Applications

Teachers in the department review all applications and decide on admission, but the application system is administered by the Graduate School. Details on application procedures are available here. 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.

The MPhil and PhD programmes are research degrees, and admission is highly competitive, with only two or three postgraduate places available each year. So 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.

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.

Prospective applicants are strongly encouraged to approach the Department’s Postgraduate Coordinator before applying (see “Contact” tab above) and to discuss their topic with a prospective supervisor before completing the research proposal (see “People” tab above). 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.