Institute of Archaeology MPhil/PhD

London, Bloomsbury

The UCL Institute of Archaeology is one of the largest and most highly regarded centres for archaeology, cultural heritage and museum studies in the world, as evidenced by its leading position in university league tables and National Student Survey results.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2023/24)
£5,860
£2,930
Overseas tuition fees (2023/24)
£26,200
£13,100
Duration
3 calendar years
5 calendar years
Programme starts
September 2023
Applications accepted
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Entry requirements

A Master's degree in a relevant discipline (pass of 70% or better including 70% in the dissertation) from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

The English language level for this programme is: Level 2

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level. International Preparation Courses

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

Equivalent qualifications

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

About this degree

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

Together, over 350 graduate students and 60 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 offer such a stimulating context for advanced research and learning.

Who this course is for

Students who wish to pursue research at a leading institution and benefit from the support and expertise of world-leading academics.

What this course will give you

The UCL Institute of Archaeology provides an unparalleled breadth of teaching and learning provision and opportunities for the supervision of research degrees in most areas of archaeology and heritage studies. The institute's comparative approach encourages a global perspective. Facilities for science-based archaeology are all housed within the department as is the institute's world-renowned library.

Research students are encouraged to participate fully in the life of the institute, with funds available for student-led academic events. The institute's graduate journal - Papers from the Institute of Archaeology - provides opportunities to acquire peer-reviewing and editorial experience.

The foundation of your career

The UCL Institute of Archaeology has strong links with numerous organisations and universities, within London, the UK and internationally, including the British Museum, Historic England, UNESCO, the Wellcome Trust, the UK Arts Council and numerous national park services across the globe. We host several centres including the Centre for Applied Archaeology and International Centre for Chinese Heritage and Archaeology.

Employability

Doctoral graduates have become university lecturers, senior administrators, senior museum and heritage management curators, postdoctoral researchers on academic projects or for other organisations including the BBC and other media companies.

Networking

The institute holds an extensive range of seminars and lectures generated by our sections, centres and research networks given by guest speakers from across the world and many honorary members of staff who regularly contribute to the life and work of the institute, including offering supervision for research students.

Teaching and learning

Full time students are expected to dedicate a minimum of 35 hours a week on their research, part time students 15 hours.

Research areas and structure

Current research at the UCL Institute of Archaeology covers fieldwork, laboratory analysis and conservation, artefact studies, and theoretical, synthetic, and analytical work across a range of perspectives. It has more than 60 research-active staff, projects on five continents and in the Pacific, and wins regular and substantial research funding from a wide range of national and international sources. Research is carried out in tropical Africa, Asia, Britain and Europe, China, Egypt, the Pacific, South America and the Caribbean.

The institute is organised in three major sections: Archaeological Science, Heritage Studies, World Archaeology, and has over 20 research networks.

Research focuses on the following areas:

  • Archaeological theory
  • Archaeology of hunter-gatherer, early agrarian and ancient urban societies
  • Comparative archaeology in a global context
  • Human palaeobiology, subsistence, diet and health
  • Indigenous archaeology
  • Museum studies, heritage management and public archaeology
  • Palaeoecology and environmental change
  • Prehistoric, ancient and classical art
  • Quantitative methods and computer applications
  • Technology and conservation of ancient materials.

Research environment

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 you progress, 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 length of registration for the research degree is three years full time. You are required to register initially for the MPhil degree with the expectation of transfer to PhD after successful completion of an upgrade viva 9-18 months after initial registration. 

We will support you throughout your period of research. In your first year, you will be asked to plan the basic structure of your project. You will attend appropriate induction courses and your work will be reviewed throughout the year. In the summer term, you will be asked to write a first year review of your research to the Graduate Student Research Committee and give a short presentation of your work.

In your second year student you are expected to upgrade from MPhil to PhD student status. To successfully upgrade to PhD you are required to submit a piece of written work (this is normally based on one chapter or your thesis). You are also required to give a half hour presentation and answer questions about your work to a panel consisting of a Chair and a further two academic members of staff who can comment on your research. You may then have the option to carry out fieldwork depending on the nature of your research.

The PhD programme is expected to be completed within three years for full-time students, and over five years for part-time students. If you are not ready to submit at the end of the third year, you may be able to register as a completing research status (CRS) student for one further year while you write up your thesis. While on CRS you will have continued access to UCL facilities and are not required to pay fees.

The length of registration for the research degree is five years part-time. You are required to register initially for the MPhil degree with the expectation of transfer to PhD after successful completion of an upgrade viva 15-30 months after initial registration. 

We will support you throughout your period of research. In your first year, you will be asked to plan the basic structure of your project. You will attend appropriate induction courses and your work will be reviewed throughout the year. In the summer term, you will be asked to write a first year review of your research to the Graduate Student Research Committee and give a short presentation of your work.

In your second year student you are expected to upgrade from MPhil to PhD student status. To successfully upgrade to PhD you are required to submit a piece of written work (this is normally based on one chapter or your thesis). You are also required to give a half hour presentation and answer questions about your work to a panel consisting of a Chair and a further two academic members of staff who can comment on your research. You may then have the option to carry out fieldwork depending on the nature of your research.

In your third or subsequent years, you be asked to submit a further progress form to the Graduate Student Research Committee. The PhD programme is expected to be completed within five years for part-time students. If you are not ready to submit at the end of the third year, you may be able to register as a completing research status (CRS) student for one further year while you write up your thesis. While on CRS you will have continued access to UCL facilities and are not required to pay fees.

Accessibility

Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble accessable.co.uk. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team.


Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2023/24) £5,860 £2,930
Tuition fees (2023/24) £26,200 £13,100

The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Where the programme is offered on a flexible/modular basis, fees are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.

Additional costs

Additional research costs associated with PhD research vary depending on the project. Some students may need to complete research trips, both in the UK and overseas, depending on the scope of their research. Students whose PhD is being funded by an external body will likely receive a research allowance as part of their award.

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Funding your studies

Competitive applications for LAHP (AHRC) awards for MPhil/PhD study may be made via the UCL Institute of Archaeology. The admissions deadline for those wishing to be considered for LAHP (AHRC) funding is likely to be early December. Please contact the institute  for details.

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

UCL Research Opportunity Scholarship (ROS)

Deadline: 13 January 2023
Value: UK rate fees, a maintenance stipend, conference costs and professional development package (3 years)
Criteria Based on both academic merit and financial need
Eligibility: UK

Next steps

Deadlines and start dates are usually dictated by funding arrangements so check with the department or academic unit to see if you need to consider these in your application preparation. In most cases you should identify and contact potential supervisors before making your application. For more information see our How to apply page. Applicants are strongly advised to submit a complete application by 1 May 2023. Applications submitted after this date take significantly longer to process. The UCL Institute of Archaeology offers two start dates only: September and January.

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes (or one application for the Law LLM) in any application cycle.

Choose your programme

Please read the Application Guidance before proceeding with your application.

Year of entry: 2023-2024

Year of entry: 2022-2023

Got questions? Get in touch

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.