What will I learn?

About the course

The DPhil in Astrophysics is a research-based degree offered by the astrophysics and theoretical physics sub-departments of Physics, available to students interested in carrying out research in observational or theoretical astrophysics, or in astronomical instrumentation. The course has a strong track record of preparing students for careers in academia and elsewhere.

The DPhil is a research-based course that normally takes three to four years of study. You will be expected to carry out your own research in areas drawn from the sub-department's exceptionally broad range of research, exploiting access to high performance computing and to the full range of space and ground-based facilities where necessary.

You should closely consult the the sub-department's areas of research interest and the list of available projects. Particular strengths include the study of cosmology, galaxies and black holes, stars and exoplanets, and include instrumentation and large telescope projects.

You will be a member of a lively research environment, and the department places great emphasis on matching student and supervisor so that work on the main research project can begin as soon as possible. A taught graduate course in the first year runs in parallel to this work, providing a comprehensive overview of both the state of modern astrophysics and the necessary skills required to make progress in 21st century research. Students are also expected to attend a suitable short course from the MPhys or other courses. Neither part of this graduate program is examined.

The lively programme of seminars, colloquia and discussion meetings held in the department ensures that you remain in touch with the cutting edge of the subject and provide an opportunity to interact with staff and with the large number of visitors who pass through the department each year. They also provide plenty of opportunity for you to gain experience in presenting your science, a critical part of a modern researcher's life.

Assessment

All students will be initially admitted to the status of Probationer Research Student (PRS). Within a maximum of six terms as a PRS student (and normally by the fourth term) you will be expected to apply for transfer of status from Probationer Research Student to DPhil status.

A successful transfer of status from PRS to DPhil status will require satisfactory attendance at our compulsory graduate lecture programme. You will also be required to write a report (no more than 5000 words) on your progress during the first year and you will be assessed by two members of staff (neither of whom will be your primary supervisor) . Students who are successful at transfer will also be expected to apply for and gain confirmation of DPhil status within nine terms of admission, to show that your work continues to be on track.

Both milestones normally involve an interview with two assessors (other than your supervisor) and therefore provide important experience for the final oral examination.

You will be expected to submit a thesis of no more than 250 pages (roughly 125,000 words) within four years from the date of admission. To be successfully awarded a DPhil in Astrophysics you will need to defend your thesis orally (viva voce) in front of two appointed examiners.

Graduate destinations

Over the past decade, about three quarters of graduates of the DPhil in Astrophysics have gone on to postdoctoral positions in astrophysics, and most stay the field long-term. Other graduates typically take up positions in industry, teach, or work in the financial sector or in the growing number of jobs available to those with backgrounds in 'data science'.

Which department am I in?

University of Oxford

Study options

Full Time (3 years)

Tuition fees
£27,460.00 (US$ 37,795) per year
Course fees are payable each year, for the duration of your fee liability (your fee liability is the length of time for which you are required to pay course fees). For courses lasting longer than one year, please be aware that fees will usually increase annually.

This is a fixed fee
Start date

Expected October 2021

Venue

University of Oxford

University Offices,

Wellington Square,

Oxford,

Oxfordshire,

OX1 2JD, England

Entry requirements

For international students

As a minimum, applicants should hold or be predicted to achieve the equivalent of the following UK qualifications. a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours in physics, astrophysics or astronomy, mathematics, engineering or related fields. The equivalent of a UK four-year integrated MPhys or MSci degree is typically required. Directly-related professional expertise may be a substitute; for example, significant instrument-building experience. For applicants with a degree from the USA, the typical minimum GPA sought is 3.3 out of 4.0. However, selection of candidates also depends on other factors in your application. Entry is competitive and most successful applicants have achieved higher GPA scores. Applicants need to have an IELTS score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 per component; TOEFL iBT score of 100 with a minimum component score of 22 in listening, 24 in reading, 24 in writing and 25 in speaking.

*There may be different IELTS requirements depending on your chosen course.

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