School of Arts and Cultures

Research Degrees

Research Degrees


Our aim is to enable artists to pursue knowledge and understanding through original, studio-based research in a supportive and stimulating research environment.

As a full-time research student, you'll have your own studio space in the School. You'll have access to a wide range of facilities, both in the School and beyond.

We offer MPhil and PhD options for postgraduate research degrees.


Our MPhil takes one year of study full-time or two years part-time.

Your research project can be practice-led or theoretical. You have two options for your final submission:

  1. You can submit a thesis of up to 50,000 words.
  2. You can do a combination (50/50) of studio practice and text.


Our practice-led PhD takes three years of full-time study or six years part-time.

Your research project can be practice-led or solely text-based. You have two options for your final submission:

  1. You can do a combination of an exhibition of creative work a thesis of up to 30,000 words (approximately 30% of the degree).
  2. You can submit a thesis of 80,000 - 100,000 words.

PhD students will normally have completed a masters level course before starting their PhD.

Find out more

Find out about how your research fits in with the School's and what supervision and training is available when you study with us.

Get in touch with our Head of Postgraduate Studies, Dr Ed Juler, if you have any questions.

Research at the School

We welcome applications in any subject area of Fine Art where we can offer supervision.

Your project may be practice-led, historical or theoretical. You'll be supported by expert supervision in the context of our research activities:

  • practice-based
  • art-historical
  • cross-disciplinary

Our staff

You'll particularly benefit from our degrees if your research proposal fits the research expertise of our staff.  

We're always looking for students whose work fits within our key research themes.

We also welcome proposals that benefit from our extraordinary range of resources. We have opportunities for interdisciplinary research across the School and University.

Our research

The School is home to a great variety of practice and research types. We offer exciting possibilities for the cross-fertilisation of ideas and for interdisciplinary research, including:

  • practice as research
  • historical, critical and theoretical studies
  • sociological and psychological research in cultural and heritage studies
  • research into architecture, design and technology in museum and gallery studies
  • research either focusing on, and/or utilising, new media and other technologies in creative practices.


As a research student, you'll benefit from the expertise of Culture Lab. This is a multi-application, multi-user digital media facility. It supports interdisciplinary research in the interface of art and science.

We're committed to supporting an artist’s individual practice. We also actively seek ways for artists and scholars to collaborate. 

We encourage collaboration with other artists, art professionals, and more widely across the University.

As a Research student in Fine Art, you will also be a member of the Newcastle University Institute of Creative Arts Practice. NICAP brings together creative practitioners and researchers from across the university, including Creative Writing, Architecture, Music. It provides additional opportunities for cross-disciplinary research and training, and also give you routes to engage with research from across the university. You will also benefit from the expertise of Culture Lab. This is the home of Digital Cultures, but is also a hub for digitally-based research in the humanities, and also supports interdisciplinary research at the interface of art and technology.

Supervision, Training & Seminars

We offer comprehensive supervision, training opportunities, and a research student seminar programme.

We'll allocate you appropriate supervisors from within Fine Art and the University. This will be decided after a detailed discussion with you about your proposed research project.

All our staff are research-active professionals, artists, researchers and academics. They can give you up-to-date, practice-led teaching, supervision and professional experience and knowledge.

We encourage you to exhibit your work and attend and make presentations at our regular postgraduate seminars. 

Research student seminars

We run a Fine Art research student seminar programme. This includes subject-specific lectures, an evolving programme of seminars and round-table discussions. It aims to:

  • inform and contextualise research
  • provide subject-specific research training
  • encourage intellectual and practical exchange

Seminars topics include writing up studio-based research and practice, and preparing papers for specialist journals and conference presentation. The nature, purpose and possible forms of a Fine Art PhD are also a topic of debate.

These seminars also provide a forum for peer-review on research issues and progress. You're required to periodically present your research to staff and your peers.

All staff contribute to these seminars. Appropriate external specialists and researchers are also invited to present and to discuss projects. Where appropriate, MFA students take part in these seminars.

Postgraduate research training

We offer extensive support and training in research methods.  We run a Faculty Postgraduate Research Training Programme.

This is available to full-time and part-time research students in the social sciences and humanities. 

This research training programme means that we're able to support all our research postgraduates. You'll gain the research skills and competencies necessary to complete your research.

The programme provides training in:

  • professional competencies
  • key skills
  • research techniques
  • personal development

This programme gives you a sound foundation for doctoral studies. This has been recognised by the Economic and Social Research Council and the Arts and Humanities Research Council.