History of Art PhD/MA by Research (On-Campus or by Distance Learning)

The Art History, Film and Visual Studies Department offers promising candidates the opportunity to carry out research in one of the most dynamic institutions in Britain. We give all possible support to our researchers, developing the resources available at the University and encouraging an active postgraduate environment for the exchange of information and concepts.

Course fact file

Type of Course: Distance learning, doctoral research

Study Options: Full time, part time

Duration: PhD – 3 years full-time; 6 years part-time; MA by Research – 1 year full-time; 2 years part-time

Start date: January or September

Details

The MA by Research programme requires you to prepare a thesis of up to 40,000 words on a topic of your choice under the expert guidance of an academic member of staff.

The PhD – the most advanced research degree – comprises of a thesis of up to 80,000 words on a subject of your choice and under the expert supervision of an academic member of staff. You can study for a PhD on campus or by Distance Learning.

You can study an MA by Research or PhD programme on campus or by distance learning. Please note that if you are studying with us by distance learning, there is a compulsory annual visit to campus (every two years for part-time PhD students) - please see our frequently asked questions about distance learning to find out more.

Profiles of our current History of Art doctoral researchers

At Birmingham you also have the option of studying languages, free of charge. Almost no other UK University offers you the opportunity to learn the intense graduate academic language skills which you may need to pursue your research.

Fees and funding

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 be eligible for these awards, candidates must hold either an offer of a place to study or have submitted an application to study at the University. 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

Please refer to our six step process on applying for PhD, MA by Research and MRes opportunities for Arts subject areas.

For applicants to the PhD Distance Learning study mode only:

As part of the application process for the distance learning study mode, we will ask you to provide evidence to demonstrate that you have the time, commitment, facilities and experience to study for a PhD by Distance Learning. Please be prepared to provide evidence, and details, of the following:

  • Examples of your postgraduate research experience and ability to work independently e.g. papers/presentations at professional and academic conferences or publications in professional journals or previous completion of an independent research project, etc.
  • Full reasons (academic and personal) for registering for the distance learning mode of study rather than by standard full or part-time on-campus options. In particular, how you will be able to carry out your project in your chosen location.
  • Access to local library facilities (where needed)
  • Access to IT facilities
  • Access to communications, including e-mail and visual communication media e.g. Skype and Facetime
  • Access to facilities to support any study-related disability (where appropriate)

You can upload this information at the time of application - when asked to provide supporting documentation - or via your applicant portal once you have submitted your application.

In order to apply for either of these programmes, you need to prepare a formal research proposal to present to the relevant member of staff with expertise in your chosen research area. For advice on how to do this, please contact the departmental Postgraduate Director, Dr Camilla Smith.

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

Apply now

Research interests of staff

  • 19th-and early 20th-century French art, design and visual culture.
    Dr Francesca Berry
    Tel:+44 (0)121 414 3930
    Email: f.berry@bham.ac.uk
  • 18th-and early 19th-century French visual culture: particular specialism in the revolutionary periods, especially iconoclasm and print culture.
    Dr Richard Clay

    Tel: +44 (0)121 414 3930
    Email: +44 (0)121 414 3930
  • Roman architecture; Italian art, 1400–1600; Renaissance and post-Renaissance architecture in Italy and Britain.
    Mr David Hemsoll

    Tel:+44(0)121 41 45751
    Email: d.e.hemsoll@bham.ac.uk
  •  15th- and 16th-century French and Northern European art; women in early modern art; books and manuscript illumination.
    Dr Elizabeth L’Estrange
    Tel: +44 (0)121 414 8042
    Email: e.a.lestrange@bham.ac.uk
  • German and central European art and design from the mid-19th century to the present; the historiography of art; contemporary art theory and criticism.
    Professor Matthew Rampley
  • 18th-century Swiss art, late 19th- and early 20th-century German and Austrian art and visual culture.
    Dr Camilla Smith
    Tel: +44 (0)121 414 7568
    Email: h.c.smith@bham.ac.uk
  • Modern and contemporary art and exhibition cultures in Europe (with specific emphasis on migration, hybridity and post-communism).
    Dr Jutta Vinzent

    Tel:+44 (0)121 414 3259
    Email: j.vinzent@bham.ac.uk

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.