skip to content

Postgraduate Study

Students who come to Cambridge to do the MPhil in Human Evolutionary Studies are interested in learning the broad and interdisciplinary field of evolutionary anthropology in depth, and to carry out a research project on a topic within the discipline at postgraduate level. Because the programme includes both a taught and a research component, its scope is ideal for students who have a background in biological anthropology, evolutionary biology, zoology, archaeology, psychology, and medical and veterinary sciences. This is a demanding interdisciplinary programme of study and research that enables students to obtain in-depth knowledge across human evolutionary studies and specialist research training in an area within this field over a relatively short time frame. Students who do this course come to Cambridge from the UK and abroad.

 The aims of the course are to:  

provide students with the opportunity to study substantive issues and debates in human evolutionary studies; 

give students the opportunity to learn aspects of current research in human evolutionary studies through lectures, seminars and discussions from an international team of researchers with expertise and strengths in these areas; 

enable students to acquire the critical thinking and intellectual skills necessary for undertaking independent research in some aspect of human evolutionary studies; 

to create an intellectual environment and platform that encourages students to learn from each other, particularly in seminar discussions, and one in which students benefit from the lived and learnt experiences and knowledge from peers from across the world; 

prepare students for research at doctoral level and equip them to be future leaders in evolutionary approaches to the understanding of humans today.




Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this MPhil, students should have: 

  • interdisciplinary training in human evolutionary studies, gaining familiarity with a range of intellectual and methodological approaches; 

  • in-depth knowledge of specialised subjects and themes in evolutionary anthropology; 

  • the skills necessary to conduct independent research, providing students with transferable skills, particularly in data science, and training in management of research projects from design through to completion; 

  • the ability to express themselves in written work precisely, clearly and persuasively, as well as to produce a substantial thesis on a research subject.


Students taking the MPhil in Human Evolutionary Studies who wish to apply for the PhD in Biological Anthropology at Cambridge are required to achieve an overall mark of at least 68 in the MPhil degree and at least 68 in the dissertation. 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. In some circumstances, additional academic conditions may be set to ensure that appropriate skills are in place prior to admittance to the PhD programme.


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.

Apply Now

Key Information

10 months full-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.

Similar Courses