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Research overview

Do you want the time and expert support to create your own original research in art history and visual culture?

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

Our specialisations

Nineteenth-century art and cultural exchange

Including:

  • national identity
  • intercultural contact
  • migration
  • innovation

Collecting, reception and revival

Including issues of:

  • display
  • imperialism
  • power
  • travel
  • memory

Photography, film and spectatorship

Including:

  • representation
  • status
  • politics
  • relationship to other media

Politics and identity

Including:

  • gender, class, and race
  • identity
  • propaganda, power and protest
  • memory

Find out more

Course content

  • An original contribution to knowledge
  • Three years of full-time or up to six years of part-time study
  • A thesis of at least 80,000 words

You will have at least two supervisors from our research-active and creative staff. You may also be able to strengthen your supervisory team from across our Midland4Cities partner universities.

Building your research skills

You will be encouraged to take advantage of the faculty-wide Mastering the Arts: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Research module. This gives you a strong foundation in the skills and techniques necessary for effective research.

This module has been developed to introduce you to a range of research techniques and methodologies. It will also help you develop a variety of valuable transferable skills for your future career.

You will achieve:

  • greater confidence in dealing with original research
  • a recognition of the huge range of approaches that can be used to address research questions.

We build on the research skills you have already developed during both your undergraduate degree and discipline-specific MA modules. The emphasis is on:

  • ensuring you are possessed of a range of practical ways to approach research
  • making you think about the nature of your discipline-specific approaches within a context of growing interdisciplinarity.

You will have the chance to consider topics as varied as:

  • academic publishing
  • digital transformations
  • use of illustrations in dissertations.

You will also have the opportunity to hear academics from across the Faculty talk about the problems they have confronted and how they overcame them.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Mastering the Arts introductory video 

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules.
  • Research your chosen topic and write a dissertation of at least 60,000 words
  • One year of full-time study (minimum of two years part-time)
  • An internationally recognised research degree

You’ll get expert supervision from our research-active and creative staff.

Students often start the MPhil and then, as the scope of their research becomes clearer, transfer to the PhD (subject to Department approval).

Building your research skills

You will be encouraged to take advantage of the faculty-wide Mastering the Arts: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Research module. This gives you a strong foundation in the skills and techniques necessary for effective research.

This module has been developed to introduce you to a range of research techniques and methodologies. It will also help you develop a variety of valuable transferable skills for your future career.

You will achieve:

  • greater confidence in dealing with original research
  • a recognition of the huge range of approaches that can be used to address research questions.

We build on the research skills you have already developed during both your undergraduate degree and discipline-specific MA modules. The emphasis is on:

  • ensuring you are possessed of a range of practical ways to approach research
  • making you think about the nature of your discipline-specific approaches within a context of growing interdisciplinarity.

You will have the chance to consider topics as varied as:

  • academic publishing
  • digital transformations
  • use of illustrations in dissertations.

You will also have the opportunity to hear academics from across the Faculty talk about the problems they have confronted and how they overcame them.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Mastering the Arts introductory video 

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules.

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2021 entry.

QualificationPhD
Undergraduate degree

Masters degree in art history or a subject relevant to your research.

QualificationPhD
Undergraduate degree

Masters degree in art history or a subject relevant to your research.

International and EU equivalents

We accept a wide range of qualifications from all over the world.

For information on entry requirements from your country, see our country pages.

IELTS7.0 (no less than 6.0 in any element)
English language requirements

As well as IELTS (listed above), we also accept other English language qualifications.

This includes TOEFL iBT, Pearson PTE, GCSE, IB and O level English.

English language support

If you need support to meet the required level, you may be able to attend a presessional course. Our Centre for English Language Education is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK.

For presessional English courses, you must take IELTS for UKVI to meet visa regulations.

If you successfully complete your presessional course to the required level, you can then progress to your degree course. This means that you won't need to retake IELTS or equivalent.

We recognise that applicants have a variety of experiences and follow different pathways to postgraduate study.

We treat all applicants with alternative qualifications on an individual basis. We may also consider relevant work experience.

If you are unsure whether your qualifications or work experience are relevant, contact us.

Applying

We encourage you to get in touch with a member of academic staff about your research proposal before submitting an application. They will be able to help you with your proposal and offer support to find funding opportunities in your area.

If you're not sure how your research might fit into our existing programme contact out postgraduate admissions tutor Mark Rawlinson who'll be happy to discuss.

Research staff and their areas of expertise

Most students apply to start the course in September but December and February starts are also possible.

Midlands4Cities students

If you are applying for Midlands4Cities funding you must apply for a place at Nottingham before submitting your M4C application.

Our step-by-step guide contains everything you need to know about applying for postgraduate research.

How to apply

Fees

QualificationPhDMPhil
Home / UK£4,496 (estimate) per year£4,407 (estimated)
International£19,000 per yearConfirmed September 2020

UK fees are set in line with the national UKRI maximum fee limit. The figures shown above match the limit for 2020 entry. We expect fees for 2021 entry to be confirmed in February 2021.

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland starting your course in the 2021/22 academic year, you will pay international tuition fees.

This does not apply to Irish students, who will be charged tuition fees at the same rate as UK students. UK nationals living in the EU, EEA and Switzerland will also continue to be eligible for ‘home’ fee status at UK universities until 31 December 2027.

For further guidance, check our Brexit information for future students.

Additional costs

Optional field trips may require you to pay for your own travel and entrance fees.

Funding

Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Programme

The Midlands4Cities programme provides funding, enhanced support, expert supervision and excellent networking opportunities for PhD candidates.

M4C logo

Apply to become an M4C student at the University of Notitngham

There are many ways to fund your research degree, from scholarships to government loans.

Our step-by-step guide contains everything you need to know about funding your postgraduate degree.

Research funding

Support

Research seminars

These regular seminars allow you to broaden your knowledge of the subject and gain a better sense of how research develops as part of an interactive process. In particular you can:

  • hear visiting scholars from elsewhere in the UK and from overseas
  • present research in progress in a friendly and constructive environment
  • keep up-to-date with fellow art history students and staff

Digital Transformations Hub

  • Collection of more than 80,000 35mm art history slides
  • A range of hardware and software for cutting edge digital humanities research.

Visit the Digital Transformations Hub website.

Crop up gallery

Get involved in our student-led curatorial group and gain valuable practical experience in leadership, design, curatorship, marketing and promotion, networking and project management.

Language learning

You can make full use of the Language Centre facilities for both research-specific learning and personal interest.

Researcher training and development

The Researcher Academy supports all postgraduate researchers at the University.

You can develop your research skills through:

  • paid work placements
  • training courses
  • public engagement opportunities

Student support

You will have access to a range of support services, including:

  • academic and disability support
  • childcare services
  • counselling service
  • faith support
  • financial support
  • visa and immigration advice
  • welfare support

Where you will learn

Centre for Research into Visual Culture

The Centre is involved with all aspects of contemporary art and visual culture. Its activities reflect the research interests of staff and students in the department.

Students attend regular seminars and symposia hosted by CRVC.

Visit the Centre's website

Careers

Whether you are considering a career in academia, industry or haven't yet decided, we’re here to support you every step of the way.

Expert staff will work with you to explore PhD career options and apply for vacancies, develop your interview skills and meet employers. You can book a one-to-one appointment, take an online course or attend a workshop.

Typically, our students are in great demand for their extensive knowledge and skills. Recent destinations include:

Galleries, museums, collections

Commercial

Other

 

The average annual salary for postgraduates from the School of Humanities was £25,563*

*HESA Graduate Outcomes 2020. The Graduate Outcomes % is derived using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on graduates working full-time within the UK.

Lara Pucci History of Art
I love the way our conversations are enhanced by the different perspectives of our students. They come from such a diverse range of backgrounds - including architecture, graphic design, illustration, English, American studies, geography, and theology, as well as art history. This enriches all our experiences and produces a vibrant and stimulating research community.
Dr Lara Pucci, Assistant Professor in Art History

Related courses

Research Excellence Framework

We are ranked 8th in the UK for research power (2014). The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the system used by UK higher education funding bodies to assess research quality in universities.

  • 7th among UK history of art departments for world-leading research
  • 87% of research is of international quality in terms of originality, significance, and rigour
  • More than 97% of research at Nottingham is recognised internationally
  • More than 80% of our research is ranked in the highest categories as world-leading or internationally excellent
  • 16 of our 29 subject areas feature in the UK top 10 by research power

This content was last updated on 06 November 2020. Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is accurate, but changes are likely to occur between the date of publishing and course start date. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply.