School of Creative Industries

PhD Postgraduate Research in Art and Design

PhD Full-time 4 years, Part-time 8 years

Start date(s)
Variable start date
Course specifications
Course length
Full-time (4 years),Part-time (8 years)
Campus location
University: City Campus
School of Creative Industries
UCAS points calculator

Why choose this course?

Thank you for your interest in pursuing a research degree with the Faculty of Arts.  We will be delighted to discuss your area of interest with you but, before doing so, it is important to determine whether or not we can offer research supervision in your chosen area.  Please follow the link shown below to review our current areas of research supervision.

The aim of our research programmes is to give each student the best possible foundation from which to launch further research and career development. We help our students to develop the relevant research skills and methods and also support the development of related skills such as IT, presentation and career planning.

This approach, together with the relevant research expertise and resources support the completion of high-quality research degree programmes.

Details of current and recent research degree topics include:

  • Classical and modern portraiture; contemporary art theory and phototheory; post-60s critical theory
  • Postwar art (especially Francis Bacon); death of God theologies (especially Georges Bataille); art and theology; critical theory; abjection; visual communication, especially theories of branding.
  • Ornament, explored through painting and collage.
  • Glass
  • Photography
  • Narrative, memory, identity and the Archive: Fine Art , Drawing and Photography practice related to Documentary, Landscape and Alternative and Experimental practices .
  • Design history, gender and design, dress and textiles, material culture, co-creation/co-design and community engagement, arts/design for health and wellbeing, magazines and gender, archival practices, British interwar design.   
  • Practice-led research investigating conceptual art and ‘hypermedial’ technology.
  • Performance based arts practice, Performance based practice (Acting Methodologies), Film practice, Multidisciplinary practice (inc. Collage, Photography, Appropriation), National
  • Erosion in urban environs through the everyday processes by which surfaces are worn down, thinned or marked by contact with weather, citizens, or other agents, and detritus deposited elsewhere.
  • Contemporary and modern art theory (in particular the avant-garde and neo-avant-garde); phototheory (theories of realism); post-Kantian philosophy; contemporary cultural theory and critical theory; post-relational art practice
  • Material colour in glass and its emotional affects in relation to bipolar disorder and other themes.

Now is a great time to start your postgraduate research degree as loans are now available to help ease the cost of study at this level. For more information please see the following web page:

What happens on the course?

Full-time students will meet with their Director of Study at least once a month, and their supervisory team at least 3 times a year (every two months with the DoS plus 2 meetings a year with the team for part-timers).

Approximately half-way through the doctoral study (12-18 months full-time, or 3 years part-time) the student is required to complete a ‘Progression’ stage. Here the student will summarise their research achievements and outline their future research plans (including research methods) to completion. They will also give a presentation of their work to an independent assessor and members of the research community.

Finally, at the end of their study, they will produce a thesis for a viva examination by an internal and an external academic with the appropriate expertise.

Potential Career Paths

Successful completion of your PhD opens up a range of career opportunities and demonstrates your proven skills as a researcher. In Film, Media and Broadcasting, having a PhD is now an essential element for those looking to develop a career in lecturing or research within higher education. As well as demonstration of your research skills, a PhD shows your extensive knowledge of a particular field in an applied and rigorous manner that is attractive to employers.

In addition to developing competence in a range of intellectual skills that can be advantageous to the majority of occupations, a PhD in Film or Media is academically relevant to careers in the arts and media, leading to employment in arts administration, film archiving, film and media research, film journalism, filmmaking, animation, photography, film event management, and teaching.


Additional Information

Everything you need to know about this course!

The Wolverhampton School of Art is a buzzing city art school in the centre of the UK offering a dynamic and stimulating environment for PhD study. The iconic building also hosts the Centre for Art, Design, Research and Experimentation (CADRE) where a community of scholars and research-led practitioners work on individual and collaborative projects. CADRE has an established and proven track-record of high quality research and dissemination coming from its 3 research groups: Art, Philosophy and Social Practice; Material and Theoretical Practice; Communication and Design. 

The last Research Assessment Exercise in 2014 indicated that over half of our staff included were working at a level of international significance; which includes world-leading research. Our postgraduate research students play a key role in the research community here and we are very experienced in developing research projects to successful completion. We consider our PhD students as early-career researchers and fully support them towards their chosen career. As such we provide funding towards conference attendance and research visits and encourage our students to disseminate their work to the wider academic community. Research students are invited to attend the Faculty’s rolling programme of public speakers, seminars, workshops and skills training events, as well as those provided by the University and Doctoral College. We also expect them to contribute to the annual PhD students’ self-organised conference.

All student activity is supported and encouraged by our experienced and knowledgeable PhD supervisors who are happy to advise when needed. They meet regularly with their supervisees to ensure full support throughout the life-time of their doctoral study; which can be either practice-led research (45,000 words + practice) or theory-based (95,000 words).

The Centre for Art, Design, Research and Experimentation has an international reputation for excellence across a range of subjects and our staff are happy to receive inquiries regarding potential research topics. Our principal areas of research are:

  • Studio practice and theory (painting, sculpture, printmaking, glass, ceramics, installation work…)
  • Social Art practice
  • Public Sphere work and Art Collectives
  • Co-creation, Craft and Design
  • Art, Design, Health and Well-being
  • Critical and cultural theory
  • Digital media art
  • Virtual environments and creative spaces
  • Material theory and practice
  • Documentary film and animation


Location Mode Fee Year
Home Full-time £4596 per year 2022-23
Home Full-time £4712 per year 2023-24
Home Full-time £4712 per year 2023-24
Home Full-time £ per year 2024-25
Home Part-time Distance Learning £4596 per year 2022-23
Home Part-time Distance Learning £4712 per year 2023-24
Home Part-time Distance Learning £4712 per year 2023-24
Home Part-time Distance Learning £ per year 2024-25
Home Part-time £2298 per year 2022-23
Home Part-time £2356 per year 2023-24
Home Part-time £2356 per year 2023-24
Home Part-time £ per year 2024-25
International Full-time £14450 per year 2022-23
International Full-time £15450 per year 2023-24
International Full-time £15450 per year 2023-24
International Full-time £ per year 2024-25
International Part-time Distance Learning £14450 per year 2022-23
International Part-time Distance Learning £15450 per year 2023-24
International Part-time Distance Learning £15450 per year 2023-24
International Part-time Distance Learning £ per year 2024-25

The University is committed to a transparent fee structure, with no hidden costs, to help you make an informed decision. This includes information on what is included in the fee and how fees are calculated and reviewed

 Applicants for a research degree shall normally hold either:

 • a first or upper second class honours degree, or

 • a master’s degree, or

 • evidence of prior practice or learning that is accepted by the University, or a qualification which is regarded by the University as equivalent to a first or upper second-class honours degree.

Applicants must demonstrate proficiency in English at least to the level of an IELTS score (or equivalent) of 7.0, with no individual element less than 6.0. The only exemption to this is for students who are not required to do so as per UKVI regulations: 


Financial support for research study:

Before applying, you should consider carefully how you will finance your studies for the duration of your programme, including tuition fees, research support fees and living costs.

Government loans (Home Fee Status):

Government loans are available for postgraduate research students of up to £28,673, to cover fees and living expenses. More information can be found at Doctoral-loans website.

Studying in the UK:Guidance for EU students

For 2021/22 new entrants, EU, other EEA and Swiss nationals will no longer be eligible for home fee status and financial support from Student Finance England.


We are able to take payments in instalments, to spread out the cost of your studies, and it is possible to switch between full-time and part-time modes of study. For more information go to How to pay.

Postgraduate Research Loyalty Discount:

To students progressing from an undergraduate programme and/or a taught postgraduate programme to a postgraduate research programme, where both courses are University of Wolverhampton Awards.

There is no time limit on how long ago you completed your degree and/or Masters level qualification, as long as the new award is at a higher level.

For full terms and conditions please see: Loyalty Discount for Postgraduate Research Students

Research councils:

The UK Research and Innovation funds postgraduate study in all subject areas on a discretionary basis.

University Research Studentships:

The University offers a very limited number of research stipends, formerly known as bursaries, to research students. Stipends are designed to support specific projects as determined by the Research Institute rather than individual student-led projects. Funds are accessible from the relevant Research Institute or Centre - please contact them directly.

Other sources:

Dennis Turner Opportunity Fund.

You can find more information on the University’s Funding, cost, fee and support pages.


01902 32 22 22



Order a prospectus