PhD History of Art, Information Studies, or Archaeology

Doctoral research programmes with an art historical, archaeological, or heritage focus on cultural property, art & antiquities crime, and provenance topics

History of Art:


Is it right for me?

This PhD pathway is specifically for students who are interested in researching topics related to art crime, illicit antiquities, cultural property, heritage, etc using methods, theories, and analytical frameworks from the disciplines of History of Art, Information Studies,  or Archaeology. This pathway is ideal for students who wish to follow research careers (either in academia or beyond) related to provenance research, curation, heritage management and preservation, heritage policy, and related fields.

Students applying for a PhD programme in either History of Art, Information Studies, or Archaeology are expected to either have a previous degree in these or a related discipline or significant professional experience in the area. Students with an alternative background who wish to take on research topics related to antiquities, art, or cultural property from an arts and humanities perspective will be asked to consider completing either the MSc in Provenance and Collecting in an International Context or our online PGCert in Antiquities Trafficking and Art Crime. before embarking on their PhD programme. If you are unsure of how your background relates to the admission requirements, please contact the appropriate research convenor (see below).

Our vibrant student community in History of Art comprises about 50 postgraduate research students, 75 postgraduate taught students, and about 320 undergraduate students. Please see the Archaeology research students page for more information about PhD research happening at Glasgow.

Dates and Workload

PhD programmes at the University of Glasgow typically take 3 years with an optional 4th year for writing up (5 to 6 years when done part time). PhD students do not typically take any courses during their time at Glasgow, rather they begin their research project on day 1. Students who feel they need to take topical courses before their PhD in History of Art, Information Studies, or Archaeology (with a cultural property focus) should consider our master’s programme in Provenance and Collecting in an International Context or our online PGCert in Antiquities Trafficking and Art Crime.

During the course of their PhD research, students will work towards the completion of a doctoral dissertation of 70,000-100,000 words. The precise nature of the research and workload leading up to the thesis will vary from project to project but may involve fieldwork, work placements, archival and related research, etc.

Students normally start their PhD in octoberr but January starts are also possible.

Teaching Team

We provide supervision for PhDs in History of Art and in Archaeology from across our diverse staff. We are active supporters of interdisciplinary research and most staff are involved in providing supervision to students alongside colleagues from other disciplines.

At the University of Glasgow, PhD students typically have a supervision team made up of a first and a second. Some students have more than two supervisors. For PhDs in History of Art, Information Studies, or Archaeology, we would normally expect the student’s first supervisor to come from within the relevant discipline or department, but additional supervisors may come from other disciplines or departments as needed for the project.

If your project is focused on issues related to cultural property, art crime, or antiquities trafficking, Dr Donna Yates in the School of Social Sciences may be selected as one of your supervisors, however Dr Yates is based in Sociology and her PhD supervision is focused there. She may not be available to supervise Arts PhDs, but is always up for informal discussions and support.


I warn that we currently have limited funding available for PhD students, and you will have to do your own legwork. Home and EU students should consider applying for an AHRC Studentship (due in early December), and all students are expected to conduct research into the funding available to them. On place to start is the University scholarship search:

It is important to be realistic about the dire state of research funding in the UK at the moment.

UK and EU students have the option to study for their PhD part time, with tuition fees at half the cost per year. International students who require student visas to enter the UK are unable to study for PhDs part time as the UK does not grant Tier 4 visas for part time study.


For specific enquiries, students are asked to contact their prospective supervisor. See “Teaching Team” above for some options. For questions related to the History of Art PhD, please contact the programme convenor Dr Debra Strickland. For more general queries about both PhD programmes, please contact Christelle Le Riguer.

Don’t hesitate to email Dr Donna Yates if you are struggling to find a contact.

Candidates are required to provide a single page outline of the research subject proposed (approximately 1000 words). This need not be a final thesis proposal but should include:

  • a straightforward, descriptive, and informative title
  • the question that your research will address
  • an account of why this question is important and worth investigating
  • an assessment of how your own research will engage with recent study in the subject
  • a brief account of the methodology and approach you will take
  • a discussion of the primary sources that your research will draw upon, including printed books, manuscripts, archives, libraries, or museums
  • an indicative bibliography of secondary sources that you have already consulted and/or are planning to consult


1. What kind of funding or scholarship are available for this programme?

There are several external and internal funding schemes that can be applied to doctoral research at Glasgow, and we are happy to support funding applications, however it is the applicant’s responsibility to research their options. We suggest you start with the College of Arts Funding Page. It is not exhaustive, however, and we suggest you look in to what options for funding exist beyond those on that page.

2. I’m looking for a PhD in Law…

Dr Christa Roodt co-supervises PhD projects in the University of Glasgow School of Law which relate to heritage and art dispute resolution. If you are interested in a PhD in Law you are encouraged to contact Dr Roodt and the Law School to make sure your project can be supported.

3. I have a degree in a totally different subject but would like to switch to Art History or Archaeology for my PhD research, how is that done?

In most cases we would require you to take a 1 year masters degree in Collecting and Provenance in an International Context or related Arts degree before making this switch to make sure that you have the solid foundation needed to undertake PhD level research right away. Exceptions are only made for applicants with significant professional research experience in arts

4. I am an International student. Am I able to work in the UK during my PhD?

Yes, international students an work for up to 20 hours per week on a Tier 4 student visa.

5. I want to do a PhD on this topic generally but I don’t have a specific question in mind, how can I write a research proposal?

If you haven’t quite come up with your research topic yet, we suggest you either take the online PGCert in Antiquities Trafficking and Art Crime or our on-site master’s degree in Collecting and Provenance in an International Context. During these programmes you can refine your interests in the topic and develop your thoughts into a full PhD proposal. If you choose to complete a full master’s degree, you can focus your master’s thesis on a topic related to your prospective PhD research.

6. Will you help me with my PhD proposal?

Prospective supervisors can offer very light help on a PhD proposal, but this can be little more than listening to your ideas. We will not edit or substantially comment on your proposal. Your PhD proposal must be entirely yours, it is an indication to the admissions committee of the quality of your work and your abilities to succeed as a PhD researcher.