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Postgraduate Study

The MPhil in Human Evolutionary Studies is a full-time interdisciplinary course, taken over a period of ten months, and involving teaching in evolutionary anthropology; hominin evolution; primate behaviour and evolution; human behavioural ecology and cognition; health and disease in human evolution; cultural evolution; prehistoric archaeology; and evolutionary genetics. The lecturers are primarily involved in research and teaching within Biological Anthropology in the Department of Archaeology.

This taught MPhil is intended for applicants who are prepared for graduate work and wish to receive interdisciplinary training, but who do not have sufficient education in human evolutionary studies in their background to be considered for the research MPhil or doctoral work. This is a demanding course which enables students to obtain interdisciplinary training and specialist knowledge in an area of human evolutionary studies over a relatively short time frame. The course prepares students to undertake an advanced degree, subject to overall performance.

Learning Outcomes

The MPhil in Human Evolutionary Studies aims to:

  1. give students the chance to learn, at an advanced level, about the major topics in human evolution and related fields;
  2. provide students with the opportunity to review and discuss major research questions in human evolution;
  3. provide students with intellectual skills that will allow them to undertake independent research in human evolution;
  4. give students the appropriate intellectual and mentoring context for the development of an independent research project; and
  5. prepare students for research at a doctoral level and to equip students to be future leaders in Human Evolutionary Studies and allied fields around the world.


MPhil students taking Human Evolutionary Studies who wish to continue to the PhD in Biological Anthropology are required to achieve an overall mark of at least 68 in the MPhil degree and at least 68 in the dissertation. Before applying they will need to obtain support from a potential PhD supervisor. This need not be the same person who supervises the MPhil thesis but students will need to let the potential PhD supervisor see substantive written work in addition to a draft thesis proposal at an early stage 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 beginning of November. 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.

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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 2023

Applications open
Sept. 15, 2022
Application deadline
April 26, 2023
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2023

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

Course Funding Deadline
Jan. 5, 2023
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 12, 2022

These deadlines apply to applications for courses starting in Michaelmas 2023, Lent 2024 and Easter 2024.

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