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Research degrees

Research degrees are assessed on the basis of a dissertation and, in the case of a PhD, a viva voce examination. Dissertations are of the following maximum lengths:

MA by Research: 40,000 words (1 year full-time study)
MPhil: 60,000 words (2 years full-time study)
PhD: 80,000 words (3 years full-time study)

Our research degree programmes may also be studied on a part-time basis.

You can find details of how to apply here.

As a research student, your closest contact will be with your research supervisor, or supervisors, who will meet with you regularly (at least once a month during term time) and agree a programme of research, reading and writing with you. All students are expected to follow the University and Faculty’s training programmes in research skills and methodology, details of which are provided on Graduate Induction Day.

In addition, all research students attend the Department's research events. These include research seminars, given by visiting scholars, work-in-progress seminars, a reading group, and various workshops and symposia. These provide an excellent opportunity for the graduate community to meet and engage in more general art historical discussion. Each summer, we hold a Postgraduate Conference at which MA and research students present papers on their dissertation topic to their peers and to members of staff.

Our research students play a vital part in the department’s research culture. We offer opportunities and funding for students to organise activities and events. In recent years these have included workshops, conferences, invited lectures and postgraduate reading groups.

Students researching aspects of Italian art may elect to spend part of the programme at the department’s teaching base in Venice, the Palazzo Pesaro Papafava.

Find out more about our current students' research.

Application guidance


The competition for fully-funded PhD scholarships from the Midlands4Cities consortium for UK/EU applicants is now open.

For more information, including details of how to apply, go to the Midlands4Cities website.