Department of History of Art

History of Art research degrees (PhD, MPhil and MRes)

Why a PhD/MPhil or MRes by research at Nottingham?

In the REF2014, we had over a third (35.3%) of its publications rated "world leading”. This, and the quality of the research environment that it provides, has placed the department in the top 10 History of Art departments nationally.

Our staff research and curate exhibitions at national and international venues including the National Portrait Gallery and Tate Britain in London, and we have strong links with the University’s Djanogly Art Gallery, Nottingham Contemporary, and New Art Exchange.

 AHRC funding UK/EU arts and humanities doctoral students
The University of Nottingham is the lead institution in the AHRC-funded Midlands3Cities Doctoral Training Partnership


Supervision and research expertise

The department offers supervision for MPhil and PhD students in a wide range of areas of art history and visual culture.

The department has special strengths in:

  • Art History
    • French art 1750–1850
    • Italian travel and imagery
    • American visual culture
    • Representations of landscape in Britain and Italy
    • Representations of the everyday
  • Cultural and Museum Studies
    • Cultural Policy
    • Arts Management
    • Creative Industries
    • Museum and Gallery Studies
  • Cultural Studies and Popular Culture
  • Visual Arts
    • Applied Arts (History, Theory, and Practice)
    • Art Theory and Aesthetics
    • Digital Arts (History, Theory, and Practice)
    • Ethnography and Anthropology
    • Film-based Media
    • (History, Theory, and Practice)
    • Fine Art (History and Theory)
    • Performance and Installation (History, Theory, and Practice)
    • Photography (History, Theory, and Practice)
    • Time-based Media (History, Theory, and Practice)

Through all the supervision areas students are encouraged in the examination of:

  • social and material histories of objects and images
  • explorations of the processes of cultural production, circulation and consumption
  • the development of original theoretical approaches to understanding works of art and associated cultural phenomena  

Find a Department of Art History research supervisor



Teaching and learning

The Department of History of Art offers excellent opportunities for research student supervised and independent learning.

Alongside supervision and research training, doctoral students are encouraged to participate in the department's lively research culture. This includes regular research seminars which offer the chance to hear visiting scholars from elsewhere in the UK and from overseas, as well as opportunities for staff and students to present research in progress in a friendly and constructive environment. These occasions also allow participants to broaden their knowledge of the subject and gain a better sense of how research develops as part of an interactive process.

An important part of our research is formed through the Nottingham Institute for Research in Visual Culture, which is a forum for research in art-historical and visual culture studies.

Additional research training is provided via the Graduate School, and AHRC-funded students can take advantage of training provided across the Midlands3Cities Doctoral Training Partnership 

Learn a language alongside your research degree



Helen Wainwright - PhD and the art scene in Nottingham

Facilities and resources

Nottingham has excellent facilities for doctoral students including for formal seminars, symposia and conferences, and personal study.

Key spaces for History of Art students include the Humanities Building, Graduate School, Social Sciences and Arts Graduate Centre and Nottingham Lakeside Arts.

Facilities and resources of particular interest to History of Art students include the Digital Humanities Centre for computer-based research, and the Hallward Library with generous holdings of books and journals.

Research students also have have access to the University-designed CURATA system – virtual 3D gallery software which aims to promote  awareness of the politics and practicalities of gallery display.



Funding for research students

The primary source of funding for our students is through the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

The University of Nottingham is the lead institution within the Midlands3Cities Doctoral Training Partnership (M3C DTP).

The partnership is a collaboration between the universities of Nottingham, Nottingham Trent, Leicester, De Montfort, Birmingham and Birmingham City, and is awarding 410 PhD studentships for study over a five year period commencing 2014.

The DTP provides UK/EU research candidates with cross-institutional mentoring, expert supervision including cross-institutional supervision where appropriate, subject-specific and generic training, and professional support in preparing for a career.

Applications for 2018 entry are now open. The deadline for applying is 15 January 2018. 

Find out more about Midlands3Cities

Register for more information by email


Whilst M3C DTP AHRC funding is only available to UK/EU students, this is by no means the only source of funding, and additional opportunities are listed on the department's funding page as they become available.

The University’s International Office has a wide range of scholarship opportunities for students an EU fee status, including a fee reduction for alumni, and EU and Accession State Scholarships. 

You may also search the University’s funding database, designed to give you an indication of University scholarships for which you may be eligible to apply. The University Graduate School operates funding schemes of its own to help support current postgraduate research.

Department of History of Art student fees and funding


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Nottingham offers a range of opportunities to transform your subject specialisms into practical skills, and gain valuable experience sought after by employers. 

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Nottingham and its environs provide numerous and varied on-campus and off-campus activities to enhance your student experience.

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Contact us


Recruitment Officer: Fintan Cullen
t: +44 (0)115 951 3137




Department of History of Art

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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