Since 1930, The Courtauld has been among the world’s leading institutions for research in Art History and Conservation. Our internationally-renowned PhD programme is one of the largest in the United Kingdom, hosting over 100 doctoral students at any one time on their paths toward a PhD. At The Courtauld, you will join a cohort of the most ambitious and gifted students in your field as you pursue your research goals.
Our diverse cohort of students comes from across the United Kingdom and around the world to explore an equally wide range of research topics. Our students’ excellence is reflected in the large number of AHRC-funded awards gained over the last decade, one of a number of routes available for supporting your studies. Recent and current doctoral projects include mosaics in Constantinople, Buddhist wall paintings in Bhutan, Cubism in Japan, and post-war Korean avant-gardes, among many others.
A Courtauld Research degree includes scheduled skills and methodology seminars along with the main element: one-to-one supervision on your chosen project. Your supervisory team will guide your research, help plan, develop and shape your thesis, and support your scholarly and professional development in diverse ways.
A research-intensive institution, The Courtauld consistently achieves outstanding results in the UK Research Excellence Framework (REF) audit. Courtauld teachers publish on a host of topics, with recent important books and articles on Persian kingship and architecture, Spanish Renaissance sculpture, Netherlandish artists and migration, gardens and empire in China, Victorian art and science, American fashion photography, and many others. Members of Faculty have extensive experience curating major exhibitions of historic and contemporary art, editing and contributing to academic journals, winning competitive research grants, speaking publicly in a great variety of institutions and events, and working in archives and collections worldwide. All this and more contributes to our mentoring of students as they undertake their doctoral careers at The Courtauld.
The Research Forum is central to The Courtauld’s intellectual community and to doctoral life here. Presenting a programme of leading professors, curators, conservation scientists, and artists from around the world, the Research Forum invites you to explore a wide range of art historical thinking and consider your research from new perspectives. Research programmes are further supported by a variety of thematic clusters. Groups such as the Sculptural Process Study Group and Painting Pairs: Art History and Technical Study highlight the Institute’s foundation in object-based research; Connecting Cultures, 1200–1850, Sacred Traditions and the Arts, and the Digital Art History Research Group underline the interdisciplinary nature of our teaching and research. The Courtauld is also home to several major research centres, including the Centre for American Art and the Cambridge Courtauld Russian Art Centre.
These groups bring together postgraduates, faculty and visiting scholars for seminars, study days, site visits, and symposia, all supported by our professional Research Events team. From all this, doctoral students enjoy unique opportunities to suggest speakers, devise and convene events, chair sessions, and draw together research in published form. Courtauld Research students edit and produce immediations, The Courtauld’s annual, peer reviewed journal of art history, and have opportunities to contribute curatorially in our gallery and print room. Our doctoral students can also gain valuable teaching experience through our Public Programmes and at BA and MA level.