Photo: Helen Hills (History of Art Department)

MPhil and PhD in History of Art

About

About the MPhil and PhD programmes

MPhil

The MPhil is a research degree in its own right and is examined wholly by a dissertation of not more than 60,000 words, to be submitted by full-time students after a period of two years' study, by part-time students after four years of study.

PhD

The PhD requires a dissertation of not more than 90,000 words, to be submitted by full-time students after a period of three years' study, by part-time students after six years of study.

PhD by Distance Learning

As with our York-based PhD programme, our Distance Learning PhD requires a dissertation of not more than 90,000 words, to be submitted by full-time students after a period of three years' study, by part-time students after six years of study.

This programme is ideal for students with commitments which prevent them from being resident within reasonable travelling distance of York. While a minimum of two weeks of attendance per academic year is required (for registration, training, meetings with the thesis advisory panel and the annual PhD conference), this programme allows students to research overseas while still receiving support and training online and by video-conferencing.  Access to an internet connection and relevant library and/or archives is essential for this programme.

Current research students

We have more than 80 research students in the Department of History of Art studying a wide variety of topics:

Applicants

Applicants

Background

We welcome students from all backgrounds, with a great range of intellectual interests: students who seek an academic career, and those who require a further professional qualification; applicants who wish to extend their art-historical interests while pursuing other kinds of employment; and those who are seeking to develop an academic interest in their retirement.

Qualifications

Applicants should have a good 2.1 or 1st-class undergraduate degree, or equivalent; applicants for the PhD should also have or be currently completing an MA degree, and we normally require an MA dissertation mark, where one is awarded, of at least 65 or equivalent (where 50 is a bare pass and 70 or above is a distinction).

Exceptions can be made for applicants with an unusual career profile, but who have substantial related experience.

English Language requirements

If your first language is not English you will need to show evidence that you meet our English Language requirements. Common test requirements are below or see the full listings.

IELTS Pearson (PTE)  Cambridge English Scale Score
7.0, with a minimum of 6.5 in Writing and no less than 5.5 in all other components 67, with a minimum of 61 in Writing and no less than 51 in all other components 185, with a minimum of 176 in Writing and no less than 162 in all other components

Registration

Research students may register full-time (three years) or part-time (six years).

Residency

Ordinarily, research students should live within reasonable travelling distance of their designated place of instruction, i.e. the university. However, when undertaking extensive fieldwork, the fieldwork location may be regarded as the designated place of instruction.

PhD applicants who wish to conduct the majority of their research overseas should apply to join our Distance Learning PhD programme.

All research students are encouraged to participate in the wide range of research activities the department offers. These include research seminars, conferences, activities organized by our departmental research schools, study days and reading groups.

Students in York also take full advantage of resources such as the Raymond Burton Humanities Research Library and Borthwick Institute for Archives.

Funding

A wide range of funding opportunities includes AHRC-funded studentships, departmental studentships, overseas scholarships, travel fellowships, and funding for students with specific research interests.

Applying

Before applying

To start the application process please consult our staff webpages and contact a potential supervisor for your research. If you need guidance please email histart-pg-admissions@york.ac.uk.

How to apply

You can apply for this course using our online application system. If you've not already done so, please read the application guidance first so that you understand the various steps in the application process.

MPhil:

PhD: ‌ 

PhD (Distance Learning):

Application guidance

Full guidance information about the process of applying can be found on the central web pages for postgraduate admissions:

Research proposal

The most important aspect of the research degree application is the research proposal of around 350 words. Applicants should discuss their topic and proposal with potential supervisor(s) prior to submitting an application, to establish whether the topic appears viable and a supervisor is available. The potential supervisor may require written work or request a meeting with the applicant either prior to or after a formal application. Preliminary support from a potential supervisor is normally a prerequisite for application, although it does not guarantee admission.

Sample of writing

Online applications

Files uploaded to online applications cannot exceed 1MB. You may therefore need to remove digital images from your work so that the file size does not exceed this limit.

We will read art-historical writing samples without images as long as your text indicates which images were originally included.

All research applicants should submit one sample of academic writing, c. 1500 words in length. Where possible the subject matter should concern art history, but if your background lies in other areas, we would welcome work in another field such as literature or history.

If you have any questions or concerns about the writing sample, contact the Postgraduate Administrators for advice.

Interview

Research degree applicants will be called for an interview at York with their potential supervisor and the Director of Research Programmes, either before or after submission of the application.

Applicants should be prepared to discuss the research proposal in depth, although the specific details will not be regarded as binding: applicants should be prepared to be flexible in adapting their interests to the sources and expertise available to them.

Overseas applicants will be interviewed by phone or Skype.

Deadline for applications

Research students normally begin their studies in October, but it is possible to commence at other points in the academic year, such as January, depending on circumstances. Thus the deadline for research degree applications is flexible.

Applicants planning to apply for AHRC or other funding should aim to submit their departmental application at least four weeks before the grant application deadline. Bear in mind that you may need to supply a more developed research proposal for grant applications than for admission to the department.

Potential Supervisors

Potential Supervisors

The following members of staff* would be particularly interested to hear from research candidates with topics which fall within the following broad areas. However, these are by no means restrictive. If you have any queries, please feel free to contact Fiona Watson or Stephanie King (Postgraduate Administrators) or Jeanne Nuechterlein (PhD Director).

*Please note that this list is not indicative of current staff availability.

Staff Research areas 
Prof Tim Ayers British art and architecture of the thirteenth to fifteenth centuries.
Dr James Boaden Post-war and contemporary art history.
Sarah Brown The relationship between stained glass art and craft and the interactions between art history and conservation.
Prof Jason Edwards British, American and European sculpture in its global contexts, c.1760-1914; queer theory; animal studies; the polar world. 
Prof Anthony Geraghty British architectural history, 1550-1900, particularly architectural drawing, the English baroque, and architecture and intellectual history. 
Prof Jane Hawkes Early medieval / Anglo-Saxon art, the history of its study, and the area of medieval revival art. 
Prof Helen Hills Any area in early modern visual culture; architecture-gender-sexuality; architectural theory; baroque theory; religion and art / architecture / urbanism, especially Italy.
Dr Richard Johns British art, especially of the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Dr Cadence Kinsey Contemporary art; art and the internet; digital media; histories of art and technology; live art and performance from the 60s to today; feminist science and technology studies; medical humanities
Dr Teresa Kittler Artistic practices from 1945 to the present day, specifically Italian postwar art and primarily on issues related to art and the environment and questions related to gender.
Prof Amanda Lillie Italy c. 1300 - c. 1600, on secular architecture; little known buildings; representations of architecture in any medium; architectural models; real and depicted landscapes; nature; air; rocks; concepts of place; domestic interiors; dress.
Dr Emanuele Lugli Medieval art, architecture and cultural mobility; architectural theory / history; art and technology / history of science / politics; renaissance Venice; connoisseurship.
Dr Jeanne Nuechterlein Any aspect of fifteenth of sixteenth-century German or Netherlandish art.
Prof Liz Prettejohn Victorian painting, sculpture art criticism; classical reception; aesthetics 1750-present. 
Dr Hanna Vorholt Medieval art, especially illuminated manuscripts and the early history of the book; Jerusalem in Western medieval art and architecture; Romanesque art and its cultural and intellectual contexts; medieval encyclopedias, maps and diagrams. 
Prof Michael White Twentieth-century art, architecture and design, particularly modernism, the avant-gardes and abstract art.
Dr Cordula van Wyhe Any aspect of the material and visual cultures of the early modern Low Countries, including relations to Spain and France.

 

Admissions enquiries

Postgraduate

For information on applying, please see individual programmes pages and the university's central admissions pages.

For questions specific to the History of Art courses, please contact:

histart-pg-admission​s
@york.ac.uk
01904 322978

As a part-time mature student who doesn’t live on campus, it’s great how involved the department makes me feel and the opportunities I get.

Current PhD student, Louise Hampson

Further information: