UCL Astrophysics Group



We expect to offer several ~3-year studentships in astrophysics, instrumentation, and atmospheric/planetary physics for 2024 entry. Funding opportunities available to candidates depend primarily on nationality / fee status, as do fees. As outlined on the Admissions page, some EU students will now be considered as ‘Overseas’ due to the UK withdrawal from the EU. Those applicants should follow the advice for ‘Overseas’ applicants below.

UPDATE:  See our Admissions page for more advice and updates on fee status for EU nationals.



UK/Home candidates

We will automatically consider UK/Home candidates (including EU nationals who are eligible for home fees - see Admissions) for an appropriate studentship when you apply to us by 28 January 2024. We will place a submission link, in due course, on our Admissions page. If you are from the UK, you may be eligible for a studentship provided by the Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC). This pays UK/Home tuition fees and a maintenance (i.e. subsistence) allowance. More details on the studentships, including their value, can be found on the STFC websiteApplicants meeting the relevant criteria are automatically considered for a studentship and do not need to apply for a studentship separately. 

In addition, we may have a limited number (to be confirmed) of departmental (non-STFC) studentships that will pay both fees and maintenance for applicants in this category.  Once again, you will automatically be considered for these positions when you apply for a PhD in the Department, so do not need to make a separate studentship application.

Applicants whose first language is not English should note the additional requirements in respect of this. Please note that unless you satisfy the requirements mentioned above the department cannot offer you a PhD position (i.e. we are not allowed to make exceptions). We strongly advise that you check whether you meet the requirements, and take any necessary tests such as the IELTS, before making an application; or, if this is not possible, no later than the date of interviews (early March, 2024 in the coming round).

Overseas (EU and non-EU) candidates

If you are in the ‘Overseas’ category (i.e. non-EU, or EU who is considered ‘Overseas’ for purposes of tuition fee – see information above), there is no Departmental funding available at present, but you may apply for centralised UCL funding shcolarships, see below. UCL has consolidated information on funding opportunities (along with other information about financial matters), listed here and here. Please note that it is not the Astrophysics Group’s usual policy to accept students who are not supported by officially recognised funding sources - therefore if you do not have such funding, you should first apply for the centralised UCL funding schemes using the instructions below.

The application procedure for these UCL scholarships is quite complex and the awards are highly competitive. Each UCL department is only able to put forward a small number of candidates. Your application will need to proceed through several stages:


  1. You must send a CV to physast.phd@ucl.ac.uk, along with an indication of preferred supervisors and research interests, by 30 November 2023. Because of the competitive nature of these studentships, you are most likely to have a strong chance if you have a track record in the form of awards or publications; please be sure to include this information on your CV. For guidance on possible research topics and supervisors please see our projects page. You are encouraged to contact individual supervisors for more information about their work before submitting your CV. 
  2. We will acknowledge your CV shortly after receipt, and take a decision on further progression through the process by  around mid-December, 2023. Please contact us if you do not receive this acknowledgement. Applicants who are put forward to the next stage will need to complete the formal application at this stage. The committee will provide individual guidance, but note that this full application will need to be completed (and references received) by mid-January 2024
  3. In end-January, the final decision is made by the department (including other physics research areas) on which candidates to put forward for the central UCL scheme. A final decision by UCL is normally reached in early March.

Applicants whose first language is not English should note the additional requirements in respect of this. Please note that unless you satisfy the requirements mentioned above the department can not offer you a PhD position (i.e we are not allowed to make exceptions).

ATAS requirements

The Academic Technology Approval Scheme, ATAS, classifies Physics & Astronomy as a 'sensitive subject'. For compliance with ATAS,  applicants from outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland are accordingly required to complete an on-line ATAS application, but only after an offer has been made. No action is required, therefore, at the application stage.


Some scholarship schemes are listed below, but it is also worth asking your local university, government or other contacts for other sources of funding.

  • UCL Research Excellence Scholarship (RES). Covers both fees and cost of living, and outstanding candidates have a good chance of being successful. From past experience, successful candidates had at least one research publication at the time of applying. Applicants for the GRS are automatically considered for the ORS as well, so international applications are encouraged!
  • Dean’s Prize incl CSC/Dean’s Prize. Covers the difference between UK and International fees, to be used in combination with another competitive scholarship (ad CSC) to cover the UK-rate fees and cost of living stipend. These cannot be used togther with one of the funded positions.
  • Chinese Science Council (CSC). These scholarships are open to Chinese nationals to carry out a PhD at UCL. More information, including the eligibility and conditions of the award, can be found in the link above.


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