Want to pursue a career in astrophysics?
Well… astronomy and astrophysics is an exciting branch of physics isn’t it? There are plenty of options available for young people willing to choose a career in this discipline. While in India, there is not much emphasis on astrophysics as a subject right until you graduate, a wide variety of options open up after it. During MSc., some universities have the choice of astrophysics as a specialization. Some universities provide an option of joining the various research institutes for the final year dissertation project. Places like IIA, IUCAA, ARIES, etc., offer people the opportunity to conduct short term projects in associations with a faculty member. After MSc, if one is interested, one can apply for a Ph. D at these institutes. A Ph. D is the highest academic degree one can obtain and from hereon the formal work of an astrophysicist starts.
Want to pursue a Ph. D in astronomy in India?
If yes, this is the right place to seek the information about these things. We list all the institutes offering a Ph.D in astronomy and astrophysics in India.
Situated adjacent to the picturesque hill town of Nainital, ARIES (an acronym of Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences) is one of the leading research Institutes which specializes in observational Astronomy & Astrophysics and Atmospheric Sciences. The main research interests of Astronomy & Astrophysics division are in solar, planetary, stellar, galactic and extragalactic astronomy including stellar variabilities, X-ray binaries, star clusters, nearby galaxies, quasars, and inherently transient events like supernovae and highly energetic Gamma Ray Bursts. The Institute hosts several telescopes. The unique geographical position of ARIES (790 East), places it at almost in the middle of 1800 wide longitude band, between Canary Island (200 West) and Eastern Australia (1570 East), and therefore complements observations which might not be possible from either of these two places. ARIES has made unique contributions from time to time. More information about the institute is available here.
The Indian Institute of Astrophysics is a premier institute devoted to research in astronomy, astrophysics and related physics. It traces its origins back to an observatory set up in 1786 called the Madras Observatory. Today, the institute has observing facilities at Kodaikanal, Kavalur, Gauribidanur and Hanle. The main campus is located in Koramangala, Bengaluru. Funded by the Department of Science and Technology, the Institute ranks as a premier institution devoted to research and education of astronomy and physics in the country. The Kodaikanal Observatory has for over a century been the principal centre of activity in observational solar and atmospheric physics. The Vainu Bappu Observatory at Kavalur has been the main optical observatory of the Institute for night-time astronomy since the late 1960s. There are several telescopes in operation here, the foremost among these being the 2.34 metre Vainu Bappu Telescope. The Gauribidanur Radio Observatory has a decametre wave radio telescope array and a radioheliograph. The new high altitude Indian Astronomical Observatory (IAO) at Hanle in south-eastern Ladakh has augmented the facilities for nighttime astronomy. Here, a 2 metre Himalayan Chandra Telescope was installed in 2001. A seven-unit High Altitude Gamma Ray (HAGAR) telescope is in operation at the Hanle site. The Bengaluru campus has an extensive library, a computer centre, physics laboratories and electronics, photonics and mechanical laboratories supporting an active instruments development programme. More information about the institute is available here.
The Indian Institute of Science (IISc) is a premier institute for advanced scientific and technological research and education. The Department of Physics at IISc offers a prestigious Joint Astronomy Programme (JAP) - a programme for training PhD students in astrophysics, jointly run with several collaborating institutes within Bangalore such as Raman Research Institute (RRI), Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA), Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). More information about the program is available here.
The Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) is an autonomous institution set up by the University Grants Commission (UGC) of India to promote the nucleation and growth of active groups in astronomy and astrophysics at Indian universities. IUCAA aims to be a centre of excellence within the university sector for teaching, research and development in astronomy and astrophysics. IUCAA’s activities fall under two broad programmes: core academic programmes and visitor academic programmes. Core academic programmes include basic research, the PhD programme, advanced research workshops and schools, the giant metre-wave radio telescope and guest observer programmes. Visitor academic programmes include the visitor and associates programme, refresher courses for teachers and helping the nucleation and growth of astronomy and astrophysics at Indian universities. More information about IUCAA is available here.
The National Centre for Radio Astrophysics of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (NCRA-TIFR) is the premier institute for radio astronomy in India, and one of the best in this field in the world. Research activities at NCRA-TIFR are centered on low frequency radio astronomy, with faculty members carrying out research in a wide range of areas, including solar physics, pulsars, active galactic nuclei, the interstellar medium, supernova remnants, the Galactic Centre, nearby galaxies, high-redshift galaxies, fundamental constant evolution, and the epoch of reionization. NCRA-TIFR has built and operates the largest steerable radio telescope in the world, the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope, as well as the Ooty Radio Telescope, and offers challenging opportunities to work at the frontiers of astronomy and astrophysics, as well as in instrumentation development. A detailed description of the areas in which research is underway at NCRA-TIFR can be obtained here.
Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) was founded in 1947 by Dr. Vikram Sarabhai. As a unit of the Department of Space, Government of India, PRL carries out fundamental research in selected areas of Physics, Space & Atmospheric Sciences, Astronomy, Astrophysics & Solar Physics, and Planetary & Geo-Sciences. The Research in the Astronomy and Astrophysics Division involves investigations in the optical, infrared, X-ray and the radio wavelength bands to understand some of the outstanding problems related to galactic and extragalactic cosmic phenomena, such as star formation, stellar evolution, interstellar medium, binary stars, pulsars, active galactic nuclei and giant radio galaxies. Solar activity and its impact on space weather are also being studied using radio techniques. More information about the institute is available here.
Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST), situated at Thiruvananthapuram is a Deemed to be University under Section 3 of the UGC Act 1956. IIST functions as an autonomous body under the Department of Space, Government of India. The idea of such an institute was mooted keeping in mind the need for high quality manpower for the Indian Space Research Organization, one of world’s leading scientific organizations engaged in space research and space applications. The institute is the first of its kind in the country, to offer high quality education at the undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and post-doctoral levels in areas with special focus to space sciences, space technology and space applications. More information about the institute is available here.
The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) are world-renowned autonomous public technical universities located across India. Various IITs have an astronomy department where faculty members are involved in active research.
Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research were established with a vision to create research centres of the highest caliber where teaching and education in the basic sciences are integrated with state-of-the-art research. These institutions are devoted to undergraduate and postgraduate teaching in the basic sciences in an intellectually vibrant atmosphere of research. Seven such institutes have been established so far in Berhampur, Bhopal, Kolkata, Mohali, Pune, Thiruvananthapuram and Tirupati. Almost all IISERs offer undergraduate and graduate level astronomy and astrophysics courses and opportunities to pursue research in the same. More information about the institutes is available here.
Opportunities at Central, State and Deemed Universities
Many Central, State and Deemed Universities provide opportunities for doctoral and other research projects. Following is the list of departments/universities that have active members who are involved in astronomy research. The list is far from complete and we will keep updating it!
- Astrophysical Sciences Division, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai
- Centre for Strings, Gravitation and Cosmology, Department of Physics, Indian Institute of Technology Madras
- Centre For Theoretical Physics, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi
- Dayanand Science College, Maharashtra
- Department of Astronomy, Osmania University, Hyderabad
- Department of Mathematics, Birla Institute of Technology and Science-Pilani, Hyderabad
- Department of Mathematics, Government General Degree College, Singur
- Department of Mathematics, The University of Burdwan, West Bengal
- Department of Physics and Astrophysics, University of Delhi, Delhi
- Department of Physics and Electronics, CHRIST (Deemed to be University), Bengaluru
- Department of Physics, Tezpur University, Assam
- Department of Physics, Kumaun University, Nainital
- Department of Physics, Presidency University, Kolkata
- Department of Physics, St.Xavier’s College, Mumbai
- Department of Physics, University of Calicut, Malappuram
- Department of Physics, Visva-Bharati University, Santiniketan
- High Energy and Cosmic Ray Research Centre, University of North Bengal, Siliguri
- Indian Centre for Space Physics, Kolkata
- Institute of Physics, Bhubaneswar
- International Centre for Theoretical Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Bangalore
- Physics Department, Faculty of Science, The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, Vadodara
- Savitribai Phule Pune University, Pune
- UM-DAE Centre for Excellence in Basic Sciences, Mumbai
Short term internship programs.
Various institutes offer a short term internship program for visiting students. These internship programs are intended for young students who are enrolled in B Tech., B Sc. or M Sc.courses and are interested in getting a hands on experience about the research in astonomy. These internship programs are often supported by a stipend to cover the applicants living costs. All the institues mentoned above have some kind of internship programs available for young students. Interested peole may visit the respective institue websites or may even contact us for further information regarding these programs.
Note: If your institution/university is not in the above list, please let us know through the contact us form and we will add it.”