Postgraduate Students

PhD in Archaeology

Our PhD in Archaeology offers you the opportunity to study archaeology at an advanced level through independent research.

The Archaeology subject area offers research supervision across a wide range of fields.

Our Focal areas of research include:

  • Bioarchaeology/ Human Osteoarchaeology/ Biological Anthropology

  • Human–environment interactions

  • The transition from hunter-gatherer to farming communities

  • The development of complex societies

  • Cultural heritage perspectives on the past, present, and future

These research areas are complemented by research expertise in related disciplines elsewhere in the School and the University. The breadth of expertise in the School and in the wider University makes it possible for us to supervise a very wide range of topics.

We have a  wide range of expertise covering different areas, time periods and themes, including:

  • Bioarchaeology and isotope studies

  • Egyptology

  • Roman and ‘Celtic’ archaeology

  • The Byzantine World and Late Antiquity  

  • Megalithic monuments

  • Prehistory of Europe, the Mediterranean and North-East Africa

  • Early civilisations and urban societies

  • The archaeology of Scotland

  • Cultural heritage and sustainability

  • Digital heritage and heritage policy

  • Archaeomaterials analysis  

  • Human evolution

  • Conflict archaeology

  • Medieval archaeology

  • Computational archaeology

  • Marine and coastal archaeology

  • Buildings archaeology

  • Archaeological survey-Landscape Archaeology


Each student is allocated at least two supervisors, allowing us to combine thematic, chronological and disciplinary expertise in the supervisory team. We also have close links with external organisations, such as the National Museums of Scotland and Historic Scotland, and may be able to include external partners in supervisory teams. Details of PhD projects currently being undertaken in the School can be found on our list of research student web profiles.

Programme structure

The PhD is a substantial piece of independent research which makes a contribution to the state of existing knowledge in the field. The PhD programme is designed to take three years full-time or six years part time. The PhD is examined by submission of a thesis of up to 100,000 words and by oral examination.

PhD students work closely with their supervisors, who are recognised experts in the field of study. All PhD students pursue an individually tailored programme of research training agreed with their supervisors. Full details of the training we provide are available on our PhD training pages. PhD students are also encouraged to share their research with other postgraduate students through workshops and seminars, and to take an active part in the research life of the archaeology subject area, the School and the University.

You must contact a potential supervisor  to discuss your research project before making a formal application.

Contact us

If you have any questions about the programme, please contact the Graduate Officer.

Dr Linda Fibiger

Lecturer; Human Osteoarchaeology

  • School of History, Classics and Archaeology
  • University of Edinburgh

Contact details


Apply for this programme


  • All candidates who want apply for funding must submit their application for a place at the University in advance of the relevant funding deadline (in December and January typically - details can be found on the funding website).
  • The final deadline for which the School will consider applications for the programme is 1 July 2024.

Apply through our Degree Finder now

  • If you are hoping to study for this degree by distance please read further details and entry requirements here - PhD by Distance