We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Department of Anthropology


The Graduate School Website gives details of fees for full-time and part-time students. For funding opportunities you may wish to consider the following possibilities:

Unless you are in the position to self-fund your PhD you will need to consider applying for funding for your studies. Within the Anthropology Department we are very fortunate in that students have the potential to apply to 4 different studentship competitions:

  1. Durham Doctoral Studentship (DDS)
  2. ESRC North East Doctoral Training Centre (NINE formely NEDTC)
  3. AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership (NorthernBridge)
  4. NERC Doctoral Training Partnership (IAPETUS2)

NB. DDS or self-funded students have access to approximately £200 expenses per year from the Department to cover research costs and/or conference attendance etc. Please keep this in mind when considering your research proposal as you may need to apply for alternative external sources of funding to assist with research expenses during your PhD. [ESRC, AHRC, NERC students are awarded a substantial RTSG (research training support grant) and are therefore not eligible for this Department funding.]

There are a number of alternative funding opportunities, provided by other agencies, which you may also consider.

All of these opportunities are highly competitive necessitating:

We welcome applications from students with their own project ideas but please note that these may need to be modified in order to meet the criteria of the specific studentship competition to which you apply. To that end, we recommend that you discuss potential project ideas with a suitable prospective supervisor at an early stage. In addition, see below for links to specific projects or subject areas within which members of the Anthropology Department would like to encourage applications relevant to each studentship competition.

The competition you apply to is dependent upon the content of your proposed research project and the Department allows each student to apply only to one competition within each year. Potential supervisors will be able to advise you regarding this but the following information should also be consulted. In order to be considered for funding, please submit an on-line application by the relevant above deadline here and indicate in the 'Fees and Finance' section of the form that you wish to be considered for Durham doctoral funding.

Deadline for applications: 15 February 2019 (please note this is a week earlier than the University's advertised deadline of 22 February)

These prestigious studentships, awarded by the Faculty of Social Sciences & Health, are open to International students in all fields and to Home/EU students in fields not supported by the ESRC, AHRC, or NERC doctoral studentships. To avoid unnecessary disappointment it is important that you, and your prospective supervisor, are aware of the University’s Criteria and the Anthropology Department’s internal procedures for this competition.

Deadline for applications: 18 January 2019

The NINE Doctoral Training Partnership offers Economic and Social Research Council funded studentships through the Anthropology Pathway,in sociocultural anthropology, medical anthropology, developmental anthropology and cultural evolution, broadly defined. We may also submit students to the Health Wellbeing and Society and conflict thematic pathways.

Detailed information about this award can be found on the NINE DTP web page:

Studentships of differing lengths are available:

  • 3 years: students with an ESRC-recognised research training Masters degree
  • 3.5 years: students with a relevant masters degree but not an ESRC-recognised research training Masters degree. This route includes a preliminary 6 months of ESRC recognized research methods training
  • 4 years: including an MA in Research Methods (pathways in Sociocultural Anthropology, Medical Anthropology, Developmental Anthropology, and Cultural Evolution) for students with an Undergraduate Degree, only.

To avoid unnecessary disappointment it is important that you and your prospective supervisor are aware of the DTP's criteria and the Anthropology Department’s internal procedures for this competition.

We would also welcome applications from those interested in the following research themes/ideas:

Are concerns about low levels of physical activity in girls and women justified? Disentangling the effects of sex and gender on physical activity levels.

Girls and women spend less time physically active than boys and men in almost all human populations. This is consistently identified as a gender difference resulting from social constraints experienced by girls and women, and, because of the importance of physical activity for health, as a cause for considerable concern. As a result, many interventions to increase levels of physical activity are targeted specifically at girls and women. However, humans are a sexually dimorphic species, so it may be that we should expect a biologically-evolved sex difference in levels of physical activity. Other species of primates are known to show sex differences in activity profiles. The aim of this project will be to explain sex/gender differences in physical activity in humans using a combination of methods from evolutionary biology and the social sciences. The aims of the project are twofold: 1) to apply a phylogenetic comparative analysis to existing time budget data from non-human primates to identify the extent to which observed human sex differences in activity levels differ from those expected given our evolutionary history, and 2) to use time-use data from the Multinational Time Use Study to assess the impact of gendered differences in everyday time-use in human populations in different geographical settings on gender differences in activity levels. The results of this study will be a much improved understanding of the roles of sex and gender in physical activity, and information that will greatly enhance our ability to effectively target interventions to increase the physical activity of girls and women.

Supervisors: Tessa Pollard, Rob Barton, Sally Street

Deadline for applications: 9 January 2019

In 2013 the University (along with Newcastle University and Queen’s Belfast University) won funding for PhD studentships over the next 5 years from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) which covers the following subject areas:

  • History, philosophy, religious studies and law.
  • Contemporary arts practice, theory in art, design and media, architecture, visual arts, creative writing, music, dance, drama and theatre studies.
  • Art history, conservation of art and textiles, dictionaries and databases, cultural geography, archaeology, classics and ancient history and library, information and museum studies.
  • Journalism, media and communication studies, American studies, cultural studies and popular culture, gender and sexuality, life-writing, literary and cultural theory, post-colonial studies, text editing and bibliography, English language and literature, linguistics and modern languages.

To avoid unnecessary disappointment it is important that you and your prospective supervisor are aware of the DTC's criteria and the Anthropology Department’s internal procedures for this competition. More details about this scheme can be found here.

Deadline for applications: 18 January 2019

In 2013 the University (along with Glasgow, Newcastle, St Andrews and Stirling, together with the British Geological Survey and the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology) won funding for PhD studentships over the next five years from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). This was reinstated in 2018 and covers the following subject areas:

  • Global environmental change (ice-sheet dynamics; sea-level changes; past environments)
  • Geodynamics and earth resources (deep earth processes; crustal processes; geo-energy and mineral resources)
  • Carbon and nutrient cycling (the changing carbon cycle in globally-sensitive areas; peatland dynamics to understand feedback in the cycle; C cycle stability and nutrient interactions)
  • Hazards, risk and resilience (volcanoes, earthquakes and landslides; Fluvial processes and flooding; environmental pollution and human health)
  • Biological resources and ecosystems (evolution and ecology; resource sustainability and environmental change biology)

We are very keen to hear from prospective students interested in the following projects:

Evolution and ecology of extractive foraging in birds and mammals

Understanding reintroduction biases in mammals & birds

You may find further information regarding the NERC Doctoral Training Partnership and the Anthropology Department’s internal procedures for this competition.

Deadline for applications:15 January 2019

To be eligible for a DurhamARCTIC studentship applicants must also apply to, and be accepted by, a degree-granting doctoral programme at Durham University. In addition to being judged according to departmental selection criteria, applications for a DurhamARCTIC studentship will be selected according to additional criteria, including:

  • How the project’s focus is particularly relevant to the Arctic. Although comparative work at lower latitudes may be appropriate, the focus of the study and beneficial impact must be associated with the Arctic as a broadly defined region
  • How the project will both contribute to and benefit from interdisciplinary research and training
  • How the project will benefit from the three-month placement period
  • The applicant’s experience residing in or researching the Arctic

Find our further information and guidance on the application process here

Director of PhD Admissions:
Dr Paolo Fortis:
Postgraduate Research Administrator
Mrs Kate Payne: Tel: 0191 334 1608