Art and Design - PhD

Course Overview

The essential course information

How to apply
Award:
PhD
Attendance:
  • Full Time (3-4 years)
  • Part Time (4-7 years)
  • Online Learning (4-7 years)
School:
School of Art
Campus:
City Centre: Parkside Building, Margaret Street or Vittoria Street depending on subject of study

Previously part of:

Birmingham Institute of Art and Design

Art and design research students

New scholarships for 2015/16

Postgraduate Scholarships We're aiming to make a postgraduate qualification more affordable and can offer awards of up to £10,000 to selected students.

Find out more about scholarship opportunities for 2015/16

Our Art and Design PhD research degree will help you create opportunities to develop research skills that support professional practice, research and/or academic careers.

The PhD enables research into a broad range of interests within the fields of art, design and the creative industries.

You will study in a world-class research environment which enables both practice-led and/or entirely text based PhD research to be developed to the highest level.

We support a range of thesis submissions, including a combination of written and practice elements as well as a traditional written thesis.

Your research will be delivered over three years (full time) or four years (part-time or distance learning).

PhD Supervisors and Specialisms

Art & Design PhDs are overseen by Sian Vaughan (pictured right) and are supported by a team of supervisors which are appointed from our staff in the Schoos of:

PhD Research Interests

We particularly invite your initial PhD enquiry for Art and Design PhD research within the following areas of interests:

CFAR (centre for fine art research)
  • Art History, Education and Design Practice
  • Centre for Chinese Visual Arts
  • Erotic Praxis & the Queering of Sense
  • Making Art in the Public Sphere
  • Photography Expanded
  • Radical Matter in Art & Philosophy
  • Research in Art, Dissemination, Impact
  • Speculative Topologies of Art-design Practices
Design and Creative Industries
  • Architecture Pedagogy and Policy
  • Design Business Innovation
  • Fashion & Textiles
  • Jewellery
  • Landscape perception and wellbeing
  • Typography
  • Visual Communication
  • Zero Carbon Design

Why Apply for an Art and Design PhD?

When you join us you will become a member of the thriving research culture in Art and Design at Birmingham City University, which includes CFAR (Centre for Fine Art Research) at the Birmingham School of Art; the Typographic Hub, Design Business Innovation Lab, Zero Carbon Lab and the Fashion & Textiles Research Group; and, the both Jewellery Industry Innovation Centre (JIIC) and Jewellery Creative Practice Research Group at Birmingham School of Jewellery.

Your PhD research will be organised as a programme of professional and academic development.

You will receive individual support and guidance from our team of supervisors, meeting on a regular basis to review your progress and plan your next steps.

You will feel a strong sense of community amongst students and supervisors.

You will attend regular research seminars, conferences and symposia and you will receive a dedicated workspace that acts as the hub of your PhD research activity.

You can strengthen your PhD research and personal/professional development by participating in wider international research communities and conferences, and by helping to teach degree modules to undergraduate students.

What is a PhD?

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is an internationally recognised doctoral-level qualification.

It is a ‘gold-standard’ qualification which certifies that your unique PhD research has made a significant contribution to theory and knowledge in a specific area of interest.

Holders of a PhD research degree are experts in their field of interest and are eligible to use the title ‘Doctor’.

Application Process

Before you apply, please send us an initial PhD enquiry containing a brief overview of your PhD research proposal. This gives us an opportunity to discuss and focus your PhD research before you make your final online application.

Send Initial PhD Enquiry

Entry Requirements

To apply for our Art and Design PhD research degree you should have, or expect to be awarded, a Masters degree in a relevant subject area from a British or overseas university.

Exceptional candidates without a Masters degree, but holding a first class Bachelors degree in a relevant subject area, may be considered.

We also welcome enquiries from potential PhD researchers without formal academic qualifications but with appropriate levels of professional experience.

If you intend to take a practice-led research approach to your PhD study, then you will expected to show your portfolio as part of the application process, normally at the formal interview stage.

Application Process

Before you apply, please send us an initial PhD enquiry containing a brief overview of your PhD research proposal. This gives us an opportunity to discuss and focus your PhD research before you make your final online application, and talk through your professional experience if you are without formal academic qualifications.

Send Initial PhD Enquiry

How to Apply

To apply for our Art and Design PhD please follow the application process below, starting with your Initial PhD Enquiry.

Application Process

1. Initial PhD enquiry

Please send us an initial PhD enquiry containing your brief PhD research proposal (max. 500 words), and/or any questions or queries you may have.

Send Initial PhD Enquiry

2. Review enquiry

We will review your initial enquiry to ensure your research proposal compliments one of our PhD research interests and if so we will ask you to make a full application.

3. Complete full PhD online application form

Once we have received your full application it will be reviewed and potential students will be invited to attend an interview (either face to face or Skype).

4. Successful applications

Following the interview a decision will be made on your application and those who have been successful will receive a written formal offer from the university.

Start Dates and Enquiry Submissions

Our Art and Design PhD research degrees start in September, February and May each year.

Please send us your initial PhD enquiry at least three months prior to your preferred start date to allow enough time for you to progress through the PhD application process.

Need Help?

If you are unable to use the Initial PhD Enquiry or Online Application forms or require help or advice, please contact our Research Officer Shelley Fray

Midlands3Cities Doctoral Training Partnership

AHRC funding for UK/EU doctoral students

Birmingham City University is part of the Midlands 3 Cities Doctoral Training Partnership. As part of the programme, postgraduate research studentships are available to arts and humanities doctoral researchers across six institutions, including fully funded PhDs. Find out more about Midlands3Cities.

 

Requirements for Final Applications

  • An outline proposal, including a preliminary title for the project, identifying the main area of research, commenting critically on the literature and indicating possible research methods. (See below for further details.)
  • Supporting visual material. Where appropriate you may supply additional visual material (up to one to two pages scanned and captioned images; never send original work).
  • Two letters of support from academic referees. These should be from individuals who are in a position to assess your potential to undertake higher degree research and offer a provisional view of the promise of your outline proposal.
  • Evidence of proficiency in the English language in the case of overseas (non-EU) students: in IELTS a minimum overall score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in any individual band; TOEFL at least 575.

Please note: students wishing to be considered for an AHRC award or any of our other studentships should refer to the specific eligibility criteria, application process and deadlines detailed separately in the studentships section of this website.

Outline proposal

This is a key document in assessing your application. In preparing this statement you should consider the following:

Your reasons and purposes for undertaking this project
  • Key areas/issues of the project, and why you wish to pursue this research
  • How the proposed work relates to what you have studied already
  • How the doctoral research relates to your eventual career aims
Your research project
  • A working title
  • The research problems or questions you intend to address
  • The research context in which those problems or questions are located
  • The particular contribution to knowledge and understanding in this area that you hope to make, explaining why the work is important
  • The methods and critical approaches that you plan to use
  • Any ethical issues relating to the research project
  • How the project will develop or how you will structure the work over the period of the award
Preparation and previous experience
  • A brief indication of any previous experience or preparation that is relevant to your proposed research project (e.g. aspects of your Master's study, additional degrees, qualifications, training or relevant skills)
  • For practice-led subjects, you should include details of relevant professional experience

Selection criteria

All applications will be assessed against the following criteria:

Quality and preparedness of the applicant

Taking into account prior academic performance, and, if relevant, professional experience, and the extent to which the applicant's academic studies and/or professional experience prepare the applicant for the proposed project or programme.

The proposed project or programme of study

Taking into account the intrinsic quality, coherence and feasibility of the project or programme, the merits of the applicant's intellectual and/or professional goals, and, in the case of doctoral applicants, the potential contribution to knowledge.

The alignment with our strengths and priorities

Taking into account: a) how well the applicant's research goals fit with our research interests and priorities; and b) the specific support available to the applicant, in terms of supervision and teaching, subject-specific training opportunities, and library and other appropriate resources.

Following this assessment candidates may be invited for a formal interview. This will normally involve the Faculty Research Degrees Co-ordinator and/or the Associate Dean (Research) and at least one other member of staff with appropriate supervisory expertise.

 

Fees and Finance

Fees for students from the UK or EU countries?
Start Mode Duration Award Fees
Feb 2015 FT 3-4 years PhD £3,996
May 2015 FT 3-4 years PhD £3,996
Feb 2015 PT 4-7 years PhD £1,998
May 2015 PT 4-7 years PhD £1,998
Sep 2015 FT 3-4 years PhD £4,125
Sep 2015 PT 4-7 years PhD £2,065
Sep 2015 OL 4-7 years PhD £2,580
Feb 2015 OL 4-7 years PhD £2,500
May 2015 OL 4-7 years PhD £2,500
Fees for students from non-EU countries (International)?
Start Mode Duration Award Fees
Feb 2015 FT 3-4 years PhD £10,500
May 2015 FT 3-4 years PhD £10,500
Sep 2015 FT 3-4 years PhD £11,500

The University reserves the right to increase fees broadly in line with increases in inflation, or to reflect changes in government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.

Please note: International students are only able to study in part-time mode under specific circumstances.

New scholarships for 2015/16

Postgraduate Scholarships We're aiming to make a postgraduate qualification more affordable and can offer awards of up to £10,000 to selected students.

Find out more about scholarship opportunities for 2015/16

International Students

International Students at BCU

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK. Our reputation for excellence is soaring globally, thanks to the superb links we forge with industry, our international alliances, and our focus on practical, vocational learning.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Application Process

Before you apply for our Art and Design PhD, please send us an initial PhD enquiry containing a brief overview of your PhD research proposal. This gives us an opportunity to discuss and focus your PhD research before you make your final online application.

 Send Initial PhD Enquiry

Postgraduate Open Event

Our next Postgraduate Open Day is on Wednesday 25 November 2015 (2-7pm). Registration will open in September 2015.

PG Open Evening

Our postgraduate open event offers you the chance to:

  • Meet with lecturers and other prospective students to discuss study options
  • Meet and chat with our current students
  • Obtain advice on fees and funding opportunities.

93 per cent of our graduates find work or further study within six months (DLHE). Explore your potential at our open evening.

Who is it for?

Whether you are coming to the end of your undergraduate studies, or have been in your job for a while and want to progress in your career or change direction, a postgraduate qualification gives you the opportunity to stand out from the crowd in a competitive market.

Our graduates are already shaping the world in a variety of high-profile roles – and you could be next. Read some of our inspiring case studies.

For more information, visit our Open Days page or call our Course Enquiries Team on +44 (0)121 331 5595.

Postgraduate Open Day - 22 April 2015

University Approach to Employability

Birmingham City University is committed to preparing students for successful employability and professional careers. We have an innovative approach to employability that will help you obtain an interesting and well-paid graduate job.

Read our Employability Statement to find out more.

Career Progression

The Doctor of Philosophy or PhD is recognised worldwide and is often an essential requirement for those wishing to follow an academic or research career in industry or commerce.

Our Art and Design PhD research degree will help you create opportunities to develop research skills that support professional practice, research and/or academic careers.

Application Process

Before you apply for our Art and Design PhD, please send us an initial PhD enquiry containing a brief overview of your PhD research proposal. This gives us an opportunity to discuss and focus your PhD research before you make your final online application.

Send Initial PhD Enquiry

Course Structure

Our Art and Design PhD research degree offers individual programmes of research across many areas of interest.

Our PhD gives you the opportunity to spend time researching and developing a deep understanding of a unique area of interest whilst contributing world-leading insight to the academic specialisms in Art and Design at Birmingham City University.

On successful completion of your PhD research degree your findings will have either contributed new knowledge or extended existing theory and understanding of an area of interest.

You will have proven yourself as a scholar, be an expert in your field and be eligible to use the title ‘Doctor’.

Our Art and Design PhD is research based and does not include taught modules of study.

PhD Research Interests

We particularly invite your initial PhD enquiry for Art and Design PhD research within the following areas of interests:

CFAR (centre for fine art research)
  • Art History, Education and Design Practice
  • Centre for Chinese Visual Arts
  • Erotic Praxis and the Queering of Sense
  • Making Art in the Public Sphere
  • Photography Expanded
  • Radical Matter in Art and Philosophy
  • Research in Art, Dissemination, Impact
  • Speculative Topologies of Art-design Practices
Design and Creative Industries
  • Architecture Pedagogy and Policy
  • Design Business Innovation
  • Fashion and Textiles
  • Jewellery
  • Landscape perception and wellbeing
  • Typography
  • Visual Communication
  • Zero Carbon Design

Supervisors and Support

As a PhD research student you will be guided through your programme of study by a team of supervisors.

Your supervisors will help you create your individual PhD research plan which, in your first few months, may include study for a research methods qualification: PG Cert Research Practice.

Your supervisory team will include a Director of Studies whose role it is to ensure that you are meeting targets and following the correct processes and systems for conducting PhD research.

You will also be supported by a second supervisor (and sometimes a third) who will provide guidance based on their specialist knowledge of your specific PhD research interest.

You will meet with your supervisors on a regular basis to review your progress, receive advice and plan the next stages of your PhD research.

You will present your research developments regularly to supervisors and have opportunities to present to the research community at various events across the Faculty.

Modes of Study

Our PhD is offered full-time, part-time or by distance learning.

These three modes of study ensure that we can create a PhD research plan around your lifestyle needs, even if you are in full-time employment or oversees.

Full-time PhD Research: three years

As a full-time PhD research student you will undertake much of your research on campus using the facilities at Birmingham School of Art, Birmingham School of Jewellery and/or the Parkside building as appropriate to your research project.

You will usually spend at least 37 hours per week engaged in research.

You will be expected to complete your research and submit your work for examination within 36-43 months.

Part-time PhD Research: four years

You would chose part-time PhD research if you opt to study whilst in employment or if full-time study is impractical.

You will be encouraged to use the campus facilities when you can and may often work from home.

You will be expected to complete your research and submit your work for examination within 48-72 months.

Distance Learning PhD Research: four years

Distance learning is possible, under carefully controlled circumstances, if you normally live outside of the UK but wish to conduct PhD research with Birmingham City University.

You will still be required to have some level of face-to-face engagement with us each academic year, often by conducting research on campus in Birmingham (UK).

Face to face research will be arranged for a period of time during the summer months, or at a mutually agreed time.

You will be expected to complete your research and submit your work for examination within 48-72 months.

A day in the life of a PhD student

If you're considering doing a PhD there's probably a lot of questions going through your mind: how am I going to pay for it? Should I quit my job? Will I cope with the workload? But most importantly, what is it really like? Karen Patel, a full time PhD student, shares her experiences of juggling life, a part time job and her studies. Read more in Karen's blog.

Assessment Methods

We support both traditional PhD research presented through an academic thesis and practice-led PhD research.

Both routes will require you to conduct a piece of unique PhD research, submit a thesis for examination and sit an oral exam (viva voce) in which you defend your thesis before a panel of experts. We support a range of thesis submissions, including a combination of written and practice elements as well as a traditional written thesis.

Our Facilities

Birmingham School of Art

The Birmingham School of Art has a dedicated gold-standard peer review research journal, Zetesis: The International Journal for Fine Art, Philosophy & the Wild Sciences, a professional gallery - ARTicle Gallery, and world leading press - ARTicle Press. Your research environment in the School of Art will include state-of-the-art metal workshops, print-making facilities and large studios all housed in the beautiful purpose-built 19th century Victorian building on Margaret Street, Birmingham City Centre. Located next to the city centre’s Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, the School is just a five-minute walk from the new Library of Birmingham and Ikon Gallery.

Birmingham School of Jewellery

Our internationally renowned School of Jewellery is the largest in Europe, with unrivalled facilities and expertise. Located in the heart of Birmingham’s famous Jewellery Quarter, the School was founded in 1890. The Vittoria Street building’s historical facade conceals a contemporary environment including workshops, a specialist library, an atrium gallery and exhibition space.

Parkside

The Parkside Building in the City Centre Campus is home to the Schools of Architecture,

Fashion, Textiles and 3D Design, and Visual Communication. Our art and design students work from a core of workshops in the centre of the five-floor building, with studio space around them. There is also ‘collision space’ where students and staff from different courses will see each other to pass the time of day, and exchange thoughts and ideas. The Parkside Gallery is a leading art and design exhibition space within the Parkside Building, with an emphasis on, but not confined to, design-led practice.

Enquiries

Art and Design PhD
  • If you have any questions or queries regarding our Art and Design PhD, or a PhD research proposal you would like to discuss with us, please send an initial PhD enquiry.
  • If you are unable to submit the initial PhD enquiry form, please contact our Research Officer Shelley Fray on +44 (0)121 331 5517.

Prospectus

For an overview of our postgraduate courses and a range of other information please download our Postgraduate Prospectus (10Mb).

Further Information

Application Process

Before you apply for our Art and Design PhD, please send us an initial PhD enquiry containing a brief overview of your PhD research proposal. This gives us an opportunity to discuss and focus your PhD research before you make your final online application.

Send Initial PhD Enquiry