skip to content

Postgraduate Study

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 application fee if applicable. For further information on application fees, and which courses require an application fee, 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.

Students must read carefully the additional guidance provided for completing the application form on the Institute of Astronomy website.

Part-time study may not always be viable and will be considered on a case-by-case basis. See the further information in the FAQ link.

Selection Process

After the submission deadline, applications will undergo assessment on the following basis:

a) academic record;

b) references;

c) match between applicant's interests and ongoing research at the Institute;

Shortlisted candidates who wish to be nominated for University scholarship funding will be put in contact with potential supervisors to define a research proposal (that forms part of the submission for scholarship funding). The Postgraduate Admissions Committee will interview applicants via video conference in January, where a potential supervisor-student match will be identified. Students who are then made an offer of admission for the PhD will be considered for the award of an STFC-funded Doctoral Training Partnership Studentship and nominated to the University, Cambridge Trust 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.

Shortlisted candidates who wish to only be considered for an STFC-funded Doctoral Training Partnership Studentship (normally those with Home-fee status) will be invited to an interview and a visit - scheduled 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
  • Reasons for applying (1500 characters)
  • Statement of interest (2500 characters)
    Statement of Interest - The information you provide in the “Statement of Interest” section should enable the Postgraduate Admissions Committee to understand the match between your research interests and what the Institute can offer in terms of potential supervisors and Ph.D. research topics.
  • Extra materials

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 applications for PhD places are thus competitive. Applicants should review the list of potential supervisors on the Institute of Astronomy website to gain an overview of the research topics available. Applicants who wish to be considered for University, Cambridge Trust and Gates Cambridge funding should specify up to three preferred supervisor(s) and research-topic(s)  in their application (Statement of Interest) this will be important when an application is being assessed.

For Applicants who are not applying for University, Cambridge Trust, Gates scholarship funding - it is not necessary to identify a supervisor but any indication of preferred supervisor(s) and research-topic(s) included in your application is helpful. For shortlisted candidates, research interests will form an important part of the interview and visit to the Institute of Astronomy in late February when the allocation of the majority of STFC PhD funding will be decided.

Key Information

3-4 years full-time

4-7 years part-time

Study Mode : Research

Doctor of Philosophy

Institute of Astronomy

Course - related enquiries

Application - related enquiries

Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Applications open
Sept. 4, 2023
Application deadline
Dec. 5, 2023
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2024

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

Course Funding Deadline
Dec. 5, 2023
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 11, 2023

These deadlines apply to applications for courses starting in Michaelmas 2024, Lent 2025 and Easter 2025.

Similar Courses