School of Society and Culture

ResM Art History

Explore 21st century art history and learn about this ever-expanding discipline, marked by interdisciplinary cross-overs, varied and competing methodologies, and a huge range of objects of study that can break through the boundaries of the traditional notion of ‘art’. Study issues as diverse as authorship, subjectivity, reception studies, and cultural and gender identity. You’ll be primed to undertake art-historical investigation and a research project on a specific topic of your choice.

Find out more about your eligibility for a postgraduate loan

You may now be eligible for a government loan of over £11,000 to help towards the cost of your masters degree.

Find out more about your eligibility for a postgraduate loan

Key features

  • Develop your application of the critical theories and approaches relevant to art history providing you with experience in research methods and skills in arts and humanities.
  • Gain experience in research methods and skills in the arts, humanities, creative and cultural industries, and related fields. Leave the course with the skills necessary for a career in research.
  • Choose to study full time or part time to fit in with your career plans or other commitments. You can study full time (12-18 months) or part time (24-36 months).
  • The programme also delivers a through route from undergraduate level to MPhil/PhD via Masters degree. It is an ideal route if you have a strongly conceived research project and do not wish to undertake a taught MA yet do not have the skills base for an MPhil/PhD.
  • Focus on an art-historical project within a vibrant and challenging interdisciplinary research community. Study issues as diverse as authorship, subjectivity, reception studies, and cultural and gender identity.
  • Be inspired by our research-active staff, conducting research in the Centre for Humanities, Music and Performing Arts (HuMPA). The centre supports the work of over 50 academics across the disciplines of English, creative writing, history, art history, theatre, dance, performing arts and music.
  • Take the opportunity to improve your continuing professional development - if you are a teacher or academic working in the South West and do not currently have a postgraduate research degree.
  • If you are awarded a distinction in this programme you are automatically offered a place on our MPhil/PhD programme in the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business, subject to appropriate supervision and resource arrangements being in place.

Course details
  • Programme overview

  • You study two core modules and also individual tutorials with your supervisor and attend regular research seminars. The programme leads to a written thesis and can be studied either full time or part time. After completing your taught modules, you continue with independent research, guided by your Director of Studies. Throughout this time spent working towards your thesis, you are considered a full member of our research community and completely supported until you successfully complete your degree. You may attend additional training, workshops and research seminars. As a full-time ResM student, you submit your thesis after 12 months (part time, after 24 months) or pay a nominal sum for up to six months’ additional ‘writing-up’ time (part time, 12 months). Your viva voce (or oral examination) takes place following submission of your thesis.

    To discuss which route is best for you, please contact Dr Péter Bokody (our postgraduate coordinator).

    Core modules

    • Research Methods in Art History (MARE703)

      Students will be instructed in the major methodological approaches of Art History and gain instruction in the practicalities of art historical enquiry, including bibliographic and visual research. Subject-specific skills in written and spoken presentation of art historical research will be enhanced.

The modules shown for this course or programme are those being studied by current students, or expected new modules. Modules are subject to change depending on year of entry.
Entry requirements

You will need to be able to show evidence that you are ready to pursue your proposed project. To discuss the feasibility of your research project, please contact Dr Péter Bokody (our postgraduate coordinator).

For entry to postgraduate level, you should normally possess:

  • A first or upper second honours degree in art history or a related subject; or an equivalent degree; or substantial experience in an appropriate field.
  • A sample of critical writing may also be required and if your first language is not English, then evidence of English proficiency is required.

Fees, costs and funding

Please visit tuition fees for postgraduate research for information about fees. The ResM Art History is in Band 2 for fees purposes.

If you are a full time student, you will pay full time fees for one year. If you have not submitted your thesis by the end of this period, then you may pay for an optional six month 'writing up' period (that is, half of the 'writing up' fee indicated on this page).

If you are a part time student, you will pay part time fees for two years. If you have not submitted your thesis by the end of this period, then you may pay for an optional one year 'writing up' period.

You are responsible for meeting all of the costs related to your own research project, beyond the resources available in the department.

This programme is eligible for a postgraduate loan.

How to apply

Application is by project proposal and evidence that you are prepared to successfully complete this project.

Your proposal must provide a suitable basis for a written submission of 25,000 words. Your proposal should be 500 words maximum and accompanied by a recent sample of critical writing (maximum 3,000 words), which may be from a previous course. These will be used to determine both your aptitude for the programme and the suitability of your proposed project, as well as the availability of an appropriate supervisor. We will also consider the ability of the department to support your research project with resources appropriate to your needs. 

Please attach your project proposal and sample of critical writing to your application.

All applicants will be interviewed, either in person or by Skype/telephone, prior to being accepted onto the ResM Art History programme.

The Doctoral College is available to answer any queries about our ResM programmes and any other postgraduate research degrees (such as MPhil/PhD).

Submitting your application

Complete your application and upload supporting documents to the Doctoral College by completing our online application form.

Questions on the application process?

We're here to help. Please contact the Doctoral College team and we'll be happy to assist you.

You can view or download our postgraduate research admissions policy.

If you have a disability and would like further information on the support available, please visit our Disability Services website.

International Student Advice (ISA) provides support for our international students.

Find more information about how to apply for a research degree.

ResM features

  • ? World-leading expertise in art history, visual studies as well as in curating.
  • ? You can focus almost entirely on an individual research project of your own choice.
  • ? Largely self-directed with tutorial guidance and clear milestones and expectations.
  • ? Includes taught modules (60 credits), that must be passed to develop and evidence your research skills.
  • ? Prepares you specifically to be a researcher in the arts, humanities, creative and cultural industries.
  • ? You can also do an extended research project within a professional context, or to do a PhD.
  • ? If you are making exceptional progress, you can progress directly into our PhD programme without having to complete the masters.
  • ? Flexible submission date - between 12-18 months full time or 24-36 months part time - meaning you can be examined when you feel ready.

Research in this area

Our team's research specialisms stretch from the Medieval to the Modern era. Major European art historical periods, from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance to Realism and Modernism.
Art history

My PhD research: Ben Wiedel-Kaufmann

"My PhD research focuses on the interrelations between Left-wing politics and a body of fifteen exterior murals made in London between 1975 and 1986. These murals were part of a broader moment in which the exterior mural form flourished across London, the United Kingdom and far beyond, yet remain absent from most art historical accounts of the period. Grounded in the methodologies of the social history of art, my study combines visual, stylistic and iconographic analysis, archival research and oral history interviews, to examine the murals within the social, political, cultural and geographic contestations of the period.
Funded by a studentship from the School of Humanities and Performing Arts my research has been supervised by Professor Jody Patterson and Professor Gemma Blackshaw. Their world-leading research, guidance, support and inspiration have been essential to the refinement and development of my project. Such commitment and expertise are matched across the wider department, where diverse areas of knowledge and generous encouragement create a rich, open and nourishing research community."

&nbsp;Art History researcher Ben Wiedel-Kaufmann

<p>ResM Art History student&nbsp;Katherine


Current student Katherine Norley talks about her thesis

"For my ResM thesis, I'm investigating country house visiting during the long eighteenth century in terms of the themes power, culture and display. My research will focus on properties within the counties of Devon and Cornwall which have been over looked within the scholarships of country house history and art history. 

To do this, I shall be primarily studying three properties, including Saltram House who I have been working with to be both truly involved within my research and to ensure my findings are valid. I shall be arguing that these counties show a relevant difference to previous country house scholarship undertaken. This shall bring new knowledge to country house scholarship which has been previously ignored which I hope shall create a more comprehensive account of its history."

<p>Image of a glass jar with saving written on a label, full with coins.</p>