Research course

Biological Anthropology

University of Cambridge · Department of Archaeology and Anthropology

Entry requirements

Applicants for this course should have achieved a UK Masters (Merit).

If your degree is not from the UK, please check International Qualifications to find the equivalent in your country.

Applicants must have achieved an overall mark of at least 68 in a UK MA or MPhil or the equivalent from a non-UK institution and, where available, a dissertation mark of at least 68 or the equivalent, or possess relevant professional experience, and have an original and feasible research project idea to develop during their PhD. Applicants must contact potential supervisors before applying, and to discuss project ideas and feasibility, particularly for projects involving fieldwork. See 'how to apply' for further information.

Months of entry

January, April, October

Course content

The PhD in Biological Anthropology is an opportunity for original research leading to a thesis within a structured research environment that encourages both independence and collaboration. The PhD is normally obtained after three years of study (five years part-time) on an approved topic within the field of Biological Anthropology, and includes an oral examination on the thesis and the general field of knowledge in which it falls.

The thesis topic is normally proposed by the student and then decided between the student and the supervisor, and assistance is provided on elements of methodology and analysis, as well as with the written presentation. The thesis must satisfy the examiners that the candidate can design and carry out investigations, assess and interpret the results obtained, and place the work in the wider perspective of the subject. The PhD is assessed solely on the basis of the thesis.

A PhD thesis in Biological Anthropology must represent a significant contribution to knowledge, with a word count of not more than 80,000 words. The work may be in the format of a thesis, or as a collection of at least three research articles first-authored by the student. In the case of the latter, the submission should include an in-depth discussion of the topic on which the work falls, an overall discussion of the results obtained and insights gained, and a single combined bibliography. Students may be required to complete courses in research design, statistical analysis, interpretation, communication and safety during their first Michaelmas term at Cambridge, and attend such lectures and courses as are considered appropriate by their supervisor.

Learning Outcomes

A PhD thesis in Biological Anthropology is expected to be a lucid, scholarly and substantial research contribution to knowledge on its topic, and to demonstrate a good understanding of the wider context of the chosen topic.

Information for international students

Language Requirement

IELTS (Academic)

Element Score

Listening 7.0

Writing 7.0

Reading 7.0

Speaking 7.0

Total 7.5

TOEFL Internet Score

Element Score

Listening 25

Writing 25

Reading 25

Speaking 25

Total 110


Score: Grade A & B (overall score of 193, with no element lower than 185 plus a Language Centre assessment)


Score: Grade A, B, or C (with at least 200 with no element lower than 185).

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • PhD
    part time
    48-84 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    36-48 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details