About this course
Excellent research opportunities await at LJMU's Astrophysics Research Institute, enabling you to work at the forefront of developments with leading experts.
- Study full or part-time over one to seven years
- Complete your research degree (MPhil/PhD) in a Faculty known for its internationally-acclaimed research
- Explore scholarship opportunities
- Benefit from expert supervision and researcher training
- Enjoy excellent facilities and great employment connections
The programme route you undertake will depend on your qualifications and experience. Most of our students initially register for MPhil/PhD and go on to complete their PhD via successful progression from MPhil.
You can study for an MPhil full time over one or two years or part time over two to four years. Progressing from an MPhil (and including MPhil registration), you can study for a PhD full time over 33 to 48 months or part-time over 45 to 84 months. If you are taking a direct route PhD, you can study full-time over two to three years or part time over three to six years.
On joining LJMU you will be allocated up to three supervisors (including a Director of Studies) who will work with you during your studies. Progression monitoring is undertaken formally and informally by this team on an ongoing basis.
Each year, each Faculty provides the University Research Degrees Committee with a summative report on the progress of all its eligible postgraduate research students.
Throughout your studies, you will also have the support of LJMU’s Doctoral Academy which offers expert advice and guidance to those enrolled on MPhil and PhD programmes.
Fees and funding
There are many ways to fund postgraduate study for home and international students
The fees quoted at the top of this page cover registration, tuition, supervision, assessment and examinations as well as:
- Library membership with access to printed, multimedia and digital resources
- Access to programme-appropriate software
- Library and student IT support
- Free on-campus wifi via eduroam
Although not all of the following are compulsory/relevant, you should keep in mind the costs of:
- accommodation and living expenditure
- books (should you wish to have your own copies)
- printing, photocopying and stationery
- PC/laptop (should you prefer to purchase your own for independent study and online learning activities)
- mobile phone/tablet (to access online services)
- field trips (travel and activity costs)
- placements (travel expenses and living costs)
- student visas (international students only)
- study abroad opportunities (travel costs, accommodation, visas and immunisations)
- academic conferences (travel costs)
- professional-body membership
- graduation (gown hire etc)
There are many ways to fund postgraduate study for home and international students. From loans to International Scholarships and subject-specific funding, you’ll find all of the information you need on our specialist postgraduate funding pages.
Please be aware that the UK’s departure from the EU may affect your tuition fees. Learn more about your fee status and which tuition fees are relevant to you.
Further your career prospects
LJMU has an excellent employability record with 96% (HESA 2018) of our postgraduates in work or further study six months after graduation. Our applied learning techniques and strong industry connections ensure our students are fully prepared for the workplace on graduation and understand how to apply their knowledge in a real world context.
Studying for a postgraduate research degree enhances your employability in a number of ways.
As well as enabling you to focus on your specific areas of interest and expand your subject knowledge ready for employment in your chosen sector, a postgraduate research qualification enables you to take charge of your career path by demonstrating your contribution to an area of knowledge. It enhances your self-confidence and showcases your ability to work independently and ‘go it alone’.
According to a report by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), more than a quarter of graduates felt that their employment prospects were increased by their PG qualification. And when it comes to earnings, those with a postgrad qualification have been shown to earn an average of 24% more than those who leave education with an undergraduate degree.
Some postgraduate research students are already in full time employment when they begin their studies, whilst others are recent graduates looking to extend their research capabilities and subject expertise.
A good proportion of our students return to their existing roles with enhanced career prospects, others move on to further study or take up teaching roles in educational establishments.
Astrophysics Research Institute
Explore the possibilities
The Astrophysics Research Institute (ARI) provides world-leading research in astrophysics, and local and national public engagement activities. It works particularly closely with schoolchildren, enhancing knowledge and interest in Astrophysics and other science subjects.
The Institute has around 25 researchers plus post-doctoral research assistants and PhD students carrying out research in: Galaxy Evolution, Star Formation, Time Domain Astrophysics and Astronomical Instrumentation.
Supervision for the degrees of Master of Philosophy (MPhil) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is available from world-leading experts, in the following subject areas:
- Astrophysics including studies in Star Formation; Stellar Evolution and Stellar Populations
- Time-Domain Astrophysics (particularly novae, supernovae and gamma-ray bursts)
- Galaxy Formation, Dynamics and Evolution (including AGN)
- Galaxy Clusters and Large Scale Structures
An insight into teaching on your course
To complement your research, specific training needs will be identified on an individual basis. You can study topics such as:
- Advanced Presentation Skills
- Applying for Ethical Approval
- How to be an Effective Researcher
- Poster Presentation/Design
- Postgraduate Employability Skills
- Project Management
- Writing Skills including Creative Planning for Writing your Thesis
- Surviving the Viva
- Speed Reading
How learning is monitored on your programme
To cater for the wide-ranging content of our courses and the varied learning preferences of our students, we offer a range of assessment methods on each programme. Assessment techniques vary from module to module to reflect relevant assessment approaches and the key learning points of each topic.
Final examination for both the MPhil and the PhD is by thesis and oral examination.
The MPhil differs from the PhD in terms of the depth of study required and the extent of your personal contribution to knowledge. It requires competence in conducting an independent enquiry as well as in the use of appropriate research methods and techniques. Examiners will expect you to display satisfactory background knowledge of the subject.
To gain a PhD you are expected to show mastery of a special field and to have made an original personal contribution to the understanding of a problem, the advancement of knowledge, or the generation of new ideas. Examiners will expect you to be at the forefront of understanding in your chosen topic.
If you are studying for an MPhil you may be able to progress to a PhD, via written and oral assessments in Year 2 (for full time students) or Year 3 (for part time students).
What you can expect from your School
You will need:
- a Masters degree with a research dissertation in a relevant subject
- research training relating to your chosen subject area for a PhD direct
- IELTS 6.5 minimum 5.5 in each component)
- 58-64 (minimum 51 in each component for UKVI purposes)
- RPL is accepted on this programme
If you have any specific queries, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Application and selection
Securing your place at LJMU
You will apply for the majority of postgraduate courses using our online application form. You should complete the form thoroughly and provide a detailed personal statement which reflects your suitability and aptitude for the programme.
All research degree registrations are subject to approval by the Faculty and University’s Research Degrees Committee. The Applications process is as follows:
- Complete and submit your application using this online form
- You will receive an acknowledgement
- Your application will be considered by the Admissions Tutor
- We will take up your academic references
- You may need to provide further information or attend an interview
- You will be informed if your application has been successful and will find out about any conditions of acceptance
Research degrees have three intake periods throughout the academic year:
- 23 September – 4 October 2019
- 27 January – 7 February 2020
- 15 June – 26 June 2020
The University reserves the right to withdraw or make alterations to a course and facilities if necessary; this may be because such changes are deemed to be beneficial to students, are minor in nature and unlikely to impact negatively upon students or become necessary due to circumstances beyond the control of the University. Where this does happen, the University operates a policy of consultation, advice and support to all enrolled students affected by the proposed change to their course or module.