The Research Unit provides opportunities and scholarships for candidates who wish to conduct research leading to the award of a PhD (normal duration 3-4 years) on a topic within the Research Unit's fields of expertise. Candidates are supervised by one or more members of faculty. The principal requirement of the PhD degree is a thesis (100,000 words maximum), that usually involves library/archival research and/or fieldwork and/or collections-based research. For research students there are regular personal supervisions, group seminars and School research seminars.

Topics studied by PhD candidates at the SRU are itemised on subsequent web pages, but have focused on topics in Tanzania, Kenya, Nigeria, Congo, Zambia, New Zealand, Tonga, Fiji, French Polynesia, Papua New Guinea, West Papua, Mariana Islands, Australia, Canada, USA, Antilles, Mesoamerica and Peru.

Doctoral students have gone on to careers in higher education, research institutions and museums. Potential doctoral candidates are encouraged to contact any member of faculty to discuss their project at the earliest opportunity.

To help foster study and research in the arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas, the Sainsbury Research Unit offers funding support for its academic programmes. An endowment from the Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Art Trust, made in 1986, partly funds the Research Unit, and includes provision for postgraduate grants, scholarships and fellowships.

SRU PhD Scholarships.

For SRU PhD students, we are able to offer the Robert Sainsbury Scholarship. This is a three-year scholarship that covers university fees, living expenses and an allowance for fieldwork/travel. The scholarship will next be available in 2022.

The Research Unit is also able to assist PhD students with smaller awards that usually supplement grants from other sources.

All doctoral students receive a bursary to support fieldwork, library and/or collections research and conference attendance.

Our awards are evaluated on the basis of applications and merit, and all outcomes are decided by committee. At present, we do not consider funding support for students or projects not associated with SRU-based MA, doctoral research or visiting fellowship programmes.

For information on any of the above please contact the admissions secretary.

UEA Scholarships

The University of East Anglia administers different scholarships and bursaries for candidates commencing MA and PhD study. These competitive awards are restricted to candidates who have been offered a place to undertake research at UEA. SRU candidates are strongly supported in applications for CHASE funding, UEA and other grants and have a very high success rates. Please see the graduate school studentships page for further information.

CHASE awards

UEA as part of the Consortium for Humanities and the Arts South-East (CHASE) also offers scholarships across the consortium for PhD entry in October 2022.

CHASE doctoral studentships are available to all fee status applicants. For UK residents the awards consist of fees and maintenance and for non UK residents the award can consist of fees and a stipend (amounts tbc).

The deadline for CHASE applicants for 2022 is 28th January 2022.  

ACU Scholarships

The Association of Commonwealth Universities provides scholarships for graduates of Commonwealth universities who wish to undertake postgraduate study at a Commonwealth university outside their own country. Please see their website for further details.

Expressions of interest to be considered by prospective supervisors should be received no later than 1 December 2021 in order to be considered for CHASE funding. All fee status candidates are eligible to apply for CHASE funding for 2022. Please contact a prospective supervisor in the first instance to discuss your proposal and suitability for PhD study.

Applicants should have a good undergraduate degree in anthropology, archaeology, art history or a related subject, and also preferably have, or be about to complete, a Masters level degree.

The deadline for consideration for funding from CHASE and UEA sources will be in January 2022. The deadline for consideration for SRU support funding is 1st March in the year of application. Overseas applicants are recommended to apply at least four months before the proposed start date in order to complete the visa process and arrange payment of the deposit. Later applications may be considered, if places are still available, but may not be eligible for consideration for funding. The academic year begins in late September.

Enquiries concerning any aspect of the programmes offered by the Research Unit are welcome. Please contact the Admissions Secretary, or any member of faculty for further information or to discuss your interests.

How to apply

Online Application form and guidance notes

SRU Information for PhD Research applications (pdf)