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The Cambridge Assyriology Funds

The two funds

Mesopotamia at Cambridge is supported by two trust funds, the C. H. W. Johns Memorial Fund and the Margaret Munn-Rankin Fund for Assyriology (see the University's Ordinances, Chapter XII).  

The income from the funds, which at the current rate of return (March 2017) amounts to roughly £14.500 per annum, is primarily used to fund Graduate students and to support the annual seminar series; but also for other purposes, such as enhancing the collections in the Haddon Library, covering the expenses of guest lecturers, paying for costs associated with Mesopotamian research, and paying for replacement teaching when the teaching officers are on sabbatical leave.

In the academic year 2016-2017, the policy was adopted of publishing annual financial reports online, starting with the previous academic year.



Two partial studentships (scholarships), normally worth £4000 annually each, exist specifically for graduate study in Assyriology and Mesopotamian studies (languages, archaeology, history): the C.H.W. Johns and the M. Munn-Rankin Studentships.


Graduates of any University are eligible, and there is no citizenship requirement for either fund. 

Applicants for studentships must be registered, or have applied for admission, as a full-time graduate student in the University, for a higher degree course (MPhil) or research (PhD) in Assyriology, Mesopotamian archaeology or a closely related field.  

Application procedure

Applications for these studentships consist of a c.v., a research proposal (PhD) or statement of research interests (MPhil) not exceeding 1000 words, and the application form. Please create a single PDF file of all the requested materials, label the file clearly with your name, and email it to the Assyriology Coordinator at . If you have difficulty accessing email, you may post the application to the Assyriology MPhil Coordinator, Division of Archaeology, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3DZ, UK.
The deadline for receipt of applications is 14th January of any year.  Please ensure that your Applicant Portal application for admission to the University is submitted to the Board of Graduate Studies by the same date.

Applicants need not specify which studentship they are applying for: they will automatically be considered for an award from both funds. Assessment of applications will be made on the basis of the application materials supplied, plus the Applicant Portal application and references supplied for admission.  Applicants will normally be notified of the outcome in May.


Any award may be held for a maximum of four years; any MPhil awardee continuing to the PhD will be eligible for an award for a further three years at PhD level but must make a new application between MPhil and PhD. A PhD awardee will usually hold the studentship for three years, subject to annual progress reports and confirmation of the supervisor. There is no scope for extending a PhD award beyond three years if the student goes 'beyond terms'.


Small grants

The Managers of the Johns Fund will consider applications in aid of research (e.g. conference attendance, fieldwork, archive or museum visits) in Assyriology and Mesopotamian archaeology. These awards are available to undergraduate and graduate students and to members of the University doing research in the relevant fields.

Grants for conference attendance will normally only be considered if the applicant is presenting a paper at the conference.  Should this not be the case, applicants should explain why an exception might be made.

Applications should take the form of a cover letter describing the project, a CV and a detailed, justified budget (estimates are permissible for future expenditures).  They should be emailed to   or posted to: the Assyriology Coordinator, Division of Archaeology, Downing Street, Cambridge, CB2 3DZ.


Academic Year 2015-2016

Johns Fund

Total income: £6291.99

Total expenditure: £8792.12 (comprising £7626 on Graduate Student support, £1034.32 on the seminar series, and £131.80 to support the first edition of the Egypt/Mesopotamia sixth formers' conference).

Deliberate overspend of £2500.13, drawing on spendable capital.

Munn-Rankin Fund

Total income: £8282.32

Total expenditure: £7540 (comprising £6800 on Graduate Student support, £240 on MPhil Sumerian teaching, and £500 on supporting the dissemination of Dr Marie Besnier's board game Esagil: Treasure Hunt in Babylon).

Unspent: £742.32