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Durham University

Department of Anthropology

How To Apply

We encourage you to make informal contact with a member of the academic staff at an early stage to discuss your application. If you would like to visit the department before you apply please let us know.

Application forms (the same form for all postgraduate degrees in the university) are available on the Durham university’s website. You should apply online and make sure you complete all relevant sections.

Applicants for direct entry to PhD are expected to have a masters in Anthropology or relevant discipline. At least a 2.1 (or equivalent) at UG level is also required. Non-native speakers of English must provide evidence of English language proficiency with an overall IELTS score of 7.0 (no element below 6) or equivalent. Two satisfactory academic references are also required to support the application.

Other secure English Language tests that are accepted by the University and by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) for Tier 4 student visa purposes can be found here.

In the final section of the online application form applicants to postgraduate degrees should give details of relevant background experience or training and reasons for applying for the programme.

Students applying to do a postgraduate research degree are asked to provide a research proposal as part of the application procedure. The Department of Anthropology expects such proposals to follow the guidelines below. We are particularly supportive of proposals which fall within the remits of our research groups in Social Anthropology, Evolutionary Anthropology, or Anthropology of Health, or our interdisciplinary Research Institutes and Research Centres: the Behaviour, Evolution and Ecology Research Centre, the Centre for the Coevolution of Biology and Culture, and the Parent-Infant Sleep Lab. If possible you should include the questions or hypotheses to be addressed, the background to the proposed study, the methods to be used and a brief timetable covering the field of study. The proposal should be 1000-1500 words, not including references.

It is advisable to develop your proposal in consultation with a potential supervisor.

To obtain a good reference you should provide memory aides to those you request a reference from. So, when you write to request a reference provide a series of prompts (about you) to enable referees to comment (with evidence) on your suitability to undertake a PhD in general and the proposed project specifically. For example, remind them of any outstanding piece of work you did for them and the grade it was given. Suggest any other achievements or work experience (with them or elsewhere) that you would like them to highlight. Referees will appreciate you making their job easier and you will obtain a reference that is more likely to help you!

NB. For studentship competitions (ESRC, AHRC, NERC DDS) the references should not be from the potential PhD supervisors, as a degree of independence is required for referees to be believable. There are exceptional circumstances where this may be allowable but it is to be avoided as far as possible.