The dark matter halos of Andromeda’s satellite galaxies

The Astrophysics group at the University of Surrey invites applications for one funded PhD position to start in October 2020 for a period of three years.

Start date
1 October 2020
3 years
Application deadline
Funding source
DCAS studentship
Funding information

The studentship will cover tuition fees in full and it will provide a PhD stipend at the standard STFC level of approx c. £14000 per annum, as well as a budget for training activities (e.g. conferences).


The true nature of dark matter, which makes up roughly 85% of all the matter in the Universe, is one of the key outstanding problems in astronomy and particle physics. In this PhD project, the student will use exquisite data for the dwarf galaxies of Andromeda (M31) to place constraints on the properties of dark matter. The student will combine dynamical data for M31 dwarf galaxies with deep star formation histories from a new Hubble Space Telescope survey, to measure the central mass profiles of approximately 30 dwarf galaxies in Andromeda. These objects are particularly interesting, as they are overwhelmingly dominated by dark matter. This PhD project will allow us to address:

  1. Whether the dark matter profiles of M31 dwarf galaxies are consistent with steep central cusps, or lower density cores.
  2. Whether the star formation histories of M31 dwarf galaxies correlate with their central densities, as seen for some Milky Way dwarfs.
  3. Whether star formation heating of dark matter is a viable explanation for discrepancies between simulations of dwarf galaxies, and our observations.
Related links
More information about the astrophysics group can be found here:

Eligibility criteria

Applicants must have an undergraduate or masters degree in physics, astronomy or astrophysics at the time of start of the PhD.

The post is open to students of any nationality

Overall IELTS grade of 6.5 or above with a minimum of 6.0 in each individual category, in the last 2 years.

How to apply

Applications should be sent through the Physics PhD course page

Your application should include:

  • Your CV (including any publications)
  • A brief statement of research interests
  • Two reference letters to be addressed to

Please clearly state the studentship title and supervisor on your application.

All applications received before the deadline will receive full consideration.

Application deadline

Contact details

Michelle Collins
24 BC 03
Telephone: +44 (0)1483 683572

Studentships at Surrey

We have a wide range of studentship opportunities available.