Since the Department of History of Art's foundation in 1970, we have established ourselves as one of the world’s leading centres for advanced research in the field. We are proud of our team of staff and students whose impressive performance is critical to sustaining and enhancing the national and international reputation created by our distinguished alumni.
Cambridge itself is, from an art historical point of view, a stunning city in which to live and work. We make full use of Cambridge’s unique holdings of art and architecture, including the Fitzwilliam Museum (on our doorstep), Kettle’s Yard and the University Library as well as the College libraries. The Hamilton Kerr Institute at Whittlesford, a department of the Fitzwilliam Museum, is dedicated to the conservation of easel paintings and contributes to our teaching and research.
The MPhil in the History of Art and Architecture is a nine-month course providing advanced study and training in research in specialised areas of the subject. It is intended as a self-contained programme of art-historical study, but also serves as a preparation for students intending to proceed to doctoral research. Please note that this is a research degree with taught methodological elements, not a conversion course for students whose first degree lies in another subject.
The educational aims of the programme are:
- to provide teaching and learning to post-graduate students in the history of art and architecture in a range of fields linked to the research interests of the staff; - to provide high-calibre students with training in relevant research skills and to offer excellent specialist supervision of their individual research in these fields; - to provide a stimulating environment in which students can reach their full intellectual potential; - to help students develop a wide range of intellectual abilities and skills which will enable them to make a significant contribution in their chosen careers and walks of life, including academic teaching and research.
- made the transition in learning style and pace from undergraduate to postgraduate level; - acquired the necessary research skills in the use of bibliographical, archival and museum resources as relevant to their field of study; - gained practice in the use of the languages and archival skills relevant to their chosen research area; - gained confidence in the choice and use of different methodological approaches and theoretical perspectives; - refined their critical skills in the examination, recording and analysis of works of art and/or architecture, especially at first-hand (through travel and fieldwork if appropriate); - gained experience in oral and written presentation, and in a sustained piece of research in the form of a dissertation of not more than 15,000 words; - acquired the proficiency needed to present in writing a coherent and sustained piece of academic research.
Teaching is delivered through a series of seminars held in the Faculty during the Michaelmas (Autumn) and Lent (Spring) Terms, focusing on salient critical and theoretical issues in the discipline, and organised into two parallel strands in each term. The seminars include presentations by MPhil students and other research students. Students may either take one option in each term, or follow the same course throughout. A taught course in visual culture offered at MPhil level by another university department (eg Classics, English, History, Modern and Medieval Languages) may be undertaken in addition to one of the two taught courses, with the approval of your supervisor and the Degree Committee of the Faculty of Architecture and History of Art. This needs to be discussed and arranged at the beginning of the Michaelmas Term.
Throughout the course, students are encouraged to undertake independent reading and study, in order to consolidate what is under discussion in the seminars. In addition, they attend the Department’s weekly public Graduate Research Seminar organised by the graduate students, the Department's fortnightly Medieval Seminars and other lectures and seminars in the Department and elsewhere in the University.
The syllabus is as follows:
- Attendance at two selected seminar courses in specialised areas of research, one in the Michaelmas (Autumn) Term and one in the Lent (Spring) Term; - Attendance at the department's weekly graduate seminars; - Attendance at classes in skills training and career development; - Frequent individual consultation with the candidate's supervisor, who will guide the candidate's choice of topics and preparation of individual written work for essays, presentations and dissertation.
Each of the seminar courses runs over two terms (Michaelmas and Lent), with a different emphasis in each term. The seminars include presentations by MPhil students and other research students. Students may either take one option in each term, or follow the same course throughout. A taught course in visual culture offered at MPhil level by another university department (eg Classics, English, History, Modern and Medieval Languages) may be undertaken in addition to one of the two taught courses, with the approval of your supervisor and the Degree Committee of the Faculty of Architecture and History of Art. This needs to be discussed and arranged at the start of Michaelmas Term.
- The dissertation of not more than 15,000 words represents 60% of the overall mark and is submitted at the end of May. - Two essays of not more than 6000 words (one of which may include a literature review). The essays represent 40% of the total mark. One will be submitted at the end of the Michaelmas (Autumn) and one at the end of the Lent (Spring) terms respectively.
To continue to read for the PhD following the course, MPhil in History of Art & Architecture students must achieve an overall average score of at least 70%. Continuation is also subject to the approval of the proposed research proposal, and, the availability of an appropriate supervisor.