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MA History of Art (by research)

Develop and carry out a detailed research project in art history in a stimulating research environment.

  Length Start dates (semester dates)
MA by research

1 year full-time
2 years part-time

Apply for MA by research


Carry out extended research across a diverse range of historical periods, varying from Mesopotamian to modern.

The MA by research consists of a 30,000-word thesis, researched and written over a period of one year full-time or two years part-time. If you've already identified a specific research topic and you wish to focus exclusively on writing a thesis, you'll work with a particular supervisor in our department to complete your degree.

=79th in the world

for the broad subject of arts and humanities (QS World University Rankings by subject, 2024).


Explore funding for postgraduates in the Department of History of Art.


Explore the expertise of our staff and identify a potential supervisor.

Training and support

As an art history researcher at York, you'll have access to a range of training and resources to support you with your work. There's a wide range of innovative research activities for you to get involved in. These include research seminars, conferences, activities organised by our departmental research schools, study days and reading groups.

You'll also benefit from the rich array of research and training sessions at the Humanities Research Centre.

Course location

This course is run by the Department of History of Art, based on Campus West.

Careers and skills

Our dedicated careers team offer specific support including a programme of professional researcher development and careers workshops and 1:1 career support sessions. They will help you to build up your employability portfolio and to engage in activities that will build up your skills and experience within and outside of your research work.

Career opportunities

  • researcher
  • academic
  • curator
  • art sales specialist
  • museum educator
  • conservator

Entry requirements

You should have a 2:1 or first-class undergraduate degree, or equivalent. Exceptions can be made for applicants with an unusual career profile, but who have substantial related experience.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence of your ability.

Check your English language requirements


Apply for the MA in History of Art (by research)

Research proposal

The most important aspect of the research degree application is the research proposal of around 350 words.

Find your supervisor

Before you apply, you should contact a potential supervisor for your research. The potential supervisor may require written work or request a meeting with you 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.

Potential research supervisors

Sample of writing

You should submit a 1,500-word sample of academic writing. Where possible, the subject should concern art history, but if your background lies in other areas, we would welcome work in another field such as literature or history.


You'll be called for an interview at York with your potential supervisor and the Director of Research Programmes, either before or after you submit your application.

You should be prepared to discuss the research proposal in depth, although the specific details will not be regarded as binding. You should be prepared to be flexible in adapting your interests to the sources and expertise available to you.

If you're an international applicant, you may be asked to submit additional pieces of written work as an alternative to attending an interview. You may also be interviewed over the phone or over Zoom.

If you need guidance, please email

Find out more about supporting documents.

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Why York

Discover more about our researchers, facilities and why York is the perfect choice for your research degree.

Graduate Research School

Connect with researchers across all disciplines to get the most out of your research project.

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