Doctorate in Astrophysics and Astroinformatics

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Come study astronomy under the wonderful skies of the Atacama desert

The Doctorate in Astrophysics and Astroinformatics is a new and highly innovative program that has been developed by the Center for Research, Technology, Education and Astronomical Outreach (CITEVA) of Universidad de Antofagasta, in conjunction with the Master’s program in Astronomy. It has three lines of research: astrophysics of galaxies, astrophysics of stellar systems, and astroinformatics, which cover the different scales of the study of the universe in combination with the advanced techniques of astroinformatics. A unique training program in the country, it is in tune with the development of contemporary and future astrophysics. This is a newly created program, aimed at anyone who has an Bachelor in Science or Engineering, or a Master’s degree or equivalent, that is focused on Astrophysics, Physics, Applied Mathematics, or Computer Science, at a level, duration and content compatible with the requirements of the Program. The duration of the program is eight semesters and requires the approval of 240 credits in fundamental and complementary curricular activities. The academic body is composed of a young, vibrant and active group of eight CITEVA member professors with dynamic research projects, as well as high-level collaborators and visitors from various institutions around the world.

General objective

Train researcher able to lead cutting-edge investigations at the international level in Astrophysics and Astroinformatics, and contribute to the dissemination of new knowledge both in the academic and industrial contexts.


Specific objectives

  • Provide cutting-edge knowledge in Astrophysics, contributing to the development of the field from the region of Antofagasta, which concentrates some of the most advanced astronomical infrastructure in the world.

  • Provide cutting-edge knowledge in Astroinformatics, including computational techniques in order to solve practical scientific problems.

  • Develop communication and teamwork skills in order to be able to transmit scientific results in oral and written forms both to peers and to the general public.

  • Develop skills to identify problematics, to conceive strategies, and to implement solution within and without academia.


Format and curriculum

The curriculum of the Doctoral program is made of 5 fundamental courses corresponding to 38 credits along with optional classes for a total of 24 credits. Furthermore, at the end of the third semester students must present and defend a thesis project/qualifying, corresponding to 28 credits. Upon approval by the committee, the students will become a Doctoral candidate. To complete the studies and obtain the academic degree of Doctor, a thesis work (150 credits) bringing new knowledge must be defended before the commission.



Graduation profile

The graduates of the Doctoral program in Astrophysics and Astroinformatics of the Universidad de Antofagasta are skilled to lead collaborative investigations using their state-of-the-art knowledge in Astrophysics and Astroinformatics. Our graduates generate pertinent scientific questions and provide solutions that contribute to the advancement of astronomical knowledge. They are competent to create, develop and communicate their astronomical knowledge and computer tools in various contexts, which can be extrapolated to solving specific problems inside or outside academia.


Research Lines

Academic Degree

Alonso-García, Javier
  • Stellar populations in the Milky Way.
  • Variable Stars.
  • Globular clusters.
  • Local Group.
PhD, University of Michigan, USA.
Boquien, Médéric
  • Formation and evolution of galaxies.
  • Nearby galaxies.
  • Interacting galaxies.
  • Star formation.
  • Cosmic dust.
  • Modeling of spectral energy distributions.
  • Astroinformatics

PhD, Université Paris VII Denis Diderot, France.
Longa-Peña, Penélope
  • Binary stars.
  • Compact binary stars.
  • Accretion processes.
  • Indirect imaging.
  • Doppler tomography.
PhD, University of Warwick, UK.
Nitschelm, Christian
  • Massive stars.
  • Binary and multiple stars.
  • Ap stars.
PhD, Observatoire de Paris, France.
Peña Ramírez, Karla
  • Substellar populations in stars-forming regions.
  • Formation and evolution of brown dwarfs and planetary mass objects.
  • Initial mass function.
  • Young clusters in associations/regions of star formation.
  • Kinematics of low mass stars and substellar objects.
  • Discrete data gathering.
  • Unsupervized machine learning.
PhD, Universidad de La Laguna / Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, Spain.

Ramírez Alegría, Sebastián

  • Young stellar clusters.
  • Infrared photometry and spectroscopy.
  • Massive stars.
PhD, Universidad de La Laguna / Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, Spain.
Unda-Sanzana, Eduardo
  • Astroengineering.
  • Exoplanets.
PhD, University of Southampton, UK.




Research Lines

Academic degree

Alejandra Rojas Lilayú

  • Active Galaxy Nuclei
  • Galaxy evolution
PhD, Universidad Andrés Bello, Chile


Visiting professors


Academic degree

Véronique Buat PhD, currently at Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Marseille (Francia)
Julio Carballo PhD, currently at Universidad de Tarapacá (Chile)
Alberto Krone Martins PhD, currently at University of California at Irvine (USA)
Nina Hernitschek PhD, currently at Vanderbilt University (USA)


Reception of applications: until the 17th of October 2022

Interviews: TBD

Publication of the results: TBD

Beginning of the classes: April 2023


Application prerequisites

Any person who has a Bachelor in Science or Engineering, or a Master’s degree or equivalent with a focus on Astrophysics, Physics, Applied Mathematics, or Computer Science at a level, duration and content compatible with the requirements of the Program, may apply to the Doctoral Program.

Applicants must submit the application form in addition to the following information:

  • Statement of purpose (max. 3000 including spaces) with a detailed description of my motivation to integrate the program, my previous research experience, if any, my research interests, my computing abilities, and my career goals. 
  • Official transcripts of my previous university studies.  
  • Curriculum Vitae. 
  • Statement of the origin of my financial resources during the doctoral program and whether I request a grant. 
  • Legalized copy of my professional title or academic degree (it can be the undergraduate degree). 
  • Copy of my identity card or passport. 
  • Accreditation of high level at spoken and written English.
  • Between a minimum of two and a maximum of three letters of recommendation to be sent directly to by recommenders who know me personally. At least one of these belongs to academia.

In case of presenting documentation in a language other than Spanish or English, a simple translation into either of these two languages ​​must be attached. Applicants who obtained their degree abroad must present their documents duly legalized by the corresponding authorities, during the first semester.

All application documents must be sent to within the deadlines established by the Program.

Selection process

The requested documents have the following weightings within the final grade:

  • Cover letter (max. 3000 characters including spaces): 30%.
  • Reference letters (minimum two, maximum three): 25%.
  • Academic background: 25%.
  • Curriculum Vitae: 20%.

In the case of applicants who have graduated from programs not explicitly mentioned in the rules, additional documentation may be requested to assess the applicants’ relevance.

The pre-selected students will be interviewed electronically. The interview will be conducted in English. The score achieved by the student prior to the interview will consist of 70% of their final score, so that the interview corresponds to 30% to the applicant’s final score.

The interview is individual and semi-structured in nature, with a pattern of questions and an evaluation grid. The interview will be scheduled after consulting the availability of the Program Council and the applicant.

Once the process is completed, an official list is sent to the Graduate School for ratification. Additionally, the Program management will send a letter to the applicants selected and not selected for the Program.

Our doctoral program has three lines of research: Astrophysics of galaxies, Astrophysics of stellar systems and Astroinformatics.

Research line


Astrophysics of galaxies The astrophysics of galaxies studies the structure, formation, dynamics, interactions and evolution of the Milky Way system and the celestial objects located outside our galaxy.
Astrophysics of stellar systems

Star systems astrophysics focuses on studies of resolved stellar and/or substellar populations.


Astroinformatics is an interdisciplinary field of study that involves the combination of astronomy, data science, computer science, and/or information and communication technologies.


Students accepted into the Program must pay the following fees for the year 2023.

Registration fee: 200,000 CLP (at the beginning of each year, including the first).

Annual fee: 3,800,000 CLP


The Scholarship System for Students of the Postgraduate Programs of Universidad de Antofagasta, according to Decreto Excento 1349 of 10.28.2019, contemplates the following:

  • Scholarships cover the program free, which exempts the beneficiary from the obligation to pay all or part of the fee for the respective program, while having to pay the registration fee in full.
  • Scholarships for Academic Excellence for graduate students of accredited programs, or in the process of accreditation or reaccreditation, awarded to students in consideration of their academic merits and will consist of a reduction of the program fee and a monthly financial aid, while having to pay the registration fee.
  • Financial Aid to attend Congresses, which consists of supporting attendance to conferences for accredited postgraduate students or in the accreditation process, will be granted by application. It will be opened twice a year (first semester of each year, for congresses that are held during the 2nd semester of the same year and 2nd semester for congresses held in the first semester of the following year). This support will consist of a financial aid that to a maximum 15 UF for national congresses and a maximum 25 UF for international congresses. The value of the UF of January 2 of each year will be taken.
  • Scholarships for Assignment to Productivity, which has the purpose of an incentive to students who attend postgraduate programs, to publish in scientific journals. If the publication is in a journal indexed to the Journal Citation Report (JCR) of Web of Science (WoS), it will receive an allocation of 15 UF. If the publication is in the SCOPUS or Scielo System, the allocation will be 6 UF. The value of the UF of January 2 of each year will be taken and the payment will be made only once, for each publication.
  • Other scholarships, in a non-exclusive way, to the aforementioned, Research Centers or other University Units, using their own resources, may assign other types of scholarships to graduate students of the University.

Director of the Program:  Dr. Médéric Boquien (

Administrative assistant of the Programa: Sra. Anay Herrera (