The AAO PhD Scholarship Scheme

The Australian Astronomical Observatory (AAO) is pleased to offer PhD top-up scholarships to students at Australian universities. The scholarship terms and conditions are as follows:

  • The AAO is offering up to two AAO PhD Scholarships for a period of 3 years, with a possible extension for a further 6 months. The value of all PhD scholarships will be $5000 per annum. Annual renewal is conditional upon satisfactory performance by the student.
  • The AAO PhD Scholarships are open to any student accepted for a PhD programme at any Australian university, who are substantially co-supervised by an AAO staff member.
  • The scholarships can support students with backgrounds in astronomy, physics, engineering or mathematics with thesis research programs in astronomy or astronomical instrumentation (and related fields). The scholarships are available to overseas students as well, provided they enrol at an Australian university for their PhD study.
  • The scholarships will be awarded by an AAO selection panel on the primary basis of the students' academic merit and research potential, provided that the panel considers that the student is of sufficiently high quality (First-Class Honours or equivalent, including Masters degrees) and the AAO co-supervisor has a substantial role in the student's thesis project.
  • For students meeting these conditions and of approximately equal merit, the selection panel may take into account secondary considerations such as the extent to which the student's research will make use of facilities operated or managed by the AAO (including the AAT, UKST, Gemini and Magellan) and the alignment of the thesis research with major programmes or research themes (including instrumentation) being undertaken by AAO staff or using AAO facilities.

Application Procedure

Potential students and supervisors should visit the AAO student web pages, where additional information (including research interests of staff members and potential PhD projects) can be found.
Application forms:

Applications should be made by scanning and collating all application materials into a single PDF document which should be emailed to the AAO's Student Coordinator, A. Prof. Andrew Hopkins  Your application should include:

  • A description of your PhD research (not more than 2 A4 pages), including what data you have access to, what other observations may be necessary (or lab facilities in the case of instrumentation), and the project timescale and milestones. This outline of research should be read and endorsed by both your University and AAO co-supervisors before you submit your application.
  • A transcript of academic record (if your university supplies only hardcopy transcripts, please scan it and send us the JPEG or PDF file).
  • Please ensure that letters of reference from the two academic referees listed on your application form arrive by the 15 March deadline. One of the referees can be your University PhD co-supervisor; other suitable referees might include a supervisor for your undergraduate Honours or Masters project.
  • You may also include a short CV detailing any other relevant information (for example: jobs you have had; other research projects you have worked on; why you are interested in Astronomy/Astrophysics/Instrumentation.)

Applications should be emailed to the AAO's Student Coordinator, A. Prof. Andrew Hopkins.
Further enquiries should be directed to A. Prof. Andrew Hopkins, phone: 02 9372 4849

  • Deadline

    Scholarship applications are normally due by 15 March of the year in which students start their PhD. Students wishing to apply at other times of year should discuss their situation with the AAO's Student Coordinator before making an application.