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Postgraduate Study

Course closed:

Archaeology is no longer accepting new applications.


All MPhil students in the Department of Archaeology take a Research Skills module and write a dissertation (15,000 words maximum). For each option, students will choose from a list of mandatory and optional modules a combination of one-term modules and two-term modules, making up a total equivalent of three two-term modules (possible combinations include one two-term module and four one-term modules, two two-term modules and two one-term modules, and three two-term modules). Average class hours are variable according to programme.

The assessed components of the Research Skills module represent 5% of the final mark, and the dissertation counts for 50% of the final mark. The remaining 45% will be made up from assessment in the mandatory and optional modules.

All module choices must have the approval of the module's instructor and the MPhil in Archaeology coordinator.

One to one supervision

Supervisions with module coordinators or their regular supervisor give the student the opportunity to discuss general and specific issues in the conduct of the course. A supervisor, possibly but not necessarily the same one, will also be appointed for the dissertation, to help with the choice of topic and monitor the progress of the student’s research for the dissertation throughout the year. Supervisions provide the student with an opportunity to seek academic information and advice and they provide the forum to monitor the student's progress.

Students can normally expect to have around 6-8 supervision sessions per year depending on the nature of their course and dissertation.

Seminars & classes

Seminars are designed to provide students with intensive engagement with academic staff across a wide range of specialisms relevant to the modules selected. Seminars are designed to be interactive and preparation and participation in seminars are expected of all students. In all taught modules, students may be required to give seminar-style presentations from time to time. Most modules include a number of seminars during Michaelmas and Lent terms. Students can expect around 2-4 hours per week of seminars in Michaelmas and Lent terms depending on their module choices. 


Lectures are designed to present and discuss the major academic disciplines covered in each module. Most modules are structured around lecture-based teaching. Students can expect around 4-8 hours per week of lectures in Michaelmas and Lent terms depending on their module choices. 


Some modules may have practical elements. Where this is the case there may be one or two sessions in the Michaelmas and Lent Terms.

Posters and Presentations

All MPhil students are usually required to make a presentation to staff and peers as part of the assessed component of their Research Skills module. Some taught modules use student presentations within a class as a pedagogical tool.


Students receive written feedback on all assessed coursework via the teaching administrator. Final marks are made available to students following the final examiners meeting in September/October.

Students are invited to group meetings throughout the year to discuss progress and concerns in order to address issues as and when they arise.

All students will undergo regular supervision sessions with their dissertation supervisor.


Thesis / Dissertation

The dissertation is an extended piece of independent, original research. Students work with their supervisor to formulate a dissertation project, carry out research and write it up. The topic of the dissertation has to be approved by the Faculty Degree Committee. The dissertation has a maximum limit of 15,000 words (exclusive of tables, figures, footnotes, bibliography, and appendices) and is due at the end of July; it counts for 50% of the student’s final mark.


Students taking the MPhil in Archaeology are usually required to produce between three and six assessed essays depending on their chosen course of study and the modules they select. The essays are usually between 3000 and 4000 words in length.

Written examination

Students taking the MPhil in Archaeology may be required to sit in-class tests for some modules. Details will be given on the appropriate Moodle site at the beginning of the year.

Practical assessment

The MPhil in Archaeology does not include any practical assessment. Students may be assessed on written work produced as part of practical or laboratory sessions for some modules.


Attendance at the relevant Research Skills workshops is required of all MPhil students in the Department of Archaeology. Its mode of assessment may include a research proposal and an oral presentation (supported by visual aids) to teaching staff and peers.

Key Information

10 months full-time

Study Mode : Taught

Master of Philosophy

Department of Archaeology

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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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