Cosmology and Astrophysics postgraduate research degrees
Cosmology and Astrophysics postgraduate research degrees
The University's Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation (ICG) – one of the leading cosmology and astrophysics centres in the UK. We're active participants in a wide range of international collaborations, including the Dark Energy Survey (DES), the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI), the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS-IV) and Euclid.
The ICG is also a member of the SouthEast Physics Network (SEPNet), a consortium of nine world-class universities in the southeast of England. Our post-graduate students have the opportunity to engage with the SEPNet Graduate Network (GRADNet). By channelling this broad research expertise into one central, combined resource, GRADNet provides a wide range of postgraduate training opportunities, including specialised schools and student-led workshops and conferences.
Funded PhD studentship opportunities
PhD studentships starting in October 2021 will be available for research in:
- Gravitational lensing
- Transients and supernovae
- Active Galactic Nuclei
- Galaxy evolution
- Stellar population modelling
- Very early Universe
- Dark energy
- Testing gravity on cosmological scales
- Large scale structure
- Gravitational Waves
- Origin and evolution of the first supermassive black holes
There is no formal closing date, but applicants are advised to submit by the end of January, particularly if you are seeking financial support. Interviews for these studentships take place in February / March for entry in October. Applications will be considered until the positions are filled.
PhD applicants should have or expect to obtain a good honours degree or equivalent in Physics, Maths or Astronomy. Applicants should express interest by sending a CV and a brief statement of research interests, and arrange for two letters of recommendation to be emailed directly to firstname.lastname@example.org, or posted to:
Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation
Dennis Sciama Building
Portsmouth PO1 3FX, UK
Formal applications should be made through the University Application Form.
We welcome applications from all qualified applicants, but applications are particularly encouraged from traditionally under-represented groups in science. The University of Portsmouth holds an Athena SWAN bronze award and is an Institute of Physics Project Juno Supporter; these projects show a commitment to introduce organisational and cultural practices that promote gender equality in science and create a better working environment for men and women.
Other research degree opportunities at ICG
Find out about our PhD, MPhil, and PhD by Publication opportunities in Cosmology and Astrophysics below, including how to apply, entry requirements and funding your degree. For more detailed information about the application process, visit our How to Apply pages.
Cosmology & Astrophysics PhDs and MPhils
Explore our pre-approved funded and self-funded PhD projects in Cosmology and Astrophysics, or submit your own research idea.
PhD and MPhil projects
PhD by Publication
A PhD by publication is a postgraduate research degree that's based on research you've already undertaken and had published (excluding self-publishing) before registering with us.
Peer-reviewed academic papers, complete books or chapters in anthologies, and any other materials accepted for publication, exhibited or performed are all eligible. You'll have to submit these materials for examination between 6-12 months after registering with us.
For more information, please visit our PhD by Publication page.
Duration, fees and funding
What do my tuition fees cover?
If you're self-funding your PhD, you'll pay tuition fees to the University to cover course and university costs.
Your tuition fees cover:
- The cost of your postgraduate research programme* at the University as well as charges for registration, tuition, supervision, and examinations
- Bespoke training, professional development courses, networking, and research support through The Graduate School
- Research seminars and workshops (university-wide and faculty-specific)
- A contribution to funding to attend a conference or development activity in your research field
- Tailor-made weekly and monthly events, including weekly, themed experienced researcher-led talks and workshops
- Helping you become part of our thriving research community, including Research and Innovation services where 78% of our research impact was rated as world-leading or internationally excellent in REF 2014
- Your graduation ceremony
- Viva examination and administration costs
- The facilities and equipment you need to complete your studies, such as computer rooms, access to laptops, the Library, and laboratories
- Access to resources including electronic journals, alternative guide to funding, and thousands of hours of educational videos on LinkedIn Learning
- University support services including academic, financial, careers and wellbeing support and personal tutors
- Membership of the Students' Union (giving you the right to vote in elections, join clubs and societies, and get free independent advice)
- Access to software such as Microsoft Office, SPSS and Adobe Creative Suite (this includes Photoshop, InDesign, and Adobe Premiere Pro)
*Please note that some research programmes may come with additional bench fees.
How long will my research degree take?
- MPhil: 2 years full-time, 4 years part-time
- PhD: 3 years full-time, 6 years part-time
- PhD by Publication: 1 year part-time
How much will my research degree cost?
2021/2022 fees (applicable to October 2021 and February 2022 start)
PhD and MPhil
- Home/EU/CI full-time students: £4,407 p/a*
- Home/EU/CI part-time students: £2,204 p/a*
- International full-time students: £17,600 p/a*
- International part-time students: £8,800 p/a*
PhD by Publication
- External candidates: £4,407 p/a*
- Members of University of Portsmouth staff: £1,720 p/a
All fees are subject to annual increase. If you are an EU student starting a programme in 2021/22 please visit this page.
*This is the 2020/21 UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) maximum studentship fee; this fee will increase to the 2021/22 UKRI maximum studentship fee when UKRI announces this rate in Spring 2021.
Some PhD projects may include additional fees – known as bench fees – for equipment and other consumables, and these will be added to your standard tuition fee. Speak to the supervisory team during your interview about any additional fees you may have to pay. Please note, bench fees are not eligible for discounts and are non-refundable.
MPhil full-time and part-time courses are eligible for the Government Postgraduate Loan.
PhD full-time and part-time courses are eligible for the Government Doctoral Loan.
For information on other sources of funding, visit our funding your postgraduate research degree page.
The entry requirements for a PhD or MPhil include a good honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject, or a master’s degree in an appropriate subject. Equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications may be considered. All applicants are subject to interview.
If English is not your first language, you'll need English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.
If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.
Support and facilities
As a postgraduate student, you can work with the SouthEast Physics Network (SEPNet), a consortium of nine universities in the southeast of England. SEPNet channels research expertise into one central, combined resource, and gives you postgraduate training opportunities, including student-led workshops and conferences.
When you join us, you'll be supported by our Graduate School, alongside your assigned supervisory team, who'll help you get the most from our facilities. The Graduate School will help you become part of our thriving, collaborative research community, and help grow your skills as a researcher through the Graduate School Development Programme, which offers training, workshops and events.
You'll also have access to the exceptional facilities within our Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation (ICG) – including our SCIAMA supercomputer.
What can a postgraduate research degree do for my career?
Once your postgraduate research degree is complete, you'll be a highly-skilled researcher with the knowledge and skills to make an impact in many different industries.
Your postgraduate research qualification tells potential employers that you're an intelligent, capable and motivated person, with provable abilities and experience in critical thinking, problem-solving, project management, communication, leadership and creativity.
Explore the work we're doing across our 4 areas of research expertise in Cosmology and Astrophysics.
We're researching the evolution of galaxies, from the most local to the most distant, and using their light to model stellar radiation and probe the formation and development of the Universe.
We're studying supernovae and the appearance of distance between Earth and galaxies, and measuring the positions of large-scale structures in the Universe.