Art history (2016 entry)

Subject overview

  • In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), 100 per cent of our research was rated as world-leading, internationally excellent or internationally recognised. Our research is fundamental to our teaching; you will be taught by expert academics who are publishing the ideas that shape the understanding of art history as a discipline.
  • Art history at Sussex is ranked in the top 10 in the UK in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2014-15, and 12th in The Guardian University Guide 2017.
  • The skills of our faculty represent a unique array across European and American art and culture, with an interest in material culture.
  • Through our strong links with local and national museums (including the V&A, the National Portrait Gallery, the National Maritime Museum, Historic Royal Palaces, Brighton Museum & Art Gallery and Charleston House) you gain access to art objects and research materials. Those taking the MA in Art History and Museum Curating undertake a work placement in one of our partner museums or galleries, acquiring vocational skills and practical experience.
  • For MA and research students alike, art history at Sussex provides a friendly and stimulating environment for the exchange of ideas, in which intellectual life and scholarly endeavour thrive.
Specialist facilities

Facilities include a well-equipped Art History lab with an extensive database of digital images, access to computing and word-processing training, and a library well stocked with secondary literature in the discipline and with online access to the British Library and other repositories.

You are encouraged, where appropriate, to take advantage of local sites of art-historical interest: extensive collections in the Royal Pavilion and the museums of Brighton & Hove; local country houses such as Petworth and Firle; and the Bloomsbury Collection and the Charleston Trust.

Academic activities

A regular research seminar, to which outside speakers are invited, provides a major forum for debate. You are also encouraged to attend seminars in other disciplines such as history, English, philosophy and anthropology.

The Department of Art History plays a part in the Centre for Visual Fields, the Centre for Early Modern and Medieval Studies and the Centre for Byzantine Cultural History. These form foci for a range of lectures, conferences and funded research projects.

Programmes

  • PhD in Art History
  • MPhil in Art History

We offer research supervision in the history of art and architecture. Special areas of interest include the history of the visual arts and architecture of western Europe in the early modern and modern periods, Byzantine art, Renaissance art, 18th-century art, art and empire, British and North American art of the
20th century, and contemporary visual culture, especially photography.

Across periods of interest, we share a focus on the object as the starting point of analysis, attention to issues of methodology, historiography and critical theory, and engagement with questions of material and visual culture.

Recent thesis titles 

‘Archi-Texts’ for contemplation in sixth-century Byzantium: the case of the Church of Hagia Sophia, Constantinople

Collectors and collecting in England 1600-1660

Colonial identities and visual culture: representations of the British in India, c1785-1845

Objects of evidence: colonial encounters through material culture from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands at Brighton Museum, 1858-1949

Strategies for celebration: realising the ideal celebratory city in London and Paris, 1660-1715

The book as symbol in late Medieval and early Renaissance painting

The politics of partnership: Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, 1912-1961

The state apartment in the Jacobean country house

The world on a plate: the impact of photography on travel imagery and its dissemination in Britain, 1850-1890

Also visit Department of Art History: AHRC collaborative PhD scheme

Entry requirements

MPhil in Art History

UK entrance requirements

A Masters degree in art history or a related discipline such as history, architecture, English, archaeology, anthropology or cultural studies, and proof of engagement with art history at an advanced level.

Overseas entrance requirements

If you are an international student and wish to find out if you have the necessary qualifications for this degree, please refer to Overseas qualifications.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each section.

For more information, refer to What qualifications do I need?

PhD in Art History

UK entrance requirements

A Masters degree in art history or a related discipline such as history, architecture, English, archaeology, anthropology or cultural studies, and proof of engagement with art history at an advanced level

Overseas entrance requirements

If you are an international student and wish to find out if you have the necessary qualifications for this degree, please refer to Overseas qualifications.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each section.

For more information, refer to What qualifications do I need?

Visas and immigration

Find out more about Visas and immigration.

For more information about the admissions process at Sussex

For pre-application enquiries:

Student Recruitment Services
T +44 (0)1273 876787
E pg.enquiries@sussex.ac.uk

For post-application enquiries:

Postgraduate Admissions,
University of Sussex,
Sussex House, Falmer,
Brighton BN1 9RH, UK
T +44 (0)1273 877773
F +44 (0)1273 678545
E pg.applicants@sussex.ac.uk 

Related subjects

Fees and funding

Fees

MPhil in Art History fees

Home UK/EU students: £4,1211
Channel Island and Isle of Man students: £4,1212
Overseas students: £14,8003

1 The fee shown is for the academic year 2016.
2 The fee shown is for the academic year 2016.
3 The fee shown is for the academic year 2016.

PhD in Art History fees

Home UK/EU students: £4,1211
Channel Island and Isle of Man students: £4,1212
Overseas students: £14,8003

1 The fee shown is for the academic year 2016.
2 The fee shown is for the academic year 2016.
3 The fee shown is for the academic year 2016.

Find out more about fees

Visit Living costs

Scholarships

The sources of financial support listed below are for the subject area you are viewing and may not apply to all degrees listed within it. Please check the description of the individual source of financial support to make sure it is relevant to your chosen degree.

Visit Postgraduate research scholarships 2016

Visit Career development and part-time work

We are in the process of updating funding sources for postgraduate study in the academic year 2016/17. For general information, visit Postgraduate research scholarships 2016.

For more information on scholarships go to the Scholarships web pages.

Faculty interests

Our research interests cover a broad chronological spread, from Byzantium to the present, and we research a wide range of subjects including 20th-century photography, women art critics, painting, decorative objects, furniture, dress, and art and travel. Research interests are briefly described below.

Visit Department of Art History

Dr Benedict Burbridge
Senior Lecturer in Art History
B.F.Burbridge@sussex.ac.uk

Research interests: Art History, Art Theory & Aesthetics, Critical Theory, cultural politics, Digital Culture, Museum And Gallery Studies, Photography art and politics, Photography History, Theory and Practice

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Dr Meaghan Clarke
Senior Lecturer in Art History
M.E.Clarke@sussex.ac.uk

Research interests: 20th Century Visual Culture, Art History, british art, Gender Studies, history of collecting, Imperial/Colonial History, Print Culture, Victorian studies

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Dr Flora Dennis
Senior Lecturer In Art History
F.Dennis@sussex.ac.uk

Research interests: Art and design, Domestic interiors, Early modern Italy, History of sound, material culture, Music

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Prof Liz James
Professor of History of Art
E.James@sussex.ac.uk

Research interests: Byzantine art, Byzantine culture and society, colour, gender, mosaics, sensory perceptions

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Prof David Mellor
Professor of History of Art
D.A.Mellor@sussex.ac.uk

Research interests: Sixties artists

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Prof Geoffrey Quilley
Professor of Art History
G.Quilley@sussex.ac.uk

Research interests: Art History, british art, British Empire, Eighteenth-century culture, Imperial/Colonial History, maritime history, Post-Colonial Studies, Slavery, Travel

View profile

Careers and perspectives

Our graduates have gone on to careers in Higher Education, publishing, the art market, conservation and museum management.

To find out more, visit Careers and alumni

Research training

The University’s Doctoral School runs a wide range of training courses covering the needs of students throughout all phases of their studies.

Visit the Doctoral School website

Visit Stages of doctoral study

School and contacts

Contact us

Fiona Allan, Research and Enterprise Co-ordinator, 
School of History, Art History and Philosophy, Arts A, 
University of Sussex, Falmer, 
Brighton BN1 9SH, UK 
T +44 (0)1273 876612 
E f.m.allan@sussex.ac.uk 

Visit the Department of Art History

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Overseas visits

Meet with Sussex staff in your country at exhibitions, visits to schools and universities, and at a wide range of other events. Forthcoming visits are planned all over the world:

Bahrain • Brazil • Brunei • Canada • China • Colombia • France • Germany • Ghana • Greece • Hong Kong • India • Indonesia • Iraq • Italy • Japan • Kenya • Kuwait • Malaysia • Mexico • Nigeria • Norway • Pakistan • Qatar • Saudi Arabia • Singapore • South Korea • Spain • Sri Lanka • Taiwan • Thailand • Turkey • UAE • USA • Vietnam.

In-country representatives

In the International Office, we manage a network of overseas representatives who have been trained to support international students with their application to study at the University. Services representatives provide can include pre-departure information, support in submitting your housing application and advice regarding applying for a UK Student Visa.

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