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Postgraduate Admissions

10 courses offered in the* Department of Archaeology

The MPhil in Archaeological Research is a research degree for students who already have considerable experience in archaeology at undergraduate level and who wish to pursue a focused research project under academic guidance.

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Archaeological science has experienced phenomenal growth in the last two decades. Virtually all of the most prominent archaeological research projects led from the developed world include input from the sciences, and the greatest challenge for these is the relative lack of researchers with relevant interdisciplinary training, capable of engaging critically with archaeological questions while upholding the best standards of scientific practice. The Department of Archaeology at the University of Cambridge is recognised internationally as one of the leading centres for research and education in archaeological science. With a substantial number of UTOs and postdoctoral fellows specialising in different strands of archaeological science and capitalising on state-of-the-art laboratory facilities and shared resources of several other Departments and Faculties, the Department is among the very few in Europe that can truly offer comprehensive training across the sciences, covering both biological and non-biological materials, and well-grounded within archaeological theory and questions.

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This course allows students to gain a critical appreciation of archaeology, the human past, and its place in the modern world, as well as training in research and analytical skills and expertise in a chosen, specialist area.

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The Department of Archaeology offers an outstanding environment for research and supervision leading to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Archaeology on a wide range of archaeological topics ranging in time from the Palaeolithic to the modern day, and in space from the Americas to the UK and Europe, the Middle East, South Asia, South East Asia and Australia. We also specialise in archaeological theory, heritage studies, African studies, Assyriology, Egyptology and archaeological science.

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The MPhil in Assyriology introduces students with little or no previous knowledge to the study of ancient Mesopotamia in the historical period and allows those with some previous experience to enhance their understanding. The course provides a good knowledge of one (or both) of the principal languages of ancient Mesopotamia, Akkadian and Sumerian, and allows study of Mesopotamian culture, from 5000 BC through the earliest literate and urban societies of the Near East to the Assyrian and Babylonian empires. Through a flexible choice of modules, a student can acquire one or both of the languages of ancient Mesopotamia as preparation for research using cuneiform documents. This can be combined with a study of Mesopotamian literature and thought, and/or the archaeology and history of Mesopotamia.

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This is a master's degree by research in which the sole requirement is a thesis. It is suitable for those who have a strong background in biological anthropology, possibly including research experience. It is expected that the topic of research will fall within one of the areas supported by the Department.

An MPhil in Biological Anthropological Science may be obtained after one year of research on an approved subject within the field of Biological Anthropology and includes an oral examination of the thesis and the general field of knowledge in which it falls. The thesis topics are decided between the student and the supervisor, and assistance is provided on elements of methodology and analysis, as well as with the written presentation.

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Biological Anthropology has a thriving PhD programme. Topics covered include Human Evolution and Adaptation, Human Bioarchaeology, Human Behavioural and Evolutionary Ecology, Comparative Human Biology and Health, Human Evolutionary Genetics and Bioinformatics, and Primatology. Applications to carry out doctoral research within these research areas are welcomed from well-qualified candidates. Applicants must contact potential supervisors informally for discussions before they make their formal applications and name them on their application.

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The MPhil in Egyptology covers the archaeology and history of ancient Egypt and Nubia, as well as the languages of ancient Egypt, including Demotic and Coptic. Students will acquire detailed knowledge of the cultures of ancient Egypt and Nubia, emphasising historical archaeology, landscape and the built environment, material culture, and the language and literature of ancient Egypt.

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The MPhil in Heritage Studies is designed to provide a world-class Master’s-level education in the interdisciplinary field of Heritage Studies. The MPhil programme emphasises critical thinking about heritage and approaches that seek to analyse and understand the many ways heritage is involved in key contemporary challenges facing society. Students will attain a critical appreciation of the development of heritage as a public enterprise, its values and its uses.

The programme is built around two distinctive themes: the socio-politics of the past and heritage management. Flexibility and choice are provided by the ability of students to select period or region-based modules from the MPhil in Archaeology, allowing specialization in heritage issues affecting particular areas of the world or types of heritage.

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The MPhil in Human Evolutionary Studies is a full-time interdisciplinary course taken over a period of ten months with core teaching in: evolutionary anthropology; hominin evolution; primate behaviour and evolution; human behavioural ecology and cognition; health and disease in human evolution; cultural evolution; prehistoric archeology; and evolutionary genetics.

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Department Members


Professor C Broodbank
Head of Department

  • 19 Academic Staff
  • 37 Postdoctoral Researchers
  • 110 Graduate Students
  • 58 Undergraduates

http://www.arch.cam.ac.uk/

Research Areas