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PhD in Theoretical Physics

We are very lucky to have a diverse and enthusiastic population of postgraduate students working with us at the Higgs Centre for Theoretical Physics. They work on a very rich spectrum of projects in different areas of Physics. So there is a lot of interdisciplinary conversation going on across shared seminar series, projects in co-supervision between the School of Physics and Astronomy and the School of Mathematics.

Anna Lisa Varri, UKRI Future Leaders Fellow in Mathematical Astrophysics and Higgs Centre for Theoretical Physics Outreach Coordinator

PhD Programmes

We run PhD programmes in a variety of subjects. A PhD in Theoretical Physics may be taken in:

Astrophysics and Cosmology

Condensed Matter and Complex Systems

Theoretical Particle Physics

Visit our Postgraduate Research page to find out more about PhD projects, funding opportunities, student profiles and how to apply. Interested candidates are welcome to contact the Deputy Academic Administrator (Graduate School) Liz Paterson.

You may also apply for a PhD in Mathematical Physics (which requires a separate application through School of Mathematics).

We aim to foster a lively and interactive environment for our PhD students. We have biweekly Colloquia with international speakers, many workshops throughout the year lead by specialists from around the world, and we host the annual Higgs School for PhD students, a week-long series of blackboard lectures on modern topics in theoretical physics.

Anton Ilderton, Reader in Theoretical Physics and Higgs Centre for Theoretical Physics PhD Coordinator

Doing a PhD

The deadline for applications, for a PhD start in 2024, has now passed. Our next recruitment round will begin in Winter 2024 for a September 2025 start. Currently available are up to three Higgs Prize PhD Studentships (deadline 19th January 2024). The Prize will cover fees and a four-year stipend, matching the level of the UK Research Council Maintenance Allowance rates (approx. £18,622 based on 2022/23), as well as research funds of £1.5k per annum to cover books, computing and conference costs. Applications are open to all students with no conditions on nationality. Furthermore, we value diversity, and we would like to strongly encourage applications from female and underrepresented candidates.

Before applying, interested candidates should contact a supervisor from the Higgs Centre to support their application. Please write explicitly in your application that you wish to be considered for the Higgs Prize Scholarship. There is no need to write a detailed research proposal, just a brief description of the general topic agreed upon with the supervisor. The selection panel will take into account supporting statements from the prospective supervisor.

The application deadline for this position has now passed, but the scholarship will be available again next year. Our next recruitment round will begin in Autumn/Winter 2024 for a September 2025 start. The Higgs Centre for Theoretical Physics and the School of Physics and Astronomy are delighted to announce a new PhD opportunity that aims to encourage greater diversity within our School environment. This opportunity is aimed at excellent candidates from groups and backgrounds that are under-represented in the theoretical physics academic community (e.g., gender, minority ethnicity, LGBTQI+, disability, disadvantaged circumstances, etc).

The Higgs Centre has a clear focus on increasing diversity of its student community and strongly encourages suitably qualified applicants to submit a pre-application for the Bell Burnell Graduate Scholarship (BBGS) Fund by 18th December.

Selected applicants for the BBGS studentship will be underwritten by School studentships. In addition to those supported for BBGS, applicants deemed suitable may also be funded for a PhD position through a Higgs Centre Studentship.

Application process: Candidates should contact potential supervisors in the Higgs Centre before applying. Please submit a draft of the BBGS application's required CV, Background, and Personal Statement (see the link above) to Dr Anton Ilderton by the deadline of 18th December 2023.

Note: an application must also ultimately be made to the appropriate PhD program (Astrophysics & Cosmology, Condensed Matter and Complex Systems, Theoretical Particle Physics) at the University of Edinburgh, at the earliest opportunity, and before the 19th January 2024.

Please consult the Higgs Centre recruitment page for fellowship announcements.



Higgs Centre PhD Coordinator

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Deputy Academic Administrator (Graduate School)

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