Theoretical Cosmology: PhD Programs & Math for UK Students

In summary, the person is an undergraduate masters student in Astrophysics and is preparing to apply for PhD programs. They are interested in theoretical cosmology and are looking for good universities in the UK to pursue a PhD in this area. They mention the University of Durham as a potential candidate, but are also considering other places in Europe. They are concerned about their 2:1 grade and whether it will be acceptable, but have a strong interest in the subject and have actively read publications in the field. They are also looking to improve their mathematics skills and ask for book recommendations. They mention Sussex and Leicester as potential universities to consider and suggest focusing on individual supervisors rather than universities. They also recommend several cosmology books by UK authors and suggest reading them
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Hey people.

I hold an Astrophysics Msci (undergraduate masters) at 2:1 in the UK, and I'm currently preparing to apply to PhD programmes in 6-7 months time. I have a few questions. I'm interested in theoretical cosmology, and theories of galactic evolution - I'm looking for good universities in the UK that might be willing to cover a PhD in this area, and so far I have the University of Durham as a candidate (others? possibly considering other places in europe, though it seems foreign phd students have an odd time in most european countries).

I'm weary of the fact that the University of Durham has a very good reputation for physics, but am hoping that the 2:1 I have will be acceptable with the other achievements I have had throughout my degree. I've had an interest in this area ever since i covered a short project on a related topic early on in my degree, and have had an active interest in reading publications in the area, though I may not have understood them all. Is it reasonable to include information like this on an application in such an obvious way?

I would also like to hear people's thoughts on the mathematics that would be needed to tackle an area such as this? since I would very much like to spend what will now be my year off bolstering my math - I feel that my degree spent too much time on physics and not enough on math: I'm a good physicist but fully a lousy mathematician. Any recommendation of books in related math or cosmology areas are welcome.

thank you,

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  • #3
Sussex or Leicester might be worth a look. I would look at *people* rather than Universities. There are some good cosmology books by UK people.

Cosmology: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) by Peter Coles

The Infinite Cosmos: Questions from the frontiers of cosmology by Joseph Silk

Cosmology: Fourth edition by Michael Rowan-Robinson

An Introduction to Modern Cosmology, 2nd Edition by Andrew Liddle

The Oxford Companion to Cosmology by Andrew Liddle and Jon Loveday [This is a must read! Oxford Companions are usually really good for getting an overview of a field at a reasonable level -- that is, comprehensive but not too advanced...]

I would read these, or Liddle's more advanced works, to get an idea of the mathematics you should be reading & the people you should be seeking out as supervisors

Liddle is at Sussex, where I did my MSc (before he arrived unfortunately!). They have quite a strong theoretical astronomy research tradition. I didn't enjoy the MSc much, but in doing a PhD it's the supervisor that counts...

What is theoretical cosmology?

Theoretical cosmology is a field of study that combines physics, mathematics, and astronomy to understand the origins, evolution, and structure of the universe.

What is a PhD program in theoretical cosmology?

A PhD program in theoretical cosmology is a specialized graduate program that focuses on the theoretical aspects of cosmology, including mathematical and computational modeling, data analysis, and research in areas such as dark matter, dark energy, and the early universe.

What kind of math is required for a theoretical cosmology PhD program?

A strong foundation in mathematics is essential for a theoretical cosmology PhD program. This includes advanced calculus, linear algebra, differential equations, and complex analysis. Knowledge of statistics and computer programming is also beneficial.

Are there any specific prerequisites for a theoretical cosmology PhD program?

While each program may have different requirements, most PhD programs in theoretical cosmology require a bachelor's degree in physics, astronomy, or a related field. Some programs may also require prior coursework in specific areas of physics and mathematics.

What career opportunities are available with a PhD in theoretical cosmology?

Graduates with a PhD in theoretical cosmology can pursue careers in academia, research institutions, and government agencies. They may also work in industries such as aerospace, data science, and finance. Some may also choose to continue their research as postdoctoral fellows or pursue further studies in related fields.

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