The core of the MRes programme is a 20,000-word thesis, which is supported by a core research training module and a core module in ‘Criticism and Methods in the History of Art and Visual Studies’. Both of these core modules will equip you with the skills to enable you to complete your thesis. The core research training module offers advice on how to hone your research topic, write a research rationale and present your thesis. ‘Criticism and Methods’ engages with a range of art historical methodologies and addresses theoretical debates emerging within the discipline. The module helps you frame your current research within the wider art historical research context.
In your second term, you also chose one optional module. Recent subjects have included: Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art; Cultural Analysis; and Digital Cultures.
The History of Art MRes aims to:
- Develop your subject-specific analytical skills
- Enhance your generic research skills
- Provide a critical framework of the historiography and methods of the discipline of art history
- Enable you to produce a substantial thesis in the History of Art, showing competence in relevant methods of research, clear presentation and demonstrating independent judgement
- Develop your skills of verbal presentation and argument
- Develop a deep understanding of the interpretation of visual material
It also aims to provide you with following skills:
- Originality in the application of art historical knowledge
- Ability to use research techniques to seek out and utilize significant, new or pertinent resources, both primary and secondary
- Ability to engage with current debates and, where appropriate, use them in order to frame or enhance arguments
- Self-discipline, initiative and independence in identifying and solving problems and in carrying through their research and writing to a planned timetable
- Capacity to discuss and debate verbally and in writing, using the critical and theoretical perspectives of others in a scholarly framework
You will study two core modules:
Criticism and Methods in the History of Art and Visual Culture
This module looks at the historiography, methods and theoretical underpinning of contemporary practices of artistic and visual analysis. Based on close reading of key scholarly texts, you will engage with traditional art historical methods as well as more recent approaches to the study of art and visual culture. You will be asked to consider the relevance of these methods to a range of examples, including the potential topics for your final Masters thesis.
Postgraduate Research Training and Methods
This specialised module prepares you for both writing and researching your dissertation. It covers topics such as: referencing systems; writing a research proposal; literature reviews; approaching archives; and oral histories.
You will also take one optional modules from a range which includes:
Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art
This module considers subjects such as: art and the nature of aesthetic experience; beauty, ugliness and the sublime; symbolism and allegory; the aesthetics of modernism. At its core is an introduction to the German aesthetic tradition, involving a close reading of foundational texts by Immanuel Kant, Georg Hegel and their contemporaries in the early 19th century. It will also consider the work of subsequent authors, such as Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno and Mikhail Bakhtin, as well as recent and contemporary theorists and philosophers such as Paul Virilio, Jean-François Lyotard, Boris Groys, Niklas Luhmann, Brian Tschumi, Gilles Deleuze, Julia Kristeva and Luce Irigaray. Attention will be paid not only to the conceptual arguments put forward by the thinkers in question, but also to the ways in which their theoretical tenets have underpinned the interpretation and criticism of works of art, music and literature.
This module will introduce and explore the writings of a selection of key theorists of culture. In a first part, questions of power, ideology, discourse, culture and (post)colonialism will be broached via discussion of the ideas of thinkers such as Karl Marx, Louis Althusser, Antonio Gramsci, Michel Foucault, the cultural theorists of the Frankfurt School, Frederic Jameson, Jacques Rancière, Edward Said and Homi Bhabba. In a second part, Issues of identity, subjectivity, psychoanalysis, gender/queer theory, feminism and the body will be examined through discussion of the writings of thinkers such as Sigmund Freud, Jacques Lacan, Luce Irigaray and Judith Butler.
Digital Cultures offers you the opportunity to engage with History of Art through the application of digital technologies. This module will introduce you to the range of technologies that are becoming available and provide practical experience with a range of them. Significantly, this module will teach you the different cultures of engagement between your own disciplines and digital cultures to understand, for example, the difference in languages used. In this way, the module will focus on the breaking down of barriers to learning and engagement with cultural information in both practical and theoretical ways, offering you the chance to develop your own digital content and to demonstrate its value within your own disciplines and beyond.
We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2015/16 are currently as follows:
Home / EU £4,052 full-time; £2,026 part-time
Overseas: £13,195 full-time; £6,597.50 part-time
For part-time students, the above fee quoted is for year one only and tuition fees will also be payable in subsequent years of your programme.
Tuition fees can either be paid in full or by instalments.
Eligibility for Home/EU or Overseas fees can be verified with Admissions. Learn more about fees for international students.
Learn more about postgraduate tuituion fees and funding.
Scholarships and studentships
Scholarships to cover fees and/or maintenance costs may be available. To discover whether you are eligible for any award across the University, and to start your funding application, please visit the University's Postgraduate Funding Database.
International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government.
Birmingham Masters Scholarship Scheme
For 2015 entry the University has 224 new £10,000 scholarships available for Masters students from under-represented groups. These scholarships have been jointly funded by the British Government; the allocation of the awards, which is the fourth highest in the UK, further cements Birmingham?s place amongst the very best higher education institutions for postgraduate study. The application deadline is 31 July 2015.