We have been supervising PhD work on photography for over a decade with many successful completions across the wide field of photography research. Staff have expertise in contemporary art photography, critical theory and historical studies of photography. Candidates with proposals for PhD research in these areas are welcome to apply to our PhD programme. Renowned for our pioneering work in combining photographic practice and critical theory we offer excellent support and an active environment of postgraduate research students.

The Photography Department supervises doctoral research on photography in two different modes:

– Practice-based PhD)

– PhD by written research (theoretical/historical/critical)

Both types of research require substantial commitment, rigor and competence in the chosen research field. Candidates will be expected to develop and articulate their research methods as part of the research work. Supervisors will guide and support the candidate throughout the process.

Candidates should normally have an MA in a related field to their research topic or demonstrate sufficient experience of such work. With practice-based proposals a body of existing work that demonstrates competence and expertise in the given field of practice will be requested.

Suitably qualified applicants should have a fully formed proposal indicating the topic, description, context, method and bibliographic references. Successful applications will show that their work is relevant, innovative and critically aware. The key criteria for research project proposals include their viability as a project within the time frame and ‘contribution to new knowledge’. You are encouraged to contact potential supervisors before applying, and to seek advice on the suitability of the project.

We welcome exciting and innovative proposals that challenge disciplinary boundaries and create new fields of practice.

Study may be conducted as full-time or part-time study. Candidates normally have two supervisors one lead supervisor DOS (Director of Studies) and a second supervisor. Candidates are required to submit work regularly and attend where relevant other courses. Once enrolled candidates must then complete the Registration of the research project proposal and later attend the MPhil/PhD transfer interview. The final exam is a viva voce conducted with two examiners, one external and the other normally internal. A PhD by practice normally results in an exhibition of the work which forms the basis of the examination process.

Applicants seeking scholarships or other forms of financial support should check the deadlines in advance of application.


PhD research in photography is also part of the CREAM Research Centre (Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media) who administer the PhD Programmes in the School. See link to CREAM website:

Photography students take a Research Methods course and participate in Doctoral symposiums along with other doctoral students in film and fine art. Students also benefit from support across the wider postgraduate research community in the school. All doctoral students are regularly invited to participate in the broad range of related events, seminars, lectures, exhibitions and workshops in the School of Media, Art and Design and the wider University environment.

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