MRes History of Art

If you want to focus on researching one specific area in the History of Art without going straight into a PhD, then the MRes is the programme for you. At the end of this programme many of our graduates continue on to do a PhD, where they undertake a much more extensive research project.

Course fact file

Type of Course: Combined research and taught

Study Options: Full time, part time

Duration: 1 year full-time; 2 years part-time

Start date: September 2014

Details

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; Art, Heritage 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

Modules

Critical Methods in the History of Art

This module looks deeply at the historiography, methods and theoretical underpinning of contemporary practices of artistic and visual analysis.
Based on close reading of key scholarly texts, students engage both with more traditional art historical methods, such as formalism and iconography, as well as more recent analytical methods such as semiology, psychoanalysis, the cinematic apparatus, haptic visuality and post-colonialism. Students will be asked to consider the relevance of these methods to a range of examples, including the potential topics of their own developing ideas for the final Masters thesis.

Fees and funding

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2015/16 are currently as follows:

  • Home / EU £4,090 full-time; £2,045 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.

Entry requirements

Learn more about entry requirements

International students

Academic requirements

We accept a range of qualifications; our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.

English language requirements

You can satisfy our English language requirements in two ways:

How to apply

Before you make your application

You may wish to register your interest with us to receive regular news and updates on postgraduate life within this Department and the wider University.

Making your application

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

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Learning and teaching

Most of the teaching on the MRes programme takes place in the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, which houses the Barber Institute Gallery, a valuable teaching collection, used by all members of staff on a regular basis. It is an excellent and representative collection of post-medieval European art, including paintings, engravings and drawings by artists such as Rembrandt, Turner, Van Dyck, Veronese and Vigée-LeBrun as well as a major collection of 19th- and 20th-century works by artists such as Degas, Gauguin, Kollwitz, Grosz, Manet, Miró, Picasso and Whistler.

The Barber Institute is home to an onsite research library, a prints and drawings study room and a coin study room. These facilities, together with the holdings of the University Main Library and the Special Collections of the Cadbury Research Library, make Birmingham one of the best resourced Departments of History of Art in Britain.

You will also become part of, and contribute to, the vibrant international community of the College of Arts and Law Graduate School, which offers dedicated research resources and a supportive working environment. Our team of academic and operational staff are on hand to offer support and advice to all postgraduate students within the College.

Employability

The University of Birmingham has been ranked 8th in the UK and 60th in the world for post-qualification employability in the latest global survey of universities commissioned by the International Herald Tribune.

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by the employability skills training offered through the College of Arts and Law Graduate School.

Birmingham?s History of Art graduates develop a broad range of transferable skills, including: familiarity with research methods; the ability to manage large quantities of information from diverse sources; the ability to organise information in a logical and coherent manner; the expertise to write clearly and concisely and to tight deadlines; critical and analytical ability; the capacity for argument, debate and speculation; and the ability to base conclusions on detailed research.

Our History of Art postgraduates also have the advantage of gaining hands-on experience at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts: the university?s on-campus art gallery which is home to the Department of Art History, Film and Visual Studies.

Over the past five years, 100% of History of Art postgraduates were in work and/or further study six months after graduation. Many graduates enter occupations relating to gallery and museum curatorship, management and research; others pursue careers in academia. Employers that our graduates have gone on to work for include: Barber Institute of Fine Arts; Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery; Bodleian Library; National Portrait Gallery; Royal Birmingham Society of Artists; University of Birmingham; and Victoria and Albert Museum.