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Department of Social Anthropology


Kings College Chapel


A Cambridge PhD is very highly regarded in the field of Anthropology, both in the UK and overseas, and we have the largest cohort of postgraduate anthropology students in the UK. Cambridge is unparalleled as a place to study for a PhD, combining world class teaching and resources with a friendly but intellectually challenging atmosphere.

The PhD course consists in the first place of a period of training in research issues and methods culminating in the preparation of a research proposal. This training can either be undertaken through the nine-month (three-term) Pre-Fieldwork Course or through the one-year MRes in Social Anthropology.

Students then usually undertake 12-18 months of ethnographic fieldwork. If you are doing the Pre-Fieldwork Course, you can expect to leave for field research at the end of your third term (June-July). If you are doing the MRes course, you can expect to leave for fieldwork in your fourth term (October-December).

On return to Cambridge, students devote the remainder of their research time to writing their PhD dissertation in close consultation with their supervisor.


Please note: due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and government guidance,  we have had to make some changes to the programme in order to mitigate against risks to health and to give you the best possible academic experience in the circumstances. We will continue to monitor and respond to the changing public health situation. Teaching may be delivered in-person or online, depending on evolving distancing guidelines and room availability with provision made for students needing to shield or self isolate. Large lectures will be online; seminars and smaller-group teaching may be in person if circumstances allow. This will be adjusted as the situation develops during the year.