Institute of Astronomy

Ph.D. Application Procedure

How to Apply

Formal application for graduate study at the Institute of Astronomy is via the University Graduate Admissions Office's Applicant Portal, see 'How Do I Apply' for more details. The application deadline is Thursday 7th January 2021 (noon 12pm UK time) but applications from USA students for Gates Scholarships must apply by Wednesday 14th October 2020 (noon 12pm UK time). Students must upload all requested supporting documents to meet the application deadline.  Applicants should also ensure that their referees upload references before the application deadline.

Specific instructions for completing the University Application Form can be found here.  Additional information for applicants, application forms and answers to many frequently asked questions can be found on the University's Graduate Admissions homepage

Given the high demand for places, we advise prospective Overseas students to submit their applications as early as possible, especially if you wish to be considered for funding awards. The Institute will endeavour to provide preliminary feedback on applications within a month of receipt. We will normally communicate by email.

Please note that  there is a non-refundable application fee of (GBP sterling) £70 payable for each online application (unless you are from a country which is eligible for fee waiver). Paper applications are subject to an application fee of (GBP sterling) £100.

If you wish to apply to more than one Department  i.e. Institute of Astronomy, Cavendish Astrophysics, Applied Mathematics, you must make an individual application to each Department  to ensure you can be ranked by each Department for appropriate funding.


Applicants completing a Continuation Application form i.e. if you are or have previously been a Cambridge Graduate student, please follow the Graduate Admissions Office instructions which can be found  here


English Language Tests

You do not need to take an English Language test before you apply.

If you are made a conditional offer and have not already met the University's English language requirements, one of the conditions of your offer will be that you pass a test at the required level.

Please note that test results are only valid for two years.

A list of language tests accepted by the University and a link to the scores required for our course can be found here

What happens next?

Applicants may track the progress of their applications on the University applicant portal.

Selection of Home and Republic of Ireland applicants eligible for STFC studentships, for interview will be made in early February and shortlisted applicants resident in the UK may be asked to visit the Institute during the week commencing 22nd February 2021.

Following the interviews, provisional awards are offered to the highest ranked candidates.

In the case of applicants for non-STFC funded places, initial assessment is based on academic record and the availability of suitable projects and supervisors.  Applicants under consideration for an offer of a Ph.D place will be interviewed via Zoom or Skype.

Many applicants will apply to a number of other universities, some of which have different timetables for deciding on admissions. If applicants are still interested in a Ph.D. place at the Institute, it is essential that following an offer from another university, they contact  before responding.

If you have any questions that are not answered on our website please email

Page last updated: 9 September 2020 at 08:57