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Postgraduate Admissions

Course closed:

Human Evolutionary Studies is no longer accepting new applications.


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, human and hominin morphology, primate behaviour and evolution, archaeology and 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. Subject to performance in the examination, the course prepares students to undertake an advanced degree.

One to one supervision

Supervisions are offered on thesis and seminars are offered on papers. 

Students are able to request supervisions with their supervisors as and when required and feasible.

Seminars & classes

Students attend a series of academic and professional development seminars and are expected to give 1 presentation focused on their thesis progression. There will also be a seminar-based compulsory paper exclusively for Biological Anthropology MPhils, covering a range of advances in the field.


This MPhil course has a structure allowing students to specialise in areas of particular interest whilst ensuring they receive some foundation in core sub-disciplines. Students also receive training in methods for statistical inference.


Some modules will have coursework or practical elements, depending on student choice and modules on offer.

Small group teaching

Students are able to attend and organise seminars.

Journal clubs

May be arranged as small interest groups. The MPhil only seminar paper will have a format somewhat analogous to a journal club.


As arranged on an individual basis with supervisors.


Formative feedback is provided in written comments on assessed work. 2-3 individual meetings with the MPhil Director are scheduled across the year, and more can be arranged on request. All marks released to students through the course of the year are provisional until certified by the final examiners meeting which is usually held in late September.


Thesis / Dissertation

All students will write a thesis of not more than 20,000 words, excluding tables, appendices, and references, on a subject approved by the Department, This is worth 50 per cent of the final mark.


All students will undertake a quantitative exercise on statistical analysis and interpretation and a number of essays and other written assignments. In all, these short assignments will total 50% of the final mark.

The written assignments may take the form of an essay, article, grant application or laboratory report as determined year by year. Excluding the quantitative exercise, these assignments will total no more than 8000 words.

Written examination

Not normally required. Examiners reserve the right to request an oral examination.

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:

Applications open
Sept. 1, 2020
Application deadline
April 26, 2021
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2021

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

Graduate Funding Competition
Jan. 7, 2021
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 14, 2020

These deadlines apply to applications for courses starting in Michaelmas 2021, Lent 2022 and Easter 2022.

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