Research course

History of Art

University of Birmingham · Department of Art History, Film and Visual Studies

Entry requirements

2:1 (Hons) in a relevant discpline, or the international equivalent.

Months of entry


Course content

If you want to focus on researching one specific area in the history of art without going straight into a PhD, then the MRes is the programme for you. At the end of it, many of our graduates continue on to the PhD, where they undertake a much more extensive research project.

The core of the MRes programme is a 20,000-word dissertation, and this is supported with generic research skills training as well as the module, Criticism and Methods in the History of Art and Visual Culture which examines the theories and methods of art history, visual culture and film. The module addresses traditional art historical topics such as formalism, iconology and connoisseurship, as well as discussing more contemporary theoretical perspectives informed by gender, psychoanalysis, Marxism, semiology, post colonialism and anthropology.

You also chose one optional module. Recent subjects have included; Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art; Cultural Analysis; Art, Heritage and Digital Cultures.

The History of Art MRes aims to:

  • develop your subject-specific analytical skills
  • enhance your generic research skills
  • provide a critical framework of the historiography and methods of the discipline of art history
  • enable you to produce a substantial thesis in the history of art, showing competence in relevant methods of research, clear presentation and demonstrating independent judgement
  • develop your skills of verbal presentation and argument
  • develop a deep understanding of the interpretation of visual material

It also aims to provide you with following skills:

  • originality in the application of art historical knowledge
  • ability to use research techniques to seek out and utilize significant, new or pertinent resources, both primary and secondary
  • ability to engage with current debates and, where appropriate, use them in order to frame or enhance arguments
  • self-discipline, initiative and independence in identifying and solving problems and in carrying through their research and writing to a planned timetable
  • capacity to discuss and debate verbally and in writing, using the critical and theoretical perspectives of others in a scholarly framework

Explore postgraduate study at Birmingham at one of our on-campus open days (Friday 13 November 2015 and Friday 4 March 2016). Register to attend at:

If you can’t make it to one of our on-campus open days, our virtual open days run regularly throughout the year. For more information, please visit:

Fees and funding

UK students
£4,121 FT - £2,061 PT
International students
£13,680 FT

Scholarships to cover fees and/or maintenance costs may be available. For more information, please visit the University's Postgraduate Funding Database.

Qualification and course duration


part time
24 months
full time
12 months

Course contact details

Postgraduate Enquiry Service
0121 414 5005