4 years full time, 6 years part time
Choose to start in September 2017, January 2018 or May 2018

Art History

From world-leading research to our radical approach to the histories of art, from exceptional links with museums and galleries to Brighton’s distinctive arts culture – you’ll find Sussex a truly exceptional place to work on your research project.


Areas of study

We offer research supervision in the history of art and architecture, including:

  • 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
  • contemporary visual culture, especially photography.

PhD or MPhil?

You can choose to study for a PhD or an MPhil. PhD and MPhil degrees differ in the length of the course and therefore in the extent of the research work you can undertake and incorporate in your thesis.

  • An MPhil typically takes three years full time and four years part time. You’ll conduct an independent piece of research but in less depth than for a PhD. You will graduate with the degree title Master of Philosophy.
  • A PhD typically takes four years full time and six years part time. You will undertake a piece of research that makes a substantial original contribution to knowledge or understanding in your chosen field.

If you choose an MPhil, you might be able to change to a PhD during the course of your studies.

How to apply

If you’d like to join us as a research student, there are two main routes:

Find out how to apply for a PhD at Sussex

Full-time and part-time study

Choose to work on your research full time or part time, to fit around your work and family life. For details about part-time study, contact Research and Enterprise Co-ordinator Fiona Allan at


Explore our research interests and find a potential supervisor.

  • Faculty profiles

    Dr Benedict Burbridge
    Senior Lecturer in Art History

    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

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

    View profile

    Dr Flora Dennis
    Senior Lecturer In Art History

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

    View profile

    Prof Liz James
    Professor of History of Art

    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

    Research interests: Sixties artists

    View profile

    Prof Geoffrey Quilley
    Professor of Art History

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

    View profile

Entry 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

English language requirements

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

Find out about other English language qualifications we accept.

English language support

Don’t have the English language level for your course? Find out more about our pre-sessional courses.

Additional information for international students

We welcome applications from all over the world. Find out about international qualifications suitable for our PhD degrees.

Visas and immigration

Find out how to apply for a student visa

Scholarships and fees

How can I fund my course?

Postgraduate Masters Loan

MPhil students might be eligible for a Postgraduate Masters Loan. This is not available for students registering for a PhD.


Our aim is to ensure that every student who wants to study with us is able to despite financial barriers, so that we continue to attract talented and unique individuals.

Part-time work

We advertise around 2,500 part-time jobs a year so you can make money and gain work experience. We have a special scheme to employ students on campus, wherever possible.

Find out more about careers and employability

How much does it cost?

Fees for self-funding students

Home: £4,195 per year

EU: £4,195 per year

Channel Islands and Isle of Man: £4,195 per year

Overseas: £15,100 per year

Our fees follow the indicative fee level set nationally by Research Council UK and may be subject to change.

Contact us