skip to content

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 Postgraduate 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.



Partial studentships (scholarships), normally worth up to £4000 annually each, exist specifically for postgraduate 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 postgraduate student in the University, for a higher degree course (MPhil) or research (PhD) in Assyriology, Mesopotamian archaeology or a closely related field.  

Application procedure

For incoming students (including current Undergraduates applying for the MPhil and current MPhils applying for the PhD), there is no separate application procedure: applicants intending to concentrate on Ancient Mesopotamia are automatically considered on the basis of their applications for the programme.  Those in receipt of a studentship will normally be notified in late May.
Current PhD students should submit a one-page statement about their research and its intellectual interest to Dr Augusta McMahon by May 1st. Applicants need not specify which studentship they are applying for: they will automatically be considered for an award from either fund. Applicants will normally be notified in late 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 postgraduate 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 Dr Jon Tenney