Earlier Degree(s)

Admission is highly competitive, with only two or three research postgraduate places available in our department each year. Applicants should have a strong background, with excellent grades, in art history or in a related field with historical or cultural expertise (a degree in studio art is not a sufficient foundation for admission).

To apply for the MPhil, applicants must have a BA degree.

To apply for the PhD, applicants normally already hold an MA or MPhil degree. If your art historical background is not strong, you may consider applying to our MA programme.

English Proficiency

Applicants should have a high standard of English, as well as proficiency in any other languages needed for their research.

Applicants from institutions where English is not the medium of instruction are required to take and submit results from one of the following English language proficiency tests. The minimum entry requirements are:

  • TOEFL (Paper-based): 550 or above, 4 or above in TWE.*
  • TOEFL (internet-based): 80 or above, 25 or above in the Writing section.*
  • IELTS: Band 7, with no subtest lower than 5.5.*
  • Overseas GCE, IGCSE, or CPE: Grade C or above.

* Test must have been taken within a two-year period of application.

Research Proposal

A key element of the application for both MPhil and PhD programmes is the research proposal. This is a formal document describing the topic on which the applicant wishes to focus and the academic justifications for doing so. It should normally be 1,000 to 1,500 words in length and include the following elements:

  • Abstract: a concise summary of the proposal.

  • Topic description: a statement of the research issues or questions you propose to explore and the specific materials you plan to analyze.

  • Background: a discussion of the current state of scholarship on the topic, including significant existing publications.

  • Research plan: a preliminary schedule for completion of the research and writing, including information about any non-English languages you will need to use for research and any travel you will need to do to examine art or archives overseas.

  • Bibliography: a preliminary bibliography of primary and secondary sources relevant to the proposal.


Find Our RPg Coordinator

As every MPhil or PhD student will work very closely with one of our full-time teaching faculty as the primary supervisor, prospective applicants are strongly encouraged to approach our Postgraduate Coordinator before applying and to discuss their topic with a prospective supervisor before completing the research proposal.

Meet the Deadlines

The main application deadline is normally December 1. Applications are also accepted for clearing rounds on April 30 and August 31, but the department’s available places are often used up in the main round.

There are some useful guidelines on the application steps in the Graduate School website.

Note: our teachers review all applications and decide on admission, but the application system is administered by the Graduate School.

RPg Intake

2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019 2019-2020 2020-2021 2021-2022
MPhil 1 0 1 0 2 2
PhD 2 1 0 1 2 0