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    Faculty of Human, Social and Political Science (HSPS) Logo
  • Study Type

    Full time available

  • Subject Areas


  • Start Date


  • Course Duration

    11 months

  • Course Type

    Research Only

  • Course Fees


  • Last Updated

    31 October 2018

Course content

This is a master's degree by research in which the sole requirement is a dissertation. It is suitable for those who have a strong background in this field, possibly including 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.

Learning Outcomes

This course will prepare students for research at doctoral level and equip them to be future leaders in biological and evolutionary anthropology and allied fields around the world.


MPhil students taking Biological Anthropological Science wishing to continue to the PhD in Biological Anthropology are required to pass the MPhil degree (the degee is Pass/Fail only). Before applying they must obtain support from a potential supervisor. This need not be the same person who supervises the MPhil thesis but students will need to let the potential PhD supervisor see substantive written work in addition to a draft thesis proposal at an early stage in the academic year. In some circumstances additional academic conditions may be set to ensure that appropriate skills, such as language competence, are in place prior to admittance on the PhD programme.


This is a predominantly research-based course. Non-assessable events in which students are normally expected to participate include: short presentations on dissertation work, professional skills presentations, laboratory sessions and individual meetings with the course director.


Students will receive regular feedback from their supervisor throughout the academic year. Students wishing to continue to the PhD should seek early feedback on writing and research skills.



All students will write a thesis of not more than 35,000 words in length, exclusive of tables, footnotes, bibliography, and appendices, on a subject approved by the Degree Committee. The examination shall include an oral examination on the thesis and on the general field of knowledge within which it falls. The thesis shall provide evidence to satisfy the examiners that a candidate can design and carry out investigations, assess and interpret the results obtained, and place the work in the wider perspectives of the subject. The thesis and examination form the sole assessment for the degree.

Funding Opportunities

There are many different sources of funding available to support UK/EU and international students in Biological Anthropology, but full scholarships for MPhil students are highly competitive. Exceptionally strong candidates for the MPhil programmes in Biological Anthropology (HUBAM2, 3 and 4) are entered for scholarship schemes according to eligibility: e.g. Gates US, Gates International, and scholarship schemes administered by the Cambridge Trust, among others.

Staff will also endeavour to support students in obtaining funding from University, College and external sources. For further information about funding opportunities, consult the Funding for Graduate Students page on the Department website or .

General Funding Opportunities

Apply using the Applicant Portal

The Apply Now button on the right will take you to the Applicant Portal, where you can create and submit your application and supporting documents, and request references.

An application is only complete when:

  1. you have submitted your application and supporting documents via the Applicant Portal
  2. you have paid the £60 application fee
  3. your referees have provided their references.

If you miss the deadlines specified in this section, you will not be able to submit your application.

All applications are subject to submission of an approved proposal and the availability of a suitable

supervisor. Applicants must contact potential supervisors informally for discussions before they make their

formal applications and they must name the potential supervisor on the application. Interviews may be requested on a case by case basis.

Selection Process

Applications are considered on a rolling basis; therefore applicants will receive decisions throughout the period the admissions window is open and in the weeks following its closure. Applicants are encouraged to apply early as programmes have a limited number of places each year, and are particularly advised to note relevant funding deadlines when making their application. Ranking of candidates recommended for funding will take place on a gathered field basis as necessitated by the funding deadlines.

Further information on How To Apply

Visit the MPhil in Biological Anthropological Science page on the University of Cambridge website for more details!