Postgraduate research


Qualification: PhD

Department: School of Physics and Astronomy

Application deadline: 19 January 2024

Start date: 23 September 2024


The School of Physics and Astronomy offer PhD projects funded by The Sciences and Technology Facilities Research Council (STFC) for September 2024 entry.

  • Visit our research group pages, and be sure to state your broad area of interest (Astrophysics, Planetary Science, Space Physics, Instrumentation, etc.) in the Proposal Section.
  • Select your preferred projects and list in ranked order on your application.
  • Refer to the How to Apply section below before using the application button at the bottom of the page to apply

2024 projects

Dr Chrysa Avdellidou  Study of Broken up Primitive Asteroids to Understand early Solar System Evolution (word doc 2,257 kb)  (.pdf 546 kb)

Professor Martin Barstow  White dwarfs, planetary debris and fundamental physics (word doc 314 kb) (.pdf 307 kb)  (.pdf307 kb

Dr Matt Burleigh Discovering and characterizing extra-solar planets with the Next Generation Transit Survey (word doc 184 kb)  (.pdf 199 kb)

Professor Leigh Fletcher  Exploring Giant Planet Atmospheres with JWST (word doc 1,207 kb) (.pdf 1,207 kb)

Dr Michael Goad  Testing the standard model for accretion  (word doc 187 kb)  (.pdf 896 kb)

Dr Adrian Martindale  X-ray Interferometry: Preparing for a revolution in astronomy (word doc 1,869 kb)  (.pdf 453 kb)

Dr Paul McMillan  The disturbances of the outer Milky Way (word doc 1,181 kb)  (.pdf 490 kb)

Professor Sergei Nayakshin  The outer bound of planet formation (word doc 519 kb)  (.pdf 214 kb)

Professor Jonathan Nichols  Modelling the upper atmospheres of brown dwarfs and exoplanets  (word doc 39 kb) (.pdf 148 kb)

Dr Beatriz Sanchez-Cano   Characterization of the Space Weather and radiation environment at Mars and the impacts on exploration (word doc 311 kb)  (.pdf 268 kb)

Dr Rhaana Starling  Astrophysical transient searches with LOFAR (word doc 482 kb)  (.pdf 322 kb)

Professor Nial Tanvir  Probing the high redshift universe with gamma-ray bursts ( word doc 523 kb)  (.pdf 366 kb)

Dr Emily Jane Watkinson  Enabling Challenging Space Exploration: exploring 244Cm-based radioisotope power systems (word doc 782 kb)  (.pdf 401 kb)

UKSA Funded Studentship

Professor Ian Hutchinson  Using Raman Spectroscopy to Assess the Habitability of Oxia Planum (word doc 885 kb) (.pdf 326 kb) To apply for this project please go to Hutchinson Project

Research Council Studentships

Research Council funded Studentships schemes designed to support the training of the next generation of world-class researchers.

Studentships are available to highly motivated and qualified applicants and provide a generous support package usually including a full fee waiver, annual stipend, and research training support grant. Studentships are in most cases offered early in the year for September start.



The projects listed are in competition for STFC funding. Usually the project which receives the best applicant will be awarded the funding.

The STFC studentship provides:

  • A full UK fee waiver for 3.5 years*
  • An annual tax free stipend (currently £18,622 for 2023/4) for 3.5 years
  • Research Training Support Grant (RTSG)
  • Conference Fees and UK Fieldwork fund

*Up to 2 international studentships are available and include a 3.5 year full overseas fee waiver and stipend as above.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Applicants are required to hold/or expect to obtain a UK Bachelor Degree 2:1 or better in a relevant subject or overseas equivalent.

The University of Leicester English language requirements apply.

Informal enquiries

Informal enquiries

Enquiries relating to projects should go to the project supervisor (contact details are on each project).

Application enquiries to 

How to apply

How to apply

To apply please use the online Apply Button at the bottom of the page and select September 2024.

With your application, please include:

  • CV
  • Degree Certificates and Transcripts of study already completed and if possible transcript to date of study currently being undertaken
  • Evidence of English language proficiency if applicable
  • In the reference section please enter the email contact details of your two academic referees in the boxes provided or upload letters of reference if already available. (Referees should not be proposed PhD supervisors).
  • Upload a Personal statement to include
    • your broad area of interest (Astrophysics, Planetary Science, Space Physics, Instrumentation, etc.) having reviewed our research group pages; and
    • explain your interest in the project/s you are interested in applying for
    • include your experience and why we should consider you. 
  • In the Supervisor section which can be found on the Personal Statement page please list, in ranked order, the names of supervisors and the projects you wish to be considered for.

In the funding section: from the drop down menu select Studentship and then select STFC.  Percentage field = 100%.

You do not need to include a research proposal.



Available to UK and International applicants.

International applicants

International students will require a student visa in order to be able to study in the UK. There are costs associated with the visa application process, which must be met by the student; approximately £2500 for the visa and healthcare surcharge. Please ensure you have the means to meet these costs before you apply to the programme.

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