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Postgraduate Admissions

Course closed:

Archaeological Research is no longer accepting new applications.


The MPhil provides training in archaeological research methods and associated transferable skills, and the opportunity to complete a research dissertation under academic guidance. The MPhil in Archaeological Research consists of three components, structured around independent study:

A research paper (6,000 words)

A research skills module

The dissertation (25,000 words)

One to one supervision

Students can normally expect to have around eight supervision sessions per year depending on the nature of their research and dissertation.

The University of Cambridge publishes an annual Code of Practice which sets out the University’s expectations regarding supervision.

Seminars & classes

Attendance at seminars and classes is not a required component of the MPhil in Archaeological Research, with the exception of the research skills module. However, students are encouraged to attend classes relevant to their chosen research topic.


Attendance at lectures is not a required component of the MPhil in Archaeological Research, with the exception of the research skills module. However, students are encouraged to attend lectures relevant to their chosen research topic.


Practical sessions are not a required component of the MPhil in Archaeological Research. However, students are encouraged to attend practical sessions relevant to their chosen research topic.

Small group teaching

Most teaching is conducted on a one-to-one basis. Students are, however, encouraged to engage with the broader graduate research community during the course of their studies.

Journal clubs

Students are encouraged to involve themselves in the Department's Postgraduate-run journal, the 'Archaeological Review from Cambridge'.

Literature Reviews

Literature reviews are expected to form part of the assessed research paper submitted in the Easter term in preparation for the dissertation.

Posters and Presentations

All MPhil students are usually required to make a presentation to staff and peers as part of the assessed component of their research skills module.


Students receive written feedback on their research paper and assessed elements of the research skills module from internal markers via the Postgraduate Administrator. Final overall marks are made available to students following the final examiners' meeting which is usually held at the end of September.

Students are invited to group meetings throughout the year to discuss progress and concerns in order to address issues as and when they arise.

All students will undergo regular supervision sessions with their dissertation supervisor.


Thesis / Dissertation

The dissertation is an extended piece of independent, original research. Students work with their supervisor to formulate a dissertation project, carry out research and write it up. The topic of the dissertation has to be approved by the Faculty Degree Committee; the maximum permitted length of the dissertation is 25,000 words (excluding bibliography, tables, figures and appendices) and is submitted at the end of August; it counts as 70 per cent of the student’s final mark.


A research paper of up to 6000 words will account for 25 per cent of the final mark for the degree and will be developed under guidance from the student’s supervisor. The research paper is an important milestone which helps students progress towards the dissertation.


Attendance at the relevant research skills workshops is required of all MPhil students in the Department of Archaeology. Its mode of assessment may include a research proposal and/or an oral presentation (supported by visual aids) to teaching staff and peers.

Key Information

11 months full-time

Master of Philosophy

Department of Archaeology

Course - related enquiries

Application - related enquiries

Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Applications open
Sept. 1, 2021
Application deadline
April 26, 2022
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2022

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Graduate Funding Competition
Jan. 6, 2022
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 13, 2021

These deadlines apply to applications for courses starting in Michaelmas 2022, Lent 2023 and Easter 2023.

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