Modelling the Partially Ionised Solar Chromosphere, Mathematics – PhD (Funded) Ref: 2993

About the award

The University of Exeter’s College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences is inviting applications for a fully-funded PhD studentship to commence in September 2018 or as soon as possible thereafter.  For eligible students the studentship will cover UK/EU tuition fees plus an annual tax-free stipend of at least £14,553 for 3.5 years full-time, or pro rata for part-time study.  The student would be based in the Department of Mathematics in the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences at the Streatham Campus in Exeter.


Mathematics, Streatham Campus, Exeter

Academic Supervisors:
Dr Hillier, University of Exeter

Project Description:
The solar chromosphere is a highly dynamic layer of the solar atmosphere and is of great importance for understanding the energy flow and dissipation mechanisms in the atmosphere. We understand that magnetic forces are crucial in this layer, but the plasma is only partially ionised making the couple between the plasma and the magnetic field imperfect. In this project the student will explore and develop models of the coupling between the magnetic field and the fluid of the chromosphere to understand how observed dynamic phenomena are created and how the friction between charged species moving with the magnetic field plays a role in the heating of the chromosphere. The project will involve combining numerical modelling, theory, and observations to understand how fundamental magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) phenomena develop in a partially ionised system including regimes (e.g. MHD shocks) beyond those where a single fluid approximation holds.

The successful student will join the Centre for Geophysical and Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics which is part of the Department of Mathematics. This group has a number of other PhD opportunities, and applications to multiple posts is welcomed.

This award provides annual funding to cover UK/EU tuition fees and a tax-free stipend.  For students who pay UK/EU tuition fees the award will cover the tuition fees in full, plus at least £14,553 per year tax-free stipend.  Students who pay international tuition fees are eligible to apply, but should note that the award will only provide payment for part of the international tuition fee and no stipend. 
The studentship will be awarded on the basis of merit for 3.5 years of full-time study to commence in September 2018.

Entry requirements:
Applicants for this studentship must have obtained, or be about to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class UK Honours degree, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, in Applied Mathematics, Physics, Natural Sciences or other appropriate discipline. 
If English is not your first language you will need to have achieved at least 6.5 in IELTS and no less than 6.0 in any section by the start of the project.  Alternative tests may be acceptable (see


How to apply

How to apply
In the application process you will be asked to upload several documents.  Please note our preferred format is PDF, each file named with your surname and the name of the document, eg. “Smith – CV.pdf”, “Smith – Cover Letter.pdf”, “Smith – Transcript.pdf”.
• CV
• Letter of application (outlining your academic interests, prior research experience and reasons for wishing to undertake the project).
• Transcript(s) giving full details of subjects studied and grades/marks obtained (this should be an interim transcript if you are still studying)
• Two references from referees familiar with your academic work. If your referees prefer, they can email the reference direct to quoting the studentship reference number.
• If you are not a national of a majority English-speaking country you will need to submit evidence of your proficiency in English
The closing date for applications is midnight on 5th February 2018.  Interviews will be held on the University of Exeter Streatham Campus at the beginning of March 2018.
If you have any general enquiries about the application process please email or phone +44 (0)1392 722730.  Project-specific queries should be directed to Dr. Hillier


Application deadline:5th February 2018
Number of awards:1
Value:£14,553 for 3.5 years
Duration of award:per year
Contact: Postgraduate Research Office