Archaeology PhD/MPhil

Qualification name
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Fact file

PhD/MPhil Archaeology
Entry requirements

2:1 (or international equivalent) in archaeology or a related subject. For PhD-level study, a merit at MA level.

7.0 (6.0) If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses are available
Start date

non-standard starts are also possible.

University Park
Department of Archaeology
PhD/MPhil Archaeology
Other requirements




The PhD involves a minimum of three years full-time or six years part-time directed research, at the end of which you will produce an 80,000-word thesis on your chosen subject. You should have a merit at MA level. As a doctoral student, you devise your own programme of research in consultation with your academic supervisor. Assessment is conducted by both an internal and external examiner and involves a viva voce examination.


Studying for an MPhil degree involves a minimum of two years of full-time or four years of part-time directed study, at the end of which you will produce a 60,000-word thesis on your chosen subject. Students registered for the MPhil may transfer to the PhD if their work is judged to be of suitable quality and promise.

Entry requirements

PhD/MPhil students follow a course of independent study supervised by an academic member of staff, and it is important that you identify a supervisor who has the necessary expertise in your specialist field. All applicants are asked to complete a research proposal as part of the application process, outlining your idea for a research topic, the methods and sources of evidence you would like to use and the resources and training you will require. We strongly encourage you to contact the department before submitting an application in order to discuss your proposal and identify a suitable supervisor.

You would normally be expected to hold an honours degree at 2:1 level or above (or its international equivalent) and a taught postgraduate (MA/MSc) in Archaeology or a related subject, at ‘merit'. Students with other relevant qualifications or experience will be considered on an individual basis.

If your first language is not English, you must achieve an overall score on the British Council IELTS test of at least 7 with no less than six in each element. Test results should be no more than two years old.

Staff research interests

Our research covers a wide range of chronological, thematic and geographical areas, ranging from early prehistory to the present day. Particular areas of strength include:

  • human-plant-animal relations through palaeoanthropology, archaeobotany and zooarchaeology
  • the study of archaeological materials and ancient technology and production; the scientific analysis of glass
  • Mediterranean prehistory
  • later prehistory of Europe
  • underwater archaeology
  • roman archaeology of the Mediterranean, the Balkans and the north-west provinces
  • the Archaeology of Late Antiquity
  • early medieval archaeology in Britain and north-western Europe
  • later medieval and post-medieval archaeology
  • the archaeology of standing buildings

Please see full details of our department’s research profile and current projects for further information.  



The Department of Classics and Archaeology has an impressive suite of dedicated research and teaching facilities available for use by postgraduate students, housed within the School of Humanities. The Humanities Building also houses the Departments of Philosophy, and Theology and Religious Studies, providing excellent opportunities for inter-disciplinary collaboration for staff and students across the humanities.


Research support

We work hard to create a vibrant research culture shared by both staff and postgraduate students. Every year we host the Postgraduate Archaeology Conference, which is organised by our Masters students.

The department holds a bi-weekly research seminar series including lectures hosted by our dedicated research centres, and a programme of archaeology masterclasses on specific themes and techniques runs throughout the year. The research seminars offer the chance to hear visiting scholars from elsewhere in the UK and from overseas as well as opportunities for staff and postgraduates to present research in progress in a friendly and constructive environment. These occasions also allow you to broaden your knowledge of the subject and gain a better sense of how research develops as part of an interactive process.

You will have access to hot-desking computing facilities, and a personal locker, within the School Postgraduate Office which is shared by all departments; this creates an excellent environment for building a strong inter-disciplinary student community. Informal social events for postgraduate students are hosted in advance of the departmental research seminars.

You will develop both discipline-specific and transferable skills within their research programme, and have access to an extensive range of training opportunities provided by the Graduate School. All PhD students are enrolled on the Faculty of Arts Researcher Training Programme, which has been designed to meet the requirements of the AHRC for doctoral student training. Your training will be individually designed around your own needs in consultation with your supervisor, and it can include formal workshops in essential skills (such as academic writing, IT and communication), work placements and public engagement activities.

You will also have access to a wide range of support services during your time as a student, providing assistance with study skills, careers advice, accommodation and personal issues. All postgraduate students are enrolled in the Graduate School which provides extensive facilities and resources and has members of staff dedicated to postgraduate student support.


Find a supervisor

We encourage you to get in touch with a member of academic staff about your research proposal before submitting an application. Also contact the Postgraduate Admissions Officer, as they may be able to help you with your proposal and offer support to find funding opportunities in your area.

Details of research supervisors can be found on the department website.


Fees and funding

UK/EU and International Students

Competitive scholarships available include:

  • PhD Scholarships
  • School Overseas Research Scholarship

This is by no means a complete list. For up-to-date information and application forms on these and other funding opportunities, please visit the funding section of the department’s website.

You may also search the University’s funding database, designed to give you an indication of University scholarships for which you may be eligible to apply. The University Graduate School operates funding schemes of its own to help support current postgraduate research.

For a detailed list of external funding schemes, please visit the School of Humanities funding page.

Midlands4Cities funding

The Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Partnership supports the personal and professional development of the next generation of arts and humanities doctoral researchers. Studentships are available to UK/EU students.

How to apply to the University of Nottingham through Midlands4Cities


Government loans for doctoral study

The Government recently introduced doctoral student loans of up to £25,000 for PhDs and equivalent research programmes. Applicants must ordinarily live in England.

Doctoral training programmes

Linked to research councils, doctoral training programmes offer funding opportunities connected to our research priorities.

International and EU students

Research scholarships are available for outstanding international and EU students. You must already have an offer to study at Nottingham to apply. Please note closing dates to ensure your course application is submitted in good time.

Information and advice on funding your degree, living costs and working while you study is available on our website, as well as country-specific resources.



Please visit the Department of Classics and Archaeology website for additional opportunities.

Average starting salary and career progression

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers.*

In 2016, 96% of postgraduates from the School of Humanities who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £22,370 with the highest being £30,000.** 

* The Graduate Market 2013-2016, High Fliers Research.  
**Known destinations of full-time home postgraduates 2015/16. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK. .

Career Prospects and Employability

Those who take up a postgraduate research opportunity with us will not only receive support in terms of close contact with supervisors and specific training related to your area of research, you will also benefit from dedicated careers advice from our Careers and Employability Service.  

Individual guidance appointments, career management training programme, access to resources and invitations to events including skills workshops and recruitment fairs are just some of the ways in which they can help you develop your full potential, whether you choose to continue within an academic setting or are looking at options outside of academia. 


This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

Explore it - Virtual Nottingham
Amanda Samuels
Department of Archaeology
The University of Nottingham
University Park
NG7 2RD 

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