Postgraduate study

Archaeology PhD

Awards: PhD

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

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 and Historic Environment Scotland.

Staff have internationally recognised expertise in the prehistory of Europe, the Mediterranean and Near East (including Egyptology), as well as in archaeological theory, environmental and landscape archaeology (including geographical information systems), osteoarchaeology, and various aspects of science-based archaeology.

Focal areas of research include: bioarchaeology; 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, all our PhD students pursue an individually tailored programme of research and professional skills training agreed with their supervisors.

Our building offers you exceptional, modern facilities, resources and study spaces, in a stunning location.

Our postgraduate students have access to:

  • A dedicated study and computing lab with printing, copying and scanning facilities, overlooking the Meadows, one of the city’s best-loved green spaces.
  • Two research rooms, shared with undergraduates, housing some of our impressive book collections and a small selection of computing facilities.
  • A large common room overlooking the Meadows, shared by graduate students and staff.
  • Our PhD study room. Subject to available desk space, you may apply after semester one of your first year.
  • A number of small-scale teaching rooms, well-equipped with facilities such as data projection and smart boards.
  • Exhibition areas, filled with artefacts and artwork from our collections.

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.

Our location, right in the heart of Edinburgh, means you will be based close to the city’s cultural attractions and facilities, including a wealth of libraries, archives, museums and galleries, which provide uniquely rich support for the disciplines we teach.

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. Students 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.

Our PhD students develop a highly valued set of research and professional skills which enable them to go on to a wide variety of careers including academia and in sectors such as museums and heritage, commercial or developer-funded archaeology, the civil service and teaching.

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

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.0 in each module)

  • TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 20 in each module)

  • PTE Academic: 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

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, PTE Academic or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

Find out more about our language requirements:

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
PhDArchaeology3 YearsFull-timeTuition fees
PhDArchaeology6 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

Featured funding

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK government loan schemes. The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on your programme, the duration of your studies, and your residency status. (Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.)

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • School of History, Classics & Archaeology
  • Graduate School Office, Room 2.29, William Robertson Wing
  • Teviot Place
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AG
Programme start date Application deadline
14 September 2020 3 August 2020

If you are applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.

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