Faculty of Mathematics, Physics
and Informatics
Comenius University Bratislava

Astronomy and Astrophysics

Doctoral Degree Program

Field:

Physics
(Astronomy, Astrophysics - until 31.8.2019)

Form:

full time / external

Usual duration:

full time form 4 years, external form 5 years

Language of courses:

English

Program director:

prof. Ing. Pavel Mach, CSc.

Co-Guarantors:

doc. RNDr. Jozef Klačka, PhD.
doc. RNDr. Leonard Kornoš, PhD.
doc. RNDr. Juraj Tóth, PhD.
RNDr. Pavol Matlovič, PhD.

Related study programs: master's degree program Astronomy and Astrophysics

Description of the Study Program

The graduate of the third-degree study program Astronomy and Astrophysics has mastered advanced theoretical and physical methods and mathematical apparatus needed to solve complex problems in astronomy, astrophysics and related fields. During the study, the graduate will gain an overview of a wide range of theoretical and experimental methods of physics and their application in various fields of astronomy with regard to the topic of the dissertation. The student will gain theoretical and methodological experiences and the latest knowledge corresponding to the current state of the relevant scientific field. While working on the dissertation, he / she will acquire the ability to independently study current scientific literature, provide its interpretation and apply the acquired knowledge in his / her own research.

Under the guidance of the supervisor, the student will learn to perform independent scientific work, which includes defining the problem, gaining an overview of the current state of knowledge, defining the goal and mathematical and physical methods leading to its achievement, research implementation and critical evaluation of the obtained research results. Active participation in international scientific conferences will develop the graduate's ability to present and defend the achieved scientific results in front of a wide international scientific community. In the framework of international cooperation, in which the graduate will actively participate during his / her studies, he / she will acquire, in addition to advanced experiences in the field of astronomy and astrophysics, also the ability to cooperate in multinational and multicultural scientific teams. Finally, the graduate will also be able to understand, program and integrate complex mathematical, statistical, probabilistic and physical methods. During the study, the student will also get acquainted with the preparation, management and investigation of domestic and international scientific grants. The graduate will be able to supplement and update their knowledge by lifelong learning, which is essential in scientific work. The student will be able to clarify and popularize scientific knowledge in his / her related research fields to the general public at a comprehensible level.

As the study of astronomy and astrophysics is a multidisciplinary field of physics, involving several physical and mathematical disciplines (plasma physics, magnetohydrodynamics, quantum mechanics, statistical physics, astrodynamics, etc.), the graduate will be able to apply his knowledge and experience in the related disciplines. The graduate of the third degree of the Astronomy and Astrophysics study program is prepared for independent scientific work in the field of astronomy, astrophysics and related fields, which can be carried out at leading scientific institutions in Slovakia and in the world.

What to Expect

The study program is a set of courses and a set of rules compiled in such a way that successful completion of the courses while maintaining the set rules allows the student to obtain a university degree. For each study program, a recommended study plan is set, which is compiled in a way that by completing it, the student meets the conditions for successful completion of studies within its standard length. The study program takes into account the missions and goals set by FMPI CU in the field of science and research and especially in the field of education, which are stated in the Long-term Plan of FMPI CU. The study program was created and innovated with the intentions of the current development trends of similarly focused programs in Europe and in the world. The study program was created in accordance with the needs of practice, therefore one of the main aspects in the design of the study program courses was the aspect of applicability of knowledge and competencies in real practice.

The creation of a study plan is typically based on a modular (block) principle. The study plan is divided into compulsory, compulsory-optional and optional courses. Each course consists of individual educational activities or their combination, which are aimed at providing education in a defined area. A part of the study plan is also scientific research and pedagogical activities of doctoral students. Profile courses of the study program are compulsory or compulsory optional courses defined so that the student acquires the knowledge or skills that are essential for the completion of the study program. Profile courses represent a theoretical and methodological basis in the relevant field of education. They are an essential part of the topics in the dissertation exam. Along with other educational activities that are offered to the student in the form of optional courses, they will allow the student to access knowledge and skills important for achieving educational outcomes in the graduate’s individual profile and his personal and scientific development.

In accordance with the Dublin descriptors and simultaneously in accordance with the national qualifications framework, the graduates of the study program will obtain the 8th level of qualification.

In accordance with the goals of the Long-term Plan of FMPI CU, the program and its study plan were designed so that students can complete internships abroad during this study program, utilizing the extensive experience in international cooperation and a wide network of partner universities of FMPI CU with related study programs.

Graduates' Career Opportunities

The graduate of the third-degree study program Astronomy and Astrophysics will acquire skills and knowledge from several areas of physics, mathematics and computer science. Our students regularly attend internships, summer schools, science stays and astronomical observations at the Instituto Astrofísica de Canarias in Spain, the Vatican Observatory, the Astronomical Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences in Ondřejov and the Astronomical Institute of the Slovak Academy of Sciences. Our graduates acquire programming skills in the development and execution of physical models, the development of simulations on computer clusters and supercomputers, or the development of basic functions for controlling astronomical instruments.

The acquired scientific knowledge and skills present a prerequisite for future research and pedagogical activities with application in research in the field of astronomy and astrophysics, but also in related fields (plasma physics, radiation, hydrodynamics, etc.) an the institutes of the Slovak Academy of Sciences (especially the Astronomical Institute SAS, many of whose employees are our graduates), the Czech Academy of Sciences and at leading universities and observatories in Slovakia and abroad. Many graduates find employment in related fields and workplaces, such as Slovak Hydrometeorological Institute, Institute of Geophysics of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, Department of Experimental Physics, Faculty of Mathematics, Physics, and Informatics, Comenius University (FMPI CU), etc. Statistically, 75% of our graduates are employed in astronomy and astrophysics, or in the above-mentioned related fields.

In addition to fundamental research, the graduate can find application in several areas of applied or industrial research, taking into account the graduate's thesis focus (e.g. spectroscopy in contactless material composition analysis in security or medicine, plasma physics in high temperature surface treatment, focus on space debris dynamics and physics can find application in space agencies, companies dedicated to the design and development of space missions, space security, risk assessment and on-ground damage assessment, etc.).

Graduates also find employment at universities and educational institutions in Slovakia and abroad, as well as scientific and pedagogical positions in the network of observatories and planetariums. Extensive knowledge gained by graduates of this program (programming, statistics, numerical methods) allows them to find application in other related areas where analytical thinking, programming or data processing is required.

Doctoral Scholarships

Full-time doctoral students who have permanent residency in the European Union are entitled to receive a scholarship for the entire standard duration of their studies. The scholarships are paid starting on the date of enrollment. The scholarship is determined in accordance with the tables included in the Law no. 553/2003 Z.z. as follows: 

  • prior to completion of the qualification exam: 1025,50 EUR (6th class, 1st level)
  • after successful completion of the qualification exam: 1 194 EUR (7th class, 1st level)

Scholarships are not subject to taxes or other fees.

Doctoral studies are considered an equivalent to full time employment and in the majority of cases cannot be combined with another employment. Job holding applicants who intend to keep their job are advised to apply for the external (distance) form of doctoral studies. Doctoral students enrolled in the regular form are expected to participate in teaching activities such as conducting recitations or exam grading, in accordance with the needs of their corresponding departments.

List of Supervisors

RNDr. Mária Hajduková, PhD. (Astronomical Institute SAS)
Mgr. Ľubomír Hambálek, PhD. (Astronomical Institute SAS)
doc. RNDr. Jozef Klačka, PhD.
doc. RNDr. Leonard Kornoš, PhD.
Mgr. Emil Kundra, PhD. (Astronomical Institute SAS)
Dr. Alicia Lopéz Oramas (Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias)
RNDr. Pavol Matlovič, PhD.
doc. RNDr. Juraj Tóth, PhD.

Thesis Topics for Academic Year 2023/2024

  • Fragmentation and ablation of meteoroids
    (supervisor: doc. RNDr. Juraj Tóth, PhD.)
  • Physical characterization of space debris and Near-Earth Objects present within close proximity to the Earth 
    (supervisor: doc. RNDr. Leonard Kornoš, PhD., consulatnt: Mgr. Jiří Šilha, PhD.)
  • Dynamical modelling of the structural features of the Galactic disc 
    (supervisor: RNDr. Pavol Matlovič, PhD., consulatnts: RNDr. Roman Nagy, PhD, Mgr. Žofia Chrobáková, PhD.)
  • Modelling of the Milky Way galaxy with the Jeans equations Modelovanie galaxie 
    (supervisor: RNDr. Pavol Matlovič, PhD., consulatnts: RNDr. Roman Nagy, PhD., Mgr. Žofia Chrobáková, PhD.)
  • Galactic Dynamics
    (supervisor: doc. RNDr. Jozef Klačka, PhD.)

Astronomical Institute SAS: 

  • Distribution of the orbits of sporadic meteoroids
    (supervisor: RNDr. Mária Hajduková, PhD.)
  • Analysis and modelling of asteroid activity in terms of rotation, 3D shape and tail morphology changes
    (supervisor: Mgr. Marek Husárik, PhD.)
  • The origin and formation of the innerOort cloud
    (supervisor: Mgr. Marián Jakubík, PhD.)
  • Doubly and multiply eclipsing systems
    (supervisor: RNDr. Theodor Pribulla, CSc.)
  • Exoplanets transiting early-type stars
    (supervisor: RNDr. Theodor Pribulla, CSc.)
  • Solar activity cycles – empirical implications for the solar dynamo modelling
    (supervisor: RNDr. Ján Rybák, CSc.)