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UCL Department of Space and Climate Physics

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PhD Opportunities

We offer a range of research degrees, including PhDs in Space Science, Astrophysics, Climate Physics and Systems Engineering at MSSL. We offer a limited number of funded positions each year.

Applications for PhD studentships to start in 2019 are now open. A list of PhD projects offered through STFC-funded studentships can be found on our PhD projects page.

The Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL), UCL's Department of Space and Climate Physics, is the largest University-based space science group in the UK. Offering a unique environment, with scientists at the forefront of space science research working alongside top engineers building and testing instruments for space. 

Our PhD students develop skills in public speaking, analytical techniques, innovation and motivation that make them highly attractive to potential employers. The close contact that the Laboratory enjoys with Space Agencies such as ESA and NASA, and with industrial research teams also encourages the development of transferrable skills such as project management which enhance job prospects post-PhD, both in academic circles and beyond. While over 50% of past MSSL PhD students still work in the field in which they did their PhD studies, many others have found employment in related disciplines. 

Application Process 

Applications from UK and eligible EU students submitted by 3rd February 2019 will be given full consideration for a STFC studentship  but application will be open until they are filled. Please carefully read the application process for the STFC studentship.

The Department of Space and Climate Physics is a Supporter of Project Juno, which recognises and celebrates good employment practices for gender equality and an equitable working culture.  UCL has a Silver Athena SWAN award from the Equality Challenge Unit (ECU), and a Bronze award under ECU’s new Race Equality Charter for higher education.

For more information on the application process, please visit the UCL Graduate Degrees pages and read the "guidelines for research programmes" carefully. To apply, please visit the Online Application page, select department of "Space & Climate Physics" and programme type of "Postgraduate Research". After pushing "Search Now" button, select "RRDSPSSING01: Research Degree: Space and Climate Physics" for Full-time or Part-time mode. 

STFC Studentships (UK applicants only)

Applications submitted by 3rd February 2019 will be given full consideration. We will continue accepting applications until all places are filled. After we receive your application, we will select candidates for interviews. If you are selected, you will be invited for an interview at MSSL. You will have the opportunity to see the laboratory, students' flats and talk to current students. The studentships are for the advertised projects only. Please look at the STFC PhD Project page. In your application, please specify which project you want to apply for. 

Entry requirements

An upper second-class Bachelor’s degree, or a second-class Bachelor’s degree together with a Master's degree from a UK university in a relevant subject, or an equivalent overseas qualification.

Students from the UK or those from the EU who meet the residency requirements (3 years' full-time residency in the UK) are potentially eligible for a Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) studentship.

Additional eligibility requirements

These pay UK/EU tuition fees and a maintenance allowance.

EU students who do not meet eligibility requirements still qualify for the UK/EU fees rate, but not the STFC maintenance allowance.

Cosmoparticle Initiative Studentship (for UK/EU students):

There are a few studentships available under a new cosmoparticle initiative. The cosmoparticle projects are co-supervised by staff from different UCL research groups. However the application procedure is the same as for STFC studentship. There is no need to apply to both groups to be considered for one of these positions. 

Entry requirements

An upper second-class Bachelor’s degree, or a second-class Bachelor’s degree together with a Master's degree from a UK university in a relevant subject, or an equivalent overseas qualification.

English level expected for the students whose first language is not EnglishStandard

Fees

Both fees and funding opportunities are primarily dependent on nationality. Please find more information here

Students from the UK or those from the EU who meet the residency requirements (3 years' full-time residency in the UK) are potentially eligible for a Cosmoparticle Initiative studentship.

This studentship will provide UK/EU tuition fees and a maintenance allowance for both UK and EU students. 

Other (self-funding) students

We welcome applications from students who have own-funding.  We accept the application from self-funding students anytime. After we receive your application, you will normally be invited for an interview at MSSL on an individual basis. You will have the opportunity to see the laboratory, students' flats and talk to current students. Note that students are still required to meet the academic entry requirements in this case. We strongly encourage the applicants to contact the prospective supervisor and discuss about the PhD project prior to their application. You can find the list of supervisors here

Entry requirements

An upper second-class Bachelor’s degree, or a second-class Bachelor’s degree together with a Master's degree from a UK university in a relevant subject, or an equivalent overseas qualification.

English level expected for the students whose first language is not EnglishStandard

Fees

Both fees and funding opportunities are primarily dependent on nationality. Please find more information here

The decision to admit self-funding students or not is made separately by each department. Note that students are still required to meet the academic entry requirements in this case. 

UK/EU applicants are also eligible to apply for the prestigious UCL Graduate Research Scholarships (GRS). These cover tuition fees at the UK/EU rate, and a cost of living allowance at a similar rate to the STFC studentships. Competition for these is very high.

Sources of funding for non-UK students

UCL GRS/ORS

UCL Graduate Research Scholarships (GRS). These cover tuition fees at the UK/EU rate, and a cost of living allowance at a similar rate to the STFC studentships. Competition for these is very strong. Non-EU applicants require additional funding from the ORS scheme to cover the remaining cost of tuition fees.  UCL Overseas Research Scholarships (ORS). These provide funding to cover the difference between overseas and UK/EU tuition fees, and students applying for an ORS may also submit a GRS application. There are more ORS awards than GRS awards.

Note that GRS/ORS awards are allocated across UCL by the Graduate School Selection Panel. While individual departments are invited to submit a shortlist of candidates, they have no formal role in the allocation of awards. This shortlist must be submitted to the Graduate School by their deadline of 18 January 2019. For this reason, applicants for GRS/ORS MUST submit their application to  the department by 4 January 2019. Please also note that the GRS/ORS applicant has to submit their UCL admission application via UCL system by 4th January 2019.

Please submit your scholarship application (pdf file) via email to Philippa Elwell (p.elwell AT ucl.ac.uk) by 4 January 2019. Please also arrange for the reference letters (pdf file) to be sent to the same address by 4 January 2019.

MAPS Dean's Prize and CSC

MAPS faculty Dean's prize for China Scholarship Council (CSC) Research Scholarships applicants. Prospective Chinese students can apply for this generous scholarship. The Dean's prize will cover the full tuition costs, and CSC will cover a maintenance allowance, travel and visa costs. Please submit a short (1 page max) description of the proposed research project (pdf file) and CV (pdf file) via email to Philippa Elwell (p.elwell AT ucl.ac.uk) by 4 January 2019. Please also arrange for two reference letters (pdf file) from colleagues external to UCL to be sent to the same address by 4 January 2019.

Please contact the department (your potential supervisor and/or departmental graduate tutor: Daisuke Kawata) as soon as possible, if you want to apply for the GRS/ORS or the Dean's prize, so that we can provide advice in a timely fashion. We look forward to hearing from you.

Other opportunities

This page has links to other potential funding sources. These are all competitive scholarships. However, we are happy to support enthusiastic students who apply for these scholarship, and welcome their enquiries. 

 

Facilities

Holmbury St Mary and surroundings

MSSL is set in the middle of the Surrey Hills, a designated Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty, between Guildford and Dorking. The lab is surrounded by countryside, with hundreds of local walks and great views to the South coast and London from the nearby Leith Hill. 

Getting to London is easy, with fast trains leaving Guildford every 15 minutes and taking just over half an hour. The south coast is also only about an hours drive away. 

Locally, the village is within walking distance and has 2 pubs, both with lovely people and great food. The nearest town is about a 10 minute drive away, with plenty of banks, shops and supermarkets. 

Social Activities

The Lab has its own social club, which any student or staff member is welcome to join.

The club offers plenty of opportunities to play sports on an informal basis, with weekly football and badminton sessions organised locally, as well as a summer croquet championship.   Ad hoc events such as kayaking have also taken place.  Members of the social club enjoy the onsite swimming pool throughout the summer months and occasional barbeque lunches by the pool are very popular.

Pub trips give the chance to meet the other students at the lab, or the other people in your particular research group. The committee has also organised additional events such as a Christmas party and bonfire night. 

Accomodation (Ariel House)

Accommodation is usually available for first year PhD students in the student house on site, Ariel House, a short walk from the laboratory. It has seven bedrooms, a large lounge, 2 shared kitchens and 2 shared bathrooms along with great views over the surrounding countryside. 

In subsequent years, students generally have no difficulty in finding accommodation in nearby towns and villages.