Research Degrees for the Ruskin School of Art
Differences from 2017/18 to 2019/20
Fine Art candidates are initially admitted as Probationer Research Students. Candidates may apply for admission on a full-time or part-time basis. In assessing applications from candidates seeking to undertake a research degree through part-time study, the Committee of the Ruskin School of Art shall have regard to evidence that the candidate can meet the following attendance requirements for their period of part-time study: attendance for a minimum of thirty days of university-based work each year, normally coinciding with the full terms of the academic year, to be arranged with the agreement of their supervisor, for the period that their names remain on the Register of Graduate Students unless individually dispensed by the Committee.
Candidates may elect to pursue research by thesis alone, or by a combination of thesis and studio practice; where the latter course is proposed, the studio work produced must be original work developed and realised in respect of the stated aims of the research programme, exemplifying and locating the ideas that have been developed in conjunction with the written part of the thesis.
2. Transfer of status to M.Litt. or D.Phil.
During the first year of study, Probationer Research Students are required to attend lectures, seminars, and classes within the University as directed by their supervisor(s). Students will also undertake foundation work related to their research area. Students must satisfy the committee that (a) they have followed and completed their prescribed courses of study, (b) they have undertaken preparatory research (and, where applicable, studio work) to the satisfaction of their supervisor(s), (c) the proposed research topic is acceptable, and that they are competent to undertake it, (d) (in the case of those intending to offer studio practice as part of the final submission) the proposed work to be undertaken is of sufficient substance. Candidates for transfer should submit a brief statement (1,000 words) on the topic of their research and the manner in which they propose to treat it. This should be accompanied by:
(A) an essay of about 5,000 words relevant to the topic proposed for the thesis.
(B) (for those intending to offer studio practice as part of the final submission) a portfolio or exhibition of studio work with slides or other documentation of work not available for inclusion and a related essay of 3,000 words. Application for transfer (including all the submitted material) should be submitted no later than the third week of the third term and accompanied by a report from the student's supervisor(s). (Upon the recommendation of the supervisor(s), a student may be permitted to submit no later than Monday of the week before full term in the fourth term.)
3. Confirmation of D.Phil. status
Every student seeking confirmation of status should make a submission consisting of:
1. a thesis title, together with an outline of the thesis, and an essay of about 6,000 words on the current state of the student's research, or a portion of the thesis of comparable length.
1. a portfolio or exhibition of studio work, accompanied by a statement of future plans;
2. an essay on a related topic (3,000 words). All candidates will be examined orally by two assessors. In the case of those intending to offer studio practice as part of the final submission, both assessors will view the portfolio or exhibition of studio work prior to the oral examination. Confirmation of status may take place only when the committee has received satisfactory reports from the assessors, and from the student's supervisor(s).
4. Final submission
(A) For the Degree of D.Phil., a thesis of up to 80,000 words, including notes and appendices, but excluding acknowledgements, bibliography, glossary, image captions and table of contents; or for the Degree of M.Litt. a thesis of up to 40,000 words, including notes and appendices, but excluding acknowledgements, bibliography, glossary, image captions and table of contents.
(B) Subject to points (i-iv) below, for the Degree of D.Phil., a thesis of art practice that makes an original contribution to knowledge and comprises (a) a portfolio of artwork that is documented by textual material and photographic and/or other images including labels or notes of explanation, and (b) a written component of up to 20,000 words that includes all such textual documentation, labels and notes of explanation, as well as footnotes, endnotes and appendices, but excludes acknowledgements, bibliography, glossary, image captions and table of contents; or for the Degree of M.Litt. a thesis of art practice that makes an original contribution to knowledge and comprises (a) a portfolio of artwork that is documented by textual material and photographic and/or other images including labels or notes of explanation, and (b) a written component of up to 10,000 words that includes all such textual documentation, labels and notes of explanation, as well as footnotes, endnotes and appendices, but excludes acknowledgements, bibliography, glossary, image captions and table of contents.
In the case of those candidates offering a thesis of art practice:
(i) For the purpose of these regulations, “portfolio” means a body of original artwork that may take the form of one or more objects, images, environments, performances, texts, virtual or conceptual works, or any comparable form as agreed between the candidate and his/her supervisor.
(ii) This body of work should be accompanied by documentation of high technical standards and theoretical sophistication that is sufficiently comprehensive as to fully record and communicate all aspects of the artwork where it is not possible to include the artwork itself within the written dissertation.
(iii) The candidate will also prepare a presentation of the body of original artwork, which the assessors will view in situ in advance of the oral examination, or in exceptional cases review on the basis of the documentation provided. This presentation may take the form of an exhibition, performance, screening, demonstration or any comparable form as agreed between the candidate and his/her supervisor. The supervisor will ensure that the assessors view this presentation, which may take place in a different venue from, and on a day prior to, the oral examination. There should normally be no more than three months between the dates of the viewing and the oral examination.
(iv) In conducting the oral examination, the assessors will be concerned to establish that the argument of the additional written component has been clearly presented in relation to the artwork, and that the artwork has been set in its relevant theoretical, historical, technical and/or critical context.
In exceptional circumstances, candidates may apply for permission to submit a written component that exceeds the specified word limit. An application for permission to exceed the limit should be submitted to the Ruskin School of Art’s Director of Graduate Studies with a detailed explanation and statement of the amount of excess length requested, and with a covering letter from the supervisor.