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Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics and Nonlinear Dynamics

PhD opportunities in the DAMTP Astrophysics group

PhD supervisors








A selection of potential PhD supervisors (left: Roman Rafikov, right: Henrik Latter).

PhD opportunities

The DAMTP Astrophysics group typically admits two or three students every year to the PhD programme.  We currently have about 12 PhD students supervised by Henrik Latter, Gordon Ogilvie, Roman Rafikov and Giulio Del Zanna.  A wide range of possible research topics is available and we welcome enquiries from potential applicants.

Course structure

The PhD in Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics is a three-year research programme culminating in submission and examination of a dissertation, or thesis, containing substantial original work.  PhD students carry out their research under the guidance of a supervisor, and research projects are available from the wide range of subjects studied within the Astrophysics group.  Students are admitted on a probationary basis in the first instance and are assessed for registration during the fourth term of research.

Entry requirements

The usual minimum entry requirement is either a first-class honours degree after a four-year course in mathematics, physics, astrophysics or engineering, or a three-year degree followed by a Master's course.  Part III Mathematics or Part III Astrophysics (frequently taken by graduates from outside Cambridge as the Master of Advanced Study) can provide a good preparation for a PhD in this area.


UK applicants will be considered for studentships from the Science and Technology Research Council (STFC), which are allocated by DAMTP.  EU applicants are currently eligible for fees-only awards from STFC and will be considered for maintenance awards from the Isaac Newton Studentship fund.  Overseas applicants are mostly supported by scholarships from the Cambridge Trust and Gates Cambridge.  Some Cambridge Colleges offer scholarships and there are also some country-specific awards for study at Cambridge, both of which are listed in the Cambridge Student Funding Directory.

Application procedure

Instructions for using the Applicant Portal can be found here.  Applicants need not write a detailed research proposal but should mention their interest in the Astrophysics group so that their application is forwarded to the right group for consideration.

Application deadlines

The usual DAMTP deadline for applications is 31 January, although later applications will be considered where possible.  However, there are earlier deadlines for applicants seeking funding from the Cambridge Trust and the Gates Cambridge Trust.  For more detailed information please see and

Past theses

Some of the titles of PhD theses by former students in the group are listed below.  Where available, a link to the full thesis is included.

Dr Harry Braviner
PhD Thesis: Stellar and Planetary Tides at Small Orbital Radii
Dr Paul Bushby
PhD Thesis: Nonlinear Dynamos in Stars
Dr Cara Donnelly
PhD Thesis: Shearing Waves and the Accretion Disc Dynamo
Dr Barbara Ferreira
PhD Thesis: Variability of black-hole accretion discs: a theoretical study
Dr Tobias Heinemann
PhD Thesis: The dynamics of spiral density waves in turbulent accretion discs
Dr Min-Kai Lin
PhD Thesis: Dynamical instabilities in disc-planet interactions
Dr Peter Mann
PhD Thesis: Nonlinear flux transport dynamos
Dr Joel Miller
PhD Thesis: Shear-flow Instabilities in Viscoelastic Fluids
Dr Sargam Mulay
PhD Thesis: EUV Spectroscopy of Solar Active Region Jets
Dr Anna Railton
PhD Thesis: The Structure and Stability of Vortices in Astrophysical Discs
Dr Hanno Rein
PhD Thesis: The effects of stochastic forces on the evolution of planetary systems and Saturn's rings
Dr Mark Rosin
PhD Thesis: Instabilities and transport in magnetized plasmas
Dr Stephen Thomson
PhD Thesis: A New Model of Jupiter's Jet Streams and the Effects of Moist Convection
Dr Toby Wood
PhD Thesis: The solar tachocline: a self-consistent model of magnetic confinement