Research course

Biological Anthropology

University of Cambridge · Department of Archaeology and Anthropology

Entry requirements

At least a good 2:1 or equivalent university first degree in an appropriate subject (several biological sciences, anthropology, archaeology). Fieldwork experience advantageous.

Months of entry

January, October, April

Course content

The Division has a thriving PhD programme in Human Evolution and Behaviour, Human Population Biology and Health, and Primate Ecology and Genetics. Applications to carry out doctoral research within these research areas are welcomed from well-qualified candidates.

The PhD is an opportunity for original research leading to a dissertation within a structured research environment that encourages both independence and collaboration. A PhD degree in Biological Anthropology is normally obtained after three years of study (five years part-time) on an approved subject within the field of Biological Anthropology, and includes an oral examination of 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. Most PhD students begin their studies in October, but starting dates at the beginning of January or April are also possible. The PhD is assessed solely on the basis of the thesis examination.

A PhD thesis in Biological Anthropology must represent a significant contribution to knowledge of not more than 80,000 words, excluding appendices, footnotes and bibliography. Students may be required to complete courses in research design, statistical analysis, interpretation, communication and University safety during their first Michaelmas term at Cambridge, and attend such lectures and courses as are considered appropriate by their supervisor.

Department specialisms

Human Evolutionary Studies; Human Population Biology and Ecology; Anthropological Primate Genetics; Primate Behavioural Studies.

Fees and funding

National (University, college, industry, charity, private, ORS) and international funding bodies.

Qualification and course duration


part time
60-72 months
full time
36-48 months

Course contact details

01223 764711
01223 764710