Art and Design postgraduate research degrees
Art and design
If you're looking to take your skills in art and design into postgraduate research, our research degree programmes can help you achieve your ambitions.
Within the School of Art, Design & Performance, our research explores visual and material culture, graphic and communication design, illustration and the art of the book, fashion & textiles, photography and the history and theory of art and design – and focuses on the role of art and design in social, cultural and historical contexts.
Our PhD supervisors come from practical and theoretical backgrounds and are well positioned to support you in various research programmes or PhD practice.
We encourage qualitative and practice-led research, using research skills such as historical research, semiotic analysis, user research, action research, iterative process and reflective practice.
Find out about our PhD, MPhil, and PhD by Publication opportunities in Art and Design below, including how to apply, entry requirements and funding your degree. For more detailed information about the application process, visit our How to Apply pages.
Art & Design PhDs and MPhils
Explore our pre-approved funded and self-funded PhD projects in Art and Design, or submit your own research idea.
PhD and MPhil projects
There are currently no funded PhD projects available in this area – for more information on funding your own research project, visit our pages on funding your research degree.
PhD by Publication
A PhD by publication is a postgraduate research degree based on research you've already undertaken and had published (excluding self-publishing) before registering with us.
Eligible research outputs include peer-reviewed academic papers, complete books or chapters in anthologies, and other materials accepted for publication, exhibited or performed. You'll have to submit these materials for examination between 6-12 months after registering with us.
For more information, please visit our PhD by Publication page.
PhD by Practice
Within the School of Art, Design & Performance, we also offer a PhD by Practice – a postgraduate research degree that's specifically designed to recognise your prior artistic practice. For more information, please contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Duration, fees and funding
What do my tuition fees cover?
If you're self-funding your PhD, you'll pay tuition fees to the University to cover course and university costs.
Your tuition fees cover:
- The cost of your postgraduate research programme* at the University as well as charges for registration, tuition, supervision, and examinations
- Bespoke training, professional development courses, networking, and research support through The Graduate School
- Research seminars and workshops (university-wide and faculty-specific)
- A contribution to funding to attend a conference or development activity in your research field
- Tailor-made weekly and monthly events, including weekly, themed experienced researcher-led talks and workshops
- Helping you become part of our thriving research community, including Research and Innovation services where 78% of our research impact was rated as world-leading or internationally excellent in REF 2014
- Your graduation ceremony
- Viva examination and administration costs
- The facilities and equipment you need to complete your studies, such as computer rooms, access to laptops, the Library, and laboratories
- Access to resources including electronic journals, alternative guide to funding, and thousands of hours of educational videos on LinkedIn Learning
- University support services including academic, financial, careers and wellbeing support and personal tutors
- Membership of the Students' Union (giving you the right to vote in elections, join clubs and societies, and get free independent advice)
- Access to software such as Microsoft Office, SPSS and Adobe Creative Suite (this includes Photoshop, InDesign, and Adobe Premiere Pro)
*Please note that some research programmes may come with additional bench fees.
How long will my research degree take?
- MPhil: 2 years full-time, 4 years part-time
- PhD: 3 years full-time, 6 years part-time
- PhD by Publication: 1 year part-time
How much will my research degree cost?
2021/2022 fees (applicable for October 2021 and February 2022)
PhD and MPhil fees
- Home/EU/CI full-time students: £4,500 p/a*
- Home/EU/CI part-time students: £2,250 p/a*
- International full-time students: £15,500 p/a
- International part-time students: £7,750 p/a
PhD by Publication fees
- External candidates: £4,500p/a*
- Members of University of Portsmouth staff: £1,720p/a
*All fees are subject to annual increase. If you are an EU student starting a programme in 2021/22 please visit this page.
Some PhD projects may include additional fees – known as bench fees – for equipment and other consumables, and these will be added to your standard tuition fee. Speak to the supervisory team during your interview about any additional fees you may have to pay. Please note, bench fees are not eligible for discounts and are non-refundable.
MPhil full-time and part-time courses are eligible for the Government Postgraduate Loan.
PhD full-time and part-time courses are eligible for the Government Doctoral Loan.
For information on other sources of funding, visit our funding your postgraduate research degree page.
The entry requirements for a PhD, or MPhil include a good honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject, or a master’s degree in an appropriate subject. Equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications may be considered. All applicants are subject to interview.
If English is not your first language, you'll need English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.
If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.
Support and facilities
When you join us, you'll be supported by our Graduate School, alongside your assigned supervisory team, who'll help you get the most from our facilities. The Graduate School will help you become part of our thriving, collaborative research community, and help grow your skills as a researcher through the Graduate School Development Programme, which offers training, workshops and events.
You'll access facilities for practical and creative development in a wide range of production methods. You can use study areas for creative practice and academic study, dedicated computer suites with the latest software and digital printing, a printmaking workshop, photographic facilities, digital fabric printing and laser cutting.
What can a postgraduate research degree do for my career?
Once you complete your postgraduate research degree, you'll be a highly-skilled researcher with the knowledge and skills to make an impact in many different industries.
Your postgraduate research qualification demonstrates to potential employers that you're an intelligent, capable and motivated person, with provable abilities and experience in critical thinking, problem-solving, project management, communication, leadership and creativity.
After researching with us, our successful postgraduate research candidates have gone on to impressive positions in academia and the private sector.
Explore the work we're doing across our 6 areas of research expertise in Art and Design: History, Theory and Practice.
Concepts such as taste are the product of cultural and social forces – and through our visual and material culture research, we're working to uncover the concepts at work.
We're exploring the historical production and consumption of art and design in wider social, cultural, political and economic contexts, with a particular emphasis on curation and exhibitions.
We're exploring how self-publishing allows a more diverse range of authors to communicate with an audience – and how zines and artist's books can tackle non-traditional subjects.
Our fashion and textiles research is addressing important issues around fashion and textile design and its associated industries.