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ArchaeologyPart of HumanitiesPostgraduate study

Research degrees

Archaeology at Southampton is at the cutting edge of research and offers a rewarding and stimulating atmosphere in which to study for a PhD.  We have one of the largest Archaeology PhD programmes in the UK, with students from all over the world working on a wide range of topics.

Our courses

How to apply

Applications to study for a PhD should be made using the online form.  Applications for the PhD in Archaeology are administered by the Faculty of Arts and Humanities Graduate School of which Archaeology is part.  The email address for the Faculty of Arts and Humanities PhD admissions is

Apply for a postgraduate research degree

As a research student you will work with world-leading figures in your field in a vibrant research community.  All students are supervised by a team of staff led by your chosen primary supervisor.  This supervision systems ensures that students get the maximum benefit from the experience and resources we offer in terms of materials, analytical techniques, theoretical approaches and regional understandings.  The team will guide and monitor your progress, combining expertise to contribute to your supervision and intellectual development.  The supervision system is flexible so we can bring people and expertise onto your team as your research develops.

PhD students have access to the outstanding research facilities available at Southampton.  They receive specialist training in research methods relevant to their research.  You will also have the opportunity to develop transferable skills, for example in making presentations, teaching or computing, through access to a suite of dedicated postgraduate courses.  Students give regular seminars on their work to colleagues and staff.  This is an important part of postgraduate research, since it gives you an opportunity of trying out your ideas on a wider audience.  A highlight of the year is the annual Postgraduate Archaeology Symposium, a conference organised by, and for, students at Southampton.  Postgraduate students are also encouraged to develop their research networks through participation and organisation of national and international conference and conference sessions.

Study for a PhD normally takes three years after initial registration as a research student.  The degree is awarded on the basis of a thesis which is assessed by internal and external examiners.

Application and Registration

If you are thinking of a research degree, please have a look at our current staff and research interests.  We welcome direct enquiries from students and are happy to advise prospective students in development projects and ideas.  There is no application deadline and we offer flexible starting dates so you can begin your studies at any time of the academic year.  We offer full-time, part-time, split-site and distance learning options.

Initial registration is usually for the MPhil degree, for which the project normally takes two years, proceeding to PhD if progress warrants this transfer after at least a year's research.  The upgrade procedure is based on the submission of written work to the Upgrade Panel, giving an account of the results so far, and an outline of the proposed work for the PhD.

Apply for your postgraduate degree on our application pages.


The normal qualification for admission is a good honours degree with an MA or MSc in a related subject, although other qualifications may be accepted.  Please contact us to discuss your eligibility.  The minimum period of study for a PhD is 24 months full time and 36 months part time.

Scholarships and Awards

Support for postgraduate students from UK or EC countries is available from a range of sources.  Archaeology at Southampton is a partner in the AHRC-funded South, West and Wales Doctoral Traning Partnership (SWWDTP), a partnership of eight leading universities with research supervision and training expertise across a wide range of fields in the Arts and Humanities, extended by a network of prestigious international, national and regional organisations representing the arts, heritage, media and government sectors.  The Faculty of Arts and Humanities at University of Southampton also offers a range of scholarships and teaching bursaries.  Further funding opportunities are available through a series of University of Southampton initiatives aimed particularly at developing inter-disciplinary research with an archaeological component such as in computing, maritime, imaging, and earth science.  This is not an exclusive list and students should liaise with their prosepective supervisor regarding subject-specific funding possibilities, including those provided by charitable trusts and foundations.  Scholarships linked to specific research projects are often advertised.  For overseas students scholarships and awards of tuition fees are available through the Faculty of Arts and Humanities.  Students are frequently successful in securing funding from their home countries in order to carry out specialized research that can best be done at Southampton.

Enquiries about funding should be addressed to the Faculty of Arts and Humanities Graduate School or the Head of Postgrduate Research for Archaeology.  It is advisable to make initial enquiries regarding funding in December if you wish to begin a course in October.  Funding application deadlines are often at the start of a calendar year.

The Head of Postgraduate Research is Dr Joanna Sofaer (  She will be happy to answer your queries regarding all aspects of postgraduate study in Archaeology at Southampton.

Photo of Catriona Cooper
Having completed my undergraduate and MSc degrees here I enjoyed working in Archaeology and it had access to all the resources I would need for a MPhil.
Catriona CooperMPhil Archaeology

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