Frequently Asked Questions

Below are answers to some commonly-asked questions about the program. If you don't see the answer to your question here, please contact us!


What is the LSSTC Data Science Fellowship Program?

The LSSTC Data Science Fellowship program is a two year training program, designed to teach the skills required for LSST (Large Synoptic Survey Telescope) science that are not easily addressed by current astrophysics graduate programs. The program consists of three one-week schools per year over two years. Read more about the program

What does the LSSTC DSFP cost?

The DSFP is free for students, thanks to the generosity of the National Science Foundation, the Brinson Foundation, and the LSST Corporation. We provide a travel stipend and lodging during the duration of the session, and a per diem to offset the cost of meals and incidental expenses. 

What is the curriculum and format of the sessions?

The LSSTC DSFP curriculum is being developed as an open source project, so classwork and related products (e.g. iPython notebooks for exercises) are available to the community on our Github repository. Please view our curriculum page for more information. 

When are the LSSTC DSFP Sessions?

Sessions take place roughly every few months, depending on host institution availability. The next session will be held at CCA Flatiron, September 7-14, 2019; exact dates for future sessions are TBD.

Where does the LSSTC DSFP take place?

DSFP sessions are held at LSSTC member institutions, so the program moves around to a variety of institutions over the course of an individual cohort's two year duration.

Are there prerequisites for the LSSTC Data Science Fellowship Program?

The only prerequisite is that students must be enrolled in an accredited graduate program when they begin their Fellowship. The program will be taught exclusively in the Python programming language, though prior knowledge of the language is not required. If you are not familiar with Python, don't worry-- an offline training course will be provided prior to the LSSTC DSFP sessions.


How many students do you anticipate admitting per cohort?

We aim for a cohort size of approximately 15-20 students.


Why was the LSSTC DSFP created?

With a new generation of ground and space-based surveys generating petabytes of data per year, together with the increasing complexity of data coming from these instruments, astrophysics is becoming ever more dependent on developments in computing. There is, however, a disconnect between the skills that are needed for an era rich in data and those that we teach to incoming graduate students and early-career postdocs. The DSFP was created to bridge this gap and provide a supplemental educational program to prepare early-career scientists for data-rich astronomy.


Who is the LSSTC DSFP leadership?

You can meet the DSFP leadership on our leadership page.


Who funds the LSSTC DSFP?

The LSSTC DSFP is made possible by the generous support of the National Science Foundation, CIERA/Northwestern, the Brinson Foundation, and the LSST Corporation.


How do I apply for the LSSTC DSFP?

You can apply using this form!


When is the application deadline?

The LSSTC DSFP application deadline is June 14, 2019. 


Do I need to commit to the full two years of the program?

Yes. While there are many single-serving schools that offer skill development in astronomy, the DSFP is intended as a true supplement to graduate education. Commitment to the full program allows students to not only study these topics in far greater depth, but to foster new collaborations and professional networks in the process.


What year of graduate school should I be in in order to apply?

Students are welcome to apply at any point in their graduate career, as long as they are enrolled in a graduate program at the time of their application. 


Will there be another round of applications?

Applications are currently open for 2019! We also anticipate having another round of applications in the summer of 2019. 


I have a great student who should be in your program. Can I write a letter of recommendation for them?

While we welcome your enthusiasm and advocacy for your student(s), we do not consider recommendation letters in the admissions process. Please encourage your student to apply, and also consider sharing the thoughts you would have written to us directly with them. 


Question not answered here?

For additional questions about the program, please contact us.