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Study Archaeology and Anthropology in the United Kingdom

The Department of Archaeology and Anthropology University of Bristol

Postgraduate Research and Taught Masters Programmes at Bristol

Bristol is home to the largest Graduate School in Archaeology and Anthropology in Britain, and offers the following taught Masters programmes:
We also welcome applications for postgraduate degrees by research: MPhil or PhD. It may be helpful to look at the list of our current research students and topics or at our information for overseas students.

To make an informal enquiry about graduate study in archaeology or anthropology at Bristol, send an email to or contact the Graduate Tutors for Archaeology and Anthropology - Dr Dan Hicks and Dr Josh Pollard.

Graduate Study in Archaeology and Anthropology - Why Bristol?

Bristol is an ideal place to study archaeology and anthropology at graduate level. The archaeology and anthropology graduate school is home to a thriving community of dynamic students, reading for taught Masters courses or for research degrees. There is a vibrant programmes of regular events and lectures, and a friendly and exciting atmosphere. The city of Bristol is not only one of the most vibrant and exciting cities in Britain to live and study: it is also a historic city of international importance, a thriving commercial centre and port dating from the medieval period, which was linked by its maritime trade to the Mediterranean and Atlantic worlds. Bristol is ten minutes by train from the Romano-British and Georgian architecture of Bath, and is close to the historic landscapes of the Somerset Levels, the Mendips and Exmoor. The city is close to the coastlines of the South West, and within easy reach of Wales and Wessex. The city has an international airport, is just an hour from Oxford and 90 minutes from London by train.

We also have a first class record of assisting our alumni to move on to professional and academic careers in archaeology, anthropology and related fields, and to further research. Have a look at what our recent postgraduate alumni are doing now.

The Department of Archaeology and Anthropology is based in a historic building at the heart of the University of Bristol precinct, close to the University Library and the Arts Faculty Graduate Centre. The Department has forged close links with archaeologists at many levels, locally, nationally and internationally: including the British Schools at Athens, Nairobi and Rome, the Egypt Exploration Society, several northern Spanish Universities (Zaragoza, Vitoria and Teruel) the University of Bordeaux, the CNRS, St Lucia National Trust, Bermuda National Trust, St Christopher Heritage Society and the University and Institute of Fine Art in Bangkok. An active research forum is maintained by the organisation of conferences, symposia and seminars. Great emphasis is placed on interdisciplinary approaches to the study of the past. Research is approached through an interdisciplinary framework involving collaborations with the Department of Classics and Ancient History, the Department of Drama: Theatre, Film, Television, the Department of Chemistry, Computer Science, Geography, Geology and Medicine.

In addition to our taught programmes, the Department is home to research in research is focused on five themes:
  • European Prehistory
  • Materiality
  • Human Origins
  • Mediterranean archaeology
  • Social Anthropology

The members of staff are principally engaged in research and graduate teaching which falls within these foci, as should proposals for postgraduate research degrees. External collaboration with other sections of the University or with Museums or external consultancies is common; for example, human skeletal remains from the site of an 18th Century shipwreck which may have been associated with the West Indian slave trade were excavated by staff and students of the department and are currently being further studied by a multidisciplinary team drawn from the departments of Medicine, Anatomy, and Chemistry.

As well as the Departmental staff and external colleagues who join our research teams, we currently have 34 postgraduate research students, most of whom are working on topics which fall within our research foci - ranging from the mesolithic/neolithic transition, maritime archaeology in East Africa, Caribbean historical archaeology, skeletal markers of health in ancient populations, and the 20th century archaeology of the Maze Prison, Northern Ireland. In addition we have a vibrant community of MA students studying Landscape Archaeology, Mediterranean Archaeology, Maritime Archaeology, Historical Archaeology, Archaeology for Screen Media or working towards an MLitt.

Facilities for Research in the Department

Photo of the resource centre The Department provides a dedicated postgraduate computer lab, a wide range of fieldwork equipment and a special fleet of 3 Landrovers for archaeology postgraduate field trips and fieldwork (which postgraduates may book out for their own trips and projects). Postgraduates may also book out archaeological field equipment, and we own a very good range of surveying, excavation and geophysical equipment. We have a dedicated drawing office and a common room, all set within a historic Arts and Crafts building in the centre of the University campus, in which all the Department's offices and teaching rooms are. The Departmental computer facilities are extended by the nearby Arts Graduate Centre, and by the University Computer Centre which is located only 40 metres from the department.

The University Library facilities in Bristol are excellent and especially well maintained for the research interests of the department. The library contains well over 300, 000 volumes, over 200 archaeology journals (including many complete runs) with an efficient computerised catalogue and lending system.

Applications and Research Proposals

Applicants for research degrees should normally have taken or be in the process of taking a Masters or similar qualification. Mature students without a first degree in an archaeology-related subject should normally apply for an Masters in the first instance. Some bursaries are available to assist intending research postgraduates take an Masters degree. We encourage all United Kingdom and EU-based applicants to contact us to discuss the possibility of AHRB and ESRC funding applications at the earliest possible opportunity. The deadlines for all University and AHRB postgraduate bursary applications fall in March or April, in advance of an Autumn start.

If you are considering studying for a research degree, you should send an email to as early as possible, with an indication of your field of interest and the members of staff who might supervise your research.

Contacting us - or Unanswered Questions

Please don't hesitate to contact us if we can provide clarification on any aspect of our postgraduate courses. For further details, application forms or unanswered questions, contact

Alison Johnston

Postgraduate Secretary

Department of Archaeology and Anthropology

University of Bristol

43 Woodland Road

Bristol BS8 1UU, United Kingdom

tel: +44 (0) 117 954 6069

fax: +44 (0) 117 954 6001


To make an informal enquiry about postgraduate study in Archaeology or Anthropology at Bristol, contact the Graduate Tutors for Archaeology and Anthropology - Dr Dan Hicks and Dr Josh Pollard.

Or downloaded from the University's website at: /Depts/Registrar/Admissions/PG/pg-forms.htm

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Department of Archaeology and Anthropology

Department of Archaeology and Anthropology


Alison Johnston

Postgraduate Secretary

Department of Archaeology and Anthropology

University of Bristol

43 Woodland Road

Bristol BS8 1UU, United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0) 117 954 6069

Fax: +44 (0) 117 954 6001


Graduate Archaeology and Anthropology