Arts Management (MPhil / PhD)

An MPhil/PhD is an advanced postgraduate research degree that requires original research and the submission of a substantial dissertation of 60,000 to 100,000 words. At Birkbeck, you are initially registered on an MPhil and you upgrade to a PhD after satisfactory progress in the first year or two. You need to find a suitable academic supervisor at Birkbeck, who can offer the requisite expertise to guide and support you through your research. Find out more about undertaking a research degree at Birkbeck.

The Department of Film, Media and Cultural Studies has an international reputation for teaching and research. We offer practice-based research options as well as traditional MPhil/PhD study. Our current students explore a broad range of interests, including art and urban regeneration, socially engaged art practice, institutional critique, curatorial practice, cultural and creative industries, and interdisciplinary topics such as new media and geography.

In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, Art and Design at Birkbeck achieved 100% for a research environment supporting world-leading or internationally excellent research. Current research areas in the Department of Film, Media and Cultural Studies include: cultural policy and theory; public art; gentrification; cultural identity; sculpture parks and gardens; contemporary art history; environmental site-based art; museum studies; arts education; virtual identity in the arts in post-war Britain; professional and managerial practice; and curatorial and archival practice.


  • Arts and humanities courses at Birkbeck are ranked fourth best in London and 18th in the UK in the Times Higher Education 2017-2018 World University Subject Rankings.
  • Birkbeck’s research excellence was confirmed in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, which placed Birkbeck 30th in the UK for research, with 73% of our research rated world-leading or internationally excellent.
  • In addition to the Birkbeck Library, students have access to the nearby Senate House Library, various libraries of the University of London colleges, the British Library, as well as other specialist collections and institutions in central London.
  • You will have the opportunity to attend workshops and seminars on research methods, attend and present at work-in-progress events, and benefit from the extensive range of research activities organised by the School of Arts.
  • Entry Requirements

    Entry requirements

    A relevant Master's degree.

    International entry requirements

    If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, the requirement for this programme is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 7.0, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.

    If you don't meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses, foundation programmes and language support services to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.

    Visit the International section of our website to find out more about our English language entry requirements and relevant requirements by country.

    Visa requirements

    If you are not from the European Economic Area (EEA) and/or Switzerland and you are coming to study in the UK, you may need to apply for a visa.

    The visa you apply for varies according to the length of your course:

    • Courses of more than six months’ duration.
    • Courses of less than six months’ duration.
    • Pre-sessional English language courses.

    International students who require a Tier 4 visa should apply for our three-year evening study BA/BSc/LLB degrees, as these are classified as full-time study and qualify for student visa status. If you are living in the UK on a Tier 4 visa, you will not be eligible to enrol as a student on Birkbeck’s part-time evening study degrees.

    For full information, read our visa information for international students page.

  • Fees


    Part-time home/EU students: £2260 pa
    Full-time home/EU students: £4260 pa
    Part-time international students: £6225 pa
    Full-time international students: £12325 pa

    Students are charged a tuition fee in each year of their programme. Tuition fees for students continuing on their programme in following years may be subject to annual inflationary increases. For more information, please see the College Fees Policy.

    Fees and finance

    From 2018-19, PhD students resident in England can apply for government loans of up to £25,000 to cover the cost of tuition fees, maintenance and other study-related costs.

    Outstanding MPhil/PhD researchers are encouraged to apply for our competitive scholarships and studentships, which cover fees and maintenance. Read more and apply now

    Find out more about other research funding opportunities at Birkbeck. 

    Flexible finance: pay your fees in monthly instalments at no extra cost. Enrol early to spread your costs and reduce your monthly payments.

    Fees discounts: If you are a member of a union that is recognised by the Trades Union Congress (TUC), you may apply for a 10% discount off your tuition fees.

  • Our Research Culture

    Our Research Culture

    PhD student experience

    Birkbeck Interdisciplinary Research in Media and Culture (BIRMAC) brings together the research interests of staff in the Department and across the College, offering an exciting range of events for staff and students. The centre also acts as a focus for cognate areas within Birkbeck such as creative writing, theatre studies and cultural studies generally. Students are also encouraged to attend research events staged by the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities and the Birkbeck Institute for Social Research.

    As part of our commitment to professional development, you will have the opportunity to gain experience in teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. There is also a 10-week lecture series, Teaching in the Arts, which is designed to prepare students for teaching humanities in higher education.

    Read more about our vibrant research culture and find out more about our current MPhil/PhD students and their areas of research.

    Training and methodology

    The MPhil thesis is not more than 60,000 words; the PhD thesis is not more than 100,000 words. Both the MPhil and the PhD are assessed by a viva voce examination. The thesis requirements for a practice-based project vary according to the nature of the research and can be discussed with the admissions tutors.

  • How to apply

    How to apply

    You apply directly to Birkbeck for this course, using the online application link.

    The research proposal forms the core of the application to undertake an MPhil or PhD, as it is the main way in which we can assess you and your research ideas. The proposal should be 2000 words in all, not including references. A typical proposal should include the following sections and the questions you should consider, in the order indicated:

    • introduction, including a rationale
    • literature review
    • corpus of work, body of data or case studies you intend to research
    • clear statement of research questions
    • proposed methods
    • potential significance
    • timetable.

    While it is difficult to specify with certainty the course of the research, it is helpful to indicate how you see your work developing and the timescales involved. For full-time PhD students, the maximum period for completion under normal circumstances is four years. It is seven years for part-time students.

    For information about applying as a research student, read our guide for applicants.

    Application deadlines and interviews

    You can apply throughout the year for commencement at the beginning of the autumn or spring terms (October or January).

    If you wish to apply for funding, you will need to apply by certain deadlines. Consult the websites of relevant bodies for details.

  • Finding a supervisor

    Finding a supervisor

    A crucial factor when applying for postgraduate study in arts management is the correlation between the applicant’s intellectual and research interests and those of one or more potential supervisors within the Department.

    Find out more about the research interests of our academic staff:

    • Professor Fiona Candlin: touch and histories of perception; disability politics; museum and gallery education.
    • Dr Sophie Hope: socially engaged, participatory and public art; cultural policy, commissioning processes and evaluation practices; labour conditions in the arts and creative industries; community art histories in the UK; practice-based research in interdisciplinary contexts.
    • Dr Lorraine Lim: urban and cultural regeneration initiatives including sport; emerging capitals of culture in Asia; cultural policy in Asia.
    • Dr Joel McKim: digital media technology; media, urban planning and architectural design; cultural memory; media theory.
    • Dr Simone Wesner: cultural value and policy; creative practice; multi-user virtual environments; entrepreneurialism and cultural identity; history of arts management; methodology.