PhD in astrophysics


Program Description

The Doctoral Program in Astrophysics is the result of the Merger of the previous Doctoral Program in Astrophysics and the Doctoral Program in Physics Structure of Matter. Both Doctoral Programs have the Excellence Award of the Ministry of Education and Science.

Justification of the title

Scientific, Academic and Social Context Justifying the Title Proposal

The Doctoral Program in Astrophysics that we present is the result of the Merger of the previous Doctoral Program in Astrophysics and the Doctoral Program in Physics Structure of Matter. Both Doctoral Programs have the Excellence Award of the Ministry of Education and Science.

The enormous international strength of the research in Astrophysics carried out in the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands is largely due to the researchers who have been trained in this center. This has been possible thanks to the implementation of a successful Doctoral Program that has formed, in recent years, an immense proportion of Spanish Astrophysicists.

Astrophysics is a multidisciplinary experimental science that integrates very diverse areas of Physics with multiple connections with Mathematics, Geology, Chemistry, Biology, Technology and Computing. Currently, Astrophysics has become a scientific discipline of great interest to society that supports it as a priority research area. This interest is also manifested in the daily press, in conferences and exhibitions to the general public, and also in a significant demand for academic training by university students.

Astronomy is probably the oldest science that is known and practiced. Astrophysics, which arises as a result of the application of physics to the study of the structure, composition and evolution of the stars, has developed towards the end of the 19th century and, mainly, throughout the 20th century. Matters directly related to Astrophysics have entered the universities in the last 40 years, solidly settling in the curricula and having an extraordinary acceptance among students of experimental sciences, fundamentally.

On the other hand, it is enough to review the daily press to realize that currently Astrophysics is one of the experimental sciences that arouses greater interest in our society. This is due, among others, to the following causes:

  • Many of the questions that man poses about nature and its origins belong to the field of study of this science (such as those referring to cosmology, exobiology, study of planetary climates, black holes, dark matter, astroparticles, etc.).
  • Recent technological and experimental developments (space and giant telescopes, infrared and X-ray observation satellites, new detectors, radio and visible interferometry, gravitational wave detectors, supercomputers, etc.) are allowing or will allow in the near future effective progress in solving the aforementioned enigmas and, in addition,
  • It is a markedly interdisciplinary science, having relationships fundamentally with Physics and Mathematics, but also with Chemistry, Biology, Geology, Engineering, Computing, among others.

This interest of the society makes that at the present time an academic formation in Astrophysics is requested by a significant number of students (in spite of the general decrease of students in the experimental sciences degrees) and, in addition, turns it into an attractive offer both for teaching in high school and high school and for the dissemination of science to the general public.

On the other hand, Astrophysics is a priority subject in research not only in our country but also in the countries of the European Union (EU) and other advanced countries of the world. Even national and supranational organizations such as NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), ESA (European Space Agency), ESO (European Southern Observatory) and many others maintain scientific programs dedicated to research in this area.


The Doctoral Program in Astrophysics also wants to take advantage of the extensive experience in graduate and postgraduate teaching and research of our university, the excellent infrastructure existing in the Canary Islands and the favorable academic atmosphere already created. Currently, the Master's Degree in Astrophysics and the Master's Degree in Physics are in the Faculty of Physics of the ULL: Structure of Matter (both with Quality Mention: Astrophysics MCD2006-00365, Physics: Structure of Matter: MCD2007-00040) and the Doctoral programs in Astrophysics and Physics: Structure of Matter (both with Mention Towards Excellence of the Ministry of Education and Science). Both doctoral programs, for their excellent and extensive offer, have become a national and international reference.

The Department of Astrophysics (DA) of the ULL has been teaching astrophysics since 1975 to the present, first in the Faculty of Chemistry, and later in Physics, whose establishment in the ULL in 1987 was germ. During all this time, we have endeavored to enrich teaching with multiple collaborations, firstly with the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands (IAC) and secondly with a multitude of national and foreign institutions. The close relationship between the DA and the IAC has allowed from the beginning an effective teaching and research collaboration, with a series of human and material means unique in our country, placed at the service of teaching.

In addition to the continued dedication of research staff of the IAC to teaching, the DA articulates the teaching organization of the specialty of Astrophysics with modern teaching resources, for example: a Student Calculation Center (since 1980) of free access any day of the week, exclusive of the Department of Astrophysics and that has come to count on 40 places of work in modern computers with operating system Linux; a Laboratory of Astrophysical Instrumentation and Techniques or an automated practice telescope installed in a dome in the Faculty, plus other support laptops Also the departments of Fundamental and Experimental Physics, Electronics and Systems (FE), Departments of Fundamental Physics II (FF2) and Basic Physics (FB) have been teaching Fundamental Physics since 1987, developing their undergraduate and postgraduate teaching work continuously and articulating the teaching in Fundamental Physics of the Faculty of Physics and defining together with the DA, both the already extinct degrees, as the current Physics degree of the ULL. Based on research in Fundamental Physics, there are several well-equipped laboratories that allow a teaching offer of a PhD of extremely high quality.

Integration in the R & D + I strategy and Docotorate School

The University of La Laguna (ULL), through the cooperation agreement signed with the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands (IAC) in 1993, assigns to the IAC the research responsibilities in the field of Astrophysics.

Given the close relationship between postgraduate training and research, the management of the Astrophysics PhD Program of the ULL is shared by both centers. The Astrophysics PhD program at ULL-IAC has around eighty researchers specialized in different fields of Astrophysics in order to direct thesis.

On the other hand, the IAC calls each year Resident Astrophysics contracts to do doctoral theses in this doctoral program, as well as a variable number of scholarships to do the thesis in European countries (International Scholarships) and in the US (Scholarships at the University of Florida).

At present, approximately forty doctoral theses are being developed simultaneously; reading an average of ten a year (in the Thesis Archive, you can consult the theses read since 2008).

In the Governing Council of September 26, 2013 the creation of the Doctorate and Postgraduate School of the ULL was approved. Doctoral School is understood as the unit created by one or several universities and in possible collaboration with other organizations, centers, institutions and entities with R + D + i activities, national or foreign, whose fundamental purpose is the organization within their scope of management of the doctorate, in one or several branches of knowledge or interdisciplinary nature. In the case of our Docotorate Program, we maintain close collaboration with several national and international research organizations (see section 1.4) and fundamentally with the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias.

In the Regulation of Official Teachings of Docotrade published in the Official Gazette of the Canary Islands no. 17 of January 25, 2013, in Chapter I, articles 38 and 39, the regulations of the Doctoral Degrees are presented.

Article 38.- Doctoral Schools

  1. The University of La Laguna will structure its doctoral training at a Doctoral School, in accordance with the provisions of Royal Decree 99/2011, with the aim of organizing, within its management scope, the teachings and activities of the doctorate.
  2. The Doctoral School must guarantee that it develops its own strategy linked to the research strategy of the university or universities and, where appropriate, of the Public Research Organizations and other entities and institutions involved. It must also accredit an adequate management capacity for its purposes assured by the Universities and promoting institutions.
  3. The School will plan the necessary offer of activities inherent to the training and development of the doctoral students, carried out either by collaborators of the universities and promoting entities, with the help of external professionals, professors or visiting researchers. In any case, the Doctoral Schools must guarantee leadership in their field and a sufficient critical mass of PhD teachers and doctoral students in their field of knowledge.
  4. The Doctoral School will be organized focusing its activities on one or more specialized or interdisciplinary fields. Likewise, if it is deemed convenient, it may include official Master's thesis of content fundamentally
  5. scientific, as well as other open research training activities.
  6. The Doctoral School will have a Steering Committee, which will perform the functions related to the organization and management of the same and which will be formed by at least the director of the School, the coordinators of their doctoral programs and representatives of the Associates. The director of the School will be appointed by the Rector, or by consensus of the rectors, when a Doctorate School is established by aggregation of several universities. Must be a researcher of recognized prestige belonging to one of the universities or
  7. promoting institutions. This condition must be supported by the justification of the possession of, at least, three periods of research activity recognized in accordance with the provisions of Royal Decree 1086/1989, of August 28. In the event that said researcher occupies a position in which the aforementioned evaluation criterion does not apply, he must accredit merits comparable to those indicated.
  8. The Doctoral School will have a regulation of internal regime that will establish, among other aspects, the rights and duties of doctoral students, in accordance with the provisions of Royal Decree 1791/2010, of December 30, which approves the Statute of the University Student, and of the tutors and of the thesis directors, as well as the composition and functions of the academic commissions of their programs, respecting the indicated in the present regulation.
  9. All the members of a Doctoral School must sign their commitment to comply with the code of good practices adopted by said School.
  10. If it is deemed appropriate, other Doctoral Schools may be created, in collaboration with other universities, with other organizations, centers, institutions and entities with R + D + i activities, public or private, national or foreign, as well as , if deemed appropriate, in order to promote the joint management of the doctorate programs of the university that have mentions granted by the competent ministry.

Article 39.- Notwithstanding the foregoing, the University of La Laguna may maintain other structures for the organization of its doctoral studies, within those contemplated in the applicable regulations, based on its training strategy in this field. . In any case, it will be stated in each doctoral program which is the body on which it depends.



  • CB11 - Systematic understanding of a field of study and mastery of research skills and methods related to that field.
  • CB12 - Ability to conceive, design or create, implement and adopt a substantial research or creation process.
  • CB13 - Ability to contribute to the expansion of knowledge frontiers through original research.
  • CB14 - Ability to perform a critical analysis and evaluation and synthesis of new and complex ideas.
  • CB15 - Ability to communicate with the academic and scientific community and with society in general about their fields of knowledge in the modes and languages ​​commonly used in their international scientific community.
  • CB16 - Ability to promote, in academic and professional contexts, the scientific, technological, social, artistic or cultural advancement within a society based on knowledge.

Personal abilities and skills

  • CA01 - Develop in contexts in which there is little specific information.
  • CA02 - Find the key questions that must be answered to solve a complex problem.
  • CA03 - Design, create, develop and undertake innovative and innovative projects in their field of knowledge.
  • CA04 - Work both as a team and independently in an international or multidisciplinary context.
  • CA05 - Integrate knowledge, face complexity and formulate judgments with limited information.
  • CA06 - The intellectual criticism and defense of solutions.

Formation activities

  • IAC Winter School
  • Talks and Seminars
  • Congress of Students of the Faculty of Physics (COEFFI)
  • Seminars of PhD Students of Physics of the University of La Laguna (SEDFULL)
  • Mobility

Lines of investigation

  • Line 1: Cosmology and High Energy Astrophysics
  • Line 2: Exoplanets and Solar System
  • Line 3: Solar and Stellar Physics
  • Line 4: Galactic and Extragalactic Astrophysics
  • Line 5: Structure of matter

Admission criteria

The following requirements and admission criteria are established:

The doctorate is open to students of their own and of other universities, both Spanish and foreign, under the conditions specified in the access requirements.

To be admitted students must be in possession of:

  • a minimum of 300 ECTS credits in the set of official university studies, of which at least 60 must be at the Master's level:
    • in Astrophysics
    • or in experimental or technical sciences. In this case, they must also have completed at least 18 teaching ECTS in Astrophysics and at least 10 ECTS in research.

In order to admit students with Master's degrees in experimental sciences or techniques who have not completed a Master's Degree in Astrophysics, there is an access module consisting of 18 teaching credits.

This access module is based on the credits that are taught in the Master in Astrophysics.

In section 3.3 these training complements will be described.

Body in charge of the Admission Process:

The body in charge of the Admission Process is the Academic Committee of the Master and Doctorate in Astrophysics of the University of La Laguna.

Its composition is as follows:

  • President: The director of the master: must be a professor of the Department of Astrophysics with full-time dedication, and potential director of doctoral theses.
  • Secretary: a professor of the Department of Astrophysics or a researcher of recognized prestige of the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands
  • Vocal 1: Another professor of the Department of Astrophysics, and if possible the director of the previous Academic Commission of the Master and Doctorate
  • Vocal 2: A representative of the dean of the Faculty of Physics
  • Vocal 3: A professor from one of the Departments of Physics involved in the doctorate other than Astrophysics

Students with part-time dedication

We follow the regulations of the ULL regarding the admission of part-time students. In the article 7 Regulation of official doctoral studies of the University of La Laguna published in the Official Gazette of the Canary Islands number 17 of Friday, January 25, 2013, Chapter II includes:

Article 7.- Dedication regime.

  1. The studies regulated in these regulations may be carried out on a full-time or part-time basis.
  2. By definition, it is understood that all students who enroll in an official doctoral program will be full time.
  3. To be considered a doctoral student on a part-time basis,
    you will have to submit the corresponding application in the form and in the terms that
    establish themselves for this, justifying the impossibility of carrying out these studies on a full-time basis for reasons of work activity, special educational needs, family care needs, high-performance athletes or high-level athletes, as well as those that are contemplated in the rules of permanence of the ULL or, where appropriate, in the regulations that develop them. These applications will be resolved before the period established for enrollment in doctoral studies by the academic committee of the corresponding doctoral program. Against this resolution may be submitted.
  4. PhD students may request the change of dedication regime for justified reasons. The academic commission of the official doctoral program will issue a report in this regard authorizing or denying such change. Against this resolution, an appeal may be filed before the Rector within one month of its notification.

Students with educational needs derived from disability

Admission systems and procedures include, in the case of students

with special educational needs derived from disability, adequate support and counseling services, which will assess the need for possible curricular adaptations, itineraries or alternative studies.

The Academic Committee of the Master and Doctorate will be responsible for guiding these students, as well as assigning a personal tutor to advise and help them in the different procedures and in the specific needs derived from their disability.

Likewise, the Academic Committee will evaluate the need for possible curricular adaptations, itineraries or alternative studies to complement the training of students with disabilities.

Maximum number of admitted students and Admission Scale

The maximum number of new students admitted to the PhD Program is 50 students.

If there are more than 50 applications for admission that meet the admission requirements, the following scale is established:

  1. 5 points for the academic record.
  2. 3 points for a master's degree in Astrophysics.
  3. 2 points for a master's degree in experimental or technical sciences.
  4. Up to 2 points for other merits: scholarships, awards, courses, etc.
Last updated Mar 2020

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About the School

La Universidad de La Laguna ha ejercido una importante función de liderazgo educativo, científico y cultural en Canarias durante sus dos siglos de historia, impulsando el progreso de nuestra comunidad ... Read More

La Universidad de La Laguna ha ejercido una importante función de liderazgo educativo, científico y cultural en Canarias durante sus dos siglos de historia, impulsando el progreso de nuestra comunidad y contribuyendo decisivamente a su modernización. Read less
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