23. august 2023

PhD fellowship in Astronomy

Deadline: November 1, 2023

DARK invites applicants for a PhD fellowship in galactic dynamics and extragalactic stellar streams. The position is in Sarah Pearson’s new group and a part of the larger research project “Decoding Dark Matter with Stellar Streams from Beyond the Milky Way”.

Massive 'Extragalactic Structure' Found Lurking Behind The Milky Way

The project involves exploring what we can learn about dark matter from extragalactic stellar streams.

Who are we looking for?

We are looking for candidates with an interest in galaxies, galactic dynamics, stellar streams, dark matter, extragalactic astrophysics, and/or simulations are particularly encouraged to apply. PhD students are encouraged to develop ownership of their projects and will receive support to travel to international conferences and visit collaborators.

Our group and research - and what do we offer?

Pearson’s Extragalactic Streams group works on a variety of topics including globular cluster streams in dwarf galaxies, developing stream-finding algorithms to search for streams in new datasets, developing stream fitting tools for extragalactic streams, and predicting the behavior of stellar streams within different dark matter frameworks. The groups work with at the intersection of theory and observations, and analyze large-scale cosmological simulations, run stream formation simulations, while comparing to real data.

The group is a part of research section DARK at the Niels Bohr Institute, Faculty of SCIENCE, University of Copenhagen. We are located in Copenhagen. DARK’s areas of research include, but are not limited to observations, simulations and theory of astrophysical transients and cosmic explosions (including gravitational waves, tidal disruption events and supernovae), neutrino astrophysics, high-redshift galaxies, fundamental cosmology, dark matter and dark energy, black holes and AGN, and cosmic dust. Students are encouraged to interact with scientists at other research centers.

DARK is committed to excellence through diversity and strives to establish a climate that welcomes, celebrates, and promotes respect for the contributions of all students and employees. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to background, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or age. DARK strives to facilitate the progress of underrepresented groups in higher education careers and strongly encourages these candidates to apply.

The ideal profile has:

  • MSc degree in physics or astrophysics equivalent to a Danish degree
  • Interest/experience in one of the research areas outlined above
  • Great communication skills and command of English
  • Very good teamwork abilities
  • Prior experience in simulations and their analysis, combined with skills in modern programming, would be advantageous. 

Selection of the successful candidates will be based on demonstrated originality, independent thinking, skills, impact, and contributions to a diverse working environment.

We offer creative and stimulating working conditions in dynamic and international research environment.

Principal supervisor is Assistant Professor, Sarah Pearson, DARK, Niels Bohr Institute, E-mail: spearson@nyu.edu.  Inquiries about DARK can be obtained by contacting Head of Research Section DARK, Marianne Vestergaard (mvester@nbi.ku.dk).

The PhD programme

Depending on your level of education, you can undertake the PhD programme as either:

Option A: A three year full-time study within the framework of the regular PhD programme (5+3 scheme), if you already have an education equivalent to a relevant Danish Master’s degree.

Option B: An up to five year full-time study programme within the framework of the integrated MSc and PhD programme (the 3+5 scheme), if you do not have an education equivalent to a relevant Danish master´s degree – but you do have an education equivalent to at least a Danish Bachelor’s degree.


Option A: Getting into a position on the regular PhD programme

Qualifications needed for the regular programme

To be eligible for the regular PhD programme, you must have completed a degree programme, equivalent to a Danish master’s degree (180 ECTS/3 FTE BSc + 120 ECTS/2 FTE MSc) related to the subject area of the project, e.g. physics or astronomy. For information of eligibility of completed programmes, see General assessments for specific countries and Assessment database.

Terms of employment in the regular programme

Employment as PhD fellow is full time and for a maximum of 3 years.

Employment is conditional upon your successful enrolment as a PhD student at the PhD School at the Faculty of SCIENCE, University of Copenhagen. This requires submission and acceptance of an application for the specific project formulated by the applicant.

The terms of employment and salary are in accordance to the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State (AC). The position is covered by the Protocol on Job Structure.

Option B: Getting into a position on the integrated MSc and PhD programme

Qualifications needed for the integrated MSc and PhD programme

If you do not have an education equivalent to a relevant Danish master´s degree, you might be qualified for the integrated MSc and PhD programme, if you have an education equivalent to at least a relevant Danish bachelor´s degree. Here you can find out, if that is relevant for you: General assessments for specific countries and Assessment database

Terms of the integrated programme

To be eligible for the integrated scholarship, you are (or are eligible to be) enrolled at one of the faculty’s master programmes in physics.

Students on the integrated programme will enroll as PhD students simultaneously with completing their enrollment in this MSc degree programme.

The duration of the integrated programme is up to five years and depends on the amount of credits that you have passed on your MSc programme. For further information about the study programme, please see: www.science.ku.dk/phd, “Study Structures”.

Until the MSc degree is obtained, (when exactly two years of the full 3+5 programme remains), the grant will be paid partly in the form of 48 state education grant portions (in Danish: “SU-klip”) plus salary for work (teaching, supervision etc.) totalling a workload of at least 150 working hours per year.
A PhD grant portion is DKK 6.589.

When you have obtained the MSc degree, you will transfer to the salary-earning part of the scholarship for a period of two years. At that point, the terms of employment and payment will be according to the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State (AC). The position is covered by the Protocol on Job Structure.

Responsibilities and tasks in both PhD programmes

  • Complete and pass the MSc education in accordance with the curriculum of the MSc programme

 (ONLY when you are attending the integrated MSc and PhD programme)

  • Carry through an independent research project under supervision
  • Complete PhD courses corresponding to approx. 30 ECTS / ½ FTE
  • Participate in active research environments, including a stay at another research institution, preferably abroad
  • Teaching and knowledge dissemination activities
  • Write scientific papers aimed at high-impact journals
  • Write and defend a PhD thesis on the basis of your project

We are looking for the following qualifications:

  • Professional qualifications relevant to the PhD project
  • Relevant publications
  • Relevant work experience
  • Other relevant professional activities
  • Curious mind-set with a strong interest in galactic dynamics.
  • Good language skills



Application and Assessment Procedure

Your application including all attachments must be in English and submitted electronically by clicking APPLY FOR THE POSITION NOW below.

Please include

  1. Motivated letter of application (max. two pages)
  2. Curriculum vitae including information about your education, experience, language skills and other skills relevant for the position
  3. Original diplomas for Bachelor of Science or Master of Science and transcript of records in the original language, including an authorized English translation if issued in another language than English or Danish. If not completed, a certified/signed copy of a recent transcript of records or a written statement from the institution or supervisor is accepted.
  4. Publication list (if possible)

Note: Please do not arrange for letters of reference to be uploaded or sent by the deadline

Application deadline:

The deadline for applications is 1 November 2023, 23:59 GMT +1.

We reserve the right not to consider material received after the deadline, and not to consider applications that do not live up to the above-mentioned requirements.

The further process

After deadline, several applicants will be selected for academic assessment by an unbiased expert assessor. You are notified, whether you will be passed for assessment.

  • The assessor will assess the qualifications and experience of the shortlisted applicants with respect to the above-mentioned research area, techniques, skills and other requirements.
  • The assessor will conclude whether each applicant is qualified and, if so, for which of the two models.
  • The assessed applicants will have the opportunity to comment on their assessment.

You can read about the recruitment process at https://employment.ku.dk/faculty/recruitment-process/.

Interviews with selected candidates are expected to be held in December 2023/January 2024.


For specific information about the PhD fellowship, please contact the principal supervisor.

General information about PhD study at the Faculty of SCIENCE is available at the PhD School’s website: https://www.science.ku.dk/phd/.

The University of Copenhagen wishes their staff composition to reflect the surrounding community and invites all regardless of personal background to apply for the position. 


Part of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), and among Europe’s top-ranking universities, the University of Copenhagen promotes research and teaching of the highest international standard. Rich in tradition and modern in outlook, the University gives students and staff the opportunity to cultivate their talent in an ambitious and informal environment. An effective organisation – with good working conditions and a collaborative work culture – creates the ideal framework for a successful academic career.