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Postgraduate Study

The MPhil in Biological Anthropological Science is a special course offered to students who already have substantial knowledge in biological anthropology. The course is focused solely on research, offering training and supervision on research skills and specialist knowledge during the process of working on a substantial research project. Prospective applicants are encouraged to approach a potential research supervisor for informal discussions before finalising their applications. The main aims of this research-only MPhil programme are: 

  • to offer students with relevant preparation and experience at first-degree level, e.g. in biological anthropology whether at Cambridge or elsewhere, the opportunity to carry out focused research in the discipline under PhD-style supervision; and  

  • to give students the opportunity to acquire or develop skills and expertise relevant to their research interests.  

The thesis must satisfy the examiners that the student can design and carry out investigations, assess and interpret the results obtained, and place the work in the wider perspective of the subject. This course begins in October, with the submission of the thesis in late July. The oral examination will take place at a later date to be determined by the examiners.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this MPhil, students should have a comprehensive understanding of a particular field of research in evolutionary anthropology and its theoretical premises, have acquired and developed appropriate research and analytical techniques, and have experienced the design, implementation and write-up of a substantial original research project.

Through this MPhil, students acquire a practical understanding of how research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge in their field, develop critical skills for the evaluation of current research, and learn to use cutting-edge research techniques and methodologies. Because of the research focus of this MPhil, students also develop strong self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems. 



Students taking the MPhil in Biological Anthropological Science who wish to continue to the PhD in Biological Anthropology are required to pass the MPhil degree (which is Pass/Fail only). They must obtain the support of an appropriate supervisor before making an application. Funding deadlines concentrate around October-December, so students who wish to apply for a PhD should approach potential supervisors with project ideas early in the academic year. 


Open Days

The Postgraduate Virtual Open Day usually takes place at the end of October. It’s a great opportunity to ask questions to admissions staff and academics, explore the Colleges virtually, and to find out more about courses, the application process and funding opportunities. Visit the Postgraduate Open Day page for more details.

See further the Postgraduate Admissions Events pages for other events relating to Postgraduate study, including study fairs, visits and international events.

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Key Information

11 months full-time

2 years part-time

Master of Philosophy

Department of Archaeology

Course - related enquiries

Application - related enquiries

Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Michaelmas 2024

Applications open
Sept. 4, 2023
Application deadline
April 24, 2024
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2024

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

Course Funding Deadline
Jan. 4, 2024
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 11, 2023

These deadlines apply to applications for courses starting in Michaelmas 2024, Lent 2025 and Easter 2025.

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