The Department of Anthropology and Archaeology has an international 'four-field' approach, combining archaeology with evolutionary, social and linguistic anthropology. Our key strengths lie in our integrated approaches to understanding cultural, biological and social diversity and change. We focus particularly on adaptation, adversity and globalisation. Our research themes include 'Ecologies', 'Liveable Futures', 'Transitions and Turbulence', and 'Connections and Methods'.

Our research spans from earliest prehistory to the modern day. Field research takes place in the UK, as well as Bhutan, Brazil, China, Colombia, Dominica, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mexico, Peru, Singapore, Venezuela, and elsewhere.

We are well equipped to undertake anthropological and archaeological fieldwork, including excavation, and we have world-class radiocarbon dating, isotopic and micro-imaging laboratories on site. We foster partnerships with professional institutions nationally and locally to provide additional collaborative opportunities for our students (for example, with the Royal Anthropological Institute Ethnographic Film Festival, UNESCO City of Film, and Bristol Museum and Art Gallery).

In addition, we draw on expertise and facilities from across the University (such as the Brigstow Institute; Cabot Institute for the Environment; Elizabeth Blackwell Institute for Health Research; Jean Golding Institute). We also work closely with institutes and centres in the Faculties of Social Sciences and Law (Migration Mobilities Bristol; the Centre for Environmental Humanities; and the Centre for Health, Humanities and Science), as well as the Faculty of Science (Bristol Isotope Group; Organic Geochemistry Unit).

Programme structure

MPhil: a standalone, one-year (full-time) research degree. Students will undertake their own research project, concluding in the submission of a 25,000-word dissertation. Students may have the option to audit units from our taught master's programmes if they are relevant to their research.

PhD: a research project undertaken across four years (full-time, minimum period of study three years), culminating in an 80,000-word thesis. As well as having the option to audit taught units, there may be the potential for PhD students to teach units themselves from their second year of study onwards.

The MPhil and PhD can be studied via distance learning.

Entry requirements

MPhil: A mid-level upper second-class degree or international equivalent, with evidence of first class research. Please note, acceptance will also depend upon evidence of your readiness to pursue a research degree.

PhD: A master's qualification, or be working towards a master's qualification, or international equivalent, with evidence of first class/distinction-level research. Applicants without a master's qualification may be considered on an exceptional basis provided they hold a first-class undergraduate degree (or international equivalent). Applicants with a non-traditional background may be considered provided they can demonstrate substantial equivalent and relevant experience that has prepared them to undertake their proposed course of study.

See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.

Go to admissions statement

If English is not your first language, you will need to reach the requirements outlined in our profile level C.

Further information about English language requirements and profile levels.

Fees and funding

UK: full-time
£4,758 per year
UK: part-time
£2,379 per year
Overseas: full-time
£20,700 per year

Fees are subject to an annual review. For programmes that last longer than one year, please budget for up to an 8% increase in fees each year.

More about tuition fees, living costs and financial support.

Alumni discount

University of Bristol students and graduates can benefit from a 25% reduction in tuition fees for postgraduate study. Check your eligibility for an alumni discount.

Funding for 2024/25

Students will be eligible to apply for PhD studentships from the AHRC South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership (SWWDTP), which will be offering studentships for September entry.

From 2024, students will also be eligible to apply for PhD studentships from the ESRC South West Doctoral Training Partnership (SWDTP)

For information on other funding opportunities, including University-funded studentships, please see the Faculty of Arts funding pages.

Further information on funding for prospective UK and international postgraduate students.

Career prospects

Graduates from our department have gone on to work in diverse professional contexts, including higher education and research, museums, the heritage sector, government, public and private sector organisations, international development, NGOs, and policy-making organisations.

Meet our supervisors

The following list shows potential supervisors for this programme. Visit their profiles for details of their research and expertise.


Research groups

Adversity: We address the resilience of humanity in the face of major challenges past and present, such as diet and disease, climate change, energy use and resource extraction, conflict and technological change.

Adaptation: We explore the biological and cultural evolutionary processes that generate human diversity.

Globalisation: We discover how the movement of people, ideas and objects has an impact on continuity and change, from the Neolithic to the present day.