Entry requirements

Applicants for this course should have achieved a UK Masters (Pass).

If your degree is not from the UK, please check International Qualifications to find the equivalent in your country.

The Faculty of Physics and Chemistry's minimum academic requirement for admission as a PhD student is the equivalent of a good UK II.i four-year integrated master's degree (five-year from Scottish Universities).

Competition for PhD places at the Institute is such that admission offers are, in almost all cases, made to students who hold or expect to achieve a first-class grade or equivalent (e.g. a distinction in a master's degree) in a relevant subject.

If you are studying for a degree overseas and are unsure of its UK equivalent value, please contact admissions@ast.cam.ac.uk for advice. Admission offers are usually made to students with academic track records well above the University's minimum requirement for admission.

Months of entry


Course content

The Institute of Astronomy offers the opportunity to study for the PhD degree, for which the normal duration of study is three years. The format is almost entirely research-based and while projects may be exclusively theoretical or observational, many combine aspects of both. Many projects incorporate aspects of Data Science including machine learning and artificial intelligence.

It is normal for students to attend several relevant international conferences during their three years of study, often presenting their own research work. Some students, working on observational research projects, undertake observing trip(s) to major international observatories.

Information for international students

Language Requirement

IELTS (Academic)

Element Score

Listening 7.0

Writing 7.0

Reading 6.5

Speaking 7.0

Total 7.0

TOEFL Internet Score

Element Score

Listening 25

Writing 25

Reading 25

Speaking 25

Total 100


Score: Grade A & B (overall score of 193, with no element lower than 185 plus a Language Centre assessment)


Score: Grade A, B, or C (with at least 200 with no element lower than 185).

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • PhD
    part time
    48-84 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    36-48 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details