Call for Applications

Opens 7 September 2022, Closes 21 October 2022


We’ve received feedback from potential applicants that suggests it’s not easy to get in touch with prospective South African supervisors on the timescales involved. Therefore we’ve extended the deadline for applications to 21 October 2022, and we’ve removed the requirement that applicants need a project and supervisor at the time of application. We’ll do our best to match applicants with potential projects during the selection stage.

About Astronomy in Africa Scholarship Opportunities

The International Astronomical Union (IAU) will host its 32nd General Assembly in Cape Town, South Africa, in 2024 (GA2024). This is the first time in the 100+ year history of the IAU that the General Assembly will be held in Africa, which provides a prime opportunity to showcase the cutting-edge research infrastructure and excellent talent in the science area on the continent.

In anticipation of the 32nd General Assembly, the National Organising Committee of the IAU GA2024 seeks to award high impact “Astronomy in Africa” scholarships to eligible African candidates that aligns with the hosting of this historical event. The scholarships will allow excellent candidates to undertake a two-year Master of Science (MSc) degree in South Africa starting in 2023.

The Africa 2024 scholarships will cover international student fees, one international return flight, visa costs, medical insurance, accommodation, and stipend. In addition, scholarship recipients will benefit from the opportunity to volunteer at the General Assembly 2024, giving them an opportunity to interact with the global astronomy community.

Who can apply?

  • Candidates from any African country are eligible to apply for Astronomy in Africa scholarships. 
  • Applicants must be eligible to register for an MSc degree at a South African university specialising in astrophysics/astronomy. 
  • Candidates must have liaised with potential supervisors from recognised South African universities. 
    • Potential supervisors must provide an accompanying letter of support for the candidate, which includes a brief statement of the proposed research project.

Application Process

  1. Apply online here
  2. Arrange to have one reference letter to be sent directly to, by the application deadline, and with your name in the subject line.
  3. Candidates must submit a motivation and upload a CV (maximum of 2-pages, 12-pt font), recent academic transcripts and a scan of their undergraduate degree certificate. 
  4. Candidates must upload a letter of support from their potential supervisor. The letter must include a brief statement of the proposed research project.

Deadline for Applications

The deadline for applications is 7 October 2022 21 October 2022.

Selection process

  1. Shortlisting will take place through the Science sub-committee of the GA2024 NOC, along with external reviewers.
  2. Applicants will be shortlisted based on academic grades, quality of motivation, suitability for research as assessed through reference letter and CV, and the associated letter of support from the potential supervisor. Diversity and regional representation will be taken into account during the shortlisting process. Preference will be given to non South African applicants.
  3. Shortlisted candidates will be invited to a virtual interview during 24 October to 4 November 2022 (this schedule to be revised).
  4. Successful candidates (and supervisors) will be notified during the week of 7-11 November 2022 (this schedule to be revised).

Outcome of your application

Successful candidates will be informed  during the week of 7 – 11 November 2022 (to be revised). Award of the scholarship is contingent on acceptance into an MSc programme in astronomy or astrophysics at a university in South Africa.

Travel for international scholarship recipients

A single return air ticket will be covered for international students awarded the scholarship. The GA2024 NOC will cover the cost of visas for study.

Terms & Conditions

  1. Successful applicants must be ready to start their degree at the beginning of the 2023 South African academic year, i.e. January/February 2023. The applicant must show proof of completion of a Bachelor of Science (BSc) Honours or an equivalent degree before acceptance of the scholarship award.
  2. Funding for the MSc degree is limited to two years. The degree must be completed in this time.
  3. Funding is contingent on proof of registration from the proposed university, and funding for the second year of study is contingent upon adequate progress as judged by a progress report at the end of the first year of study (endorsed by supervisor) and fulfilment of the requirements of the university at which the student is registered.
  4. The National Organising Committee of the IAU GA2024 reserves the right to make, or not make an award for Astronomy in Africa scholarships.