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Postgraduate Study

Course closed:

Biological Anthropological Science is no longer accepting new applications.


This is a research-based course. Non-assessed events in which students are normally expected to participate include short presentations on thesis work, professional skills presentations, laboratory sessions and individual meetings with the course director.

One to one supervision

Students receive one-to-one supervision on their theses; these are scheduled as and when required and feasible.

Students are encouraged to attend relevant seminars, and participate in post-seminar informal discussions with academic staff and other students. 

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

Seminars & classes

The MPhil in Biological Anthropological Science does not have a teaching component in the form of lectures or seminars. However, students are strongly encouraged to attend the MPhil Research Skills seminars, the Biological Anthropology seminars that take place once a week during term, and any other seminars relevant to their study.


None required, but students are free to attend any lectures in the Department.


None required, but students are encouraged to attend any practicals associated with courses that would enhance their methodological and technical skills. Students should approach the relevant course coordinator for permission, as these sessions may have restricted-size classes

Journal clubs

Journal clubs are normally student-driven and organised around particular interest groups. Students are encouraged to organise them, and to invite other students and researchers to participate.

Posters and Presentations

None required, but students are encouraged to present a poster on the progress of their thesis together with the students in the MPhil in Human Evolutionary Studies, and thus develop their science communication skills.


Students receive regular feedback on their thesis - defining the project, methodology, data collection, analysis, and writing, from their appointed supervisor throughout the academic year.

Students who wish to continue to the PhD can also receive feedback on their proposals and advice on applications from their supervisor or any other appropriate member of the academic staff.



Thesis / Dissertation

The thesis is an extended piece of independent, original research. Students work with their supervisor to formulate a thesis project, carry out research and write it up. The topic must be approved by the Faculty Degree Committee. Students may choose between two alternative formats for their thesis:

  • either in the form of a thesis of not more than 30,000 words in length, exclusive of tables, bibliography and appendices, or

  • in the form of at least two research articles, inclusive of data analysis, formatted as an integrated piece of research, with a table of contents, a chapter that outlines the scope and provides an in-depth review of the subject of study, a concluding chapter discussing the findings and contribution to the field, and a consolidated bibliography. The articles may be in preparation, submitted for publication or already published, and the combined work should not exceed 30,000 words in length, exclusive of bibliography and appendices containing supplementary information associated with the articles. 

The assessment includes an oral examination (viva) on the thesis and on the general field of knowledge within which it falls. The thesis shall provide evidence to satisfy the examiners that a candidate can design and carry out investigations, assess and interpret the results obtained, and place the work in the wider perspectives of the subject. The thesis and examination form the sole assessment for the degree. 



The MPhil in Biological Anthropological Science is assessed solely on the basis of a thesis.


Although not assessed, attendance at the relevant Research Skills seminars and workshops is strongly encouraged.

Key Information

11 months full-time

2 years part-time

Study Mode : Research

Master of Philosophy

Department of Archaeology

Course - related enquiries

Application - related enquiries

Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

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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