Prospective Graduate Students
The Division of Biological Anthropology is part of the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology. It has a thriving graduate community of about 50 students, who carry out research in a wide range of areas, including animal behaviour, genetics, palaeoanthropology, human population biology,ecology and adaptation. Some student projects are part of broader research programmes developed by senior members of the department, while others are very independent.
Cambridge offers a unique experience to graduate students, with its combination of intensive interaction with specialists in your field of choice and the more relaxed, multi-subject atmosphere of Cambridge colleges.
There are two entry routes Masters Programmes, for those with less research experience or who have degrees in other disciplines and wish to transfer into biological anthropology and a PhD. programme, for those ready and qualified to carry out more independent research.
The Masters Programme can lead directly into the Ph.D. Programme.
Cambridge University offers a Masters Degree in Philosophy (M.Phil.) in many subjects. These are one year, research-based training courses, which can either be a standalone opportunity to learn about a particular subject and carry out a piece of independent research, or else a platform on which to develop a doctoral research degree (Ph.D.).
The Department offers the following M.Phils:
M.Phil. in Human Evolutionary Studies
The MPhil in Human Evolutionary Studies is a full-time interdisciplinary course, taken over a period of ten months, and involving teaching in evolutionary anthropology, human and hominin morphology, primate behaviour and evolution, archaeology and genetics. The lecturers are primarily involved in research and teaching within the division of Biological Anthropology, in the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology.
This taught MPhil recruits students who are prepared for graduate work and wish to receive interdisciplinary training, but who do not have sufficient education in human evolutionary studies in their background to be considered for the research MPhil or doctoral work. This is a demanding course which enables students to obtain interdisciplinary training and specialist knowledge in an area of human evolutionary studies over a relatively short time frame. Subject to performance in the examination, the course prepares students to undertake an advanced degree.
M.Phil. in Applied Biological Anthropology
The MPhil in Applied Biological Anthropology is a full-time one year interdisciplinary course, taken over a period of ten months, with core teaching in human nutritional ecology, growth and development, epidemiology and disease, reproductive ecology, conservation and molecular genetics. There are strong biostatistical and laboratory elements to the course as well as a focus on field studies.
This taught MPhil recruits students who are prepared for graduate work and wish to receive interdisciplinary training, but who do not have sufficient background in Applied Biological Anthropology to be considered for the research MPhil or doctoral work. This is a demanding course that enables students to obtain specialist training and knowledge in an area of Applied Biological Anthropology over a relatively short time frame. Subject to performance in the examination, the course prepares students to undertake an advanced degree.
M.Phil. in Biological Anthropological Science
This is a Masters degree by research, in which the sole requirement is a dissertation. It is suitable for those who have a strong background in this field, or who have research experience. It is expected that the topic of research will fall within one of the areas supported by the Department. An MPhil in Biological Anthropological Science may be obtained after one year of research on an approved subject within the field of Biological Anthropology, and includes an oral examination of the thesis and the general field of knowledge in which it falls. The dissertation topics are decided between the student and the supervisor, and assistance is provided on elements of methodology and analysis, as well as with the written presentation. The thesis must satisfy the examiners that the candidate can design and carry out investigations, assess and interpret the results obtained, and place the work in the wider perspective of the subject. This course begins in October, with submission of the thesis by the end of August.
For further information, or to ask questions about courses click here
How to apply
All formal graduate applications should be made to the Board of Graduate Studies of the University of Cambridge, either online or as hard-copies. Information about the application process, as well as downloadable application forms can be found at:
Students interested in doing a post-graduate degree in Human Evolutionary Studies or Applied Biological Anthropology, are advised to find out more information about the courses and degrees offered, the appropriate stream within Biological Anthropology that fits their research interests, and potential project supervisors.
For further information you may contact the Department’s Divisional Secretary, or the Department’s Graduate Tutor.