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Graduate Admissions


One to one supervision

Candidates can usually expect to have around four one-hour supervisions per term in their first year with their principal or other supervisors. They can usually expect to have around three one-hour supervisions per term for the next two or three years.

Candidates will also be appointed an advisor who they can arrange to meet on an informal basis if needs be.

The University of Cambridge publishes an annual Code of Practice which sets out the University’s expectations regarding supervision.

Seminars & classes

There is a wealth of sources at Cambridge from which you can develop and consolidate the skills you need to produce a successful thesis and the methods and technology by which you realise this effectively.

The Faculty provides a general training programme for master's courses which PhD candidates may attend, regular (research) seminars and talks, peer monitoring within reading and discussion groups and practical skills training (photography, building survey).


Attending lectures is optional but students are strongly encouraged to take advantage of lectures offered in the Department and other faculties relevant to their research.


Students will be provided with feedback via review exercises, supervisions and the supervisor's termly reports.



The thesis is not to exceed 80,000 words. The word limit includes footnotes, table of contents and list of illustrations, but excludes acknowledgements and the bibliography. Appendices (of no determined word length) may be permitted subject to the approval of the candidate's supervisor (in consultation with the Degree Committee); for example, where a catalogue of works is germane to the work. Permission to include such appendices must be requested well in advance of the submission of the final thesis.

The examination is conducted by two examiners and is usually held at the Faculty.


Candidates for the PhD are reviewed formally on an annual basis. In the third term, candidates submit a first-year paper to complete their formal registration on the PhD programme. This is assessed by two assessors and the candidate is invited to attend an oral assessment.

During their sixth term, candidates are required to give a written report of their work to their supervisor and any other appropriate assessor approved by the supervisor. The Graduate Director may also review the work. The candidate’s progress is assessed and documented in a short report.

During their ninth term, candidates are usually required to give a paper on the scope and core findings of their doctoral research in the third-year PhD symposium, to members of faculty and other postgraduate students.

Candidates submit a log of their research activity which is assessed at each of the annual reviews described above.

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Key Information

3-4 years full-time

5-7 years part-time

Doctor of Philosophy

Department of History of Art


Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Michaelmas 2020

Applications open
Sept. 2, 2019
Application deadline
May 15, 2020
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2020

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Graduate Funding Competition
Jan. 7, 2020
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 9, 2019

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