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Research degrees

Applying for a Research Degree


We are very happy to receive application for postgraduate research degrees, and we are able to supervise a wide range of topics.

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, 2 years part-time)
MPhil: 60,000 words (2-3 years full-time study, 4-6 years part-time)
PhD: 80,000 words (3-4 years full-time study, 5-7 years part-time)

You can find details of how to apply here 

There is no deadline for applications for research degrees. However, there are deadlines for funding schemes. You can find details of these on the page about the application process.

If you have any questions about our research degrees or our postgraduate culture and opportunities, please contact our Director of Graduate Studies, Professor Michael Hatt.

PGR Research Culture


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.

You will also be given support for professional development; many of our students have curated exhibitions, organised and spoken at conferences, worked on projects with major institutions such as the National Gallery and Tate Liverpool, and participated in workshops such as the Venice Summer School on cultural exchange in the Renaissance (organised with Johns Hopkins University) or the series of international workshops addressing the cultural and political legacy of Queen Victoria’s image (organised with Historic Royal Palaces).

In addition, all research students participate in the Department's research events, which take place not only at the University, but also at our premises in London and Venice. These events include research seminars, given by visiting scholars, work-in-progress seminars, a reading group, and various workshops and symposia, including our annual Postgraduate Symposium. Research students have the opportunity to organise events, both in the student-run Postgraduate Forum and as part of the wider departmental research culture.

Current PGR Research


We currently have students working on a wide range of topics from Jesuits in early modern China to art reform in early-twentieth century Sweden, from women in Renaissance Venice to nineteenth-century opera houses, and from medieval masonry to the depiction of shame.

Find out more about our current students' research.