Postgraduate research

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 are available by distance learning.

Please refer to the How to Apply section before submitting an application.

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
  • Material Culture Studies
  • 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

Make sure we offer supervision in the area in which you want to work and that you meet or expect to meet the academic entry requirements and the English language requirements

We ask that prospective students submit a pre-application form 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

If Archaeology ask to submit a formal online application after reviewing your pre-application please prepare your supporting documents referring to the Entry requirements section above. You will need to upload the following documents to the online application:

  • Download and save the Research Proposal Form and prepare your proposal. Complete all sections using the guidance on the form. If your proposal is not submitted on the Proposal Form your application will not be considered.
  • CV
  • Personal statement explaining your interest in the research, your experience, why it is worth doing and why we should consider you.
  • Copies of your Degree Certificates and Marks Transcripts of study already completed and if possible a transcript to-date of any study currently being undertaken.
  • If your documents are not in English please include an official translation.
  • Evidence of English language proficiency if applicable
  • In the reference section please enter the contact details of your two academic referees in the text boxes provided or upload letters of reference if already available.
  • In the funding section state clearly how you intend to fund your study.

Submit your application using the Apply Button at the bottom of this page.

Please ensure you upload all the required documents and your completed Research Proposal Form, failure to do so may cause a delay in assessing your application. 

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 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 Campus-based

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


  • Starting in 2022/23 academic year: £4,596 per year
  • Starting in 2023/24 academic year: TBC in early 2023


  • Starting in 2022/23 academic year: £2,298 per year
  • Starting in 2023/24 academic year: TBC in early 2023

International Campus-based

  • Starting in 2022/23 academic year: £15,600 - £17,500 per year
  • Starting in 2023/24 academic year: £16,200 - £18,200 per year

* International fees for research degrees in this subject area vary according to the nature of the research project to be undertaken. The applicable fee will be determined at the point an offer of admission is made and will be stated in the offer letter.

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 during your studies you will pay the International fee.

UK Distance learning

  • Starting in 2022/23 academic year: £21,000 total course fee 
  • Starting in 2023/24 academic year: £21,850 total course fee

International Distance learning

  • Starting in 2022/23 academic year: £25,000 total course fee
  • Starting in 2023/24 academic year: £26,000 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 maximum period of registration permitted before thesis submission is 4 years full time / 7  years part time.

Active research (including all experimental work, laboratory work, field work, and data collection) will typically take 3 to 3.5 years full time / 6 to 6.5 years part time. On completion of active research students may request approval to register for a writing-up period of up to 12 months.  The period of active research and writing-up together must not exceed the maximum registration period.

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

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