To apply for a PhD or MSc by Research place in our group please complete the on-line forms linked from our Physics postgraduate admissions pages. Be sure to state clearly that you are interested in a place in the Astronomy and Astrophysics research group.
A number of fully-funded and self-funded PhD studentships are available each year within the Astronomy and Astrophysics group. We usually have funded places available for both home and overseas students. The department also offers self-funded MSc by research post-graduate degrees. If you are interested please contact us. You can contact staff members directly, or use our online PhD enquiries form. Formal applications should be made online via the main physics postgraduate admissions pages. Application deadlines for funded places are usually in January and February for studentships beginning in October. Applications for self-funded places can be considered at any time in the year. In all cases, a completed application is necessary for us to consider you.
We list key academic supervisors in our key reseach themes below and provide a number of example PhD projects below. The list is illustrative, not exhaustive. Projects in other areas of astrophysics are also possible and all projects can be tailored to the interests of individual students. Shorter projects suitable for the 1-year MSc by research degree are also available. For further information feel free to contact individual group members.
Key staff: Gänsicke, Marsh, Steeghs, Tremblay
Our main interest is the study of compact stellar remnants, both single and in interacting binaries. We pursue population studies using large surveys, precision studies with custom high-time resolution instruments as well as detailed theoretical modeling.
Observational Population Studies of White Dwarf Binaries (Gänsicke)
Accreting Neutron Stars and Black Holes (Steeghs)
3D Model Atmospheres of White Dwarfs (Tremblay)
Key staff: Gänsicke, Pollacco, West, Wheatley
We focus our attention on exoplanets that transit their parent stars, allowing us to determine planetary composition and study atmospheric conditions. We are working to discover and characterise new transiting exoplanets of all sizes through our leading roles in the WASP, NGTS and PLATO projects, and we aim ultimately to search for signatures of life on habitable planets.
Extra-solar Planets in Binary/Multiple star systems (Pollacco)
Discovery and characterisation of Neptunes and super-Earths with the Next Generation Transit Survey (Pollacco, West, Wheatley)
Composition and wind dynamics of hot Jupiter atmospheres using transmission spectroscopy (Wheatley)
X-ray irradiation and evaporation of close-in exoplanets (Wheatley)
Key staff: Levan, Stanway
Star formation in the early Universe (Stanway)
Gamma-Ray Bursts & Transients
Key staff: Levan, Stanway, Steeghs
We have an interest in exotic and energetic transients where we chase the transients themselves as well as the host galaxies they occur in. Of particular interest are short gamma-ray bursts, tidal disruption events and electromagnetic counterparts to gravitational wave sources. For the latter, the group is leading the deployment of the GOTO robotic telescope.
The Nature of Short Duration Gamma-ray Bursts (Levan)
Host Galaxies of Cosmic Explosions (Levan & Stanway)
Key staff: Kennedy, Meru
We work on the disks of dust and gas that orbit other stars like our Sun. These may be the young disks in which planets form, or the older “debris disks" that are analogues of our Asteroid and Kuiper belts. Theoretical work uses dynamical simulations to explore the interactions between planets and disks as well as supercomputing facilities to run hydrodynamical simulations. Observational work uses facilities such as the VLT and ALMA.
Observing circumstellar disks with the Atacama Large Millimeter Array
Debris disk survival and dynamics in binary systems
Theory of planet - debris disk interaction
Hydrodynamical simulations of planets interacting with circumstellar disks