Our Archaeology MPhil and PhD programmes are research degrees. They are conducted as supervised independent study and are assessed through a single written document that is supported with a viva voce examination.
Both degrees involve the production of new knowledge through original research and advanced scholarship, exploring a field of academic study in detail. This involves detailed understanding of the methods, techniques and approaches needed to produce such knowledge, and the wider context of the subject of study.
Our PhD students produce a thesis which includes material worthy of academic publication. A PhD qualification is usually necessary for an academic career involving post-doctoral research and/or lecturing.
This is a perfect programme to advance your academic career in archaeology. You will also develop employability skills including:
- project management
- report writing
- independent working
These programmes are based in the School of History, Classics and Archaeology. They cover a wide range of specialisms.
Research supervision in a range of periods, regions and themes.
Research supervision is available in the following periods and regions:
- World prehistory from the Palaeolithic to the Iron Age
- Archaeology of the Greek world including Minoan and Mycenaean civilisations
- Archaeology of the Roman world from the Republic to Late Antiquity
- Roman frontier studies
- Byzantine and Islamic archaeology
- Medieval archaeology, 500-1500 CE
- Historical archaeology of the modern world
- Archaeology of Europe, North America, the Mediterranean, the Middle East, Asia and Africa
Thematic research is also strong at Newcastle and research supervision is available in the following areas of enquiry:
- Archaeological theory and history of archaeology
- Archaeology of art, religion and ritual
- Archaeology of buildings and the built environment
- Bodies, burial and identity
- Colonialism and slavery
- Conflict archaeology from prehistory to the 21st century
- Environmental and geoarchaeology: plants, animals and sediments
- Experimental archaeology and past technologies
- Foodways, pastoralism and upland archaeology
- Human-animal relationships from the Palaeolithic to present day
- Landscape archaeology, GIS, remote sensing and survey methods
- Landscape heritage, management and sustainability
- Material culture and artefact analysis: ceramics, lithics, metals, glass and coins
- Museum collections and historic archives
- Social organisation and social complexity
- Zooarchaeology and animal bone pathology
We encourage you to contact a prospective supervisor to discuss your research proposals prior to applying for a research degree.
Inter-disciplinary research is supported. Research projects can be co-supervised by staff from other subject areas, such as history, ancient history, classics, or fine art.
We've highlighted important information about your course. Please take note of any deadlines.
Please rest assured we make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the programmes, services and facilities described. However, it may be necessary to make changes due to significant disruption.
Given the changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the commitments outlined are subject to guidelines that may be in place from time to time.
View our COVID-19 Study page, which gives information about your Newcastle University study experience for the academic year 2021-22.
See our terms and conditions and student complaints information
Find out about the different qualification options for this course.
An MPhil is available in all subject areas. You receive research training and undertake original research leading to the completion of a 40,000 - 50,000 word thesis.
A PhD is a doctorate or doctoral award. It involves original research that should make a significant contribution to the knowledge of a specific subject. To complete the PhD you will produce a substantial piece of work (80,000 – 100,000 words) in the form of a supervised thesis. A PhD usually takes three years full time.
How you'll learn
You'll be guided by a team of two supervisors. The primary supervisor will meet with you at least 10 times a year and the secondary supervisor will attend at least three of these meetings.
You'll be assessed through a combination of:
You'll be assessed through a single written document that is supported with a viva voce examination.
You'll undertake a Training Needs Analysis with your supervisory team at the start of your studies. This will identify any skills that require further development to enable you to conduct your research.
Your development plan will help you to mature into a well-rounded researcher capable of undertaking research in a wide range of careers. Your training needs analysis is updated annually to reflect any changes in project or skill needs.
Our mission is to help you:
- stay healthy, positive and feeling well
- overcome any challenges you may face during your degree – academic or personal
- get the most out of your postgraduate research experience
- carry out admin and activities essential to progressing through your degree
- understand postgraduate research processes, standards and rules
We can offer you tailored wellbeing support, courses and activities.
You can also access a broad range of workshops covering:
- research and professional skills
- careers support
- health and safety
- public engagement
- academic development
Research projects may involve a period of professional placement or specific training in a partner institution*. You'll need to discuss any work placement requirements with the degree programme director.
We'll actively encourage you to make the most of work experience opportunities while you are studying with us. Possibilities vary from year to year, and in recent years most of our postgraduate students have participated in archaeological field projects* run by us and partners in the UK and abroad.
You could also gain experience through volunteering* in the Great North Museum: Hancock, eg for the Portable Antiquities Scheme, or participating in educational outreach activities.
*In 2020-2021 these opportunities may be limited due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (HaSS) researcher development programme
Each faculty offers a researcher development programme for its postgraduate research students. We have designed your programme to help you:
- perform better as a researcher
- boost your career prospects
- broaden your impact
Through workshops and activities, it will build your transferable skills and increase your confidence.
- techniques for effective research
- methods for better collaborative working
- essential professional standards and requirements
Your programme is flexible. You can adapt it to meet your changing needs as you progress through your doctorate.
Doctoral training and partnerships
There are opportunities to undertake your PhD at Newcastle within a:
- Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT)
- Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP)
Being part of a CDT or DTP has many benefits:
- they combine research expertise and training of a number of leading universities, academic schools and academics.
- you’ll study alongside a cohort of other PhD students
- they’re often interdisciplinary
- your PhD will normally be funded
If there are currently opportunities available in your subject area you’ll find them when you search for funding in the fees and funding section on this course.
The following centres/partnerships below may have PhD opportunities available in your subject area in the future:
Our Careers Service
Our award-winning Careers Service is one of the largest and best in the country, and we have strong links with employers. We provide an extensive range of opportunities to all students through our ncl+ initiative.
Quality and ranking
All professional accreditations are reviewed regularly by their professional body
From 1 January 2020 there is an update to the way professional qualifications are recognised by countries outside of the UK
Subject to Covid-19 restrictions archaeologists have exceptional facilities on campus. This includes over 200 years of scholarship, libraries and archaeological collections built up by the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle and the Great North Museum: Hancock.
You'll have access to one of finest archaeological collections in the UK. You can access the following internationally important collections:
- medieval artefacts
- Gertrude Bell archive
The recently refurbished Armstrong Building is home to Archaeology. It has:
- dedicated study spaces
- Reading Room
- free printing
- laptops for research trips
Fees and funding
Tuition fees for 2021 entry (per year)
If your studies last longer than one year, your tuition fee may increase in line with inflation.
For courses commencing from September 2021 and beyond, EU, other EEA and Swiss nationals will no longer be eligible for home fees or Student Finance England support.
If you are from the EU you will pay international tuition fees.
What you're paying for
Tuition fees include the costs of:
- tuition (or supervision)
- library access
Some of our degrees involve additional costs which are not covered by your tuition fees.
Find out more about:
- additional costs
- living costs
- tuition fees, including how to pay them and available discounts
If you're applying for funding, always check the funding application deadline. This deadline may be earlier than the application deadline for your course.
For some funding schemes, you need to have received an offer of a place on a course before you can apply for the funding.
Search for funding
Find funding available for your course
The entrance requirements below apply to 2021 entry.
Qualifications from outside the UK
English Language requirements
How to apply
Using the application portal
The applicant portal has instructions to guide you through your application. It will tell you what documents you need and how to upload them.
You can choose to start your application, save your details and come back to complete it later.
If you’re ready, you can select Apply Online and you’ll be taken directly to the applicant portal.
Alternatively you can find out more about applying on our applications and offers pages.
Applications for 2022/23
You'll be able to apply for 2022/23 entry from September 2021
Open days and events
The situation with Covid-19 means that we're unable to hold open days on campus. However, you don’t have to visit in person to experience Newcastle.
From the comfort of your sofa you'll be able to:
- explore our beautiful campus
- find out about our vibrant city
- discover what students think about studying at Newcastle
You'll also have the opportunity to speak to academic staff and find out more about the courses you're interested in.
We regularly travel overseas to meet with students interested in studying at Newcastle University.
We also hold various online and virtual events.
Get in touch
Questions about this course?
If you have specific questions about this course you can contact:
For more general enquiries you could also complete our online enquiry form.
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