UCL Anthropology


PhD in Human Biology and Evolution

University College London (UCL) has started a new PhD programme in Human Biology and Evolution. The programme is conveyed by the Anthropology Department and highlights the scientific and evolutionary dimensions of Anthropology.

UCL was founded in 1826 and is located at the heart of London. In 2013 UCL was ranked the fourth best university in the world by the QS University Rankings and accumulates a total of 28 Nobel prizes.

The PhD programme in Human Biology and Evolution was designed as a four-year degree, with the aim of developing the academic potential of home and foreigner students with no background in Evolutionary Anthropology. However, students who already have a masters degree in the subject (or similar subjects) may skip the first year, completing the programme in 3 years. 

During the first year the programme offers courses in statistics, genetics, human evolution, palaeoanthropology, primatology, behavioural ecology and cognition. During the following three years, the research project is developed under the supervision of one of the researcher group leaders from the Evolutionary Anthropology group.

The Evolutionary Anthropology group at UCL hosts six researchers:

Professor Ruth Mace (Human Behavioural Ecology)
Ruth is a Human Behavioural Ecologist with interests in demographic transitions, fertility rates in traditional  and Western societies, cultural phylogenetics, and evolution of cooperation.  She has been doing fieldwork in China, Gambia and India. 

Professor Volker Sommer (Primatology and Evolutionary Anthropology)
Volker studies the evolution of primate social behaviour and primate conservation. He currently runs a fieldwork project in Gashaka, Nigeria, and has previously worked in India and Thailand.

Dr Andrea Migliano (Evolutionary Anthropology)
Andrea studies phenotypic and behavioural evolution of hunter-gatherer populations in Asia, Africa and Brazil. She is the PrincipaI investigator on the project "Hunter-gatherers Resilience" and is currently working with hunter-gatherers in Congo, the Philippines and Brazil.

Dr Lucio Vinicius (Human evolution and quantitative methods)
Lucio is interested in the evolution of brain, language and cognition. He develops computer simulations of human evolutionary processes and applies quantitative methods (mostly in R) to Evolutionary Anthropology. In 2010 Cambridge University press published Lucio's first book on the evolution of biological complexity.

Dr Christophe Soligo (Primate Evolution)
Christophe worked as a researcher at the Natural History Museum in London. His research focuses on the origins and adaptations of primates. Christophe has also developed new methods to reconstruct primate ancestral environments, and recently has done research on the evolution of primate brain structure.

Contact our Programme coordinators:

Dr Lucio Vinicius: l.vinicius@ucl.ac.uk
Dr Andrea Migliano: a.migliano@ucl.ac.uk

The coordinators will discuss possible projects, help you finding the right supervisor, and discuss the application process as well as the possible funding opportunities.

Foreigner students must demonstrate English proficiency to be accepted in the programme:


Information on funding opportunities

We currently have no PhD scholarships to offer. However, UK research councils are offering scholarships on a competitive basis.

UK candidates. We strongly advise British candidates interested in our programme to apply for one of the 35 full scholarships offered by the London NERC DTP (http://london-nerc-dtp.org). Applications for the scholarships do not require a research project and are unrelated to the application for a place in the PhD in Human Biology and Evolution. Contact us and we will advise you on how to proceed.

EU candidates. Students from EU countries other than the UK are generally eligible for a fees-only award. Candidates must therefore be able to identify other sources of funding to cover maintenance costs.

Overseas students. Unfortunately there are no scholarships available to overseas students. We advise candidates to look for funding opportunities in their home countries before applying to our PhD programme. We can assist you in applying for scholarships.

Brazilian students. Check our website in Portuguese to learn more about scholarships offered to Brazilian students.