The Institute for Astronomy trains doctoral students within the Department of Physics, ETH Zurich, following a long tradition of supporting basic research into the physical processes of astrophysical phenomena. Prospective students are encouraged to explore research opportunities within the various Research Groups within our Institute which span several active areas of modern research.
Our students gain access to the most competitive research instruments in the world through the European Southern Observatory (ESO), as well as space-mission databases made possible by the efforts of the European Space Agency (ESA). We also support relevant cutting-edge computing simulations (to which we compare our observational results) through a variety of high performance computing platforms.
Students receive training through personal research mentors, as well as group research discussions through each research group. The senior research staff of the Institute is also available to serve as additional guides on doctoral research committees and most of our students take advantage of opportunities to have external committee members who also can serve as research collaborators and mentors.
We offer students a variety of research seminars and basic courses covering both a background in basic astrophysics as well as research specialties of our Institute. Students also have the opportunity to serve as teaching assistants in a variety of formal courses and practica to further improve their understanding of physics and astrophysics.
Our Institute maintains a vigorous schedule of international visitors, a dynamic series of external speakers in the Astrophysics Seminar, and a diverse internal research colloquium. The ETH Department of Physics sponsors, in collaboration with the University of Zurich, the Zurich Physics Colloquium, the Zurich Theoretical Physics Colloquium, and several other physics-related seminar series. We also hold joint events with colleagues in other departments at ETH (such as Earth Sciences), and other Astronomy Institutes around Switzerland and central Europe.
Zurich boasts a very high standard of living as well as quality of life with easy access to the Alps, numerous lakes and opportunities for outdoor adventure, as well as a rich cosmopolitan cultural and intellectual life. ETH is consistent rated a top international research University, particularly in the physical sciences.
The course of PhD study is typically 3-4 years which includes teaching duties. Potential applicants should in normal circumstance hold the equivalent of a Masters degree in Physics (consistent with agreements through the European Bolgna Protocol for mobility). Exceptions are possible in rare cases. Research experience (particularly in astrophysics) is highly advantageous, though not required.
More information on available positions can be found on our Jobs page.