1. Inicio keyboard_arrow_right
  2. PhD in Astrophysics

PhD in Astrophysics

The objective of the Doctorate in Astrophysics is to train high-level researchers who in the future make full scientific use of the existing infrastructure for astronomy in Chile. This includes both observational astrophysicists who generate and execute scientific projects that make direct use of telescopes, as well as theorists whose work is the physical-mathematical modeling of the observed phenomena.

Graduate profile:

A PhD in Astrophysics will be able to independently carry out original, novel and relevant research in the general area of ​​astrophysics. This implies a well-developed critical capacity and independence of judgment and a great capacity to learn on their own. In particular, it will require a strong background of knowledge and understanding of physics and its application to astronomical phenomena. It also includes a broad culture in astrophysics and the most relevant problems of this science today, as well as detailed knowledge of a particular field of it.

The benefits of studying at the Institute of Astrophysics of PUC-Chile:

  • The IA-PUC is one of the leading centers in Astronomy in Latin America.
  • An active and dynamic international community, comprised of 16 faculty, ~30 postdocs, and ~50 graduate students.
  • Cutting-edge research in cosmology, galactic and extragalactic astrophysics, astrochemistry, astronomical instrumentation, high-energy astrophysics, and numerical simulations.
  • Access to 10% of the time in all the telescopes installed in Chile, including APEX, ALMA, Paranal, La Silla, Las Campanas, Cerro Tololo, etc.
  • Vibrant and active daily scientific environment, with academic support from world-renowned professors. The program offers a wide variety of opportunities for scientific interactions, such as weekly seminars and colloquiums, daily Journal Club discussions, group meetings, exchange programs with various international institutions (formal double degree agreements with Heidelberg University, University of Maryland and Padova University; informal exchanges of weeks/months/year with any institution in which we have researchers collaborating), and trips to national and international conferences.
  • Doctoral scholarships guaranteed for the duration of the program, including maintenance and 100% of the tuition fee.
  • Financing for research trips, publications and computers.
  • The official language of the Institute is English.

Application deadline: From July 1 to August 1, 2024, to start studies in March 2025.

ESO/B. Tafreshi (twanight.org)

The research lines of the program cover the vast majority of the current frontier research areas in astrophysics, which are covered by our academic staff from both an observational (experimental) and a theoretical perspective. These lines include:

– Stellar astrophysics: internal structure and evolution of stars, binary stars, variable stars, compact stars, asteroseismology, supernovae, chemical abundances, initial mass function, magnetohydrodynamics, stellar rotation, magnetic fields, astrophysical tests of fundamental physics, star formation.

– Galactic astrophysics: clusters and stellar populations, stellar dynamics, structure and evolution of the Milky Way, the galactic bulge and center, galactic disk and halo, kinematic and spectroscopic mappings, galactic archaeology, the Local Group, dwarf galaxies, field cosmology nearby.

– Extragalactic astrophysics: evolution of galaxies and clusters of galaxies, globular cluster systems, gravitational lensing, galactic nuclei, active galaxies, supermassive black holes, mapping of galaxies from radio to X-rays, galaxies of low surface brightness, distance scales , matter and dark energy.

– Experimental astronomy and instrumentation: optical and infrared spectroscopy, microwave telescopes, CCD detectors, adaptive optics, atmospheric turbulence.

– Astrochemistry: interstellar medium, star-forming regions, chemistry of protoplanetary disks, chemistry of stellar populations in the galactic bulge, disk, and halo.

– Computational Astrophysics and Big Data: cosmological simulations, hydrodynamic and gravitational simulations of N bodies, background radiation maps, processing large volumes of images from survey telescopes, machine learning methods for astronomical applications.

– Cosmology: dark matter and energy, galaxy formation, large-scale structure, cosmological numerical simulations, cosmic microwave background radiation.

– High Energy Astrophysics: astrophysics of cosmic rays, gamma rays, and X-rays, X-ray binaries, supernovae, gamma-ray bursts.

Semester Code Course name Credits Full semester
1st ASP9110 Physical processes in Astrophysics 10 45
ASP9304 Frontiers of Astrophysics A 5
ASP9201 Research A 20
ASP5302 Advanced Extragalactic Astrophysics 10
CPD0100 Placement English Test or Equivalent 0
2nd ASP9305 Frontiers of Astrophysics B 5 45
Elective I 10
ASP5205 Advanced Stellar Astrophysics 10
ASP9202 Research B 20
3rd ASP9203 Research C 20 50
ASP9306 Frontiers of Astrophysics C 5
ASP5205 Advaced Stellar Astrophysics 10
Elective II 10
ASP9120 Seminar of Astrophysics 10
ASP9204 Research versatility 5
ASP9002 Qualifying exam 0
4th CPD0002 Ethics and integrity in research 0 50
ASP9008 Thesis project 50
5th ASP9721 Phd Thesis I 50 50
6th ASP9722 PhD thesis II 50 50
ASP9722 Annual progress assesment I 0
7th ASP9723 PhD thesis III 50 50
8th ASP9724 PhD thesis IV 50 50
ASP9005 Annual progress assesment II 0
ASP9006 Scientific article or Patent 0
ASP9007 Intership 0
Full Phd in Astrophysics 390

Graduation requirements:
– Have approved the corresponding study plan.
– Have had a minimum permanence of four semesters in the program.
– Have approved the thesis work, including the defense exam.
– Certify proficiency in the English language at an advanced level (ALTE 3) and with application in academic fields.
– Be the main author in at least one scientific article under review in a mainstream journal or book, or be the main author of a pending patent.
– Have approved at least three transversal skills workshops offered by the College of Doctoral Programs (CPD), one of which must be of an ethical nature.
– Carry out an internship/research stay abroad, with teams that work on topics related to the respective thesis.

Sylabus until the first semester 2021.

– Claudia Aguilera (Ph.D. Universidad Católica de Chile, Chile): Stellar structure and evolution, Stellar characterization and abundances, Lithium in the universe, Planet-star connection

– Barrientos, Felipe (Ph.D. University of Toronto, Canadá): Evolution of Galaxies and Clusters of Galaxies; Gravitational Lensing.

– Bauer, Franz E. (Ph.D. University of Virginia, EE.UU.): Black holes (stellar, intermediate, supermassive); Galaxy + SMBH formation and evolution; X-ray binaries and ULXs; Supernovae and exotic transients; Gravitational Wave/Multi-messenger events.

– Catelan, Márcio (Ph.D. Universidad de Sao Paulo, Brasil): Stellar Evolution; Globular Clusters; Variable Stars.

– Chanamé, Julio (Ph.D. The Ohio State University, EE.UU.): Stellar dynamics: dark matter, black holes, gravitation, galaxies, star clusters; Stellar structure and evolution: theory and observation; Milky Way structure; Galactic stellar populations; Galactic archaeology and the Local Group; Wide Binaries.

– Clocchiatti, Alejandro (Ph.D. University of Texas at Austin, EE.UU.): Supernovae; Cosmological Distance Relations.

– Dünner, Rolando (Ph.D. Universidad Católica de Chile, Chile): Experimental Astronomy and Instrumentation; Large Scale Structure and Cosmology.

– Galaz, Gaspar (Ph.D. Université Paris VII, Francia): Stellar Content in Galaxies; Low Surface Brightness Galaxies; Statistical Properties of the Galaxy Distribution; Galaxy Evolution; Morphological and Spectral Classification of Distant Galaxies Observational Cosmology.

– Jorge González-López (Ph.D. Universidad Católica/Heidelberg University): Galaxy formation and evolution, Gravitational lensing and distant galaxies.

– Guzmán, Viviana (Ph.D. Université Pierre et Marie Curee, Francia): Astrochemistry; Interstellar Medium; Star-forming Regions; Protoplanetary Disks.

– Infante, Leopoldo (Ph.D. University of Victoria, Canadá): Large Scale Structure, Galaxy Formation and Evolution; Large Surveys.

– Puzia, Thomas H. (Dr.rer.nat Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Alemania): Galaxy Formation and Evolution; Star Cluster Systems and Stellar Populations in Galaxies.

– Tissera, Patricia (Ph.D. Universidad de Córdoba, Argentina): Computational astrophysics; Models and Simulations of the Formation of Galaxies.

– Treister, Ezequiel (Ph.D. Yale University, EE.UU.): Formation and Evolution of Supermassive Black Holes.

– Zoccali, Manuela (Ph.D. Università di Padova, Italia): The Galactic Bulge; Stellar Populations; Chemical Abundances; Galactic Globular Clusters; The Initial Mass Function.

Applicants must have a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Astronomy or Physics (or related areas), full-time dedication, and a good command of the English and/or Spanish language. Previous research experience, although not a requirement, is positively considered.

Application documents:

  • Cover letter with a detailed description of your motivation to train as a researcher in Astrophysics, particularly at the IA-PUC, previous research experience (if applicable), research interests, and future career goals.
  • Curriculum Vitae, including a list of publications, if any (maximum 3 pages).
  • A minimum of two and a maximum of three reference letters in Spanish or English written by people who can provide detailed information about the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses.
  • Official academic record (grade concentration), in English or Spanish, with a clear indication of the grade scale and the student’s ranking.
  • Certificate of title or academic degree, or an official letter from your academic institution indicating the expected date of graduation.
  • Any other background that the student would like to add, for example the result of a standardized test such as the GRE or the TOEFL.

All the documents (excepto the reference letters) must be sent through our: formulario de postulación . The pre-selected applicants will be summoned to an interview. All questions should be directed to gradapp@astro.puc.cl

Based on this information, the Postgraduate Committee will prepare an order of merit for the candidates based on the following scale:

  • Presentation Letter: 10%
  • Academic background: 20%
  • Reference letters: 25%
  • Currículum Vitae: 15%
  • Interview: 30%

Those selected who accept our offer will be contacted to initiate procedures related to health insurance (FONASA, ISAPRE or another), visa for foreign students, etc.

The Instituto de Astrofísica and the PUC are committed to offering equal opportunities and diversity in their work community, including religious freedom. Minority applications are especially welcome.

Fecha de postulación: From July 1 to August 1, 2024, to start studies in March 2025.

Students accepted into the PhD Program in Astrophysics have a maintenance scholarship and 100% of the tuition fee guaranteed for the duration of the program, i.e., 4 years/8 semesters.

Enrolled students will have access to the following documents and forms:

1-. Form to request a certificate (regular student, grade concentration, other).

2-. Form to request the validation of subjects.

3-. Rules for preparing the degree thesis.