Taught course


University of Cambridge · Division of Archaeology

Entry requirements

Applicants for this course should have achieved a UK High II.i Honours Degree or its international equivalent. Applications for the MPhil in Archaeology are considered as they are received on a rolling basis. Applicants are encouraged to apply early as programmes have a limited number of places each year.

Months of entry


Course content


Students may choose to specialise in any of the following options:

  • Archaeological Heritage and Museums
  • Archaeological Science
  • Archaeology of the Americas
  • Egyptian Archaeology
  • European Prehistory
  • Medieval Archaeology
  • Mesopotamian Archaeology
  • Palaeolithic and Mesolithic Archaeology
  • South Asian Archaeology

All MPhil students in the Division of Archaeology take a Research Skills Module and write a dissertation (15,000 words maximum). Students choosing Archaeology of the Americas, Archaeology of Egypt, European Archaeology, Medieval Archaeology, Mesopotamian Archaeology, Palaeolithic and Mesolithic Archaeology, or South Asian Archaeology take:

  1. the Core Archaeology course
  2. the appropriate area option course
  3. any other module offered by the Division of Archaeology (in consultation with the supervisor and MPhil coordinator).

The assessed components of the three selected modules each represent 15% of the final mark. The assessed components of Research Skills module represents 5%, while the dissertation counts for 50% of the final mark.

The Core Archaeology course introduces current debates in archaeological theory and the history of archaeological thought, as well as archaeological methods (ranging from the study of prehistoric exchange to bio-archaeological techniques to artefact studies, quantitative analyses and dating methods). Area option courses examine the archaeology of a particular region of the world (such as South Asia or Europe) in detail. Students are encouraged to choose a third module from the range of MPhil options on offer in the Division of Archaeology to complement their specific interests (e.g., heritage, science, material culture, etc). All module choices must have the approval of the module's instructor and the MPhil in Archaeology Coordinator.

Students electing the Archaeological Heritage option will take three taught modules:

  1. The Socio-politics of the Past
  2. Museums: History, Theory, and Practice
  3. Management of the Archaeological Heritage. This course concentrates on issues of differentiation of interpretation.

The topics are all of academic importance and the teaching focuses on a theoretical understanding of the issues involved, with practical examples used as case studies. The aim is to educate you within this expanding field and to activate further research.

Students choosing the Archaeological Science option will take:

  1. Archaeological Science
  2. Practical Application of Scientific Methods modules
  3. One other module offered by the Division of Archaeology (chosen in consultation with the supervisor and MPhil Coordinator).

This course covers a broad range of scientific archaeological approaches with geo- and bioarchaeological foci, from theoretical, methodological and practical points of view. A series of recurrent case studies is used to introduce the questions, techniques and ideas applicable in each archaeological situation. In addition, this MPhil equips students with analytical skills in archaeological science.

Fees and funding

Fee Home: GBP10500, EU: GBP10500, Overseas: GBP20535

Qualification and course duration


full time
11 months



The dissertation is an extended piece of independent, original research. Students work with their supervisor to formulate a dissertation project, carry out research and write it up. The topic of the dissertation has to be approved by the Faculty Degree Committee. The dissertation is of maximum 15,000 words (excluding bibliography and appendices) and is due at the end of August; it counts as 50% of the student’s final mark.


Students taking the MPhil in Archaeology are usually required to produce between 3 and 6 assessed essays depending on their chosen course of study and the modules they select. The essays are between 3000 and 4000 words and are submitted in Michaelmas, Lent and Easter Terms.


Students taking the MPhil in Archaeology are required to sit written examinations for some modules.

Practical Assessment

The MPhil in Archaeology does not include any practical assessment. Students may be assessed on written work produced as part of practical or laboratory sessions for some modules.

Other Assessment

Attendance at the relevant Research Skills Workshops is required of all MPhil students in the Division of Archaeology. MPhil students submit a 2000 word research proposal and give a presentation to teaching staff and peers which form the assessed part of the Research Skills module and are worth 5% of the overall MPhil degree.

Course contact details

+44 1223 337733