The SRU 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 SRU's fields of expertise. Candidates are supervised by two 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.
Subjects studied by PhD candidates at the SRU have included topics focusing on Tanzania, Kenya, Nigeria, Zambia, New Zealand, Tonga, Fiji, French Polynesia, Papua New Guinea, West Papua, Mariana Islands, Australia, Hawaii, Canada, USA, Antilles, Mesoamerica and Peru.
Doctoral students have gone on to careers in higher education, research institutions and museums, including several national museums. Potential doctoral candidates are encouraged to contact the SRU Admissions Office or 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 doctoral students. An endowment from the Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Art Trust, made in 1986, partly funds the Research Unit and includes provision for PhD scholarships.


SRU PhD Scholarships

The SRU is also able to assist PhD students with full or partial awards that can supplement grants from other sources. All doctoral students receive a £2000 bursary to support fieldwork, library and/or collections research and conference attendance.
The SRU is able to offer the Robert Sainsbury Scholarship every three years. This is a three-year scholarship that covers university fees, living expenses and an allowance for fieldwork/travel. The scholarship is next available for entry in 2024.
Our awards are evaluated on the basis of applications and merit, and all outcomes are decided by committee. We are not able to consider funding support for students or projects not associated with the SRU.
For information on any of the above please contact the SRU Admissions Secretary.


UEA Scholarships

The University of East Anglia offers scholarships and bursaries for PhD students. These competitive awards are restricted to candidates who have been offered a place to undertake research at UEA. SRU candidates are also strongly supported in applications for CHASE funding (see below). The SRU has high success rates in Chase applications. Please see the graduate school studentships page for further information.


CHASE awards

UEA, as part of a consortium of universities (CHASE: Consortium for Humanities and the Arts South-East), also offers scholarships across the consortium for PhD entry in October 2024.
CHASE doctoral studentships are available to all applicants, UK or Overseas. For UK residents the awards consist of fees and maintenance; for non-UK applicants the award consists of fees and a stipend (amount tbc).
The deadline for CHASE applicants, for entry in 2024, will be end January 2024 (date to be confirmed), but applicants must already have applied to UEA for a place by 15 December 2023.  


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.

Full applications should be submitted by 15 December 2023 in order to be considered for UEA and CHASE funding for entry in 2024. All fee status candidates, UK or Overseas, are eligible to apply. 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 application deadline for consideration for SRU support funding is 1 March in the year of proposed entry. Later applications may be considered, if places are still available, but may not be eligible for consideration for funding. 
Enquiries concerning any aspect of the SRU PhD programme are welcome. Please contact the SRU 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)