Research course

PhD Programme

Courtauld Institute of Art

Entry requirements

Academic Requirements: PhD applicants are expected to have achieved a Master’s degree in a subject relevant to their proposed research. Those with Masters awarded in the UK normally are expected to have received at least 65% overall, with at least 70% in the dissertation or thesis.

English Language Requirements: If your first language is not English, we require proof of English language proficiency. Please see the English Language Requirements page.

Supervisor: Before starting the application process, applicants must identify a potential supervisor at the Institute who is an expert in the relevant field. A list of current Courtauld staff can be found on our Faculty pages.

Pre-application: Applicants should complete a pre-application in order to register their interest in studying with a potential supervisor and to confirm the suitability of the research topic.

The pre-application enables important consultation with your prospective supervisor before proceeding to the full application, and also confirms the availability of the supervisor, as there are strict limits on how many PhD students any one supervisor may take in a given year.

Before you can submit a full PhD programme application, you must send a pre-application to, alongside:

  • Research Proposal Title
  • Research Proposal Summary – 300 words (including which member of faculty you wish to ask to be your supervisor and why)
  • CV

We will assess your pre-application and discuss your proposal with your preferred supervisor before providing feedback. Your pre-application will provide the foundation for further discussions with your preferred supervisor or, should that individual be unavailable for supervision or deemed not an ideal fit, for introduction to other potential supervisors.

Once you are invited to submit a full programme application, you will be provided with a link to the main programme application portal.

Pre-application Deadline: Pre-application proposal should be submitted between: 08 – 15 November 2021

Programme Application Deadline is available on ‘How to Apply‘ page.

Following the submission of your application, Admissions will contact you to schedule an interview with members of Faculty, including your proposed supervisor.

You will be contacted before the end of January 2021 with the result of your application.

Please note that students requiring a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK are not permitted to study part-time.

Months of entry


Course content

Since 1932, The Courtauld has been among the world’s leading institutions for research in Art History and Conservation. Our internationally-renowned PhD programme is one of the largest in the United Kingdom, hosting over 100 doctoral students at any one time on their paths towards a PhD. At The Courtauld, you will join a cohort of the most ambitious and gifted students in your field as you pursue your research goals.

Our diverse cohort of students come from across the United Kingdom, and around the world, to explore an equally wide range of research topics. Our students’ excellence is reflected in the large number of AHRC-funded awards gained over the last decade, one of a number of routes available for supporting your studies. Recent and current doctoral projects include mosaics in Constantinople, Buddhist wall paintings in Bhutan, Cubism in Japan, and post-war Korean avant-gardes, among many others.

A Courtauld Research degree includes scheduled skills and methodology seminars, along with the main element: one-to-one supervision on your chosen project. Your supervisory team will guide your research, help plan, develop and shape your thesis, and support your scholarly and professional development in diverse ways.

A research-intensive institution, The Courtauld consistently achieves outstanding results in the UK Research Excellence Framework (REF) audit. Courtauld teachers publish on a host of topics, with recent important books and articles on Persian Kingship and architecture, Spanish Renaissance sculpture, Netherlandish artists and migration, gardens and empire in China, Victorian art and science, American fashion photography, and many others. Faculty members have extensive experience curating major exhibitions of historic and contemporary art, editing and contributing to academic journals, winning competitive research grants, speaking publicly in a great variety of institutions and events, and working in archives and collections worldwide. All this and more contributes to our mentoring of students as they undertake their doctoral careers at The Courtauld.

Information for international students

Explore our international students pages for more information.

Fees and funding

Courtauld Institute of Art Scholarships: Scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic merit combined with financial need. The average PhD scholarship awarded is £5,000 – £10,000. Applications are welcomed from Home, EU and Overseas applicants and students. Find out more.
Consortium for the Humanities and Arts South-East England (CHASE): The Courtauld is one of nine leading institutions of higher education that form the CHASE Doctoral Training Partnership, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). CHASE awards are available to all students on a competitive basis. CHASE Scholarship holders receive tuition, research training, and a maintenance allowance for three years. For further information, visit the CHASE website.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • PhD
    full time
    36 months
    • Distance learningis available for this qualification
    part time
    72 months
    • Distance learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Postgraduate Admissions