The UQ Astrophysics PhD program

As a UQ Doctor of Philosophy (Astrophysics) candidate you will engage in original research, and be supervised by outstanding mentors, for the 3-4 year duration of your candidature. By the time of conferral, you will have developed independent research skills and made a significant contribution to the field of Astrophysics.

Undertaking your PhD with the UQ Astrophysics team would allow you to become a part of our group of world-class researchers and teachers, innovative industry experts, and join the brightest students as part of our team to deliver impact both across Australia and on an international stage.

UQ Astrophysics is embedded within the Discipline of Physics, which itself is part of the School of Mathematics and Physics in the Faculty of Science

Astronomical and Space Sciences are amongst the University of Queensland’s research strengths, consistently receiving the top rating of “well-above international standard” in the Excellence in Research for Australia assessments.  The astrophysics group has been rapidly expanding over the last few years, and have leadership roles in major international collaborations such as:

  • The Dark Energy Survey and Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument, mapping the evolution of structures in our Universe over billions of years.
  • The Gambit Collaboration, combining astronomy and particle physics to uncover the nature of dark matter and search for physics beyond the standard model.
  • The SAMI survey, using detailed maps of how stars and gas move around inside distant galaxies to explore how they have formed and evolved.

Our astrophysics staff have the reputation for being outstanding mentors and the impact of their guidance can be seen in in the outcomes for astrophysics PhD students who have gone on to successful careers doing postdoctoral research, lecturing, computer vision, and data science among a few. 

PhD students at UQ typically get access to major telescopes and supercomputing facilities, including from our own local remote observing facility, as well as significant travel funding.  There are many opportunities to be involved in outreach and education initiatives. We welcome people from all backgrounds at UQ Astrophysics and we actively promote equal opportunity practices, diversity and inclusion across the School.

In addition you can also access the following support.

More information on the benefits of choosing UQ can be found here.

What topics can I choose?

At UQ our Astrophysics team offer a number of project topics in cosmology, particle physics, star clusters and galaxy formation and evolution and you can view them under the PhD projects tab here.

Meet our current staff and PhD students

In Astrophysics we work together as a close-knit team to supervise and guide a large array of talented PhD students pursuing their chosen research topics. We currently have 8 research staff in astronomy and 13 HDR students. We have weekly group meetings and seminars and regular meet-ups to encourage a collegial and supportive environment. You can view our staff, and the topics of our current PhD students under the PhD tab here.

Visit Us

We would love for you to visit the campus, meet the Astrophysics team and find out who we are and what it would be like to complete your PhD with UQ Astrophysics. Contact Hayley Valiantis to arrange a visit.

*Due to COVID 19, we can also offer remote inclusion in the Astrophysics weekly meetings via zoom for a virtual look at what we do. Contact as above to request inclusion.


In addition to motivation and a passion for astrophysics, eligibility requirements include relevant university level qualifications and English language proficiency. Please see this link for full eligibility details. Candidates are not generally required to have any publications, however this may vary depending on the type and competitiveness of the scholarship being applied for.

How To Apply

Prior to applying to UQ for PhD candidature/scholarship there is an internal Astrophysics process to select suitable applicants.

  1. Identify potential PhD topics and supervisors you are interested in
  2. Complete an online EOI form here - Deadline has now closed for submission of EOI International students for Round 1, 2021. Domestic students may still apply at this time

  3. Following the EOI deadline, there will be a short period in which UQ Astrophysics staff will review applications and determine the most suitable candidates
  4. At the conclusion of this review period, discussions surrounding potential projects will occur (via Zoom, phone or potentially face to face) between UQ Astrophysics and selected candidates 
  5. Student/project/supervisor offers are made and students are notified of the outcome 
  6. Students indicate if they accept invitations to submit an application to UQ
  7. Successful students can then make a formal application to UQ for PhD candidature and scholarship 

*For Domestic students scholarship applications open 7th September and close 28th September. 

Timing of applications and PhD start dates

UQ Astrophysics aims to inform interested applicants of their suitability to apply, prior to the opening date of each major scholarship application round. Following the current round dates on the graduate school website linked above, candidates who are successful in their formal applications to UQ will start in January 2021. However, there may be some flexibility depending on personal circumstances and visa restrictions, so please feel free to discuss with your potential supervisors.