Research course


University of Cambridge · Institute of Astronomy

Entry requirements

All students must obtain the equivalent of a UK upper second class 4-year undergraduate honours degree, however, competition for Ph.D. places is such that offers of admission are made almost exclusively to students who hold, or are expected to receive a 1st class honours degree, or equivalent, in a relevant subject.

If you are studying for a degree overseas and are unsure of its UK equivalent value, please contact (Miss Siân Owen, Graduate Admissions Administrator) who will be able to advise. Overseas students must also provide evidence of proficiency in written and spoken English.

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 expected to be three years.

The format is almost exclusively research based, although students during their first two years attend a number of specialist courses on current research topics given by members of the Institute of Astronomy and Cavendish Astrophysics. PhD projects may be exclusively theoretical or observational but many combine aspects of both.

It is normal for students to attend at least one relevant international conference during their three years of study, and most students working on observational research projects will normally undertake a number of observing trips (depending on the requirements of their project) to telescopes overseas.

There is an induction programme, and a series of Graduate Lecture Courses, which students must attend. Training is given on observational and computational techniques and presentation skills.

Information for international students

A number of overseas PhD students are admitted each year financed from sources including funding bodies in their own country and scholarships available to University of Cambridge applicants.

Fees and funding

There are STFC studentships available, for which qualifying UK and EU residents who have been resident in the UK for at least three years are eligible to apply.

Qualification and course duration


full time
36/42 months

Course contact details

Sian Owen
+44 (0)1223 766644
+44 (0)1223 337523