The programme currently offer three specialisms:
• Renaissance and Early Modern
• Asian, Early Modern to Contemporary
• Modern and Contemporary
In the first year, students take a combination of courses in their chosen specialism, with core courses shared by all specialisms. As much exchange as possible is encouraged between the three routes through formal teaching sessions and more informal contact.
Students are expected to attend three full days a week, for lectures and seminars; the remaining two days are used for research and writing. In the last weeks of the first and second terms students present Work-in-progress Seminars on the essay subject of their choice.
In their second year students present two Work-in-progress seminars (in autumn and spring terms) and attend the Research Seminars and the Professional Practice sessions. They also attend at least two tutorials a month. The rest of the time is spent on research in the field, and writing up. Written work is presented throughout the year, the timing and presentation arranged with individual supervisors. Special arrangements for absence are made in individual cases, for example, if the student needs to spend some time abroad.
Opportunities can be made for students to take language classes relevant to their dissertation research (for example, the Renaissance students may study Early Modern Italian to familiarise themselves with Renaissance written sources). While the programme cannot guarantee to offer these courses to all students, arrangements will be made to meet individual student needs if deemed appropriate.
Students will also be able to undertake a professional placement in one of the curatorial departments of the V&A Museum. A limited number of placements will be available, and these will be allocated on a competitive basis, taking into account individual student's skills and specialist interests.