With a long experience in the PhD in Prehistoric Archaeology as an independent doctorate and a large numbers of theses produced, the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and the University of Cantabria have joined forced to offer an innovative, original and powerful Interuniversity Doctorate in Prehistoric Archaeology which began in 2014-2015.

This new programme is the result of collaboration between the two universities in teaching and research with the additional collaboration of the researchers from the Institució Milà i Fontanals of the Spanish Research Council in Barcelona.

This allows the new programme to cover all the theoretical and methodological aspects of prehistoric archaeology since there is a high level of complementarities and balance which is not reflected in any other doctorate programme for this area of knowledge.

The joint project is perfect because apart form the methodological and theoretical overlaps and research objectives each institutions complements the other with its strengths and less developed  areas.

The inclusion of researchers from the Institució Milà i Fontanals of the Spanish Research Council is also unique in our field and offers not only a strong teaching element but also  gives students an innovative perspective of the institutional structure of research in this country, in addition to an academic view.


Candidate profile

This PhD programme is oriented towards the training of researchers in prehistoric archaeology, based on the writing of PhD theses within the framework of original, unpublished research projects.

Its students must therefore have a bachelor's degree or master's degree in an area of archaeology. The target profile is that of students with a master's degree that has content in prehistoric archaeology, taught at the UAB or the UNICAN, or another master's with similar content. Access requirements are the same for both universities.

Professional opportunities

This PhD programme provides the following principal career options:

  • Training of researchers and lecturers in research centres and universities.
  • Specialists and consultants at centres for studying the historical and archaeological heritage, archaeological museums, heritage-management companies, international organisations, foundations, associations, etc.

Objectives and justification

The PhD programme in Prehistoric Archaeology between the University of Cantabria and the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona is aimed at training researchers interested in the knowledge of human societies in the prehistoric era through specific research projects culminating in a doctoral thesis.

The programme is aimed at students who want to work with the most up to date theoretical trends and methodologies as well as in the newly emerging disciplines.

The training and research proposals seek a balance between theory, methodology and research to achieve a fruitful relationship and facilitate the interrelationship between the research and teaching fields.

The programme is offered jointly by two Spanish universities (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and the University of Cantabria) with the participation of the Institució Milà i Fontanals of the Spanish Research Council in Barcelona.

Research infrastructure

Besides the physical resources for teaching and research that the UAB provides for all its PhD programmes, students on this programme can also make use of the following research infrastructures.

Students on this programme can make use of the prehistoric archaeology laboratories at the disposal of the research groups belonging to the participating institutions.

These laboratories have microscopy equipment, computers, analytic and archaeometric materials and archaeological fieldwork equipment.

The institutions on this programme have well-stocked specialist libraries and access to a large number of digital collections and other prehistoric archaeology resources.

As well as the laboratories and other installations belonging to the aforementioned SGR research groups, the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona has various laboratories grouped together in the  Archaeological Analysis Service of the Department of Prehistory, specialising in quantitative archaeology, anthropobiology, archaeobotany and archaeozoology. There is also the laboratory of the Centre for Studies on the Archaeological Heritage of Prehistory (CEPAP).

The University of Cantabria (UNICAN) has a consolidated research infrastructure linked to the International Institute of Prehistoric Research of Cantabria, located at the university itself. This institute has laboratories for archaeological microscopy and photography, bioarchaeology and inorganic material, and fieldwork equipment. It recently acquired a laboratory for preparing thin-section samples.

The Milà i Fontanals Institute of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), associated with this programme, also has well-equipped laboratories, especially in the fields of microscopy, determination of raw materials, plant palaeoecology and palaeoeconomics, prehistoric technology, and the lithotheque of the north-east of the Iberian Peninsula (LITOCAT), a benchmark collection of silica rocks that could have been used as raw material for making prehistoric stone tools.

The programme also has the support of the Archaeology Museum of Catalonia (MAC) and the Museum of the History of Barcelona, which allow PhD students to work with their large collections of archaeological materials and make use of their laboratories and other facilities, especially the rich library of the MAC.

For all information:


Miguel Molist Montañá


Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Coordinator: Prof. Miguel Molist Montañá
Phone: +34 93 581 43 10

Universidad de Cantabria
Coordinator: Prof. Jesús Emilio González Urquijo
Phone: +34 942 20 11 16


Joint PhD
Number of places available: 10
Fees: aprox. €540 per year View detail of the PhD's fees

Languages in which the thesis may be written:
English, Spanish, Catalan, French, German
Organising universities and institutions:
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Universidad de Cantabria

Associated departments or institutes:
Department of Prehistory

Collaborating institutions:
Milà i Fontanals Institution of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)
Museu d'Arqueologia de Catalunya
Museu d’Història de Barcelona
Arts and Humanities