Distance Learning PhD in Archaeology and Ancient History

The distance learning PhD is ideal for those who are based away from Leicester or who want to combine working for a research degree with their professional and personal commitments.

Distance Learning Research StudentOur distance programmes offer a more flexible way to study for a research degree - allowing you to undertake a University of Leicester PhD wherever you are based in the world.

As with the campus based PhD programme, you will undertake a substantial research project that is written up as a thesis of 80,000 words and defended in an oral examination (the "viva voce" examination).

Distance Learning PhD Description

Entry Requirements

Standard academic entry requirements and English language entry requirements apply.

Applicants may also have an appropriate Masters degree (at Merit or above), or other demonstrable research experience and writing skills.

In some cases you will have extensive professional experience in your proposed field of study (e.g. field archaeology, heritage) and this experience may be accepted for entry to the doctoral programme.


Tuition Fees 2019/0 entry

The fee quoted below is the total fee for the PhD.

  • UK/EU  £19,930
  • International £23,855
Tuition Fees for 2020/21 entry
  • UK/EU £20,825
  • International £24,930

Tuition Fees can be paid using any of the options below:

  1. Total course fee paid in full before first registration.
  2. Total course fee split into 4 annual payments with first annual payment made in full before first registration.
  3. Total course fee split into 12 instalments paid over the first 4 years of study. The first instalment to be paid before first registration.

A payment schedule will be sent with the offer letter.

If you are living outside of the UK/EU during your studies you will pay the International fee. For clarification please contact pgradmissions@le.ac.uk

Registration Period

  • Minimum - Four Years
  • Maximum - Seven Years


There is no difference between the distance learning PhD qualification and the campus based equivalent and both degrees are recognised internationally.

Supervisory Support

All distance learning PhD research students are allocated a personal supervisor who will help you plan and manage your research and develop your understanding of relevant research methodology.

You'll keep in touch with your supervisor through regular supervisory meetings provided online or by telephone.

Research Skills Training

We have nearly twenty years' experience in supporting distance learning postgraduates. The programme is designed to support the particular needs of distance learners by combining online research training modules and supplied textbooks, short residential visits, and intensive supervision.

However, it is expected that applicants will be able to demonstrate that they have experience of the methodological skills needed in their proposed field of research.

University Resources

Alongside this core training, distance learners have access to a range of online resources and materials to help you:

  • develop an effective working relationship with your supervisor
  • develop your broader academic writing skills including related concepts such as referencing and avoiding plagiarism
  • plan and manage the writing of your thesis and prepare for the viva exam

You'll also have access to the University Library's online resources for distance learning research students including remote access to some 18,000 electronic journals, books, and databases.

Visiting Leicester

The School of Archaeology and Ancient History offers distance learning research students a residential Induction Week in the autumn after starting their degree and this is a good time to meet your supervisor and other staff in person.

Distance learning PhD research students are registered on probation for the first twenty-four months of their degree. Over this period you will complete your research skills training and your overall suitability for a PhD programme will be monitored.

At the end of this period your progress will be assessed and, subject to this being satisfactory, you can then continue with your degree.

You will be required to visit Leicester both for your probation review and for your viva exam at the end of your degree. You are not required to visit Leicester at any other time, but distance learners are welcome to do so should they wish to:

  • meet their supervisor or fellow researchers
  • use facilities such as the University Library
  • attend training sessions or other University events for researchers

1. Make sure we offer PhD/MPhil supervision in the area in which you want to work - search our staff research interests listed below.

2. Submit a pre-application form in the first instance.

If you are asked by the department to submit a full application follow the guidelines below.

You might be interested in signing up for our 5 week online course 'Discovering Your PhD Potential: Writing a Research Proposal. The course is offered through FutureLearn where you can register your interest for the next available course.

3.  Download and save the Research Proposal Form. Complete all sections of the form telling us what you want to research, how you intend to do it, and why it is worth doing and how, with reference to existing practice and research, it constitutes an original investigation.

When you are ready to apply for your place you will need to upload the form to the Research Proposal section of your online application form

4. Prepare your supporting documents - with your application you need to include proof that you meet the academic entry requirements and the English language entry requirements:

  • include all relevant certificates/diplomas and transcripts
  • international applicants must provide official copies of their entire course transcripts including explanations of the mark schemes used and, where possible, an indication of their class ranking/position in class
  • supporting documents not in English must be provided with a certified English translation
You must also provide contact details for two academic (not personal) referees who can comment on your suitability for the research degree programme

5. Submit your online application

If you have any questions about the distance learning PhD or about PhD supervision in the School of Archaeology and Ancient History, please contact us.

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