Institute for Astronomy

PhD Studentships

PhD studentships at the IfA.

The IfA has around 30 PhD students at any one time, and each year we admit a new cohort.

The deadline for applications to start PhDs in October 2020 is: January 31st 2020.

To apply, follow the instructions for University of Edinburgh Postgraduate Study (although the application refers to 3 year PhDs, most of our funded places are in fact for 3.5 years). In the "research proposal" section, list which of the projects or areas offered you would be interested in.

Projects

Please read our list of PhD projects on offer at the IfA for October 2020.

After interview, we will make offers to students matched to a specific project and supervisor, though if your interests change we can consider alternatives later.

The IfA has strong connections with the Astronomy Technology Centre,  and some PhD projects are in conjunction with that ATC members.  We also have close links to the Higgs Centre for Innovation, and students may have opportunities for placements with start-up companies based there.

Funded Places

The IfA usually has about six PhD places per year funded by STFC, for UK nationals and those who meet residency requirements, for a 3.5 year PhD.

We typically have one (or sometimes two) scholarships we can offer to international applicants - you should apply to the  Principal's Career Development Scholarship (PCDS), which provides a stipend and fees at UK/EU, and (if non-EU) the Edinburgh Global Research Scholarships (EGRS), which pays for the additional overseas fees.  From time to time we also have other funding available.

We welcome applications from students with external funding; please note that like most UK universities, Edinburgh charges higher fees to some categories of overseas students.

We encourage all qualified applicants to apply for our places.

Timetable

  • 31st January: Deadline for applications.
  • 1st February: Deadline for PCDS and EGRS applications for international applicants.
  • February - March: Interviews scheduled and invitations sent
  • 31st March - Decisions (mostly) finalised for funded places

Training

The focus in Edinburgh is on undertaking thesis-related research from the outset of the PhD. This proceeds in parallel with formal training in background knowledge and transferrable skills. In the first year, there is a reading group that covers the basics of astrophysics in a series of tutorial sessions. 

Also during this year, students take a variety of advanced courses in physics and astrophysics, as advised by their supervisor. These courses are part of the graduate school of the Scottish Universities Physics Alliance (SUPA) , which allows access via video technology to a wide range of courses throughout Scotland.