Archaeology and Ancient History

PhD, MPhil

The School of Archaeology and Ancient History offers supervision for the degrees of:

  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) - full-time and part-time
  • Master of Philosophy (MPhil) - full-time and part-time

These degrees are available to study on campus and the PhD is available by distance learning.

Supervision and research areas

We offer supervision in Archaeology and Ancient History in areas compatible with the research interests of our academic staff including:

  • Ancient History
  • Bioarchaeology
  • Prehistoric Archaeology
  • Greek Archaeology
  • Roman Archaeology
  • Medieval and Historical Archaeology
  • Landscape Archaeology

Interested in a different research area?

It is important that the area you want to work in is broadly compatible with our research interests - otherwise we may not be able to accept your application.

However, please do not feel we will not be interested if there is not an exact match. It is sometimes possible to be flexible, so please contact us.

Entry requirements

You must hold a UK undergraduate (Bachelor's) degree with at least First-Class or Upper Second-Class honours or an equivalent qualification from a recognised overseas institution.

You will normally be expected to hold a Master's degree in a relevant subject (at Merit or above) or be able to demonstrate equivalent research experience and academic writing skills.

See academic entry requirements and the English language entry requirements.

How to apply

  1. Make sure we offer supervision in the area in which you want to work.
  2. Submit a pre-application form
    You might be interested in signing up for our 5 week online course 'Discovering Your PhD Potential: Writing a Research Proposal. The course is offered through FutureLearn where you can register your interest for the next available course.

  3. Download and save the Research Proposal Form and prepare your proposal. Complete all sections and make sure it tells us what you want to research, how you intend to do it, and why it is worth doing. 
  4. Prepare your supporting documents: with your application you need to include proof that you meet the academic entry requirements and the English language entry requirements
    • Include all relevant certificates/diplomas and transcripts
    • International applicants must provide official copies of their entire course transcripts including explanations of the mark schemes used
    • Supporting documents not in English must be provided with a certified English translation
    • CV
    • In addition to uploading the above documents please enter contact details for two academic (not personal) referees who can comment on your suitability for the research degree programme or upload letters of reference if already available
    • Personal statement
  1. Submit your application using the Apply button at the bottom of this page. Upload your supporting documents and completed Research Proposal Form.

When to apply

Campus-based courses

We have intakes in January, April, July, and September each year.

Distance learning courses

We have intakes in January, April, and July and September each year.

You should try to submit your application as far in advance of your preferred start date as possible. If you are an international applicant and require a visa to study in the UK you should submit your application at least three-to-four months before the proposed start date.

After you have submitted your application, it will take a minimum of six weeks for you to receive a decision about your application.

Fees and funding

Campus based

Tuition fees vary according to your fee status. For clarification, please contact

UK/EU Campus-based

*UK fees will rise each year of study in line with UKRI rates.


  • Starting in 2020/21 academic year: £4,407 per year
  • Starting in 2021/22 academic year: £4,500 per year


  • Starting in 2020/21 academic year: £2,203.50 per year
  • Starting in 2021/22 academic year: £2,250 per year

International Campus-based

  • Starting in 2020/21 academic year: £15,520 per year
  • Starting in 2021/22 academic year: £15,520 per year

Please note that owing to UK visa restrictions, part-time campus based registration is not normally available to international applicants.

Distance learning

For distance learning study if you are living outside of the UK/EU during your studies you will pay the International fee.

UK/EU Distance learning

  • Starting in 2020/21 academic year: £20,825 total course fee
  • Starting in 2021/22 academic year: £20,825 total course fee

International Distance learning

  • Starting in 2020/21 academic year: £24,930 total course fee
  • Starting in 2021/22 academic year: £24,930 total course fee

Paying for Distance learning

The fees quoted are the total fee for the PhD distance learning programme and can be paid by the following options:

  • Total course fee paid in full before first registration
  • Total course fee split into four annual payments with first annual payment made in full before first registration
  • Total course fee split into 12 equal instalments paid spread over years 1-4 of the study. The first instalment to be paid before first registration

If study extends beyond the 4th year no further fees are required. A payment schedule will be sent with the offer letter.


For a list of our available scholarships/studentships, please visit our funded opportunities pages.

PhD description

PhD students complete an independent research project under the guidance of a supervisory team. The research is normally completed over a maximum period of 3.0-3.5 years (full-time) or 6.0-6.5 years (part-time).

A fourth year (full-time) or seventh year (part-time) or the remaining part of this can be used to prepare the thesis for examination. The thesis should not normally exceed 80,000 words and must make an original contribution to knowledge and contain work of publishable quality. The thesis must then be defended in a viva voce (oral) examination before a degree can be awarded.

The PhD in Archaeology and Ancient History can be completed either as campus based study here at Leicester or by distance learning.

PhDs explained