Institute of Astronomy

Master of Advanced Study in Astrophysics

Applications for entry in October 2020


Applications are now being accepted for the PhD, MASt and MPhil in Astronomy.  The closing date for applications is noon on Tuesday 7th January 2020.

Please see the course guide on the Graduate Admissions Website for further information.




The IoA offers an exciting opportunity for suitably qualified students who have completed a Bachelors degree (or equivalent) in astronomy/physics/mathematics to study for a one year Masters level qualification in astro- physics.  This course consists of an extended project (either observational or theoretical, worth about a third of the total credit) and a choice of a range of high level specialist courses, most of which are examined in June. Owing to the demanding level of the course and the competition for a limited number of places, applicants should have achieved (or expect to achieve) a very good performance in their undergraduate degree. Although some bursary funding may be available, applicants should expect to arrange their own funding.

About two thirds of the assessment for this degree is based on rigorous  written examinations.  Most of the examinable courses are taken from Part III of the Cambridge Mathematical Tripos and so require a high level of mathematical ability.  The level is such that, for example, internally within Cambridge Mathematics, only those students who have a first class result in Part II of the Tripos, or can demonstrate that they had first class potential, are permitted to proceed to Part III.  All students who are accepted for entry into the MASt Astrophysics course should be aware that the Institute of Astronomy requires the satisfactory completion of one of the Part II CATAM computer projects organised by the Mathematics Faculty, before starting the course in October. The pass mark for this project is 10/20 and the submission deadline is September 1st.

For full details of the course, follow the link to Part III Astrophysics (whose course content and arrangements are identical to the MASt course but is taken by students already enrolled at the University of Cambridge); note that the courses on offer vary somewhat from year to year so that those available next year may differ slightly from those listed on the Part III Astro- physics pages for the current academic year.

Details of the costs are available and application is via the Graduate Admissions Office's Application Form (Applicant Portal). When you fill in the GRADSAF form, it would be helpful if you indicated (under 'description of project') what type of research project would interest you. As a minimum this could just be an indication of whether you'd be interested in a primarily theoretical or observational project or if you'd be prepared to do either. Note that most projects (whether theoretical or observational) have a large computational component.

If you have additional queries after reading the online material, email the Teaching Secretary,  (

Funding opportuninites:

The Hawkes Henderson Studentship in Astrophysics and Cosmology

The Hawkes Henderson Studentship in Astrophysics and Cosmology is intended to provide full funding for a graduate from outside Cambridge to read for the one-year Master of Advanced Study (M.A.St.) degree in either Astrophysics or Mathematics (with a significant component of astrophysics or cosmology) at Clare College, Cambridge. The Hawkes Henderson scholarship is normally available every 4 years. We anticipate the next award being availble in 2023 but please check back for application details.

The Sheepshanks Studentship in Astronomy (Trinity College)

The Sheepshanks Studentship in Astronomy is a one-year studentship for students who wish to undertake research in Astronomy at the University of Cambridge but who are required by the Institute of Astronomy to take, in the first instance, the course leading to the Master of Advanced Study (MASt), either in Astrophysics, Mathematics or Physics.

Completed application forms and all supporting documents must be submitted through the online application system by 12:00 noon (GMT) on Friday 10 January 2020. See How to Apply.

Deadlines: further information

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Page last updated: 2 December 2019 at 10:03