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PhD programmes – University of Reading

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  • Take your knowledge to the next level

    Examine issues of global significance with a PhD

PhD programmes

Work with world-leading archaeologists to pursue your own research career.

As a postgraduate research student in the Department of Archaeology at Reading, you will be part of a vibrant world-class research community, consistently ranked among the top in the UK for archaeology. You will be a member of our thriving interdisciplinary research clusters and centres and have access to state-of-the-art facilities.

The Department of Archaeology has an international reputation for the quality of its research and the excellence of its teaching, and is at the forefront of social and scientific research on issues of global cultural and environmental importance and contemporary relevance. We pride ourselves on providing a stimulating and friendly environment for our active community of postgraduate students to pursue their research and professional development.

“Doing my PhD at Reading has provided me with a wealth of opportunities outside my project to learn new skills and gain teaching experience in preparation for future roles.”

Sara Wilson – PhD Researcher


97% of our research was judged to be of international standing in the latest Research Excellence Framework, 2014.

Our expertise spans the Palaeolithic to the Medieval periods, and regions of the world including the UK, Europe, Middle East, South America and China. Find out more on our research page.

The world-class research in Archaeology is nurtured by research clusters that provide an interdisciplinary environment for engagement within and across themes, projects and regional studies. These research clusters focus on advancing social and scientific approaches to past communities and environments, as well as issues of fundamental significance, including climate and environmental change, health, diet, social diversity and inclusivity, and cultural heritage.

We benefit from state-of-the art resources for both humanities-based and science-based archaeological research, and have strong research links and collaborations with departments across the University and external institutions.

What we offer

We offer flexible modes of study designed to fit with your needs. Our PhD is available for study on a full-time basis over three years and part-time over four to six years. Both full-time and part-time variants are available for study in Reading, or at a distance for students who live outside the UK.


Over the course of your PhD you will also be involved in opportunities to communicate your work and network with other researchers and external institutions, speak at conferences, seminars, and workshops, and visit or host researchers from elsewhere. In the summer term every year the School holds a joint Postgraduate Conference for all its research students.


In your degree course, you will benefit from a programme of relevant postgraduate training and have access to specialist modules agreed between you and your supervisor/s as well as a programme of transferable skills organised by the Graduate School.


Our PhD students go on to work in academia as postdoctoral researchers and lecturers, and also quickly find employment in industries such as heritage agencies, museums, professional archaeology, environmental and geoarchaeology, forensic companies, government organisations and media.

“Reading is the perfect foundation for my academic career, equipping me with the skills, expertise and contacts to establish me as a serious and productive scholar in the field of Early Medieval Archaeology.”

Matt Austin – PhD Archaeology

Research clusters

Research in the Department is organised into research clusters, which provide additional opportunities for discussion and interaction between academic and research staff and postgraduate research students:

We are also active members of the Centre for Past Climate Change, the Walker Institute for Climate System Research, the Graduate Centre for Medieval Studies, and the new Heritage and Creativity Heritage.

Further information


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