Postgraduate research courses in Art History

The School of Art History offers the following research degrees:

  • MSt (Res) This is normally a year-long degree, which enables you to work full-time on a research project, resulting in a dissertation of 30,000 words.
  • MPhil This is normally a two-year degree and it is available in two formats. You either work full-time on a research project, resulting in a dissertation of 60,000 words. Or you take the taught components of the MLitt degree during your first year, and then spend the second year researching and writing a dissertation of 40,000 words. 
  • PhD (Doctorate) This is normally a three-year degree, which enables you to work full-time on a research project, resulting in a thesis of 80,000 words, followed by an oral examination.

All these degrees may also be completed part time.


Postgraduate research students in the School of Art History are supported by a supervisory team, consisting of a principal supervisor, and either a secondary supervisor, or a designated mentor. They have personal desk spaces in shared offices in the School building, with access to scanning and printing facilities. Research students receive an annual allowance to support research expenses and may request research resource acquisitions for the University Library, which is located only a few steps away from the School. Doctoral students may also apply to the Catherine and Alfred Forrest Trust, which provides generous bursaries to support international research travel and other research expenses.

If you are interested in pursuing any of these three research degrees in the School of Art History, you should contact a relevant member of academic staff to discuss your research interests and establish whether appropriate supervision is available for you.

Research Proposal

Once you have made contact with a relevant staff member, you should prepare a research proposal, which provides a detailed outline of the area of research that you wish to pursue. If you are applying for an MSt (Res), we recommend that your proposal is around 800-1000 words in length. For the PhD programme, your proposal should be between 1000-1500 words.

Your proposal should refer to scholarship that is relevant to your research topic and explain how your project provides a different perspective on the subject. References should also be included. Where appropriate, your text should also be accompanied by properly captioned images. In addition, you should provide a substantial bibliography listing relevant publications.


Please do not submit an application for undertaking a research degree until you have communicated with a member of staff in the School, and they have indicated their willingness in principle to supervise you.

Further details about how to apply can be found on the University’s Research Programme application page.

Once submitted, your application will be reviewed by the School’s Postgraduate Committee.

There is no fixed deadline for applying for any of research programmes.


A number of funding opportunities and scholarships are available for new research postgraduates. To apply for these, you must already have applied, or in some cases already be admitted, to the relevant degree programme. Many of the application deadlines fall between January and early May for the following academic year (which commences in September). You are therefore encouraged to apply for research degree programmes in good time.

We look forward to hearing from you!