Art and Design postgraduate research degrees
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 fully-funded PhD projects available in Art and Design: History, Theory and Practice – for more information on funding your own research project, visit our pages on funding your research degree.
Submit your own research idea
If you already have a research idea, find a supervisor whose research interests match yours using the Portsmouth Research Portal. Once you've identified someone suitable, contact them to discuss your idea. You'll find their contact details on their profile on the portal.
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.
Duration, fees, and funding
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?
PhD and MPhil fees
- Home/EU/CI full-time students: £4,260 p/a*
- Home/EU/CI part-time students: £2,130 p/a*
- International full-time students: £13,200 p/a*
- International part-time students: £6,600 p/a*
PhD by Publication fees
- External candidates: £4,260 p/a
- Members of University of Portsmouth staff: £1,550 p/a
*All fees are subject to annual increase
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.
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.