Postgraduate study


Awards: PhD

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding available

Programme website: Archaeology

We have a long and distinguished tradition of teaching, research and fieldwork in archaeology at Edinburgh, all of which are closely integrated.

We have active research contacts with the National Museums of Scotland, the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre (SUERC) and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments (RCAHMS).

We host research groups in palaeoeconomy and Cypriot archaeology, both involving close collaboration with the SUERC. Staff have internationally recognised expertise in the prehistory of Europe, the Mediterranean and Near East, as well as in archaeological theory, environmental archaeology, osteoarchaeology and forensic anthropology.

Focal areas of research include: human–environment interactions; the transition from hunter-gatherer to farming communities; and the development of complex societies. Our research profile in classical and historical archaeology has also expanded in recent years.

You will be assigned two supervisors who will provide expert academic guidance on your chosen research topic. You will meet regularly to discuss your progress and research plans, as well as drafts of your thesis/dissertation chapters, conference papers and potential articles.

In addition to individual supervision, you will also have access to research training and postgraduate seminars.

Our home is the William Robertson Wing, an A-listed building on the southern edge of Edinburgh’s Old Town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Designed by the distinguished 19th-century architect Sir Robert Rowand Anderson, the building – part of the University’s Old Medical School – has recently been refurbished to an exceptional standard, providing state-of-the-art facilities for research, teaching and study.

Graduate students enjoy access to:

  • a large and attractive study and computing lab, equipped with printing, copying and scanning facilities, plus two further study rooms that provide shared desk space
  • student research rooms, housing some of the School’s impressive book collections and additional IT facilities
  • teaching rooms fitted out with the latest technology
  • exhibition areas, filled with artefacts, artwork, statues, busts and casts from the School’s many collections
  • a stunning common room, used by staff as well as graduate students

All of our facilities are in addition to the multiple libraries and computer labs provided across the University’s estate. Many of our rooms overlook the Meadows, one of the city’s best-loved green spaces.

Archaeology students benefit from our laboratories for artefact analysis, environmental archaeology, osteoarchaeology, bone chemistry and computing (with a wide range of software applications).

There is an extensive reference collection of archaeological materials, such as pottery, metal, stone and glass artefacts, in the V Gordon Childe teaching collection.

You can also benefit from the facilities, archives, collections and expertise of a range of heritage agencies and commercial archaeology units based in the city of Edinburgh.

A UK 2:1 honours degree in a relevant discipline and a relevant masters degree with a mark of at least 65% in the dissertation and 65% overall, or their international equivalents.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

All applicants must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of their English language ability:

  • an undergraduate or masters degree, that was taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country as defined by UK Visas and Immigration

  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.0 in each module)
  • TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 20 in each module)
  • PTE(A): total 67 (at least 56 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections)
  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 169 in each module)
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components

Degrees taught and assessed in English must be no more than two and a half years old at the beginning of your degree programme. Language tests must be no more than two years old at the beginning of your degree programme.

Find out more about our language requirements:

For detailed information on fee status, policies and payment see:

Additional costs may be incurred if your dissertation involves fieldwork or specialist laboratory analysis.

  • School of History, Classics & Archaeology
  • Graduate School Office, Room 2.29, William Robertson Wing
  • Teviot Place
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AG

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible. We may consider late applications if we have places available, but you should contact the relevant Admissions Office for advice first.

You must submit two references with your application.

You must submit a research proposal demonstrating your knowledge of your field of research, which will be closely scrutinised as part of the decision-making process.

Two supervisors will be appointed to work with you on the project: it is a good idea to consult with prospective supervisors before applying.

If necessary start dates outwith September and January are available. Please begin your application using the closest date and contact the Graduate School to discuss the matter.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • School of History, Classics & Archaeology
  • Graduate School Office, Room 2.29, William Robertson Wing
  • Teviot Place
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AG