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The Application Process

Formal application for postgraduate study at the Institute of Astronomy is via University Postgraduate Admissions Office’s Applicant Portal, which will reopen in September 2024.


  • 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.
  • If you are or have previously been a Cambridge Postgraduate student, you will need to complete a Continuation Application Form. Further instructions can be found here.

Students for Gates Cambridge USA Scholarships must apply by early October 2024 deadline to be confirmed. 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.

The Application Form

Most sections are straightforward and easy to complete however below we have guidance on the sections which sometimes lead to questions.

Statement of Interest

The information you provide in the “Statement of Interest” section should enable the Postgraduate Admissions Committee to understand the match between your research interests and what the Institute can offer in terms of potential supervisors and Ph.D. research topics. Applicants should explain how their scientific interests mesh with the type of research undertaken by our potential supervisors. In addition to the area(s) of research in which you are interested please include what information you can about the type of work (e.g. observation-based, data-science/statistical analysis, computer-simulations, theory,…) you plan for your Ph.D. thesis. Students who wish to be considered for University, Cambridge Trust or Gates Cambridge scholarships should provide the names of up to three potential supervisors. For Home-fee students to be considered only for STFC Ph.D. funding, specific supervisor and research-area information is not required. An indication of the general research area and type of work planned for the Ph.D. will, however, assist the Admissions Committee, when identifying applicants called for interview in February.

Funding Your Study

Please read our funding section carefully paying particular attention to the section which relates to your current fee status.

What happens next?

Applicants may track the progress of their applications on Applicant Portal.

Selection of applicants eligible for STFC will be made in early February, and shortlisted applicants resident in the UK may be asked to visit the Institute for interview during the week commencing Monday 26th Februrary 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 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