Skip to main content

Warwick Astronomy PhD Opportunities

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

This PhD project list is illustrative, not exhaustive. 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.

Applications for funded 2019 projects should be submitted by 23:59 on the 13th January 2019 to receive full consideration. Interviews will be held in the week starting February 11th. Any applications submitted after this date may be considered if places remain to be filled. 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 for interview. 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. This form might not be compatible with mobile-based operating systems or some old MacBooks; in these cases please use a shared PC (e.g. at a university or local library).


Possible Projects for 2019 start

Projects typically start October 2019, but this is flexible depending on funding sources.

Extrasolar Planetary Systems:

Exoplanet populations with TESS: searching for markers of planet formation - flexible start (Armstrong)

Remnants of planetary systems around white dwarfs (Gänsicke)

Planet and asteroid destruction around giant branch stars and white dwarf stars/Physical evolution of exo-asteroids under intense radiation - flexible start (Veras)

Composition and wind dynamics of hot Jupiter atmospheres using transmission spectroscopy/X-ray irradiation and evaporation of close-in exoplanets (Wheatley)

Protoplanetary and Debris Disks:

Various projects on hydrodynamical simulations of protoplanetary discs, planet formation and planets interacting with discs — flexible start (Meru)

High redshift Universe:

Star formation in the early Universe/Modelling Distant Galaxies (Stanway)

Multi-messenger astronomy in the era of gravitational wave detections (Steeghs)

Space Traffic Management:

Friend or Foe? Understanding the lightcurves of Low Earth Orbit Satellites - funding available now and must start before September 2019 (Pollacco). Funded through USAF.


The above projects are not exhaustive, and projects may be available in the following general research areas. If you have specific ideas or interests please contact the relevant member(s) of staff.

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.


Extra-solar Planetary Systems

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

Our exoplanetary activities include observation, instrumentation and theory. We are actively engaged in detecting and characterising 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.


Protoplanetary and Debris Disks

Key staff: Kennedy, Meru

We study the disks that orbit other stars like our Sun using theory and observation. Some of these disks are in the process of forming planets, and others are similar to the Solar System’s Asteroid and Kuiper belts. These disks reveal information about the origins of other planetary systems, and help place the Solar System in context.


High-redshift Universe

Key staff: Levan, Stanway

Understanding where and when galaxies formed the majority of their stars is key to understanding the processes of galaxy assembling, stripping and merging which have shaped them into the complex systems we see today. There are various approaches to this: through direct observation of young distant galaxies, through unravelling the history of today's systems, or through comparison to stellar population synthesis models.


Gravitational Wave Astrophysics, Gamma-Ray Bursts and Exotic 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.

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. Be sure to state clearly that you are interested in a place in the Astronomy and Astrophysics research group. This form might not be compatible with mobile-based operating systems or some old MacBooks; in these cases please use a shared PC (e.g. at a university or local library).