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If you want to focus on researching one specific area in the History of Art without going straight into a PhD, then the MRes is the programme for you.

At the end of this programme many of our graduates continue on to do a PhD, where they undertake a much more extensive research project. 

Most of the teaching on the MRes programme takes place in the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, which houses the Barber Institute Gallery, a valuable teaching collection, used by all members of staff on a regular basis. The Barber Institute is home to an onsite research library, a prints and drawings study room and a coin study room. These facilities, together with the holdings of the University Main Library and the Special Collections of the Cadbury Research Library, make Birmingham one of the best resourced Departments of History of Art in Britain.

Course details

The core of the MRes programme is a 20,000-word thesis, which is supported by both research training and art theory modules.

Both of these core modules will equip you with the skills to enable you to complete your thesis.

The core research training module offers advice on how to hone your research topic, write a research rationale and present your thesis.

‘Criticism and Methods’ engages with a range of art historical methodologies and addresses theoretical debates emerging within the discipline. The module helps you frame your current research within the wider art historical research context.

In your second term, you also choose one optional module. Recent subjects have included: Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art; Theorising and Historicising Exhibitions; and Artists’ Film and Video.

Learning and teaching

The teaching on the Masters programme mainly takes place in the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, which houses the Barber Institute Gallery, and is used by members of staff on a regular basis as part of your learning.

The collection is an excellent and representative collection of post-medieval European art, including paintings, engravings and drawings by artists such as Rembrandt, Turner, Van Dyck, Veronese and Vigée-LeBrun, as well as a major collection of 19th- and 20th-century works by artists such as Degas, Gauguin, Käthe Kollwitz, George Grosz, Manet, Miró, Picasso and Whistler.

The Barber Institute is home to an on-site research library which, in conjunction with the holdings of the University Main Library and the Special Collections of the Cadbury Research Library, makes Birmingham one of the best resourced Departments of History of Art in Britain.

You will also become part of, and contribute to, the vibrant international community of the College of Arts and Law Graduate School, which offers dedicated research resources and a supportive working environment. Our team of academic and operational staff are on hand to offer support and advice to all postgraduate students within the College.

The History of Art MRes aims to:

  • Develop your subject-specific analytical skills
  • Enhance your generic research skills
  • Provide a critical framework of the historiography and methods of the discipline of art history
  • Develop your skills of verbal presentation and argument
  • Develop a deep understanding of the interpretation of visual material

It also aims to provide you with following skills:

  • Originality in the application of art historical knowledge
  • Ability to use research techniques to seek out and utilize significant, new or pertinent resources, both primary and secondary
  • Ability to engage with current debates and, where appropriate, use them in order to frame or enhance arguments
  • Self-discipline, initiative and independence in identifying and solving problems and in carrying through their research and writing to a planned timetable
  • Capacity to discuss and debate verbally and in writing, using the critical and theoretical perspectives of others in a scholarly framework

Employability

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by a range of employability support services offered by the University.

The University's Careers Network provides advice and information specifically for postgraduates that will help you to develop an effective career and skills development strategy, and to make the most of your time with us at the University. The College of Arts and Law also has a dedicated careers and employability team to deliver tailored programmes of careers events and local support.

You will have opportunities to: meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs; attend employer presentations and skills workshops; receive individual guidance on your job applications, writing your CV and improving your interview technique; and access to comprehensive listings of hundreds of graduate jobs and work experience opportunities.

You will also be able to access our full range of careers support for up to two years after graduation.

Postgraduate employability: History of Art

Birmingham's History of Art graduates develop a broad range of transferable skills, including: familiarity with research methods; the ability to manage large quantities of information from diverse sources; the ability to organise information in a logical and coherent manner; the expertise to write clearly and concisely and to tight deadlines; critical and analytical ability; the capacity for argument, debate and speculation; and the ability to base conclusions on detailed research.

Our History of Art postgraduates also have the advantage of gaining hands-on experience at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts: the university's on-campus art gallery which is home to the Department of Art History, Curating and Visual Studies.

Over the past two years, 100% of History of Art postgraduates were in work and/or further study six months after graduation. Many graduates enter occupations relating to gallery and museum management and curatorship; others pursue careers in academia. Employers that our graduates have gone on to work for include: Barber Institute of Fine Arts; Courtauld Institute of Arts; National Portrait Gallery; Royal Birmingham Society of Artists; University of Birmingham; and the Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust.


Visit the History of Art - MRes page on the University of Birmingham website for more details!

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