Gravitational wave astrophysics or galactic archeology

The astrophysics group at the University of Surrey invites applications for 1 funded PhD position in the areas of either galactic archaeology or gravitational wave astrophysics to start in October 2019, for a period of 3 years.

Start date
1 October 2019
3 years
Application deadline
Funding information

All University fees will be covered, plus a Stipend of £14,777 per annum.

Funding source
Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and the University of Surrey Department of Physics
Supervised by


The available projects include:

Project 1

Under the supervision of Dr Michelle Collins, the student will use existing data, as well as proposing for new data at international observatories, to make precision measurements of the properties of the stellar halo of Andromeda, and those of dwarf galaxies within the Local Group.

The stellar halos of galaxies provide a unique laboratory for exploring and constraining the properties of dark matter, as well as providing a tool for understanding the processes that are key to galactic evolution on all scales. The project will include measuring the masses of nearby dwarf galaxies in order to probe the density of their dark matter halos, and comparing these to predictions of high-resolution simulations produced by the Surrey astrophysics group; mapping out the stellar halos of nearby field dwarf galaxies, in order to search for substructure that may inform us both about their evolution and dark matter content.

Project 2

Under the supervision of Dr Fabio Antonini, the student will develop a numerical framework to make predictions for the spectrum of gravitational waves produced by coalescing black hole binaries in the field of galaxies, taking into account their multiplicity properties. The project will investigate the scenario in which a black hole binary is driven to a merger by its long-term interaction with one or more distant companions (e.g., other black holes, stars). By coupling the growing sample of gravitational wave detections with the results of the models, the student will constrain the parameters of such models and gain insight into the processes that determine the evolution of stars and black holes in the Universe.

Candidates are invited to express a preference for one of the available projects.

Related links
The Astrophysics Research Group

Eligibility criteria

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

The post is open to students of UK/EU nationality.

IELTS Academic: of 6.5 or above with a minimum of 6.0 in each individual category in the last 2 years.

How to apply

Please apply online via the Physics PhD course page.

Your application should include:

  • a CV (including any publications)
  • a brief statement of research interests
  • 2 reference letters to be addressed to

All applications received before 29 March 2019 will receive full consideration.

Physics PhD

Application deadline

Contact details

Michelle Collins
24 BC 03
Telephone: +44 (0)1483 683572
Fabio Antonini
14 BC 03
Telephone: +44 (0)1483 688459

Studentships at Surrey

We have a wide range of studentship opportunities available.