Archaeology and Ancient History

Research degrees

If you are a graduate looking to delve deeper into the human past through doctoral study, consider joining us in Archaeology and Ancient History at Leicester. We are one of the UK's leading departments in both of these disciplines, with a top RAE* Grade 5 rating for research. Doctoral students constitute a vital part of this vibrant research community, and we are always looking to recruit more.

PhDs are available full-time or part-time, either campus-based or by distance learning. Subjects covered range from the archaeology of early prehistory to the modern era, and we cover all areas of ancient history. We help develop PhD students' skills at all levels through in-house training and through opportunities to join discussion groups, organise research seminars and even run our annual PhD conference.

Our expanding community of research students is currently approaching 65, of whom more than half are campus-based. The others are undertaking PhDs by distance learning, another mode of study in which we are a world leader.

Campus-based research degrees are available full-time (normally comprising three years of study, plus some 'writing-up time'; maximum registration of four years) or part-time (normal registration four years, maximum registration seven years). 

Our research

With more than 20 research-active staff, every major period is covered, from human evolution to post-medieval and historical archaeology. Our regional archaeological expertise includes Europe, Africa, Asia and America. The grouping of ancient historians within the School is especially prominent in coverage of history, texts, geographies, religion and art, both Greek and Roman, but extending also to the Near East and Babylon.  

You can find out more about our research specialisms and areas on our research pages.

Making an application

The most common reason for declining applications is the lack of suitable staff to supervise. We ask that prospective students submit a PhD Pre application Form (Doc, 17KB) in the first instance prior to submitting a formal application. Please complete the pre-application in full and email this along with your CV and draft research proposal to Acceptable thesis topics can be virtually anything relating to the wide-ranging research interests of our substantial staff of archaeologists and ancient historians, who constitute potential PhD supervisors.

However, selection has to be extremely careful to ensure that the right students, supervisors, research topics and resources are all properly in place together. At doctoral level we can only supervise topics for which we have staff with appropriate expertise. If we think you and the outline topic look suitable, then we will initiate discussions and ask you to write a much fuller research proposal.

If you would like to make an informal enquiry before submitting your pre-application form, please do contact the postgraduate administrator at

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