Research degrees and studentships

We are looking for highly motivated and suitably qualified individuals who wish to undertake postgraduate research in astrophysics leading to either the PhD or MSc degree. We also offer, if resources allow, part-time PhDs. We welcome applicants from all backgrounds and communities and especially from groups who are traditionally under-represented in Physics.

In this round, PhD projects are being offered in the following research areas. PhD places are 3.5 years full time, starting in October 2024. Priority will be given to applications received before 1 February 2024. The links below contain short outlines of the projects that are being offered for this year's recruitment round in each subject area:

STFC PhD Research Studentships

The Department of Physics, Astronomy and Mathematics expects to offer a number of full-time STFC studentships to start in October 2024. These full-time studentships are normally awarded for 3.5 years. Applicants must hold, or expect to have been awarded by the starting date, at least an upper second class honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant discipline (e.g. physics, astrophysics, mathematics, computer science). In practice we would normally expect applicants to hold an undergraduate Masters degree (MPhys/MSci) or a masters-level postgraduate qualification, or to be able to demonstrate significant relevant professional experience gained outside academia. Applicants must also meet the eligibility requirements for STFC studentships, which are now open to UK residents and international applicants alike.

UH PhD Research Studentships

These studentships are open to both UK and international students and provide a stipend equivalent to that provided by STFC (see above). A few of these studentships are available every year. Applicants must meet the same academic criteria as STFC students. The University also expects International applicants to have an IELTS (English proficiency) score of normally 6.5 or above.

Self-funded and part-time PhD

Suitably qualified candidates may also register as self-funded full-time or part-time PhD students, contingent on sufficient resources being available and research staff commitments. Applications are considered on an individual basis and may be made at any time. Potential applicants should contact Dr Daniel Smith, postgraduate admissions tutor, for advice on qualifications, fees, possible research projects and working arrangements. Self-funded PhD students can apply for a government loan.

MSc by Research

We also offer an MSc by Research degree which can be taken either full-time (1 year) or part-time (2 years). Students who enrol in this programme will gain a training in research methods and have the opportunity to work on a substantial research project under the supervision of a member of the research staff. As with the PhD, assessment is through submission of a thesis documenting the research project and a viva voce examination. Students are responsible for the payment of fees and living expenses, visit our fees and funding webpage for more information. Please note, a Brian May Scholarship in Astronomy, worth £2000, is awarded each year. We accept applications from candidates who have an integrated masters degree (e.g. an MPhys/MSci) or an MSc in physics, astrophysics, mathematics or computer science. Candidates who have equivalent non-academic experience may also be considered. Entrance is not automatic at this level and we will be particularly interested in any previous research or other relevant experience that you may have. Applications are welcome up until June for entry in October. Potential applicants should contact the postgraduate tutor for advice on qualifications, fees and further information.

How to apply:

To apply, a completed application form, along with copies of higher education certificates, transcripts, a copy of your passport and two letters of reference, should be returned (by post or email) to Lynette Spelman at the address below, by the closing date. You should arrange for your referees to write separately using the form provided or send their reference via email directly to Lynette Spelman. References must be received before the deadline for applications to be considered.

Download the application form or request it from Lynette Spelman.

Prospective candidates should contact Dr Daniel Smith for advice on making their application or for further information and are encouraged to contact potential supervisors directly for more details about specific projects.


Lynette Spelman

Research Student Admissions
Doctoral College
University of Hertfordshire
College Lane
AL10 9AB

Tel: 01707 286083

Dr Daniel Smith

Postgraduate Tutor
Department of Physics, Astronomy & Mathematics
University of Hertfordshire
College Lane
AL10 9AB

Tel: 01707 285189