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DPhil Programme

The Ruskin DPhil programme includes two strands: the practice-led DPhil (which includes a substantial written component) and the contemporary art history and theory DPhil (by written thesis only).

courtesy Damian Taylor

Jaimini Patel, An Inventory of Small Acts, 2018 / The Artist

Tombs of Thought II / Brook Andrew

In the case of the contemporary art history and theory DPhil, the Ruskin can offer supervision across a wide range of research projects. These may include aspects of exhibition curating and organisation, as well as the historiography of twentieth-century art and the theorisation of contemporary artistic practices. In the case of the practice-led DPhil, studio work will be undertaken as a central component of the registered research programme, and will be presented in relation to the argument of a written thesis that engages with the relevant theoretical, historical, or critical context. 

The two strands of the DPhil programme are brought into a productive dialogue, both in a structured way at the weekly research seminar and informally in the studios.  For an indication of the range of practical, historical and theoretical topics that are addressed in the School, please have a look at the programme of the Ruskin research seminars, which take place every term.

The Ruskin School of Art provides an exceptional research environment that enables artists, art historians and art theorists to work closely together in a world-leading, research-intensive university. 

Its intimate size and its dedication to contemporary art practice and theory within a stimulating and dynamic interdisciplinary structure allows it to sustain close relations with other academic departments and faculties, distinguishing it from other, larger art schools, and allowing for a wide range of interdisciplinary and collaborative work at DPhil level.

Full details on the DPhil programme and requirements for admission specific to the Ruskin DPhil can be found on: http://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/graduate/courses/dphil-fine-art

The Graduate Handbook is also available as a pdf document via the website.


Part-time study

The Ruskin offers the possibility to pursue a DPhil on a part-time basis. In assessing applications from candidates seeking to undertake a research degree through part-time study, the Committee shall have regard to evidence that: (i) the candidate is suitable to undertake research at doctoral level; (ii) the candidate’s personal and professional circumstances are such that it is both practicable for him or her to fulfil the requirements of the course, and necessary for him or her to study on a part-time basis; (iii) if appropriate, the candidate has the written support of their present employer for their proposed course of study and its obligations; (iv) the candidate’s proposed topic of research is suitable for part-time study; (v) the candidate can meet the attendance requirements relating to part-time study.


Attendance requirements for part-time study 

Part-time students are required to attend for a minimum of thirty days of university-based work each year, to be arranged with the agreement of their supervisor, for the period that their names remain on the Register of Graduate Students unless individually dispensed by the committee.

Supervisors will normally require that attendance takes place during full-term rather than over the vacations so that students can benefit from seminars, lectures and the research activity of the School. All students, full-time or part-time, are required to attend the ‘research methodology’ seminar, which takes place every Michaelmas Term.

In addition, you may like to consult the DPhil Handbook, which gives further details on the structure of the course, supervisions arrangements, staff research interests, ongoing research projects, facilities etc.

Applicants would normally be expected to have completed, or to be about to complete, a Master’s course or equivalent, either in Fine Art or in a theoretical discipline related to the research project. It is worth noting, however, that both the practice-led and the history/theory DPhil are demanding academic degrees that presuppose a high level of academic ability.

For enquiries relating to the admissions process, please contact the Ruskin’s Graduate Studies Administrator via email at: graduate@rsa.ox.ac.uk 

For enquiries regarding the process of admission (online applications, supporting documentation, references etc.), please visit: http://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/graduate/courses/dphil-fine-art 


Visiting doctoral students

Please note that we do not offer the possibility of a visiting or exchange period of study for PhD students currently enrolled in another University.

last edited: November 7th 2022