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Graduate - RSAA - ANU


Research School of Astronomy & Astrophysics

ANU College of Physical & Mathematical Sciences

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Prospective student enquiries

The graduate program in astronomy and astrophysics at RSAA offers students access to some of
the most advanced facilities in the field. The program draws on the expertise of some 40 RSAA
astronomers as well as researchers working in the Departments of Mathematics and Physics and
Theoretical Physics, and the Australian Astronomical Observatory (AAO), and the Australia
Telescope National Facility (ATNF).

The astronomy and astrophysics PhD program is a full-time program of up to a maximum of four
years duration. As both ANU PhD scholarships and Australian Postgraduate Awards (APAs) run Information for international
for up to a maximum of three and a half years, the expectation is that students will complete and students
submit their theses within three and a half years.
Research highlights
The first three months of the program are usually spent on a small research project, chosen by the
student in consultation with the supervisor or program convenor, and on acquiring sufficient
background knowledge to develop a viable thesis proposal by the end of this period, or shortly
thereafter. The initial project is intended to extend the student's knowledge of current research
topics as well as develop their knowledge of the theory and the techniques used by professional
astronomers to conduct research. Students must do a substantial amount of guided reading.
Students are also expected to attend Observatory colloquia given by staff, students and visiting
astronomers. 3-D relativ istic galactic jet
Depending on their previous history of formal study in astronomy and astrophysics, students may
This is a movie rendered in three dimensions of a
be required to attend lecture courses given by members of the program and to submit the
supercomputer simulation of a powerful relativistic jet
required course work during their first two years. Students without any previous formal astronomy interacting with dense clouds surrounding...
study would be expected to attend and be assessed on four of the six offered courses. The
number and nature of the courses required will be determined by the supervisor or program Student profiles
convenor in consultation with the student.

RSAA PhD students must adhere to the following timeline.

Stage of
Requirement for full-time PhD candidature

Year 1 Christine Nicholls

PhD candidate, 2008
1-3 months Enrolment, small research project
Astronomical sleuthing is all in a day's work for
Class-work as agreed with Convenors Christine Nicholls, who is attempting to solve the
mystery of Long Secondary Periods in red giant...
3-9 months Preparation for, and commencing, thesis: Thesis proposal and
confirmation of Supervisory Panel membership.
Class-work as agreed with Convenors

9-12 months Submission of Annual Research Progress Report and Annual Research

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Graduate - RSAA - ANU

Year 2

18-24 months Completion of Mid Term Review

21-24 months Submission of 2nd Annual Research Progress Report and Annual
Research Plan

Year 3

33-36 months Submission of 3rd Annual Research Progress Report and Annual
Research Plan

Year 4

36-42 months Notification of Intent to Submit thesis, and submission of thesis

45-48 months Submission of 4th Annual Research Progress Report and Annual
Research Plan (If thesis not already submitted)

Supervisory panels
A supervisory panel consists of at least three members including at least one supervisor and two
other members who may be supervisors or advisors. During the first six months of a course the
convenor of the program chairs the supervisory panel for all PhD students. Subsequently, a
tenured or senior non-tenured member of the program staff is appointed as main supervisor and
chairs the panel. From time to time, depending on the topic approved for the PhD thesis,
additional supervisors may also be appointed from other observatories in Australia (eg the Anglo-
Australian Observatory and the Australia Telescope National Facility). For more information on
supervisory panels please visit the CEDAM research supervision website.

Thesis projects
Thesis projects are offered in all the areas of astronomy and astrophysics within the current
research interests of academic staff, although some topics may not be on offer on every occasion.
A number of staff members have expertise in the design of astronomical instrumentation, and
there may be opportunities for students to include instrumental development as a substantial part
of their thesis work, although not usually to the complete exclusion of undertaking some
astronomical research with the instrumentation concerned.

Overseas work
It is possible for a student to spend some time undertaking research related to their thesis at
another institution in Australia or overseas. A period of overseas work at a specific facility or
attendance at an overseas conference is not unusual, if a good case can be made.

UPDATED: 6 De ce mbe r 2013/RESPONSIBLE OFFICER: RSAA Dire ctor/PAGE CONTACT: W e bma ste r

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