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Postgraduate opportunities


MoCA hosts a number of PhD students, working on anything from planetary dynamics to Solar-System formation, and from nucleosynthesis in massive stars to sunquakes.

Some of the benefits of studying Astrophysics at MoCA are:

  • Access to world-leading scientists, especially in theoretical astronomy
  • Funding for at least one overseas conference during study
  • Active research groups provide close links with other students and researchers
  • Excellent training in computational astrophysics and advanced modelling
  • Monash University is located close to excellent beaches, some of Australia's preminum wine regions and easy access to snow and skiing in winter.

For more information on how to apply to do a PhD at MoCA, we have put together a step-by-step application guide.

Example PhD topics

Note all staff email addresses are of the form:

  • General Relativity (contact: Leo Brewin)
    • Evolution of Brill waves in axisymmetric spacetimes
    • Non-vacuum spacetimes via a smooth lattice method
  • The Sun (Contact: Alina Donea or Paul Cally)
    • Sunquakes: A new era with HMI/SDO
    • Quiet Sun: Is the quiet Sun really as quiet as it appears?
    • Helioseismic Holography: from real data to simulations
    • Solar Flares
    • Coronal Seismology
    • Local Helioseismology
    • Tachocline Dynamics
    • MHD wave theory
  • Stellar Abundances (Contact: John Lattanzio)
    • Chemical Evolution in Globular Clusters
    • Fluorine production in the Universe
    • Abundance anomalies in meteoritic stardust grains
    • Abundances in planetary nebulae
    • Radioactive nuclei in stars
    • Production of elements heavier than iron in low-mass stars
  • Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics (Contact: Daniel Price or Joe Monaghan)
    • Turbulence modelling of accretion flows and jets using the SPH alpha model
    • The application of alpha turbulence ideas to the dynamics of star clusters
    • Studies of the dynamics of dusty gas disks embedded in a gas cloud - Kelvin-Helmholz instabilities, mixing and the formation of planets and orbit circularization
  • High-energy Astrophysics (Contact: Alina Donea)
    • High Energy Gamma rays in active galactic nuclei (AGNs)
    • Multivariability in blazars
    • Hadronic and leptonic models of relativistic jets in galazies with active galactic nuclei
  • X-ray Astronomy (Contact: Duncan Galloway)
    • Thermonuclear bursts, energetics and oscillations
    • Homing in on new X-ray transients with ROTSE-III
  • Observational Extragalactic Astronomy (Contact: Michael Brown)
    • Multi-wavelength surveys of the distant Universe
    • Galaxy growth over cosmic time
    • How galaxies populate dark matter halos
    • The evolution of active galactic nuclei
    • Large-scale structure of the Universe
    • Galaxy formation and evolution
    • The environment of filaments, clusters and superclusters of galaxies
    • Observational cosmology
    • Image processing techniques
  • Extrasolar Planets, Planetary Dynamics, Stellar Dynamics (Contact: Rosemary Mardling)
    • Chaotic orbits, gravitational scattering (both in planetary systems and dense stellar systems
    • Mathematically and numerically modelling the dynamical evolution of planetary systems including the effects of tides, spin and general relativity, as well as companion moons, planets and stars.
    • Systems of resonant extrasolar planets
    • Planet-disk interaction (planet formation)
    • Transiting planets
    • Dynamics of dense stellar systems (e.g. globular clusters, the galactic centre)
    • Dynamics of systems of massive black holes
    • Small-N dynamics in star clusters
  • Cosmic Explosions (Contact: Alexander Heger)
    • Supernovae and their nucleosynthesis
    • Type I X-ray bursts and superbursts
    • Gamma-ray bursts and their progenitors
    • The first stars in the universe
    • Supermassive stars - formation and fate
    • Explosive and hydrostatic nucleosynthesis in massive stars
    • Origin of the elements and galacto-chemical evolution
    • Massive binaries, multiple stars, and their interaction
    • Evolution of rotating massive stars and the spin of their remnants
    • Mixing and transport processes in the stellar interior
    • The role of magnetic fields in stellar evolution
    • Nucleosynthesis and the origin of elements including galacto-chemical evolution
  • Gravitational-wave Astronomy (contact: Eric Thrane)
    • Search for a stochastic gravitational-wave background with LIGO.
    • Search for gravitational waves from spinning neutron stars.
    • Search for gravitational-wave bursts.
    • Strategies for and design of next-generation gravitational-wave detectors.