History of Art
The Department of History of Art is a thriving and collegial centre for the study of art, visual culture and theory. Staff specialisms range from medieval altarpieces to Soviet public monuments, from pre-Renaissance sculpture to contemporary art of the diaspora. We are interested in thinking across historical periods and through a variety of critical approaches.
We encourage you to participate in the stimulating intellectual and social life of the department, with regular research seminars and guest lectures, not to mention our thriving Art History in the Pub series of talks and discussions. We support interdisciplinary approaches and have expertise in topics such as interrelationships in art and music in both the medieval and modern periods; art and writing; and issues of art and race.
We also have close links with many other departments in the school and faculty, as well as with national and local galleries and museums.
MPhil: a standalone, one-year (full-time) research degree. Students will undertake their own research project, concluding in the submission of a 25,000-word dissertation. Students may have the option to audit units from our taught master's programmes if they are relevant to their research.
PhD: a research project undertaken across four years (full-time, minimum period of study three years), culminating in an 80,000-word thesis. As well as having the option to audit taught units, there may be the potential for PhD students to teach units themselves from their second year of study onwards.
The MPhil and PhD can be studied via distance learning.
MPhil: An upper second-class degree (or international equivalent). Please note, acceptance will also depend on evidence of your readiness to pursue a research degree.
PhD: A master's qualification, or be working towards a master's qualification, or international equivalent. Applicants without a master's qualification may be considered on an exceptional basis, provided they hold a first-class undergraduate degree (or international equivalent). Applicants with a non-traditional background may be considered provided they can demonstrate substantial equivalent and relevant experience that has prepared them to undertake their proposed course of study.
See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.
Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.
Fees and funding
- UK: full-time
- £4,665 per year
- UK: part-time
- £2,332 per year
- Overseas: full-time
- £20,100 per year
Fees are subject to an annual review. For programmes that last longer than one year, please budget for up to an 8% increase in fees each year.
More about tuition fees, living costs and financial support.
University of Bristol students and graduates can benefit from a 25% reduction in tuition fees for postgraduate study. Check your eligibility for an alumni discount.
Funding for 2023/24
The University of Bristol is part of the South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership (SWW DTP), which will be offering studentships for September 2023. For information on other funding opportunities, including University-funded studentships, please see the Faculty of Arts funding pages.
Further information on funding for prospective UK and international postgraduate students.
A large number of graduates from this programme develop careers in higher education or work on high-level research projects in the fields of history of art and visual culture; some graduates take up careers in gallery and museum management and curation, art consultancy, publishing or in the commercial fine art market.
Meet our supervisors
The following list shows potential supervisors for this programme. Visit their profiles for details of their research and expertise.
Much research is carried out by individual scholars, with specific expertise in the following areas:
- British art and art criticism
- Theories of modernism
- Sculpture (especially late medieval and Renaissance)
- 20th-century German art
- 20th-century Russian and Soviet art
- Representations of sport and the body
- Medieval art, visual and material culture
- Late medieval and Renaissance sculpture
- Art and visual culture of the Black Atlantic
- Medieval art and music interrelationships (including sound and architecture)
- Modern art and music interrelationships (including visual music, iconography, concepts of the Gesamtkunstwerk and synaesthesia)
- Sound and audio art.
Staff and postgraduate research is focused around two principle research clusters: Transnational Modernisms and Mediterranean Visual Cultures. Staff and postgraduates are also engaged in Faculty of Arts interdisciplinary research themes and centres: Centre for Medieval Studies; Institute for Greece, Rome and the Classical Tradition; Centre for Material Texts; Centre for Black Humanities; Centre for Environmental Humanities.