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  5. MPhil/PhD in Art History

MPhil/PhD in Art History

We supervise research students on a face to face basis, in the same way as other universities. We accept part-time and full-time registration for research degrees (MPhil/PhD). All research students are provisionally enrolled for an MPhil degree and upgraded to a PhD after the successful completion of a probationary assessment (at the end of year 1 for full-time students and year 2 for part-time).

The Open University postgraduate 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.

We welcome applications for a research degree in art history from suitably qualified candidates.  An MA or equivalent higher degree is normally a requirement for enrolment on the PhD programme, but other relevant experience will be considered, so please get in touch if this applies to you.

Look at the staff pages to find out more about the research we do and to identify potential supervisors. The principal areas in which we offer supervision are:

  • Byzantine Art
  • Renaissance Art
  • Eighteenth-Century Art
  • Modern and Contemporary Art Practice and Theory
  • Global and Cross-Cultural Art
  • Architecture and Design

In order to enrol for a research degree, you will need have a research project that will make a contribution to scholarly understanding of your chosen field and is feasible in terms of your skills, time and circumstances. Please consult our detailed advice on preparing a research proposal.

Before formally applying for the PhD programme, you should contact us in order to discuss your proposed research topic and to enquire about the likely availability of an appropriate supervisor.

Enquiries should be addressed to: You are strongly advised to make your enquiry well in advance of the deadline for submitting applications to the PhD programme, so as to allow time to refine your proposal.

The deadline for submitting applications for starting a PhD in October is usually in mid-January. However, the deadline may be later for those applying for self-funded study. In addition, applications for self-funded study are accepted in early autumn for a February start.

Once you have submitted your application, you will be invited to interview if it looks as if you can satisfy the above requirements.

For detailed information about the application process, fees, entrance requirements, application dates, residence requirements, facilities and periods of study and so on, please visit the Research Degrees Prospectus website.


Successful applicants to the Art History PhD programme will have the opportunity to apply for an Open-Oxford-Cambridge AHRC studentship. Awards for UK residents cover all tuition fees and provide a maintenance grant at the standard RCUK rate (£15,009 p.a. in 2019/20). Awards for students ordinarily resident in an EU country other than the UK are fees-only.

Open-Oxford-Cambridge is an exciting new doctoral training partnership, funded by the AHRC. The three participating universities share extensive expertise in delivering successful doctoral training, developed in collaboration with our students and a wide range of non-HEI partners. For more information about the Open-Oxford-Cambridge partnership, please visit

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