Archaeology PhD/MA by Research (On-Campus or by Distance Learning)

We offer promising candidates the opportunity to carry out research in a range of areas across Prehistoric, Classical, Historical, Landscape, Funerary, Environmental and Byzantine Archaeology, as well as Geographical Information Systems and Digital Archaeology.

Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology at the University of Birmingham has been ranked among the top five Russell Group departments of Classics in the Research Excellence Framework 2014.

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Dr Emma Login

Dr Emma Login

“I decided to come back to undertake my PhD because I had really enjoyed the research aspects of my Masters, which I had also studied at Birmingham. My Masters thesis had raised lots of really interesting questions and I wanted to be able to answer these questions and to approach the topic in a much deeper and more systematic way.”
Ask Emma a question

The MA by Research programme requires you to prepare a dissertation of up to 40,000 words on a topic of your choice, for which academic staff members will provide expert supervision.

The PhD – the most advanced research degree – leads to a dissertation of up to 80,000 words on a subject of your choice and under the expert supervision of academic members of staff. 

Distance learning

You can study an MA by Research or PhD programme on campus or by distance learning. Please note that if you are studying with us by distance learning, the programme includes a fully-funded annual visit to campus for each full year of your programme (every two years for part-time students).

For more information on distance learning including answers to frequently asked questions, student experiences and funding opportunities, please see our distance learning website

Profiles of our current Archaeology doctoral researchers

At Birmingham you also have the option of studying languages, free of charge. Almost no other UK University offers you the opportunity to learn the intense graduate academic language skills which you may need to pursue your research.

Why study this course

  • Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology at the University of Birmingham was ranked in the top five departments of Classics in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework exercise, with over 80% of our research judged to be ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent.’
  • Birmingham's Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology graduates develop a broad range of transferable skills including: familiarity with research methods; the ability to manage large quantities of information from diverse sources; the ability to organise information in a logical and coherent manner; the expertise to write clearly and concisely and to tight deadlines; critical and analytical ability; the capacity for argument, debate and speculation; and the ability to base conclusions on statistical research.
  • We have a vibrant and productive postgraduate community and students are encouraged to enter fully into the life of the Department and the University. We enable advanced research students to broaden their skills through appropriate training in teaching skills and, where possible, through offering the chance to gain experience in teaching.

Fees and funding

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2017/18:

  • Home / EU £4,180 full-time; £2,090 part-time*
  • Overseas: £15,210 full-time

* For UK/EU postgraduate research students the University fee level is set at Research Council rates and as such is subject to change. The final fee will be announced by Research Councils UK in spring 2017.

The above fee quoted is for one year only; for those studying over two or more years, tuition fees will also be payable in subsequent years of your programme.

Eligibility for Home/EU or Overseas fees can be verified with Admissions. Learn more about fees for international students.

Tuition fees can either be paid in full or by instalments. Learn more about postgraduate tuition fees and funding.

Entry requirements

Our requirements for postgraduate research are dependent on the type of programme you are applying for:

  • For MRes and MA by Research programmes, entry to our programmes usually requires a good (normally a 2:1 or above) Honours degree, or an equivalent qualification if you were educated outside the UK.
  • If you are applying for a PhD then you will usually also need to hold a good Masters qualification.

Any academic and professional qualifications or relevant professional experience you may have are normally taken into account, and in some cases, form an integral part of the entrance requirements.

If you are applying for distance learning research programmes, you will also be required to demonstrate that you have the time, commitment, facilities and experience to study by distance learning.

If your qualifications are non-standard or different from the entry requirements stated here, please contact the admissions tutor.

International students

Academic requirements

We accept a range of qualifications; our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.

English language requirements

You can satisfy our English language requirements in two ways:

How to apply

Before you make your application

Please refer to our six step process on applying for PhD, MA by Research and MRes opportunities for Arts subject areas.

You may wish to register your interest with us to receive regular news and updates on postgraduate life within this Department and the wider University.

Additional Guidance for applicants to the PhD Distance Learning study mode.

Making your application

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

Apply now

  • Phenomenology of landscapes; battlefield archaeology; archaeological approaches to warfare and violence.
    Contact: Dr John Carman
    Email: j.carman@bham.ac.uk
  • Prehistoric landscape archaeology; digital archaeology; cultural heritage; GIS; remote sensing.
    Contact: Dr Henry Chapman
    Email: h.chapman@bham.ac.uk
  • Classical archaeology, Roman provincial archaeology
    Contact: Dr Dominik Maschek
    Email: d.maschek@bham.ac.uk 
  • European prehistory; Neolithic and Bronze Age Britain; archaeology of ritual and religion; funerary archaeology; landscape archaeology
    Contact: Dr Paul Garwood
    Email: p.j.garwood@bham.ac.uk
  • Environmental archaeology and palaeonentomology, use of insect remains to examine the development of the Holocene landscape of the Trent Valley and the Severn Estuary; insect faunas from both urban and rural human habitation sites and their use in the interpretation of archaeological contexts and ultimately human behaviour.
    Contact: Dr David Smith
    Email: d.n.smith@bham.ac.uk 
  • Classical archaeology; Greek prehistory; Bronze Age Macedonia; current research at Mycenae, Knossos, Assiros and Servia.
    Contact: Dr Ken Wardle
    Email: k.a.wardle@bham.ac.uk
  • Late prehistoric, Romano-British and Dark Age British archaeology; industrial archaeology; research projects include the Wroxeter Hinterland Project.
    Contact: Dr Roger White
    Email: r.h.white@bham.ac.uk
  • Byzantine archaeology; urban and rural economy.
    Contact: Dr Archie Dunn
    Email: a.w.dunn@bham.ac.uk

The University has been recognised for its impressive graduate employment, being named ‘University of the Year for Graduate Employment’ in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2016.

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by the employability skills training offered through the College of Arts and Law Graduate School. The University also offers a wide range of activities and services to give our students the edge in the job market, including: career planning designed to meet the needs of postgraduates; opportunities to meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs, employer presentations and skills workshops; individual guidance on your job applications, writing your CV and improving your interview technique; and access to comprehensive listings of hundreds of graduate jobs and work experience opportunities.

University of the Year for employability

Birmingham's Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology graduates develop a broad range of transferable skills including: familiarity with research methods; the ability to manage large quantities of information from diverse sources; the ability to organise information in a logical and coherent manner; the expertise to write clearly and concisely and to tight deadlines; critical and analytical ability; the capacity for argument, debate and speculation; and the ability to base conclusions on statistical research.

Over the past three years, over 97% of Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology postgraduates were in work and/or further study six months after graduation. Many of our postgraduates enter roles for which their programme has especially prepared them, such as museum and heritage activities and archaeological posts. Elsewhere, a range of professions are undertaken by our graduates, from librarianship and teaching to accountancy. Employers that our graduates have gone on to work for include: AC archaeology; University of Birmingham; National Trust; and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts.

Birmingham has been transformed into one of Europe's most exciting cities. It is more than somewhere to study; it is somewhere to build a successful future.

Get involved

In addition to the student groups hosted by the Guild of Students, each school runs its own social activities, research fora, seminars and groups for postgraduates.

Accommodation

Coming to Birmingham to study might be your first time living away from home. Our student accommodation will allow you to enjoy your new-found independence in safe, welcoming and sociable surroundings.

Support in your studies

We offer an Academic Writing Advisory Service, which aims to help your transition to postgraduate research. The service offers guidance on organising your ideas and structuring an argument, referencing and avoiding plagiarism, being clear and coherent and editing your work for academic style and linguistic accuracy. Individual support is provided by a professional academic writing advisor via tutorials or email, as well as through the provision of online materials.

The City of Birmingham

One of Europe's most exciting destinations, Birmingham is brimming with life and cultures, making it a wonderful place to live, study and work. Our students fall in love with the city - around 40% of our graduates choose to make Birmingham their home.