Astrophysics PhD Program

The curriculum consists of three to four years of study and research.

During the first year, students are offered a number of courses (see section Teaching) covering a wide spectrum of topics and undergo examination on a selection of them. By the beginning of the second year they start a research project under the supervision of one or more Astrophysics staff members (see section Training). These include, beyond those part of the SISSA faculty, staff from ICTP and the OATS (Trieste Astronomical Observatory).
Students will benefit from the interaction with a group of about 20 students, 8-10 postdocs and 10 staff members. In addition to this core of people they will get the chance to be exposed to the interaction with the rest of the SISSA students and staff. In particular they will enjoy the local wide expertise in Astroparticle Physics and Particle Physics present in SISSA and other important institutions in the area like ICTP, INAF-OATS and INFN. We think that this stimulating environment makes a PhD at SISSA in Astrophysics a very special opportunity for people seeking the possibility to be endowed with an uncommonly broad knowledge and to apply it to the forefront of the most daunting questions in modern physics.
The main research lines include:

  • Early Universe Physics
  • Galaxies
  • Stellar Evolution
  • Gravitation theory
  • High Energy Astrophysics
  • Relativistic Astrophysics
  • Large Scale Structure

The students are selected yearly by means of an entrance examination held in Trieste; non-EU students can also be admitted through a pre-selection based on academic qualifications only (see for further details the section Admission).
At the end of the course of study and research students are admitted to the final examination to obtain the PhD degree, equivalent to the Italian "Dottore di ricerca". During the years in SISSA they benefit from contacts with scientists from all over the world.
The School offers a number of grants (approximately € 1.100 net/month), depending on the amount of funds available, to students who have made a specific request in the online application. The grant is awarded for three years, extendable for a fourth year subject to approval by the School authorities. A contribution towards living expenses of the amount of € 1.200,00 gross per year will also be awarded to those who will submit a regular rental contract.
A number of short fellowships will be available for students who want to participate in the entrance exam, entitling them to a stay before the exam in order to familiarize them with SISSA and its environment.

More information about admission can be found here: