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Ph.D. Program

The mountaintops of the Atacama desert are home to many of the largest and most technologically-advanced telescopes in the world, taking advantage of its extreme aridity, dark and cloud-free skies to obtain the deepest and sharpest images of the universe.

The aridity and geology of the Atacama region also provides an optimal research environment for planetary sciences, and the UdA is developing a high-altitude laboratory to study astrobiology and planetary analogs.

The INCT at the Universidad de Atacama offers a unique opportunity for talented PhD to carry out research in astronomy or planetary sciences, with privileged access to all the observing facilities based in Chile (e.g. ESO, ALMA, Gemini, CTIO) while based in the heart of the Atacama community.  


The PhD program in astronomy and planetary science at UDA aims to deliver a doctoral training of excellence that enables its graduates to perform original and independent research.



  • Mauro Barbieri, PhD Universitá degli Studi di Padova, Italy, PhD Universite de Paris, France
  • José Fernandez-Trincado, PhD Université Bourgogne Franche-Comté, France.
  • Lauri Haikala, PhD Ruprecht-Karls Universitat, Heidelberg, Germany.
  • Christopher Haines, PhD Univertsity of Central Lancashire, United Kingdom.
  • Tatiana Izquierdo, PhD Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, España.
  • Ivan Lacerna, PhD Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
  • Lorenzo Morelli, PhD Universitá degli Studi di Padova, Italy.
  • Felipe Olivares, PhD Technische Universitat Munchen, Germany.


  • Manuel Abad, PhD Universidad de Huelva, España.
  • José Antonio Belinchón, PhD Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain.
  • Enrique Bernardez, PhD Universidad de Oviedo, España.
  • Giovanni Leone, PhD Lancaster University/ PhD Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH
  • Rómulo Oses, PhD Universidad de Concepción, Chile.
  • Mario Soto, PhD Leiden Observatory, Leiden Universiteit, The Netherlands.

Available Research Lines

  • Stellar and Galactic Astronomy
  • Exoplanets and Planetary Science
  • Extragalactic Astronomy and Cosmology

More details of the topics developed in each research line can be found here.

Profile of Graduates

The PhD graduates will be capable of conducting original and independent scientific research, contributing to the advancement of knowledge in the field of Astrophysics and Planetary Sciences. They will have a deep understanding of the fundamental concepts and physical processes which regulate the formation and evolution of different objects, from planets and stars to galaxies, galaxy clusters and large-scale structures. Furthermore, the PhD graduates will be given ample opportunities thoughout the program to learn how to integrate, work and progress within the highly competitive academic environment. Finally, they will be able to participate in outreach programs and learn how to interact with and disseminate science to the community.

PhD 2020 applications

The Instituto de Astronomía y Ciencias Planetarias de Atacama (INCT) at the Universidad de Atacama (UDA), in Copiapó (Chile) invites applicants for four PhD positions in Astronomy and Planetary Sciences.

The positions are open to candidates from any country. The successful candidates must have a MSc degree (or equivalent) in astronomy, astrophysics, physics, geology or any related topic to planetary science by the PhD starting date, which will be March 2020. Positions will be available across a range of fields of research where the INCT is active, including solar system, exoplanets, planetary geology, extragalactic astronomy, star formation and Galactic structure. Students must speak fluent English and be willing to publish in peer review journals. Students will have access to the Chilean telescope time of ESO, ALMA, Gemini, LCO, CTIO, among others.

University of Atacama PhD students are fully-funded for four years (subject to a 18 month probation period). The salary is in accordance with Chilean CONICYT grants, and is set to 650,000 CLP net per month. Additional grants can be provided for tutoring and teaching duties for undergraduate courses.

INCT provides a stimulating, international environment where English is a common language. The University of Atacama is located in Copiapó, the capital city of the Atacama region. Copiapó is located in the Atacama desert, under the darkest skies of the world. The Atacama region offers a unique variety of natural and wildlife attractions.

Documents for PhD Application 2020

The following documents must be sent by November 10 2019 in a single pdf file to inct @ uda.cl

  • Cover letter
  • CV with current information (2 pages maximum, sample) and publication list.
  • Proof of degree (the legalized copy or original must be presented if accepted).
  • Undergraduate list of courses, including final marks

In addition to the above, 2 recomendation letters must be sent directly at inct @ uda.cl

Further Questions?

Program Coordinator: Lorenzo Morelli
Instituto de Astronomía y Ciencias Planetarias de Atacama
Address: Copayapu 485, Copiapó, Atacama, Chile
Phone: (+56) 52 225 5939
E-mail: inct @ uda.cl



SCT= 1 SCT corresponds to 27 hours of study/work by the student


Copayapu 485 ,Copiapó, Chile


Email: inct@uda.cl           
Phone: +56 52 225 5938