Membership Overview

Members are elected to the National Academy of Sciences in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. Membership is a widely accepted mark of excellence in science and is considered one of the highest honors that a scientist can receive. Current NAS membership totals approximately 2,380 members and nearly 485 foreign associates, of whom approximately 190 have received Nobel prizes.

Becoming a Member

Because membership is achieved by election, there is no membership application process. Although many names are suggested informally, only Academy members may submit formal nominations. Consideration of a candidate begins with his or her nomination, followed by an extensive and careful vetting process that results in a final ballot at the Academy's annual meeting in April each year. Currently, a maximum of 100 members may be elected annually. Members must be U.S. citizens; non-citizens are elected as foreign associates, with a maximum of 25 elected annually.

Members and foreign associates are affiliated with a section (scientific discipline) in one of six Classes:

  • Physical and Mathematical Sciences
  • Biological Sciences
  • Engineering and Applied Sciences
  • Biomedical Sciences
  • Behavioral and Social Sciences
  • Applied Biological, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences

Visit these resources to learn more about our members, their work, and their contributions to science:

  • Member Profiles – Search the profiles of Academy members by name, institution, scientific discipline, or keyword
  • Biographical Memoirs – Accounts of the personal and scholarly lives of deceased Academy members, which provide a unique view of the history of science in America
  • InterViews - First-person accounts of Academy members' lives, influences, and research (podcast series)
  • Historical Highlights – This work relates selected events in the history of the National Academy of Sciences focusing on the terms of the various presidents, from the first, Alexander D. Bache—the great-grandson of Benjamin Franklin—to Ralph J. Cicerone

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