Research the history of art, architecture and visual culture, from the Middle Ages to the present day, and become part of a thriving and supportive research community.
The Art History Department is an active group of researchers, offering expert supervision to research students in a wide range of topics, including late medieval art and architecture, early modern British and European art, art theory and historiography, contemporary art and visual culture, the history of collecting and exhibitions from medieval and early modern art through art theory to contemporary visual culture.
Art historical research in Aberdeen benefits from an exceptional archive and museum at the University, whilst at the same time, members of staff foster strong links with researchers worldwide. The University Library has been built up over five centuries and is home to an excellent collection of research literature, but also to an important historic collection. Aberdeen’s special collections are particularly strong in areas such as illuminated medieval manuscripts, archaeology, and travel literature. The unique George Washington Wilson archive contains over 45,000 original glass plate negatives made by this pioneer Victorian photographer.
Visual resources are equally rich. The north-east of Scotland has a distinguished architectural heritage from the Middle Ages onwards, while Aberdeen Art Gallery has a fine collection of French and British (including Scottish) art. In addition to its important William Dyce archive, it has one of the best collections of Victorian painting outside London, with examples of work by Rossetti and Dyce.
Our research students are embedded in a thriving and close-knit research community, benefitting from regular seminars and training opportunities. Current PhD students are affiliated with the George Washington Wilson Centre for Art and Visual Culture, the Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, and RIISS.
September and January start dates available