Fine Art

Study mode:On campus Study type:Full-time Languages: English
Local:$ 9.1 k / Year(s) Foreign:$ 26.6 k / Year(s) Deadline: Jan 20, 2024
1 place StudyQA ranking:4349 Duration:4 years

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The DPhil in Fine Art is designed to support research in contemporary art making (through the practice-led DPhil) and contemporary art history and theory (through the DPhil by written thesis only).

Many alumni from the Ruskin have pursued careers in the fine arts as practising artists, teachers, curators and gallery professionals in both public and private galleries. Others have gone on to pursue careers in diverse areas such as education, finance, architecture and the film industry.  

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 cross-disciplinary 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.

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

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, art work will be undertaken as the central component of the registered research programme, and will be presented in relation to written work that engages with the relevant theoretical, historical, or critical context. The department can offer supervision in most areas of contemporary art practice including moving-image, painting, performance, sculpture, installation and writing. 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. 

Applicants are normally expected to be predicted or have achieved a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours (or equivalent international qualifications), as a minimum, in fine art, art history or a related subject, depending on the DPhil stream applied to.

However, entrance is very competitive and most successful applicants have a good first-class degree or the equivalent.

For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA generally sought is 3.75 out of 4.0.

Applicants are normally expected to hold a master's degree in fine art, art history or a related subject.

If you hold non-UK qualifications and wish to check how your qualifications match these requirements, you can contact the National Recognition Information Centre for the United Kingdom (UK NARIC).

No Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or GMAT scores are sought.

  • Official transcript(s)
  • CV/résumé
  • Research proposal: 1,000 words
  • Written work:One essay of 4,000 to 6,000 words (written thesis-only DPhil) or 2,000 to 3,000 words (practice-led DPhil)
  • Portfolio:Up to 15 images and/or 12 minutes of moving image work (practice-led DPhil only)
  • References/letters of recommendation:Three overall, generally academic


For the practice-led DPhil, a digital portfolio of recently completed studio work documented through images or other mode of documentation is required in addition to your written work.

Your portfolio should be provided in digital format with your application, although you may be asked to bring along originals at the interview. Portfolios should be hosted on a website or service that is publicly accessible via the internet, eg via Vimeo, YouTube, Flickr or your own website.

The URL (and password, if necessary) for the portfolio should be included in your application on a separate page at the start of your submitted written work.

The department will not accept portfolios submitted via email. If you cannot provide a web-based portfolio, please send an email to to discuss alternative arrangements.

Your portfolio will be assessed for evidence of creative thinking and artistic accomplishment, clarity in the exposition of ideas, and a comprehensive understanding of the subject area.


Higher level


Standard level scores

Higher level scores

IELTS Academic 
Institution code: 0713

7.0 Minimum 6.5 per component  7.5  Minimum 7.0 per component 

Institution code: 0490


Minimum component scores:

  • Listening: 22
  • Reading: 24
  • Speaking: 25
  • Writing: 24

Minimum component scores:

  • Listening: 22
  • Reading: 24
  • Speaking: 25
  • Writing: 24
Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) 185

Minimum 176 per component


Minimum 185 per component

Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE) 185

Minimum 176 per component


Minimum 185 per component

  • Global Education
  • Hill Foundation Scholarships
  • Ertegun Scholarship Programme
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