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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.

Highlights

  • Arts and humanities at Birkbeck are ranked fifth best in London, 18th in the UK and 87th globally in the 2019 Times Higher Education World University Rankings by Subject.
  • 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.
  • The School of Arts is an official partner of the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in London. Opportunities for students have included a year’s free membership of the ICA, private views, discounts on all talks and events, free members' screenings and £3 cinema tickets on Tuesdays, up to 25% off ICA Artists' Editions and a monthly e-newsletter.
  • 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 full-time courses (with the exception of modular enrolment certificates of higher education and graduate certificates), as these qualify for Tier 4 sponsorship. 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 courses (with the exception of some modules).

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

  • Fees

    Fees

    Part-time home/EU students: £2296 pa
    Full-time home/EU students: £4327 pa
    Part-time international students: £6375 pa
    Full-time international students: £12625 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

    Follow these steps to apply to an MPhil/PhD research degree at Birkbeck:

    1. Check that you meet the entry requirements, including English language requirements, as described on this page.

    2. Find a potential supervisor for your MPhil/PhD research. You can look at the Find a Supervisor area on this page for an overview, or search our Experts’ Database or browse our staff pages for more in-depth information. You may also find it helpful to view the research projects of our current students.

    3. Contact the academic member of staff - or the department they teach in - for an informal discussion about your research interests and to establish if they are willing and able to supervise your research. (Please note: finding a potential supervisor does not guarantee admission to the research degree, as this decision is made using your whole application.) Find out more about the supervisory relationship and how your supervisor will support your research.

    4. Draft a 2000-word research proposal. This needs to demonstrate your knowledge of the field, the specific research questions you wish to pursue, and how your ideas will lead to the creation of new knowledge and understanding. Find out more about writing a research proposal.

    5. Apply directly to Birkbeck, using the online application link on this page. All research students are initially registered on an MPhil and then upgrade to a PhD after making sufficient progress.

    Find out more about the application process, writing a research proposal and the timeframe

    For in-depth information about applying to the School of Arts for MPhil/PhD research, 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 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.