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MPhil/PhD in Art History

In addition to our successful taught MA courses, we also supervise research students (MPhil and PhD) in the same way as at other universities - on a face to face basis. We accept part-time and full-time registration for these degrees.

The Open University graduate student community forms an important part of the university’s research culture. Students participate in the full range of on-campus research and are seen as valued members of the discipline. The Open University Research School offers a year-round programme of workshops, seminars and training for postgraduate students.

The art history at the OU welcomes applications from suitably qualified candidates. Look at the staff pages to find out more about the research we do and to identify potential supervisors. The principal areas of research in the OU art history are:

  • Byzantine Art
  • Renaissance Art and Sculpture
  • Eighteenth-Century Art and Architecture
  • Modern and Contemporary Art
  • Western and Non-Western Art
  • Aesthetics and Art Theory

All of our PhD students are provided with one or more supervisors for the duration of their studies. They will meet with you regularly and act as your academic advisors. They will provide guidance on your research topic, on the skills you will need to successfully complete your studies, on planning your research and on writing your thesis. They will read all your work and discuss it with you, helping you to develop your ideas and to think critically and independently about your topic. They will encourage you in your studies and give advice if things are not working according to plan.

How to apply

If you wish to work towards a research degree, you will need to satisfy the department that

(a) you have a viable research proposal (advice on preparing a proposal is available here)

(b) you are likely to be able to complete a research degree in Art History successfully;

(c) and you are strongly motivated.

The department will also need to be satisfied that it will be possible to provide you with good support and supervision. Enquiries before making a formal application:

If it looks as if these conditions can be met, you will be asked to attend for an interview with two members of the department, one of whom is likely, should you be accepted, to be your internal supervisor.

For detailed information on how to make an application, together with details of fees, requirements and so on, please visit the Research Degrees Prospectus website. The deadline for submitting applications for starting a PhD in October is usually in mid January.

Funding opportunities

The Open University is now a member of CHASE (Consortium for the Humanities and the Arts South-East England). This initiative links the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the OU to those of other CHASE members (Essex, Kent, Sussex, University of East Anglia, Goldsmiths and The Courtauld Institute). A new CHASE Block Grant Partnership (BGP2) bid has resulted in the award of an AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership grant, resulting in 232 fully funded studentships across the consortium over five years from October 2014.

CHASE AHRC studentships are available to UK and EU residents at The Open University in the Faculty’s subject areas including Art History. Awards for UK residents include fees and maintenance while EU residents are eligible for fees only. Find out more.

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