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Wolverhampton School of Art

Postgraduate Research in Art and Design

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

Thank you for your interest in pursuing a research degree with the Faculty of Arts.

Thank you for your interest in pursuing a research degree with the Faculty of Arts.

  • Institute Code W75
  • UCAS Code
  • Entry Requirements View
  • Fees View
  • Start Date(s) Variable start date
  • Award PhD
  • Study Mode Full-time, Part-time
  • Course Length Full-time (4 years), Part-time (8 years)
  • Campus Location University of Wolverhampton
  • School Wolverhampton School of Art

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/EU Full-time £4327 per year 2019-20
Home/EU Full-time £4407 per year 2020-21
Home/EU Part-time £4327 per year 2019-20
Home/EU Part-time £2164 per year 2019-20
Home/EU Part-time £2204 per year 2020-21
Home/EU Part-time £4407 per year 2020-21
International Full-time £13350 per year 2019-20
International Full-time £13645 per year 2020-21
International Part-time £6675 per year 2019-20
International Part-time £13350 per year 2019-20
International Part-time £13645 per year 2020-21
International Part-time £6823 per year 2020-21

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 Dean of Research.

An Applicant whose entry award was not delivered in English, or non-native speaker of English shall be required to demonstrate proficiency in English at least to the level of an IELTS score of 7.0 or its equivalent to be registered as a Research Degree student. 

The University also offers a range of Bursaries and Scholarships in addition to other financial support packages

Tuition Fees Loan: If you wish, you can take out a Government Student Loan which covers the full course fee. You pay it back once you’ve left university and your income is more than £25,725 (from April 2019). More information on repayments can be found at: repayments.
It’s available to eligible full-time higher education students and does not depend on family income.

The amount of the Tuition Fees Loan is paid directly to the University of Wolverhampton by the Student Loan Company.

Visit student finance on the website to find out more.

Self-funding: If you don’t want to take out a loan to pay your fees, you might want to take advantage of the University’s scheme to pay by instalments: see How to Pay.The funding available to you depends on when you started your studies and if you have been to University previously.

For more information please contact the Gateway.

Financial Hardship: Students can apply to the Dennis Turner Opportunity Fund ( for help with course related costs however this cannot be used for fees or to cover general living costs.


01902 32 22 22



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