The primary postgraduate degree on offer at the Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing (CAS) is a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) by Research in Astrophysics. This esteemed 3.5 year program enables students to conduct independent research at a high level of originality, relevance and quality, with access to world-class facilities and leading astronomers.

  • Swinburne Bachelor of Science (Physics) alumna and PhD candidate, Grace Lawrence.

    “I enjoy working in our welcoming and diverse department where I am encouraged to be a driven and independent researcher, with opportunities to travel and form international collaborations.”

    Grace , PhD student

Why study at CAS

With 25 research faculty staff, over 20 postdoctoral researchers and 35-40 current PhD students, CAS is one the largest astrophysics research centres in Australia. 

Our strengths cover all major areas of astronomy, from cosmology and the large-scale structure of the Universe, to quasars and the most distant known galaxies, extreme phenomena (including supernovae, hypernovae, fast radio bursts and gravitational waves), to clusters and groups of galaxies, down to our own Milky Way, its structure and fascinating contents: stars, planets, pulsars, neutron stars and globular clusters.

As the home of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery, OzGrav, and also a node of the ARC Centre of Excellence for All Sky Astrophysics in 3D, Astro3D, CAS is undeniably one of Australia's leading research institutes in the field of astronomy and astrophysics. 

Our PhD contingent is vibrant and diverse, with more than half of our students coming to CAS from overseas. Our PhD students play a central and vital role in the life of the centre, as they conduct a large fraction of our cutting-edge research.

With expertise in observational astronomy at just about all wavelengths (especially optical, infrared and radio astronomy) as well as many different facets of computational and theoretical astrophysics, CAS astronomers have many and diverse ways to discover, measure, understand, imagine, and simulate the most exciting astrophysical phenomena in our universe.

CAS astronomers are regularly awarded observing time at major national, international and space-based observatories covering the entire electromagnetic spectrum. We are the only Australian institute to have access to the world's largest optical telescopes.

The Keck Observatory in Hawaii comprises the Keck twin 10-metre telescopes, and CAS astronomers are now observing there for 10 nights per year, guaranteed through to 2023. And that could be you!

As well our having our own unique remote observing facility for Keck, each year we send two CAS PhD students to Hawaii to observe with Keck through our Keck Observatory Travel Bursaries scheme.

And that's not all! Thanks to Australia's 10 year Strategic Partnership with the European Southern Observatory (ESO), we also have access to all ESO facilities including the Very Large Telescopes

CAS is home to the OzSTAR supercomputer. As one of Australia's most powerful supercomputers, OzSTAR is an excellent research tool in key areas.

All CAS PhD students are provided with a powerful workstation and access to considerable computational resources, including the 'OzSTAR' supercomputer. Students have access to internal funding to help support travel to telescopes, international conferences, and/or collaborative meetings. 

Graduates often take positions in leading astrophysics institutions around the world.

Around 40 high-achieving students are currently undertaking their PhD studies at CAS. They are a friendly, knowledgeable group of independent-minded astronomers who help each other become experts in their fields.

CAS students come from all over the world, not just Australia: current CAS students come from more than two dozen different countries. Collectively, they speak about 20 different languages fluently.

PhD topics and supervisors

Learn about all the key projects currently being researched and their supervisors.

Current PhD students

We have a large team of PhD students participating in research projects.

How to apply

Follow these simple steps.

Visit us!

We welcome and encourage visits to CAS by prospective PhD students. It's the best way for you to see who we are, what we do and what doing a PhD here is all about. Please contact Dr. Ryan Shannon by phone or email to arrange a visit.

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Policies and guidelines

Swinburne Research administers all of the University's research and graduate studies. For research degree policies and guidelines, see the Research degrees page. Please note that we do not offer PhD programs online or by distance learning.

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Looking for more information?

If you have any questions about study opportunities at the Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing, please feel free to contact our office on +61 3 9214 8000 or at

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