About the course
It is possible to study for a doctorate by part-time research in archaeology. Completing the DPhil on a part-time basis normally requires between four and six years of study, compared with a full-time DPhil which normally takes three to four years to complete.
The part-time DPhil programme draws on knowledge and skills acquired over many years of providing specialist classes in archaeology and profits from close links with the many different archaeologists elsewhere in the University.
The DPhil programme is overseen by the University’s Continuing Education Board, and admission is through the Department for Continuing Education.
The part-time DPhil programme caters for students specialising mainly in landscape and professional archaeology topics, largely concentrated on Britain and Europe. Occasionally, other topics are accepted but admission in these cases is strictly dependent on the availability of appropriate supervision elsewhere in the university. Please note that candidates, even those with an academically strong background, may not be admitted if appropriate supervision is not available for your proposed research topic.
The department has strong links with the School of Archaeology which is responsible for full-time provision within the University. Supervision is arranged to suit the DPhil topic. The department’s resident archaeologists, Dr David Griffiths (Director of Studies for Archaeology) and Dr Alison MacDonald (Departmental Lecturer in Archaeology), supervise the programme, along with colleagues from the School of Archaeology and elsewhere.
You will have access to the full range of Oxford’s library, archive and computing facilities. You are encouraged to participate as fully as possible in the wider research environment for archaeology at Oxford, including attending seminars, discussion groups and lectures advertised by the School of Archaeology, Oxford University Archaeological Society and Graduate Archaeology Oxford. The Department for Continuing Education has its own stock of fieldwork equipment and access to specialist facilities elsewhere in the University can be arranged where these are required.
The part-time DPhil regulations require a minimum of six years’ part-time study normally (equivalent to three years full-time), although this may be reduced to four years part-time (two years full-time equivalent) in certain circumstances, for example if you have successfully completed the MSc in Applied Landscape Archaeology or certain other master’s courses with a dissertation of direct relevance to your DPhil topic.
If you are a research student you may be required to undertake appropriate research training provided within the department. In addition, you will be strongly encouraged to participate in seminars and informal meetings with staff and other researchers. The major commitment of time will be to individual study and research, involving wide and intense reading, data collection and analysis, and writing.
Graduates have taken on senior roles in academic research and professional practice. Several have become research associates on externally-funded University of Oxford research projects, and have combined this with developing teaching careers in higher education. One served as Chair of the Institute for Archaeologists, the UK’s leading professional body. Others have developed careers in heritage and archaeological practice, working for organisations such as Oxford Archaeology.
Entry requirements for entry in 2017-18
Within equal opportunities principles and legislation, applications will be assessed in the light of an applicant’s ability to meet the following entry requirements:
1. Academic ability
Proven and potential academic excellence
Applicants are normally expected to be predicted or have achieved a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours (or equivalent international qualifications), as a minimum, in archaeology or a related subject. A master's level qualification is usually required.
Please note that entrance is very competitive and most successful applicants have a distinction, a first-class degree and/or the equivalent.
For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA normally sought is 3.7 out of 4.0.
Successful applicants will have a proven track record in archaeological study. Substantial professional experience may be considered.
No Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or GMAT scores are sought.
Other appropriate indicators will include:
You will be required to supply supporting documents with your application, including references and an official transcript. See 'How to apply' for instructions on the documents you will need and how these will be assessed.
Performance at interview(s)
Interviews are normally held as part of the admissions process.
We do not offer places on this programme without conducting an interview. All candidates whose applications demonstrate that they meet the stated entry criteria will be invited for interview. Candidates will normally be expected to attend interview in Oxford in person; if a candidate is unable to attend on the date initially proposed, s/he will be offered an alternative interview date. Skype interviews may be held in rare cases, at the discretion of the Programme Director, when travelling to Oxford is difficult or impossible for a candidate within the interview period.
Interviews are conducted by a minimum of two interviewers. An invitation to interview is not a guarantee of an offer of a place.
How to apply
If you wish to discuss your research proposal please contact the Director of Studies, Dr David Griffiths. However, it is not necessary to contact a potential supervisor or other member of academic staff before you apply.
The set of documents you should send with your application to this course comprises the following:
- Official transcript(s)
Your transcripts should give detailed information of the individual grades received in your university-level qualifications to date. You should only upload official documents issued by your institution and any transcript not in English should be accompanied by a certified translation.
A CV/résumé is compulsory for all applications. Most applicants choose to submit a document of one to two pages highlighting their academic achievements and any relevant professional experience.
- Research proposal:
You should submit a detailed outline of your proposed research, written in English, covering areas such as the background to the research, methodology, expected results and the contribution to the field of learning.
This will be assessed for:
- your reasons for applying
- the coherence of the proposal
- the originality of the project
- evidence of motivation for and understanding of the proposed area of study
- the ability to present a reasoned case in English
- the feasibility of successfully completing the project in the time available for the course
- commitment to the subject, beyond the requirements of the degree course
- preliminary knowledge of research techniques
- capacity for sustained and intense work
- reasoning ability
- ability to absorb new ideas, often presented abstractly, at a rapid pace.
It will be normal for your ideas subsequently to change in some ways as you investigate the evidence and develop your project. You should nevertheless make the best effort you can to demonstrate the extent of your research question, sources and method at this moment.
- Written work:
Two essays of 2,000 to 2,500 words each
Academic essays or other writing samples from your most recent qualification, written in English, are required. Extracts of the requisite length from longer work are also permissible.
Academic essays or other writing samples, written in English, are required. Extracts of the requisite length from longer work are also permissible.
The topic(s) of your written work should be relevant to the subject area of the course. The word count does not need to include any bibliography or brief footnotes.
This will be assessed for comprehensive understanding of the subject area; understanding of problems in the area; ability to construct an defend an argument; powers of analysis; and powers of expression.
References/letters of recommendation:
Three overall, all of which must be academic
Whilst you must register three referees, the department may start the assessment of your application if two of the three references are submitted by the course deadline and your application is otherwise complete. Please note that you may still be required to ensure your third referee supplies a reference for consideration.
Academic references are required. These should comment on your intellectual ability, academic achievement, motivation, ability to work in a group.
For more information click "Further official information" below.