Visual Culture MRes

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MRes Visual Culture
Entry requirements
2:1 (or international equivalent) in art history or a related subject.
7.0 (6.0) If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses are available
Start date
September 2016
University Park
MRes Visual Culture
Other requirements



The masters degree by research (MRes) will appeal to those who possess a sound understanding of the subject and have developed a clear idea of a research topic.

All research topics are paired with relevant expertise resident in the department, and prospective students are required to identify a possible supervisor in advance. The ultimate aim of the MRes is to produce an original 35,000-word dissertation. Academic work of this nature requires a definite skill-set. Therefore, the design of the course includes two key elements to help students develop key analytical and research skills, and to help introduce them to the wider postgraduate community in the Department of History of Art.

As an MRes student, you will spend the first semester studying the core module 'Critical Approaches to Art History and Visual Culture' , and a second module which covers research skills, writing an annotated bibliography and planning the dissertation; both will help you prepare properly whilst allowing you to explore your research topic.

The MRes offers an invaluable opportunity to work on material that might well form part of a future PhD thesis. In this sense, an MRes, as a substantial piece of original academic work, might well prove to be a decisive advantage when seeking future funding for doctoral study.

Both MRes programmes require the completion of 180 credits, made up of:

  • Critical Approaches to Art History and Visual Culture module (first semester, 30 credits)
  • Dissertation (35,000 words, second semester and summer term, 150 credits)

Staff research covers a wide range of topics from Renaissance to contemporary. Themes we engage with include:

  • The Renaissance city  
  • The Politics of DisplayFrench art 1750-1850
  • Western collecting of Asian art
  • Italian landscape in art and film
  • 20th century North American photography and visual culture 

More details are available through the staff pages on the department's web pages.

Key Facts

  • The department has a dedicated research institute, the Centre for Research in Visual Culture
  • 23/24 teaching score in the latest independent review of quality.
  • 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*
  • In the latest postgraduate taught experience survey, 100% of respondents in the School of Humanities said, “The course is intellectually stimulating” and “The course has enhanced my academic ability”

*Research Excellence Framework 2014



The department is located in the Trent Building, on University Park campus. Students also have access to the Digital Humanities Centre, which offers key resources in reproduction and image research. The department also has strong connections to the University's Djanogly Gallery, where staff have curated a number of exhibitions, demonstrating our commitment to dissemination, and also working with works of art (e.g. Trentside, Rubens and Italian Art, Ruination: photographs of Rome; with in 2014 an exhibition of North American night-time photographs, And now it's dark

Previous exhibitions have included: Land art in Britain (2013, with Southampton Art Gallery, National Museum of Wales, Cardiff), Edward Burra (2012), L.S.Lowry (2011), The British Art Show (2006), Graham Sutherland (2006),  John Piper (2003),  The Golden Age of Watercolour (2002), Rubens  and Italian Art (2002),  Trentside (2001),  Typical Men: Photography of the Male Body by Men 1980 to 2000 (2001),  The Artist's Model from Etty to Spencer (1999), as well as exhibitions by  Hermione Wiltshire (2000) and  Hughie O'Donoghue (2001). 

Staff are well-connected to the city's institutions of contemporary art and culture, Nottingham Contemporary, and New Art Exchange.

IT Facilities 

Postgraduate study spaces equipped with PCs and printers. The computers are connected to the University's data network which, in turn, is connected to JANET (the UK's Joint Academic NETwork) and thus to the world wide Internet. 

Research support

The department's lively research culture 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 postgraduates to present research in progress in a friendly and constructive environment. These occasions also allow you to broaden your knowledge of the subject and gain a better sense of how research develops as part of an interactive process. 

You will have access to an extensive range of modules provided by The Graduate School, including 'The Tradition of Critique' and general modules such as 'Getting Going on Your Thesis', and beginners language courses.  
AHRC Doctoral Award-holders will complete a portfolio of research training provision, to be devised in consultation with their supervisor and the Head of Postgraduate Studies. You may also attend the research training module that is a compulsory element of our MA degrees. This module will give you a strong foundation in the skills and techniques necessary for effective research in the subject. 

A number of University support services exist to assist you during your time at Nottingham and beyond. The Postgraduate Students' Association (PGSA) is a particularly important source of support.


Find a supervisor

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

Details of research supervisors can be found on the Department of Cultural, Media and Visual Studies website.


Fees and funding

UK/EU Students

The majority of postgraduate students in the UK fund their own studies, often from a package made up of personal savings, parental loans or contributions, bank loans and support from a trust or charity.

However, financial support and competitive scholarships are available and we encourage applicants to explore all funding opportunities at least a year in advance of the start date. Get information about:  

The information on these pages provides basic details about funding available from the University of Nottingham and external sources. The Graduate School also has a list of funding opportunities. If you have any questions, please contact us.

Government loans for masters courses

The Government offers postgraduate student loans for students studying a taught or research masters course. Applicants must ordinarily live in England or the EU. Student loans are also available for students from Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

International and EU students

Masters scholarships are available for international students from a wide variety of countries and areas of study. You must already have an offer to study at Nottingham to apply. Please note closing dates to ensure your course application is submitted in good time.

Information and advice on funding your degree, living costs and working while you study is available on our website, as well as country-specific resources.



Visit the department page for additional opportunities.

Average starting salary and career progression

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers.*

In 2016, 96% of postgraduates from the School of Humanities who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £22,370 with the highest being £30,000.** 

The Graduate Market 2013-2016, High Fliers Research.  
**Known destinations of full-time home postgraduates 2015/16. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Career Prospects and Employability

Those who take up a postgraduate research opportunity with us will not only receive support in terms of close contact with supervisors and specific training related to your area of research, you will also benefit from dedicated careers advice from our Careers and Employability Service.  Individual guidance appointments, career management training programme, access to resources and invitations to events including skills workshops and recruitment fairs are just some of the ways in which they can help you develop your full potential, whether you choose to continue within an academic setting or are looking at options outside of academia. 


Get in touch

t: +44 (0)115 951 5559


Arts videos

Arts videos


This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

Explore it - Virtual Nottingham
Claire Croal
Department of History of Art
The University of Nottingham
University Park

Student Recruitment Enquiries Centre

The University of Nottingham
King's Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

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