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Anthropology and Archaeology

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Run by Faculty of Arts
Awards available PhD, MPhil
Programme length MPhil: One year full-time;
two years part-time
PhD: Three years full-time;
six years part-time
Location of programme Clifton campus
Part-time study available Yes
Start date September 2020
January 2021

This research degree is also available via distance learning.

Programme overview

The Department of Anthropology and Archaeology has an international 'four-field' approach, combining archaeology with evolutionary, social and linguistic anthropology. Our key strengths lie in our integrated approaches to understanding cultural, biological and social change: the spread of peoples, their ideas and material artefacts. We focus particularly on adaptation, adversity and globalisation.

Our research spans from earliest prehistory to the modern day. Field research takes place in the UK, as well as Ethiopia, Tanzania, Kenya, Slovenia, Turkey, Peru, Vietnam and Papua New Guinea, and elsewhere.

We are well equipped to undertake anthropological and archaeological fieldwork, including excavation, and we have world-class radiocarbon dating, isotopic and micro-imaging laboratories on site. We foster partnerships with professional institutions nationally and locally to provide additional collaborative opportunities for our students (eg with the Royal Anthropological Institute, UNESCO City of Film, and Bristol Museum and Art Gallery).

In addition, we draw on expertise and facilities from across the University (eg Brigstow institute; Cabot Institute Elizabeth Blackwell Institute for Health Research; Jean Golding Institute). We also work closely with institutes and centres in the Faculties of Social Sciences and Arts (Migration Mobilities Bristol; the Centre for Environmental Humanities; and the Centre for Health, Humanities and Science), as well as the Faculty of Science (eg Bristol Isotope Group; Organic Geochemistry Unit).

Fees for 2020/21

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2020/21 are as follows:

UK/EU: full-time
UK/EU: part-time
Overseas: full-time
Channel Islands/Isle of Man: full-time

Fees are subject to an annual review. For programmes that last longer than one year, please budget for up to a five per cent increase in fees each year. Find out more about tuition fees.

Alumni scholarship

University of Bristol students and graduates can benefit from a ten per cent reduction in tuition fees for postgraduate study. Check your eligibility for an alumni scholarship.

Funding for 2020/21

Students will be eligible to apply for PhD studentships from the South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership (SWWDTP), which will be offering studentships for September 2020 entry.

For information on other funding opportunities, please see the Faculty of Arts funding pages.

Further information on funding for prospective UK, EU and international postgraduate students.

Entry requirements

MPhil: A mid-level upper second-class degree or international equivalent, with evidence of first class research. Please note, acceptance will also depend upon evidence of your readiness to pursue a research degree.

PhD: A master's qualification, or be working towards a master's qualification, or international equivalent, with evidence of first class/distinction-level research. Applicants without a master's qualification may be considered on an exceptional basis provided they hold a first-class undergraduate degree (or international equivalent). Applicants with a non-traditional background may be considered provided they can demonstrate substantial equivalent and relevant experience that has prepared them to undertake their proposed course of study.

See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you need to meet this profile level:
Profile C
Further information about English language requirements and profile levels.

Admissions statement

Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.

Admissions statement

Research groups

Adversity: We address the resilience of humanity in the face of major challenges past and present, such as disease, conflict and technological change.

Adaptation: We explore the biological and cultural evolutionary processes that generate human diversity.

Globalisation: We discover how the movement of people, ideas and objects has an impact on continuity and change, from the Neolithic to the present day.


Graduates from our department go on to work in diverse professional contexts, including higher education and research, museums, the heritage sector, international development, NGOs and policy-making organisations.

Staff profiles

Professor Joanna Bruck, (Professor of Archaeology), archaeology of ritual; Bronze Age Britain; death and burial; historical archaeology of Ireland and Britain.; material culture studies; settlement and landscape archaeology

Dr Neil Carrier, (Lecturer in Social Anthropology), drug trade and use; East Africa and its diaspora; economic anthropology; migration and diaspora

Dr Lucy Cramp, (Senior Lecturer), adoption of farming; archaeological science; diet and social identity; organic residue analysis of artefacts; Roman Britain; subsistence strategies

Professor Richard Evershed, (Professor), analysis of organic residues in ancient pottery and artefacts; archaeological chemistry; prehistoric origin of dairying

Dr Mhairi Gibson, (Reader in Anthropology), Ethiopia and Sub-Saharan Africa; evolutionary anthropology and demography; human behavioural ecology; population change and child health

Dr Tamar Hodos, (Reader in Mediterranean Archaeology), archaeology of the Mediterranean Iron Age; Greek and Phoenician colonisation and colonialism; luxuries and their materiality; post-colonial and globalisation theories

Dr Theresia Hofer, (Senior Lecturer in Social Anthropology), anthropology of South and East Asia; international development; museum anthropology; sign language and deaf identity; social and medical anthropology

Professor Fiona Jordan, (Professor of Anthropology), Austronesian societies of the Pacific; cultural diversity and evolution; cultural phylogenetics; evolutionary anthropology; kinship; linguistic anthropology

Dr Camilla Morelli, (Lecturer in Social Anthropology), Amazonian anthropology; anthropology of childhood

Dr Kit Opie, (Lecturer in Biological Anthropology), Evolution of social systems in human and non-human primates and other mammals

Dr Amy Penfield, (Lecturer in Anthropology), Economic subjectivities in lowland South America

Dr Stuart Prior, (Reader in Archaeological Practice), archaeological practice; castle studies; Medieval archaeology

Professor Kate Robson-Brown, (Professor of Biological Anthropology), biological anthropology; biomechanics of bone; bone microstructure; human evolution; image processing and analysis; micro computed tomography; osteoarchaeology

Professor Graeme Were, (Professor of Anthropology), anthropology of Pacific and Southeast Asia; digital heritage and material culture; museum anthropology

Dr Juan Zhang, (Lecturer in Anthropology), casino-led labour migration in Southeast Asia; cross-border interactions ; gender and transgression in migration

How to apply
Application deadline:

September 2020 start: 2 August 2020
January 2021 start: 2 December 2020

International students

Find out more about becoming a student at Bristol, applying for a visa and the support we offer to international students.

I chose Bristol because of its outstanding academic reputation. It's reassuring to be taught by people who truly love their subject - their passion becomes contagious.


REF 2014 results

  • Geography, Environmental Studies and Archaeology (Archaeology):
  • 4% of research is world-leading (4*)
  • 24% of research is internationally excellent (3*)
  • 57% of research is recognised internationally (2*)
  • 15% of research is recognised nationally (1*)

Results are from the most recent UK-wide assessment of research quality, conducted by HEFCE. More about REF 2014 results.

Bristol Doctoral College

The Bristol Doctoral College facilitates and supports doctoral training and researcher development across the University.

Open days and visits

Find out more about opportunities to visit Bristol.

Register to attend our postgraduate open day, 20 November 2019.

Get in touch

Postgraduate Admissions Phone: +44 (0) 117 331 8443 Email: artf-pgadmissions@bristol.ac.uk

Faculty of Arts
University of Bristol
3-5 Woodland Road
BS8 1TB http://www.bristol.ac.uk/school-of-arts/ http://www.bristol.ac.uk/archanth/


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