About the course
It is possible to study for a doctorate by part-time research in archaeology. Completing the DPhil on a part-time basis normally requires between six and eight years of study, compared with a full-time DPhil which normally takes three to four years to complete.
The part-time DPhil programme draws on knowledge and skills acquired over many years of providing specialist classes in archaeology and profits from close links with the many different archaeologists elsewhere in the University.
The DPhil programme is overseen by the University’s Continuing Education Board, and admission is through the Department for Continuing Education.
The part-time DPhil programme caters for students specialising mainly in landscape and professional archaeology topics, largely concentrated on Britain and Europe. Occasionally, other topics are accepted but admission in these cases is strictly dependent on the availability of appropriate supervision elsewhere in the university. Please note that candidates, even those with an academically strong background, may not be admitted if appropriate supervision is not available for your proposed research topic.
Supervision is arranged to suit the DPhil topic. The department’s full-time academic archaeologists, Dr David Griffiths (Director of Studies for Archaeology) and Dr Alison MacDonald (Departmental Lecturer in Archaeology), supervise the programme, along with research associates of the department and colleagues from the School of Archaeology, Faculty of Classics and elsewhere within the University.
You will have access to the full range of Oxford’s library, archive and computing facilities. You are encouraged to participate as fully as possible in the wider research environment for archaeology at Oxford, including attending seminars, discussion groups and lectures advertised by the School of Archaeology, Oxford University Archaeological Society and Graduate Archaeology Oxford. The Department for Continuing Education has its own stock of fieldwork equipment and access to specialist facilities elsewhere in the University may be arranged where these are required.
The part-time DPhil regulations normally require a minimum of six years’ part-time study (equivalent to three years full-time).
If you are a research student you may be required to undertake appropriate research training provided within the department. In addition, you will be strongly encouraged to participate in seminars and informal meetings with staff and other researchers. The major commitment of time will be to individual study and research, involving wide and intense reading, data collection and analysis, and writing.
The allocation of graduate supervision for this course is the responsibility of the Department for Continuing Education and it is not always possible to accommodate the preferences of incoming graduate students to work with a particular member of staff. A supervisor may be found outside the Department for Continuing Education.
Graduates have taken on senior roles in academic research and professional practice. Several have become research associates on externally-funded University of Oxford research projects, and have combined this with developing teaching careers in higher education. One served as Chair of the Institute for Archaeologists, the UK’s leading professional body. Others have developed careers in heritage and archaeological practice, working for organisations such as Oxford Archaeology.
Changes to this course and your supervision
The University will seek to deliver this course in accordance with the description set out in this course page. However, there may be situations in which it is desirable or necessary for the University to make changes in course provision, either before or after registration. In certain circumstances, for example due to visa difficulties or because the health needs of students cannot be met, it may be necessary to make adjustments to course requirements for international study.
Where possible your academic supervisor will not change for the duration of your course. However, it may be necessary to assign a new academic supervisor during the course of study or before registration for reasons which might include sabbatical leave, parental leave or change in employment.
For further information, please see our page on changes to courses.
Other courses you may wish to consider
If you're thinking about applying for this course, you may also wish to consider the courses listed below. These courses may have been suggested due to their similarity with this course, or because they are offered by the same department or faculty.
Courses suggested by the department
All graduate courses in the social sciences offered by this department
Entry requirements for entry in 2020-21
Proven and potential academic excellence
As a minimum, applicants should hold or be predicted to achieve the equivalent of the following UK qualifications:
- a master's level qualification in archaeology, completed or predicted at distinction level; and
- a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours in archaeology or a related subject.
Please note that entrance is very competitive and most successful applicants have a distinction, a first-class degree and/or the equivalent.
For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA normally sought is 3.7 out of 4.0.
If your degree is not from the UK or another country specified above, visit our International Qualifications page for guidance on the qualifications and grades that would usually be considered to meet the University’s minimum entry requirements.
GRE General Test scores
No Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or GMAT scores are sought.
Other qualifications, evidence of excellence and relevant experience
- Successful applicants will have a proven track record in archaeological study. Substantial professional experience may be considered.
- Publications are not expected.
English language requirement
This course requires proficiency in English at the University's higher level. If your first language is not English, you may need to provide evidence that you meet this requirement.
Detailed requirements - higher level
The minimum scores required to meet the University's higher level are:
|IELTS Academic||7.5||Minimum 7.0 per component|
Minimum component scores:
|Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE) or C1 Advanced||191||Minimum 185 per component|
|Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) or C2 Proficiency||191||Minimum 185 per component|
Your test must have been taken no more than two years before the start date of your course. For more information about the English language test requirement, visit the Application Guide.
You will be required to supply supporting documents with your application, including references and an official transcript. See 'How to apply' for instructions on the documents you will need and how these will be assessed.
Performance at interview
Interviews are normally held as part of the admissions process.
We do not offer places on this programme without conducting an interview. All candidates whose applications demonstrate that they meet the stated entry criteria will be invited for interview. Candidates will normally be expected to attend interview in Oxford in person; if a candidate is unable to attend on the date initially proposed, s/he will be offered an alternative interview date. Skype interviews may be held in rare cases, at the discretion of the Programme Director, when travelling to Oxford is difficult or impossible for a candidate within the interview period.
Interviews are conducted by a minimum of two interviewers. An invitation to interview is not a guarantee of an offer of a place.
Any offer of a place is dependent on the University’s ability to provide the appropriate supervision for your chosen area of work. Please refer to the ‘About’ section of this page for more information about the provision of supervision for this course.
How your application is assessed
Your application will be assessed purely on academic merit and potential, according to the published entry requirements for the course. Students are selected for admission without regard to gender, marital or civil partnership status, disability, race, nationality, ethnic origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation, age or social background. Whether you have secured funding will not be taken into consideration when your application is assessed.
Admissions panels and assessors
All recommendations to admit a student involve the judgement of at least two members of the academic staff with relevant experience and expertise, and must also be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies or Admissions Committee (or equivalent within the department).
Admissions panels or committees will always include at least one member of academic staff who has undertaken appropriate training.
After an offer is made
If you receive an offer of a place at Oxford, you will be required to meet the following requirements:
If you are offered a place, you will be required to complete a Financial Declaration in order to meet your financial condition of admission.
Disclosure of criminal convictions
In accordance with the University’s obligations towards students and staff, we will ask you to declare any relevant, unspent criminal convictions before you can take up a place at Oxford.
The department is well-equipped for field teaching and supporting individual students’ field studies, mainly field survey. It has a range of archaeological survey and IT equipment, including GIS and geophysical equipment and software, which may be borrowed/used by students, after appropriate experience or training. Part-time DPhil in Archaeology students are encouraged to participate in the programme of open seminars run in the School of Archaeology and elsewhere in the University.
You will be encouraged, where appropriate, to participate more widely in archaeological excavation and/or laboratory analysis; the department does not normally offer its own resources/facilities for supporting these as part of the course, though they may be available elsewhere in the University. If you have a query about equipment or facilities needed to support your studies, please contact the Programme Director.
The department is committed to supporting you to pursue your academic goals.
The Rewley House Continuing Education Library, one of the Bodleian Libraries, is situated in Rewley House. The department aims to support the wide variety of subjects covered by departmental courses at many academic levels. The department also has a collection of around 73,000 books together with periodicals. PCs in the library give access to the internet and the full range of electronic resources subscribed to by the University of Oxford. Wifi is also available. The Jessop Reading Room adjoining the library is available for study. You will have access to the Central Bodleian and other Bodleian Libraries.
The Graduate School provides a stimulating and enriching learning and research environment for the department's graduate students, fostering intellectual and social interaction between graduates of different disciplines and professions from the UK and around the globe. The Graduate School will help you make the most of the wealth of resources and opportunities available, paying particular regard to the support and guidance needed if you are following a part-time graduate programme. The department’s graduate community comprises over 600 members following taught programmes and more than 70 undertaking doctoral research.
The department provides various IT facilities, including the Student Computing Facility which provides individual PCs for your use. Many of the department's courses are delivered through blended learning or have a website to support face-to-face study. In most cases, online support is delivered through a virtual learning environment.
Depending on the programme you are taking with the department, you may require accommodation at some point in your student career. Rewley House is ideally located in central Oxford; the city's historic sites, colleges, museums, shops and restaurants are only a few minutes’ walk away. The department has 35 en-suite study bedrooms, all with high quality amenities, including internet access.
The Rewley House dining room has seating for up to 132 people. A full meal service is available daily. The department operates a Common Room with bar for students.
There are over 1,100 full or partial graduate scholarships available across the University. You will be automatically considered for over two thirds of Oxford scholarships, if you fulfil the eligibility criteria and submit your graduate application by the relevant January deadline, with most scholarships awarded on the basis of academic merit and/or potential. To help identify those scholarships where you will be required to submit an additional application, use the Fees, funding and scholarships search and visit individual college websites using the links provided on our college pages.
Annual fees for entry in 2020-21
Annual Course fees
|Home/EU (including Islands)||£3,985|
Course fees are payable each year, for the duration of your fee liability (your fee liability is the length of time for which you are required to pay course fees). For courses lasting longer than one year, please be aware that fees will usually increase annually. For details, please see our guidance on likely increases to fees and charges.
Course fees cover your teaching as well as other academic services and facilities provided to support your studies. Unless specified in the additional information section below, course fees do not cover your accommodation, residential costs or other living costs. They also don’t cover any additional costs and charges that are outlined in the additional information below.
Following the period of fee liability, you may also be required to pay a University continuation charge and a college continuation charge. The University and college continuation charges are shown on the Continuation charges page.
For more information about course fees and fee liability, please see the Fees section of this website. EU applicants should refer to our dedicated webpage for details of the implications of the UK’s plans to leave the European Union.
Please note that you are required to attend in Oxford for a minimum of 30 days each year, and you may incur additional travel and accommodation expenses for this. Also, depending on your choice of research topic and the research required to complete it, you may incur further additional expenses, such as travel expenses, research expenses, and field trips. You will need to meet these additional costs, although you may be able to apply for small grants from your department and/or college to help you cover some of these expenses.
In addition to your course fees, you will need to ensure that you have adequate funds to support your living costs for the duration of your course.
For the 2020-21 academic year, the range of likely living costs for full-time study is between c. £1,135 and £1,650 for each month spent in Oxford. Full information, including a breakdown of likely living costs in Oxford for items such as food, accommodation and study costs, is available on our living costs page. When planning your finances for any future years of study in Oxford beyond 2020-21, you should allow for an estimated increase in living expenses of 3% each year.
If you are studying part-time your living costs may vary depending on your personal circumstances but you must still ensure that you will have sufficient funding to meet these costs for the duration of your course.
All graduate students on this course become members of an Oxford college. Kellogg College caters particularly for part-time mature students and is closely associated with the department. There is no requirement to state a preference for a particular college, but if you would prefer to do so, you may state a preference for any college that accepts students for this course.
The following colleges accept students on the DPhil in Archaeology:
How to apply
If you wish to discuss your research proposal please contact the Director of Studies, Dr David Griffiths. However, it is not necessary to contact a potential supervisor or other member of academic staff before you apply.
The set of documents you should send with your application to this course comprises the following:
Your transcripts should give detailed information of the individual grades received in your university-level qualifications to date. You should only upload official documents issued by your institution and any transcript not in English should be accompanied by a certified translation.
More information about the transcript requirement is available in the Application Guide.
A CV/résumé is compulsory for all applications. Most applicants choose to submit a document of one to two pages highlighting their academic achievements and any relevant professional experience.
You should submit a detailed outline of your proposed research, written in English, covering areas such as the background to the research, methodology, expected results and the contribution to the field of learning.
This will be assessed for:
- your reasons for applying
- the coherence of the proposal
- the originality of the project
- evidence of motivation for and understanding of the proposed area of study
- the ability to present a reasoned case in English
- the feasibility of successfully completing the project in the time available for the course
- commitment to the subject, beyond the requirements of the degree course
- preliminary knowledge of research techniques
- capacity for sustained and intense work
- reasoning ability
- ability to absorb new ideas, often presented abstractly, at a rapid pace.
It will be normal for your ideas subsequently to change in some ways as you investigate the evidence and develop your project. You should nevertheless make the best effort you can to demonstrate the extent of your research question, sources and method at this moment.
Two written submissions of 2,000 to 2,500 words each
Academic essays or other writing samples from your most recent qualification, written in English, are required. Extracts of the requisite length from longer work are also permissible, including excerpts from a dissertation. Professional or other reports/publications are only acceptable for this purpose if you are the sole author.
The topic(s) of your submitted work should be relevant to the subject area of the course. The word count does not need to include any bibliography or brief footnotes.
This will be assessed for comprehensive understanding of the subject area; understanding of problems in the area; ability to construct an defend an argument; powers of analysis; and powers of expression.
References/letters of recommendation:
Three overall, all of which must be academic
Whilst you must register three referees, the department may start the assessment of your application if two of the three references are submitted by the course deadline and your application is otherwise complete. Please note that you may still be required to ensure your third referee supplies a reference for consideration.
Academic references are required. These should comment on your intellectual ability, academic achievement, motivation, ability to work in a group.
Start or continue an application
Step 1: Read our guide to getting started, which explains how to prepare for and start an application.
Step 2: Check that you meet the Entry requirements and read the How to apply information on this page.
Step 3: Check the deadlines on this page and plan your time to submit your application well in advance.
Step 4: Our Application Guide will help you complete the form. It contains links to FAQs and further help.
Step 5: Submit your application as soon as possible (you can read more information about our deadlines).