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

The DAMTP Astrophysics group typically admits two or three students every year to the PhD programme. We currently have about eight 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 3–4-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. 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 deadline

In order to be considered for all relevant funding opportunities, applications for PhD places to begin in October 2024 should be received by 4 January 2024. Later applications will be considered where possible.

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 Antranik Sefilian (2022)
Secular Dynamics of Self-gravitating Debris Discs
Dr Roger Dufresne (2021)
Modelling line emission in the lower solar atmosphere
Dr Chris Hamilton (2021)
Secular Dynamics of Binaries in Stellar Clusters
Dr Philip Leung (2021)
Magnetic Fields in Protoplanetary Discs
Dr Loren Held (2020)
Hydrodynamic and Magnetohydrodynamic Convection in Accretion Disks
Dr Elliot Lynch (2020)
On the Dynamics of Noncircular Accretion Discs
Dr Janosz Dewberry (2019)
Hydromagnetic Oscillations and Instabilities in Astrophysical Discs
Dr Shyeh Tying (Cleo) Loi (2019)
Magnetic fields and stellar oscillations
Dr Joseph Paris (2019)
The Dynamics of Magnetised Warped Discs
Dr Valeria Shumaylova (2019)
Scale selection in hydromagnetic dynamos
Dr Johnathan Ross (2017)
The magnetorotational instability and thermal processes in accretion disks
Dr Riccardo Vanon (2017)
Zonal flows in accretion discs and their role in gravito-turbulence
Dr Harry Braviner (2015)
Stellar and Planetary Tides at Small Orbital Radii
Dr Anna Railton (2015)
The Structure and Stability of Vortices in Astrophysical Discs
Dr Cara Donnelly (2014)
Shearing Waves and the Accretion Disc Dynamo
Dr Min-Kai Lin (2012)
Dynamical instabilities in disc-planet interactions
Dr Peter Mann (2012)
Nonlinear flux transport dynamos
Dr Sargam Mulay
EUV Spectroscopy of Solar Active Region Jets
Dr Mark Rosin (2011)
Instabilities and transport in magnetized plasmas
Dr Stephen Thomson
A New Model of Jupiter's Jet Streams and the Effects of Moist Convection
Dr Adrian Barker (2011)
Tidal interactions between planets and stars
Dr Toby Wood (2011)
The solar tachocline: a self-consistent model of magnetic confinement
Dr Bárbara Trovão Ferreira (2010)
Variability of black-hole accretion discs: a theoretical study
Dr Tobias Heinemann (2010)
The dynamics of spiral density waves in turbulent accretion discs
Dr Hanno Rein (2010)
The effects of stochastic forces on the evolution of planetary systems and Saturn's rings
Dr Joel Miller (2006)
Shear-flow Instabilities in Viscoelastic Fluids
Dr Paul Bushby (2003)
Nonlinear Dynamos in Stars

Potential PhD supervisors