Research Programmes in Museum, Gallery & Heritage Studies

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy): 3/4 years full-time; c.7 years part-time; combined candidature options
PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) by Creative Practice: 3/4 years full-time; c.7 years part-time; combined candidature options
MPhil (Master of Philosophy): 12 months full-time; 24 months part-time

ICCHS research students in the ICOMOS conference in Quebec, 2008Doing an MPhil or a PhD is an excellent way of developing your research interests, skills and knowledge. If you have a strongly-defined idea for a research project, then a research degree will give you the freedom to develop a deep understanding of that idea through your studies.

Studying for a research degree with the International Centre for Cultural and Heritage Studies offers you the opportunity to be part of a leading, interdisciplinary and international community of scholars who specialise in research into museums, galleries, and heritage.

We welcome research applications across a wide range of topics with regional, national and international scope. We are particularly keen to support topics that address the Centre’s key
research themes:

  • Cultural Politics and Policy
  • Identity, Community and Place
  • Representation and Media

In the staff profiles you will find information about the supervisory interests of the academics in the Centre. In the research student profiles you will find brief descriptions of current research student topics in the Centre.

What does it involve?

PhD/MPhil by thesis

Research students follow a structured course of self-directed study with support from a supervisory team of at least two academics from the Centre. Academics from other Newcastle University units may join the team if the topic requires it. Research study and empirical fieldwork leads to the submission of a written thesis (up to 100,000 words for PhD candidates; up to 50,000 words for MPhil candidates), which should make an original contribution to knowledge. The progress of your study is monitored through annual progress reviews.

PhD by Creative Practice

Doctoral students who choose the creative practice route are expected to work towards the final submission of a substantial body of creative work which constitutes a recognisable contribution to the development of contemporary Museum, Gallery and Heritage practice. The creative practice output is expected to demonstrate originality to be coherent with a research-driven enquiry. There is flexibility in the format of the creative practice output – it may include a curated exhibition, interpretation product(s), digital media and educational activities related to the museum/gallery/heritage context. The creative practice output is supported by the submission of a critical commentary of between 20,000 and 50,000 words. Creative Practice research students are supported by a supervisory team of at least two academics from the Centre. Supervisors from outside the Centre may also join the supervisory team if the project requires it.


You will be allocated a supervisory team of at least two academics from the Centre who will support you through your studies.

We recognise that research students often want to work with specific academics because of their individual expertise. We ask that you indicate on your application if you would like to work with a particular member(s) of staff. The Postagraduate Research Admissions Tutor will aim to match you to your preferred choice of first supervisor. However, they may recommend other colleagues, either within the Centre or elsewhere in the University, whose expertise will complement and enhance your research based on the content of your proposal. We will indicate the proposed supervisory team at the time of making an offer so you will have the opportunity to take this into consideration.


You will receive subject-specific training primarily through the supervision process but also through a series of other activities organised by the Centre. ICCHS organises an annual research student conference and a regular research seminar series that offer the opportunity to research students to present their work and network with a diverse community of researchers and practitioners. You are also encouraged to participate in the intellectual and social life of the School of Arts and Cultures and the University.

In addition, Newcastle University provides a comprehensive Postgraduate Research Training Programme to all full-time and part-time research students. Doctoral researchers may take advantage of additional and specialised training opportunities such as summer and winder schools organised by the Northern Bridge Doctoral Training Partnership. Training sessions provide a blend of cross-disciplinary and generic researcher development training and an excellent opportunity to meet with students from other disciplines. If you are not able to attend some elements of the training, you can access material for several sessions via Newcastle University’s on-line Virtual Learning Environment, Blackboard.

Are you interested in applying?

Information about entrance requirements, the application process, tuition fees and funding opportunities for these programmes is available on our How to Apply section.