PhD Positions: Deadline to Apply for Studentships: 31st January 2022
The Institute offers higher degree programmes at PhD level for part-time or full-time students. The majority of students will follow a 3.5-year full-time route leading to the award of PhD. Studentships are generally funded by either the Science and Technology Facilities Council, or internally from our own research funds. For PhDs starting in 2022, you can expect the studentship to correspond to around £16,000 per year. If you are from groups currently under-represented in physics, you might also consider applying for a Bell Burnell scholarship (see below). We currently take in several new students every year. Informal enquiries may be made to Dr. Marie Martig.
PhD projects: We do not ask you to pick a PhD project at this stage: at the ARI, students choose their project during the first two weeks of their PhD, after discussing possible options with a range of staff members. We are providing a list of potential PhD projects here. If your favourite topic is not in the list, we highly encourage you to contact staff in your fields of interest to discuss PhD projects.
Application procedure: Applications can be made by filling in the online application form where an official transcript should be uploaded. Applicants must also arrange for two letters of reference to be emailed to Dr. Martig. Please make sure that at least one of your letter writers can comment on your research experience and research skills. For full consideration, applications including reference letters should be submitted by the deadline, when the committee will begin reviewing applications. Applications received after the deadline may be considered at the discretion of the committee until the positions are filled. We will conduct interviews in mid-February.
How we will review your application: our aim is to perform a rubric-based holistic review of applications, inspired by the method described in Young et al 2021 (adapted to the UK system and our own criteria). Our first criterion is "academic preparation": this ranking will be based on your marks (we will pay special attention to your marks in astrophysics modules, in maths, and in practical/computational modules). Next, we will assess your research experience: the nature and quality of your research project(s), the technical skills you have learnt, your general commitment to and enthusiasm for research, and if you understand what the process entails (this ranking will be based on your written application and on the interview). Based also on both application and interview, we will attempt to assess non-cognitive competencies: achievement orientation, conscientiousness, initiative and perseverance. While there is no obligation for you to share anything too personal, feel free to explain in your application if and how you have had to overcome obstacles (including social, economic, and personal obstacles). Finally, we will assess how well you fit with the ARI: if you can explain clearly why you want to do a PhD with us, if you have made positive contributions to your community, and if you either belong to an underrepresented identity group or have been an active advocate for diversity in physics.
Don't worry, we don't expect anyone to fulfil all those criteria, but we hope that this holistic process will give us a fairer view of PhD applicants.
Eligibility: Successful applicants need to have gained a first class or upper second honours degree in an appropriate subject, e.g. physics, astronomy, mathematics. Applications from international students (EU and non-EU) are unfortunately not accepted this year. More precisely, we only accept applicants who qualify for home fees: see here for the details.
We are committed to achieving equality of opportunity, and we value the diversity of our staff and students. We see diversity as a positive force to generate excellent research and explore the unknowns of our Universe together. We strongly encourage candidates of all different backgrounds and identities to apply.
Bell Burnell Graduate Scholarship fund: internal deadline 3rd January 2022
The guidance notes for the fund are available here.
The Bell Burnell Graduate Scholarship fund is a new scholarship fund to encourage greater diversity in physics, by supporting students from groups currently under-represented in physics who wish to study towards a doctorate in physics. Successful doctoral students can study either part-time or full-time. For the purpose of this fund the definition of under-represented groups in physics refers to: women, students of Black-Caribbean, Back-African and other minority ethnic (BAME) heritage, students with disabilities, or who require additional funding to support inclusive learning, LGBT+ students and students from disadvantaged backgrounds who may struggle to find the levels of funding needed to complete their studies. People with qualifying refugee status who meet the above criteria are also encouraged to apply.
If you wish to apply for the fund to study at the Astrophysics Research Institute of LJMU, please fill our standard application form no later than Monday 3rd January 2022. You should also upload an official transcript, and arrange for two letters of reference to be emailed to Dr. Martig by that deadline. We can only support one student's application for the Bell Burnell Graduate Scholarship fund, so will have a round of pre-selection to decide which candidate we support. The application form to the Institute of Physics will then need to be completed by the student, prospective supervisor and the Head of school, and submitted by 21st Jan 2022. For this scholarship application, a supervisor and a project have to be identified, so start discussing projects with staff members as soon as you can.
If you are not selected for a Bell Burnell application, you will be automatically considered for our standard scholarships: no need to apply twice.