PhD Astronomy Doctoral Programme

University of Porto

Application deadline: Applications are received through online calls issues between January and September.
Tuition fee:
  • € 2,750 / Year (EEA)
  • € 2,750 / Year (Non-EEA)
Start date: October  2015
Credits (ECTS): 180 ECTS
Duration full-time: 36 months
  • English
Delivery mode: On Campus
Educational variant: Part-time, Full-time
Project type: Open
Educational Form: Academic

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The main objective of the Doctoral Degree Astronomy is to train future astronomers/researchers to work on a wide range of topics in space sciences, able to compete at an international level for a research position. The fields available for advanced training by research in this doctoral degree include Astrophysics, Cosmology, Planetary Sciences, Instrumentation and Systems for Space Sciences, etc.

This degree offers the opportunity for selection of research topics that include all major areas of Astronomy, from Astrophysics and Cosmology to all components of Space Sciences in general. Co-supervisions of external researchers are favoured, namely through experts in international institutions of which Portugal is a member state, like ESO and ESA.

The University of Porto participates the largest research institute in Space Sciences in Portugal, the Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço. IA-Porto offers a large team of researchers and optimal conditions, with wide range of international collaborations (including projects in ESO and ESA), for hosting students pursuing a Ph.D. Research Project in any topic of Space Sciences.


The Doctoral Programme in Astronomy offered at the University of Porto since 2004-2005 is structured with the ambition of providing research competences in one of the most vibrant areas of science. It includes:

1. Doctoral Course,

2. Research Component leading to the thesis.

The working language is English.


1. Doctoral Course (30 ECTS)

The Doctoral Course takes place during the first year and comprises a demanding programme of curricular units covering the main scientific topics and technologies in space sciences and technology:

- Selection of courses, for a total fo 30 ECTS, from a list including:

* AST611 - Advanced Topics on Stars and Planets (6 ECTS)
* AST612 - Advanced Topics on Galaxies and Cosmology (6 ECTS)
* AST613 - Topics on Methods and Modeling in Astronomy (6 ECTS)
* AST614 - Topics on Observation and Instrumentation for Astronomy (6 ECTS)
* AST615 - Development of Research Skills (6 ECTS)
* AST616 - Research Seminar in Astronomy (18 ECTS)
* AST617 - Complementary Training (6 to 12 ECTS)


2. Research Component (150 ECTS)

The students completing the Doctoral Course successfully will move into supervised research. This will start with the preparation of the proposed plan of research, including an analysis of the state of the art, scientific foundations and methodology, as well as the identification of the main prospective objectives for their project. This work takes place during the remaining six months of the first year and includes a public presentation by the student before the end of the first academic year (written report and oral presentation).

A positive evaluation will allow the student to register in the second year (definitive register, since in the first year a student is always registered on a provisory basis) and proceed with the research project. The DPA offers the students the opportunity to choose from a large diversity of projects, based on proposals received through a yearly international call. The projects are carried out involving a very wide range of collaborations. The submission and approval of an original thesis evaluated by an international jury concludes the Doctoral Programme in Astronomy.

This component incldues the following curricular units:

* AST631 - Thesis Project in Astronomy (30 ECTS)
* AST731 - Thesis in Astronomy (111 ECTS)
* AST732 - Supervised Practice of Research and Teaching (9 ECTS)


- Candidates should have completed a 2nd Cycle of Studies (Master) in Astronomy, Physics, Mathematics, Technology, Engineering, Systems & Control or similar fields.

- Candidates with a specially relevant academic or scientific curriculum who have completed a 1st Cycle of Studies (Bachelor) in one of those same areas may also be considered.

- Applications by candidates who are about to conclude the aforementioned degrees will be assessed conditionally to successful completion of their studies prior to the start of the Doctoral Course

Work Experience

At least 4 year(s) of work experience is required.

Previous research experience is relevant for the selection of prospective candidates.


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