Call for Applications: Apply for SAAO’s 2024 MSC and PhD Research Opportunities


The South Africa Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) application for the 2024 Masters of Science (MSc) and Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD) research opportunities are open. The SAAO allows students to work with leading researchers on cutting-edge astronomy and instrumentation projects. These cover observational and theoretical aspects of stellar and extragalactic astronomy, astronomical instrumentation and computer modelling. 

Furthermore, many projects involve combining and analysing data from different wavelengths, e.g. optical data from SAAO/SALT with radio data from MeerKAT and/or X-ray measurements from spacecraft with opportunities for collaboration with national and international partners. 

Project Descriptions
Application Process
  • Interested applicants must send their CVs to the SAAO staff member(s) offering the project(s) they are interested in. In addition, applicants must discuss the research with them to determine if they have the required qualifications, skills and abilities to undertake the project. Additionally, applicants can contact as many potential supervisors as they like;
  • If an SAAO staff member agrees to supervise an applicant, the applicant must discuss with them which university they should apply to register with;
  • Applicants must register with ORCID and get a number before applying for the NRF grant through the university and
  • Once applicants complete this process, they must send their NRF application number to their SAAO supervisor.
Postgraduate Funding

Applicants can apply to the NRF for funding through the university and/or the SAAO Prize scholarship, with the active support of their proposed SAAO supervisor, who will ensure they fill in the correct details in all sections. This is important as applications are often rejected on technicalities. 


Applicants should note that the NRF’s closing date for the application is 11 July 2023, but each university has its deadlines; hence, candidates need to check the relevant deadline. In addition, completing the NRF application will take time and requires various documents and letters. Applicants must complete discussions with their potential supervisor(s) well before the deadline.

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