Institute of Archaeology


Graduate Research

The Institute is the largest and one of the most highly regarded centres for graduate studies in archaeology, cultural heritage and museum studies in Britain.

Together, over 350 graduate students and 70 academic staff create a diverse and vibrant community that also benefits from the vast array of resources and facilities at UCL and throughout London. There are few other settings in the world that can boast such a stimulating context for advanced research and learning.


UCL has adopted a code of conduct for graduate supervision, setting out the duties and responsibilities of both student and Supervisors, a copy of which is sent to all those who accept a place at the Institute.

In the initial stages, supervision is directed towards the planning of an appropriate training programme, which usually includes the acquisition of necessary skills, the review of relevant literature and the formulation of realistic research objectives.

As the student progresses, the supervisors become more involved with giving specialised advice and with maintaining the impetus and direction of the research programme. In the final phase the supervisors are concerned with matters of textual organisation and presentation.



The MPhil degree involves a minimum of two years of full-time study. It is normally awarded on the basis of a thesis supplemented by an oral examination though, exceptionally, in addition, written papers and practical work may be required. The thesis, which should not exceed 60,000 words, may be a record of original work or an ordered and critical exposition of existing knowledge.


The PhD degree is awarded on the basis of a thesis of no more than 100,000 words, supplemented by an oral examination. The thesis must form a distinct and original contribution to archaeological knowledge or a substantial revision of existing views, or it may be a development of new methods of research and analysis.

Normally PhD students are registered for three years. All students are initially registered for the MPhil degree and, subject to satisfactory progress, as assessed by written work and a public presentation, transfer to the PhD during the second year of their research. On transfer from the MPhil to the PhD, retrospective registration for the PhD is normally granted for the period already spent working towards the MPhil.

Research Topics

PhD supervision at the Instititute of Archaeology covers a broad range of topics, and staff welcome proposals from prospective students.

You are strongly advised to contact your proposed supervisor with your proposal before submit an admissions application.

Applications and Funding

Students may register for and start research degree programmes in late September or January, but are encouraged to start in September if possible.

Applicants for a September start are advised to submit an admissions application no later than 1st May. Applications submitted after this date can still be considered but may take significantly longer to process as many of our academics go away on fieldwork during the Summer. Applications for entry in January should be submitted by early November at the latest.

Research degrees may also be pursued on a part-time basis.Further details on applications and funding can be found using the link below.

Research Applications & Funding

    Current Students


    Visit Moodle for information for current students, including handbooks and key contact information.

    New to UCL


    Useful information for students still getting to know UCL, including details on welfare and study.

    International Students


    Find information on Programmes of study, applications, language requirements and fees.

    Contact us

    Contact the Institute of Archaeology Graduate Programmes Administrator:

    Miss Lisa Daniel
    UCL Institute of Archaeology
    University College London
    31-34 Gordon Square
    WC1H 0PY
    United Kingdom

    Email: ioa-gradadmissions@ucl.ac.uk
    Telephone: +44 (0)20 7679 7499