Astroparticle PhD Program

Astroparticle Physics was chosen as one of the preeminent interests of SISSA for the next future. It is an interdisciplinary field merging astrophysics, cosmology, and particle physics, aims at addressing fundamental issues ranging from origin of the universe and the nature of gravity to the understanding of dark matter and dark energy. In recent years this field has witnessed a rapid growth, also in connection to the wealth of new data and rich experimental programs in progress. The aim of the SISSA initiative is then to conjugate the new insights offered by these exciting phenomenological developments to the forefront of the theoretical research in the field.

The PhD program, entirely devoted to astroparticle physics, has been established since 2004 as a joint initiative of the Astrophysics and Particle Physics groups and has now developed in an full grown research and didactical initiative bridging this two well established streams of research in SISSA. The courses cover a wide spectrum of subjects, including quantum field theory, the standard model of particle interaction, cosmology and gravitation theory, particle and high energy astrophysics.
So far the Ph.D. program graduated 13 students, all of them got a postdoctoral position at the end of their PhD (see the Alumni Page).

The curriculum consists of 3-4 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 undertake a research project under the supervision of one or more Astroparticle Physics staff members (see section Research Work). 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 and 3-4 postdocs and about 12 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 Astrophysics and Particle Physics present in SISSA and other important institutions in the area like ICTP and OATS and INFN. We think that this stimulating environment makes a PhD at SISSA in Astroparticle Physics 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:

  • Classical and Quantum gravity
  • Particle Astrophysics
  • The Dark Universe
  • Theoretical Cosmology

The students are selected yearly by means of an entrance examination held in Trieste; non-EU students can also be admitted through a preselection based on academic qualifications only (see for further details the section Admission).
At the end of a three- or four-year course of study and research students are admitted to the final examination to obtain the Ph.D. degree, equivalent to the Italian "Dottore di ricerca". During the course of these studies they benefit from contacts with scientists from all over the world.
The School offers grants (currently € 1.135,00 net/month approximately), 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 wants to participate in the entrance exam, entitling them to a stay before the exam in order to familiarize them with SISSA and its environment. Application forms and additional information can be found in the following link.

More information about admission can be found here: