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Postgraduate Admissions

Course closed:

Astronomy is no longer accepting new applications.

Apply using the Applicant Portal

The Apply Now button on the right will take you to the Applicant Portal. There, you can create and submit your application and supporting documents, and you can also request your references.

An application is only complete when:

  1. you have submitted your application and supporting documents via the Applicant Portal
  2. you have paid the £75 application fee. Further information on application fees see here.
  3. your referees have provided their references.

If you miss the deadlines specified in this section, you will not be able to submit your application.

Please read carefully the additional guidance provided for completing your application form.  Applications from students who wish to be nominated for scholarship funding from the University (including Cambridge Trust & Gates Foundation) can only be considered where the support of one of our potential Supervisors has been obtained and a research project description provided.  Given the very short interval between the application deadline and when funding nominations must be made, applicants should contact potential supervisors no later than 3 December 2021.

Part-time study may not always be viable and will be considered on a case-by-case basis.  Please discuss this option with your proposed supervisor before making an application for this mode of study.

Selection Process

Shortlisted applicants who wish to be nominated for University studentship funding will be interviewed via videoconference in late January or early February.  Students to be offered admission will be considered for the award of an STFC-funded Doctoral Training Partnership Studentship and nomination to the University and Gates Scholarships for funding. Students will be considered automatically for all scholarship funding, including the Isaac Newton Studentship, available to the Institute of Astronomy without the need to make a specific application. Applicants will be informed whether they have been nominated for relevant University funding awards by mid-February.

Interviews for STFC-funded Doctoral Training Partnership Studentships will take place towards the end of February.

For more information please see here.

Further information on How To Apply


Things You'll Need

In order to apply for this course you'll need to think about getting a few things ready before you apply.

  • Two academic references  
  • Transcript  
  • CV/resume
  • Evidence of competence in English  
    If required - you can check using our tool
  • Statement of interest (1500 characters)
    The number of supervisors/projects available in any particular research area is limited and the timescale for consideration of applications is short. There is less than a month between the University application deadline at the beginning of January and the nomination deadline to the University funding competitions in early February. Applications from students who wish to be nominated for scholarship funding from the University can only be considered where the support of one of our Potential Supervisors has been obtained and a research project description provided. For Applicants who wish to be considered for University scholarship funding - Supervisor and research-topic information should be included in your Statement of Interest and applications for funding will be stronger if a project description (maximum length two pages) is included with your application, please see https://www.ast.cam.ac.uk/admissions/phd/funding for more information. Contact should initially be made by emailing potential supervisors directly, should you encounter any difficulties please contact admissions@ast.cam.ac.uk. For Applicants who are not applying for University scholarship funding - it is not necessary to identify a supervisor before applying. See here for more information.
  • Reasons for applying (1500 characters)
  • Research proposal (O)
    Applicants who wish to be considered for University scholarship funding must provide a research proposal. Applicants who are not applying for University scholarship funding do not need to provide a research proposal.

Gates Cambridge Scholarships

If you wish to be considered for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship you will also need to provide the following:

  • Gates Cambridge Reference  
  • Research Proposal (PhD applicants only)

See Gates Cambridge for more information.


How to Find a Supervisor

The number of supervisors/projects available in any particular research area is limited and the timescale for consideration of applications is short. There is less than a month between the University application deadline at the beginning of January and the nomination deadline to the University funding competitions in early February.  Applications from students who wish to be nominated for scholarship funding from the University can only be considered where the support of one of our potential Supervisors has been obtained and a research project description provided. 

For Applicants who wish to be considered for University scholarship funding - Supervisor and research-topic information should be included in your Statement of Interest and applications for funding will be stronger if a project description (maximum length two pages) is included with your application, please see here for more information. Contact should initially be made by emailing potential supervisors directly; should you encounter any difficulties please contact admissions@ast.cam.ac.uk.

For Applicants who are not applying for University scholarship funding - it is not necessary to identify a supervisor before applying.  See here for more information.

Key Information


3-4 years full-time

5-7 years part-time

Doctor of Philosophy

Institute of Astronomy

Course - related enquiries

Application - related enquiries

Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Applications open
Sept. 1, 2021
Application deadline
Jan. 6, 2022
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2022

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Graduate Funding Competition
Jan. 6, 2022
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 13, 2021

These deadlines apply to applications for courses starting in Michaelmas 2022, Lent 2023 and Easter 2023.


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