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Course options

  • Qualification

    PhD/DPhil - Doctor of Philosophy

  • Location

    University of Oxford

  • Study mode

    Full time

  • Start date


  • Duration

    3 years

Course summary

About this course

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).

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, technical, 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 programme are brought into a productive dialogue, both in a structured way at the regular DPhil research seminars and informally in the studios.

For an indication of the range of practical, historical and theoretical topics that are addressed in the Ruskin School of Art, please see the Ruskin website.


There are three stages in obtaining the degree of DPhil. Probationer Research Student (PRS) status, DPhil status, and confirmed DPhil status. Transfer (ToS) and Confirmation (CoS) of Status are formal assessment procedures.

Full time PRS students are expected to transfer to full DPhil status in the third or fourth term of their degree. In the case of part-time students, applications for transfer should normally be made by the end of the sixth term. Following transfer to DPhil status, CoS should normally take place in the eight term of full-time study.

Graduate destinations

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.

Tuition fees

Students living in United States
(international fees)

£ 25,900per year

Tuition fees shown are for indicative purposes and may vary. Please check with the institution for most up to date details.

University information

University of Oxford

  • University League Table


  • Campus address

    University of Oxford, University Offices, Wellington Square, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 2JD, England

Subject rankings

  • Subject ranking

    1st out of 86

  • Entry standards

    / Max 239
    224 100%


  • Graduate prospects

    / Max 100
    70 70%


  • Student satisfaction

    / Max 5

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