Institute of Astronomy

Ph.D. How to Apply

Formal application for postgraduate study at the Institute of Astronomy is via the University Postgraduate Admissions Office's Applicant Portal which opens on the 5th September 2023.  Before you start the process, please read carefully the guidance for completing the application form here

The course application deadline is 5th December 2023.

Students for Gates Cambridge USA Scholarships must apply by Wednesday 11th October 2023 (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.

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

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 Postgraduate student, please follow the Postgraduate 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 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 26 February - 1 March 2024.

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, statement of interest and the availability of suitable projects and supervisors.  Shortlisted applicants under consideration for an offer of a Ph.D place will be interviewed via Zoom.

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: 5 September 2023 at 14:12