Research course

Visual Culture

University of Nottingham · Department of Art History

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Entry requirements

2:1 (or international equivalent) art history or a related subject.

Months of entry


Course content

The Department of Art History welcomes applications for both full- and part-time MPhil/PhD study in art history, visual culture, or a related subject.


The MPhil requires one year of full-time study (minimum of two years part-time). Students research their chosen topic and write a dissertation of at least 60,000 words. Supervisions are held at a minimum of one hour three times each term, approximately every three weeks. The MPhil is an internationally recognised research degree.

It is common for students admitted into a MPhil to transfer onto the PhD upon successful completion of the first year of study (subject to satisfactory progress).


The PhD, three years of full-time or up to six years of part-time study, requires an original contribution to knowledge and a thesis of at least 80,000 words.

Research topics of recent PhD graduates or current phD candidates are wide-ranging and include:

Giovanni Mansueti's canvases in St Martin's Church in Burano: iconographical sources, theological background and semantic functions
Joseph Wright and Derby in the eighteenth century
William Blake and landscape
Pastel and portraiture in the eighteenth century
The Iconography of Union in the Houses of Parliament
Criminal Portraiture: surfaces and subjectivities
Popular Conceptions of War in 19th-Century Britain
Automatism in the writing and drawings of Artaud, Michaux and Zürn
Updating the Uncanny: A spatial hypothesis
The Cultural Geography of Young British Art
The Photographic Enounter
Natural History and the work of Mark Dion, Mark Fairnington and Dorothy Cross
Splitting Surfaces in Gordon Matta Clark, Stephen Shore, Anthony McCall
Cultural and Technological aspects of Photocopying and Punk

As an MRes student, you will spend the first semester studying the core module 'Critical Approaches to Art History and Visual Culture' , and a second module which covers research skills, writing an annotated bibliography and planning the dissertation; both will help you prepare properly whilst allowing you to explore your research topic.

The MRes offers an invaluable opportunity to work on material that might well form part of a future PhD thesis. In this sense, an MRes, as a substantial piece of original academic work, might well prove to be a decisive advantage when seeking future funding for doctoral study.

For a more extensive overview, please visit the course page on the University of Nottingham's online prospectus.

Department specialisms

Any aspect of visual culture, including film and TV, fine art, design and ephemera, cyberspace and photography; history of artists' materials and techniques, anatomy, gender and the body, 18th-20th-century France; 19th/20th-century Britain, Ireland and America; sculpture; race and homosexuality; art and cultural difference; religious imagery and identity; Baroque.

Information for international students

English language requirements: IELTS 7.0 (no less than 6.0 in any element).

Fees and funding

The Graduate School at The University of Nottingham provides information on internal and external sources of postgraduate funding.

There is also funding information on the Department of History of Art web pages.

For information on funding opportunities for international students, please see the International Office website.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • PhD
    part time
    72 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    36 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
  • MPhil
    part time
    48 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    24 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
  • MRes
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Postgraduate Enquiries
+44 (0)115 951 5843