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Postgraduate Admissions

Course closed:

History of Art is no longer accepting new applications.

I found the Department of History of Art at the University of Cambridge to be a very exciting and intellectually enriching environment in which to study art history at a graduate level. The professors are extraordinarily knowledgeable and extremely dedicated to graduate training. The Department is a friendly, collegial place and I learned an enormous amount from not only the professors, but also my peers, who became close friends and collaborators.

Students in Cambridge are given the freedom to develop original research projects, as well as the skills to undertake work at the highest level. My classmates and I were eligible for a broad range of different fellowships that make it possible for postgraduates to receive full funding in their MPhil and PhD studies and to gain additional funds for research and conference travel. The Department is committed to ensuring that students succeed on the job market after they leave Cambridge and I received invaluable professional training and guidance from the faculty in preparing applications.

One of the most exciting things about studying art history in Cambridge is that the research resources are truly extraordinary. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to spend many blissful hours examining rare books in the University Library and the College libraries. For students interested in pursuing interdisciplinary research, the college system offers crucial opportunities to collaborate closely with scholars in other disciplines in the University. It was also enormously rewarding to have the chance to engage so closely with objects in the Fitzwilliam Museum and I deeply enjoyed being so near to the art collections and cultural opportunities of London. I recommend studying in Cambridge with the greatest enthusiasm and without reservation.

Susanna Berger - Pembroke (April 2016)

The University of Cambridge, Department of History of Art offers a PhD in History of Art that is unparalleled in quality, instruction and support. From the induction days to one-to-one supervisions, PhD candidates are guided through the process of becoming a member of the Department and producing a PhD dissertation.  Training sessions prepare students for real-world expectations and expound present and future opportunities in academia and professional fields. Among the postgraduates (MPhil and PhD) there is a thriving sense of collegiality and encouragement. 

Since beginning my PhD in History of Art, the Department of History of Art has provided me with the opportunity to give a lunchtime gallery talk at the Fitzwilliam Museum, organise a funded international interdisciplinary conference, represent my cohort as the PhD student representative, and be a member of the Department’s staff-student liaison committee. Next year, the Department has awarded me partial funding for my three-month field research in Venice and Padua, Italy. Until the day I arrived at the Department of History of Art, I was warned that completing a doctorate is a challenge of fortitude. However, I think my only real challenge will be finding another working environment as outstanding.

Sarah Alexis Rabinowe - Pembroke (May 2015)

Cambridge was the ideal place for me to do my MPhil and PhD in architectural history. It was an endlessly stimulating place to be, both in and beyond the faculty. I was very aware of the rich tradition of architectural history at Cambridge, and the fact that so many of the subject’s most important practitioners have been products of the school. I’m intensely proud to have been part of a cohort of architectural historians who were trained at Cambridge at roughly the same time, and developed as a scholar as much through the intellectual community of my peers as through the more formal elements of the course. The Rickman Society reading group helped me locate my work within broader questions of the discipline. I appreciated the way that I was treated by academics with generosity and, crucially, as an equal. The library is an excellent and conducive place to do research. The privilege of having such an extensive specialised collection on open shelves is very unusual. Despite having moved on, I retain a deep loyalty and intellectual debt to Scroope Terrace.

Otto Saumarez Smith - St John's (April 2015)

Key Information

3-4 years full-time

5-7 years part-time

Doctor of Philosophy

Department of History of Art

Course – related enquiries

Application – related enquiries

Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Applications open
Sept. 1, 2020
Application deadline
May 20, 2021
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2021

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Graduate Funding Competition
Jan. 7, 2021
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 14, 2020

These deadlines apply to applications for courses starting in Michaelmas 2021, Lent 2022 and Easter 2022.

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