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Warwick Astronomy PhD Opportunities

Please find below on this page the current complete list of our key reseach themes and key academic advisors in each, along with examples of PhD projects.

This PhD project list is illustrative, not exhaustive. Projects in other areas of astrophysics are also possible and all projects can be tailored to the interests of individual students. Self-funded shorter projects suitable for the 1-year MSc by research degree are also available. For further information please contact individual group members.

For full consideration for studentships beginning in October 2018, please submit your application by 18 January 2018 at 5 PM UK time. Applications for self-funded places can be considered at any time in the year. In all cases, a completed application is necessary for us to consider you. The applications are submitted through the on-line forms linked from our Physics postgraduate admissions pages. Be sure to state clearly that you are interested in a place in the Astronomy and Astrophysics research group.


Stellar Astrophysics

Key staff: Gänsicke, Marsh, Steeghs, Tremblay

Our main interest is the study of compact stellar remnants, both single and in interacting binaries. We pursue population studies using large surveys, precision studies with custom high-time resolution instruments as well as detailed theoretical modeling.

Example projects:

3D Model Atmospheres of White Dwarfs [funded studentship available for 2018] (Tremblay)

Observational Population Studies of White Dwarf Binaries (Gänsicke)

High-Speed Astrophysics of White Dwarf Binaries (Marsh)

Accreting Neutron Stars and Black Holes (Steeghs)


Extra-solar Planets

Key staff: Bayliss, Brogi, Gänsicke, Pollacco, Tremblay, Veras, West, Wheatley

Our exoplanetary activities include observation, instrumentation and theory. We are actively engaged in detecting and characterizing exoplanetary systems across the full spectrum of size (gas giant, ice giant, super-Earth, terrestrial, asteroidal, dust), time (formation & evolution, main-sequence, post-main-sequence) and host-star characteristics (M stars, G stars, white dwarfs, binaries). We study planetary atmospheres, composition, habitability and dynamics.

Example projects:

Discovery and characterisation of Neptunes and super-Earths with the Next Generation Transit Survey (Pollacco, West, Wheatley)

Discovery and characterisation of transiting exoplanets from K2 and TESS (Bayliss)

Composition and wind dynamics of hot Jupiter atmospheres using transmission spectroscopy (Wheatley, Brogi)

Characterising exoplanet atmospheres at high spectral resolution (Brogi)

X-ray irradiation and evaporation of close-in exoplanets (Wheatley)

Accretion of Planetary Debris onto White Dwarfs (Tremblay)

Planet destruction around giant branch and white dwarf stars (Veras)

Physical evolution of exo-asteroids under intense radiation (Veras)

Remnants of Planetary Systems around White Dwarfs (Gänsicke)


Protoplanetary and Debris Disks

Key sfaff: Kennedy, Meru, Veras

Observing circumstellar disks with the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (Kennedy)

Hydrodynamical simulations of planets interacting with circumstellar disks (Meru)

Evolution of planetary debris discs around white dwarfs (Veras)


High-redshift Universe

Key staff: Levan, Stanway

Example projects:

Star formation in the early Universe (Stanway)

Modelling Distant Galaxies (Stanway)


Gamma-Ray Bursts & Transients

Key staff: Levan, Stanway, Steeghs

We have an interest in exotic and energetic transients where we chase the transients themselves as well as the host galaxies they occur in. Of particular interest are short gamma-ray bursts, tidal disruption events and electromagnetic counterparts to gravitational wave sources. For the latter, the group is leading the deployment of the GOTO robotic telescope.

Example projects:

The Nature of Short Duration Gamma-ray Bursts (Levan)

Host Galaxies of Cosmic Explosions (Levan & Stanway)

The Gravitational Wave Optical Transient Observer (Steeghs)

If you are interested in a PhD or MSc place in Astronomy at Warwick, and would like further information, please get directly in touch with the relevant staff member.

To make an application, please complete the on-line forms linked from our Physics postgraduate admissions pages.