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Postgraduate research in cosmology and astrophysics

Ready to start your research career? Explore our postgraduate research degrees in cosmology and astrophysics

If you're ready to take your knowledge and interest in Cosmology and Astrophysics into a postgraduate research degree, there's no better place than Portsmouth.

The University's Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation (ICG) is 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.

Physics at the University of Portsmouth is ranked 6th of all UK universities and the top modern university for research quality

Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021

Read more about our outstanding physics research

Funded PhD studentship opportunities

PhD studentships starting in October 2023 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

 

Funding information and eligibility

The studentships are funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) for research in cosmology and astrophysics. The studentships cover University of Portsmouth tuition fees and an annual maintenance grant of £17,668 (2022/23 rate).

The STFC is able to accept applications from UK and overseas applicants to all of our accredited disciplines/pathways, however due to UKRI funding conditions, awards to non-UK residents are capped to a maximum of 30% of the total number of studentships awarded.

Entry Requirements

You'll need a good first degree from an internationally recognised university or a Master’s degree in Physics, Maths or Astronomy. In exceptional cases, we may consider equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications.  English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

How to apply

We encourage you to explore the research areas above and where possible discuss your interest with a potential supervisor before you apply.

When you are ready to apply, you can use our online application form. Make sure you submit a personal statement, proof of your degrees and grades, details of two referees, proof of your English language proficiency and an up-to-date CV.  Our ‘How to Apply’ page offers further guidance on the PhD application process. 

If you want to be considered for this funded PhD opportunity you must quote project code ICG07290123 when applying.

Interviews for these studentships take place in February / March for entry in October. Applications will be considered until the positions are filled.

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.

Application deadline

The application deadline is Tuesday 31 January 2023.

Have you got any questions?

Informal enquiries about the studentships can be directed to: icg-recruitment@port.ac.uk

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

Fully-funded

Please refer to section above for funded PhD opportunities. 

Submit your own idea

If you already have a research idea, find a supervisor whose research interests match yours by searching our Find a PhD Supervisor page. Once you've identified someone suitable, contact them to discuss your idea.

PhD by Publication

A PhD by publication is a postgraduate research degree based on research you've already undertaken and had published (excluding self-publishing) before registering with us.

Eligible research outputs include peer-reviewed academic papers, complete books or chapters in anthologies, and other materials accepted for publication, exhibited or performed. 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 77% of our research is world leading and internationally excellent in REF 2021
  • 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 degree cost?

UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man students 

  • Full-time:  £4,596 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • Part-time and part-time distance learning: £2,298 per year (may be subject to annual increase)

EU students

(including Transition Scholarship)

  • Full-time:  £4,596 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • Part-time and part-time distance learning: £2,298 per year (may be subject to annual increase)

International students

  • Full-time students: £18,300 (may be subject to annual increase)
  • Part-time and part-time distance learning: £9,150 (may be subject to annual increase)

PhD by Publication 

External candidates: £4,596

Members of staff: £1,760 

 

All fees are subject to annual increase. If you are an EU student starting a programme in 2022/23 please visit this page.

PhD and MPhil

UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man students 

  • Full-time:  £4,596 per year (may be subject to annual increase)*
  • Part-time and part-time distance learning: £2,298 per year (may be subject to annual increase)*

EU students

(including Transition Scholarship)

  • Full-time:  £4,596 per year (may be subject to annual increase)*
  • Part-time and part-time distance learning: £2,298 per year (may be subject to annual increase)*

International students

  • Full-time students: £19,200 (may be subject to annual increase)
  • Part-time and part-time distance learning: £9,600 (may be subject to annual increase)

PhD by Publication 

External candidates: £4,596*

Members of staff: £1,850

 

All fees are subject to annual increase. If you are an EU student starting a programme in 2023/24 please visit this page.

*This is the 2022/23 UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) maximum studentship fee; this fee will increase to the 2023/24 UKRI maximum studentship fee when UKRI announces this rate in Spring 2023.

Bench fees

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.

Funding support

MPhil full-time and part-time courses are eligible for the Government Postgraduate Loan (UK/EU students only).

PhD full-time and part-time courses are eligible for the Government Doctoral Loan (UK/EU students only).

For information on other sources of funding, visit our funding your postgraduate research degree page.

Entry requirements

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.

Apply

Apply for a research degree in Cosmology and Astrophysics by completing our online form.

February (2023 start)

April (2023 start)

October (2023 start)

Current research

Explore the work we're doing across our 4 areas of research expertise in Cosmology and Astrophysics.

Astrophysics

We're working to better understand the basic building blocks of our Universe, the origin of stars, the formation and evolution of galaxies, and stellar population models. Explore our astrophysics research

Read more

Gravitational waves

We're detecting cosmic gravitational waves and developing gravitational-wave observations as an astronomical tool.

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Observational Cosmology

We're studying supernovae and the appearance of distance between Earth and galaxies, and measuring the positions of large-scale structures in the Universe.

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Theoretical cosmology

We're exploring the inflation of the very early Universe, the impact of dark energy on its geometry and developing tests to monitor its expansion.

Read more