the 2007 DPS, 2010 Winter Workshop: Exoplanets for Planetary Scientists, and the 2011 Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference. A Carnegie high-research-activity university located in Orlando, UCF is the nation’s second-largest university, with over 66,000 students. We are 30 minutes from a major airport, 45 minutes from Orlando’s reknowned attractions, and an hour from some of the world’s best beaches and NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The nearby Seminole County Public School District is among the nation’s finest. Outdoor attractions include kayaking, scuba diving, sailing, bird watching, cycling, and the winter home of hundreds of rare manatees. Salaries and benefits are very competitive. Affiliation may be with either the Department of Physics (physics.ucf.edu), the Florida Space Institute (fsi.ucf.edu), both, or other relevant units. Contact any group member for more information.
If you are looking for a Postdoctoral position, please check out the Research area and speak with the head of any group that matches your interests.
One of the best ways of getting to know us is to come give a seminar or colloquium. Please contact any member of the group to set up a visit. If your visit is in conjunction with a launch, please plan your talk before the first launch opportunity, so that launch delays do not create a conflict with your talk.
We have no staff openings at this time.
Are you interested in entering our graduate program? Then please read on! This page gives some hints about how to improve your chances of being accepted to our program, and indeed to any astronomy or planetary science graduate program. Of course, if you do all these things, there is no guarantee that you’ll be admitted. Sometimes even good people are denied admission for various reasons. But there are things you can do to help your case.
- Check out the pages on our PhD program, the Physics Department’s page on graduate admissions, and the College of Graduate Studies’s page on admission and degree requirements.
- Look at our grad-student interview page.
- Contact faculty ahead of time. Applications are much more favorably viewed if the applicant has started a dialogue with a potential advisor here. Better, arrange to meet with someone you might work with at a conference. The annual DPS meeting is held in the Fall, before applications are due, and is a great place to show off your undergraduate research project.
- The application essay is critical, as this is the main way we learn about your research, creative, and leadership abilities and accomplishments. Essays without specifics leave us guessing about what you might bring to our research efforts. Good essays often take 2-4 single-spaced and concise pages to describe the applicant’s experiences. So, please be down-to-Earth and include:
– what you want to do, as specifically as you know it: for example, do you want to work on theory? observation? instrumentation? what topics? with whom? why?
– descriptions of all research projects (ideally, backed up with letters from supervisors; you may send more than 3 letters);
– description of your skills and experience with computers and programming;
– leadership experience and creativity in any area or organization;
– detail on anything where your creativity has helped the project;
– detail on anything you’ve presented in a professional forum;
– any other skills, experience, directions, etc. that we need to know about;
– which UCF faculty you would be interested in working with, and why.
Note that generally we don’t need to know things like how you knew you wanted to be a planetary scientist or physicist because of some experience you had when you were 5 years old. Also, while it is important to show that you know the implications and applications of your work, please spend most of your essay telling us about you and your experiences, not why the work is important in the grand scheme.
- For the description of your research experiences, give detail on the tasks you were given or took on for yourself, what YOU did and created, how that helped the project, how you interacted with others, and how/where you presented the final result (e.g., at a professional meeting, a published paper, etc.).
- If your goal is a PhD, say so. In the US it is common to be accepted into a 5-6-year PhD program directly with a Bachelor’s degree. After two years, there is a candidacy examination, which is at the Masters level. If the candidate fails the examination and is not ready for PhD study, he or she might still leave with an MS. So, if you intend to get a PhD, state that on the application form. If your goal is an MS as a terminal master’s degree, please note that we hardly ever offer admission to such applications, except recently through the APS Bridge Program hosted in the Department of Physics.
- Decide if you want the Planetary Sciences track, or if you want the regular Physics PhD program. The Physics Department runs a PhD program that has both a regular track and a Planetary Sciences track. The courses and requirements are different. If your intent is to work in planetary science or astronomy, be sure you state on your application form that you want to join the Planetary Sciences track.
- Be aware that UCF will allow us to admit someone for Fall study as late as June and for Spring admission as late as November 1. However, most applications for Fall arrive by early January, as we make most funding decisions then. If you want support as a research or teaching assistant, treat early January as your deadline (consult the Graduate College for the exact date). However, don’t give up if you are past that deadline. Sometimes the process is long, and a few of our most successful students applied in April. If you want to be a PhD student at UCF, we want to hear from you, no matter when!
With graduate school becoming more and more competitive, it is almost a requirement that an undergraduate have a research experience to put on their résumé/CV. Even if you’re looking to enter a graduate program in something aside from planetary science or astronomy, working in a research group is a great way to get your feet wet with a multitude of marketable skills.
Many of our faculty are willing to take on undergraduates into their research groups at any time during the year. Please browse the Research area of our website to see what kind of work is being done, and then contact the faculty member directly by email. Don’t worry, we don’t bite! So if you want to work in a group for pay, for course credit, or as a volunteer, just send an email. Be prepared to say something about your previous research experiences, your computer skills, and your grades.