The History of Painting, Sculpture, architecture and the Decorative arts in Europe and North America from the Middle Ages to the present day.
The History of Art Department offers expert supervision to research students in a wide range of topics based on the interests of individual members of staff and drawing upon the rich resources of the area. The University Library has been built up over five centuries. In addition to its excellent modern collection of art history books covering all periods, it is particularly strong in 18th and 19th century material, including art theory and criticism, archaeology and travel literature.
The Historic Collections include important medieval manuscripts and estate papers. 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 (not just Scottish) art. In addition to its unique William Dyce archive, it has one of the best collections of Victorian painting outside London, with examples of work by almost all the leading Victorian painters. The Macdonald Collection (94 artists' portraits) and the Peacock Print Archive are of special interest. The National Galleries of Scotland, the Burrell Collection, Glasgow Art Gallery and the Hunterian Museum are within easy reach by train, bus or car.
Key Programme Information
At a Glance
- Degree Qualification
Benefiting from an exceptional archive and museum at the University of Aberdeen, the History of Art staff have a distinct research profile in Scottish History of Art.
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 art. In addition to its unique William Dyce archive, it has one of the best collections of Victorian painting outside London, with examples of work by almost all the leading Victorian painters. The Macdonald Collection and the Peacock Print Archive are of special interest.
Scotland has many paintings by followers of Caravaggio in museums such as the National Gallery of Scotland, the Glasgow Museum and Art Gallery, the Perth Museum and Art Gallery and the McManus Gallery, Dundee.
Experts: Mr John Gash
The unique symbol stones of Pictland are found predominantly in Aberdeenshire, with their closely related cross slabs mainly in neighbouring Angus. The university holdings cover the historiography of Pictish art from the start.
Experts: Professor Jane Geddes
Supervision is offered in the area of prints and print culture of the early modern period, with present staff research interests focussing on Britain and northern Europe; the use of printed images as political and religious polemic; graphic satire; popular print culture; text and image studies; the ‘social life’ of the print.
Experts: Dr Helen Pierce
History of Art research is also embedded across and within centres including:
The Centre for Early Modern Studies brings together early modern scholars, both established and emergent, and fosters collaboration.
George Washington Wilson Centre for Visual Culture (GWW), which brings together researchers form across our university.
Normally, the minimum entrance requirement for admission to the PhD is a degree with Second Class Honours (Upper Division) in an appropriate field, or equivalent. It is preferable that you hold a Masters in the chosen area of study as well.
Alongside your application form, you will need to upload the following supporting documents online:
- Copies of your undergraduate and graduate degree certificates
- Academic transcripts for your undergraduate and graduate degrees.
- Two academic references; either the details of your referees provided on your application form or uploaded online with your application.
- Your research proposal
- If English is not your first language and you have not studied previously at an institution in the UK, you will need to demonstrate your proficiency in English by taking an IELTS, TOEFL or PTE academic test.
The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.
Fees and Funding
International non-EU Applicants
Our Funding Database
View all funding options in our Funding Database.
Past graduates have gone into academic careers, heritage work (National Trust of Scotland, English Heritage, Historic Scotland, Historic Monuments Commission), arts administration, museums and galleries, art trade (Auction Houses, Dealers), publishing and media.
Get in Touch
School of Divinity, History and Philosophy
University of Aberdeen
50-52 College Bounds