Key Facts

Course Code V3730
  • Qualification


  • Typical Course Length

    3 Year

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The department offers a one year Mphil or a full PhD in Fine Art or Art History. 

The teaching of art at Aberystwyth is now in its 90th year and our splendidly restored Edwardian building celebrates its centenary. The School is well equipped with large studios, print workshops, darkrooms, lecture theatres, seminar rooms, a MacSuite, galleries, archive room, and Museum. 

Set in its own grounds, this Edwardian listed building was completely refurbished in 1993 and adapted to meet the needs of today’s fine art education, while retaining many of its original features. As such, it is an elegant symbol of our aim to marry tradition with contemporaneity. In the most recent Research Excellence Framework assessment (2014) it was found that 100% of the school's research impact is world-leading and internationally excellent. 

Key Facts

Duration of the PhD programmes

For PhD, residence is three years full-time or five years if taken part-time. For the three-year scheme candidates have a further two years in which to submit, and for the five-year scheme, a further four years in which to submit.

Areas of study

We offer a stimulating environment for postgraduate study and research in both fine art and art history. We are committed to art as an intellectual pursuit and a professional discipline; one which requires training, skill and practice as well as individual creativity. Students are chosen for their appropriateness to the professional and research interest of staff, and much of the tuition is by means of regular individual tutorials. Students are assigned to a supervisor and a particular area of study in Drawing, Painting, Printmaking, Book Illustration, Photography or Art History.

Art History Research Areas

  • British Art
  • Ceramics
  • Contemporary Painting
  • Graphic Art (Book Illustration, Drawing, Photography, and Printmaking)
  • Nineteenth Century European Art
  • Museum and Gallery Studies
  • Visual Culture of Religion
  • Wales and Art
  • Women's Art, Craft, and Design
Fine Art Research Areas
  • Book Illustration
  • Drawing
  • Painting
  • Photography
  • Printmaking


Art History

The PhD in Art History is undertaken by a 100,000 word dissertation and the MPhil is undertaken by a 50,000 word dissertation.The topics available for research supervision are listed under Areas of Study. The dissertation is intended for students who wish to pursue a protracted and sustained study of Art History with a view to producing original research in a specified area. You and your supervisor will determine a pattern for study, the submission of written work, and tutorials. Study is undertaken through supervision in the context of one-to-one tutorials, research seminars, supported study in research, writing, and oral delivery, independent study, and essays or projects.

Fine Art

The PhD in Fine Art recognises and awards intellectual endeavour in fine art practice comparable to that demonstrated through the PhD in Art History. It represents an independent and original contribution to knowledge of, and a permanent record of creative work in, Fine Art. The mode of study comprises: a substantial creative product (Exhibition and Supporting Work) set in a relevant theoretical, historical, critical and visual context; a written component (Dissertation = 20,000–40,000 words and Catalogue = 2,500–5,000 words) of equal importance to the body of creative work, recording and demonstrating a critical, historical, and diagnostic grasp of appropriate research methods and outcomes of the process and product. The PhD in Fine Art is assessed by an informed peer consensus on the mastery of the subject, of analytical breadth and depth, together with the communication of this mastery within the contribution and its defence in appropriate forms.


Please note: The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery during the next academic year and may be subject to change. They are included here to give an indication of how the course is structured.


Module Name Module Code Credit Value
Principles of Research Design PGM0210 10
Ways of Reading PGM0410 10

* Also available partially or entirely through the medium of Welsh