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Postgraduate

MRes Art: Theory and Philosophy

Blurred white and grey image with the outline of a dark clock on the left
Blurred white and grey image with the outline of a dark clock on the left - Credit: Image courtesy of UAL
College
Central Saint Martins
Start date
October 2021
Course length
Two years (60 weeks)
Extended full-time

MRes Art: Theory and Philosophy promotes dialogue between practitioners and theorists about art discourse today.

Suited to artists and writers, this pathway explores art and the philosophy of art from a contemporary perspective, embracing major ideas and debates of the past and present. The MRes Art course is part of the Art programme.

Why choose this course at Central Saint Martins

  • Exchange of ideas: You will benefit from productive exchanges and development of ideas between MA Fine Art practitioners and MRes Art historians, theorists and philosophers.
  • Professional world of research and debate: You will be introduced to the professional world of research and debate, supported by lectures and seminars from visiting scholars and philosophers.
  • Comprehensive academic skills: You will gain skills in close textual analysis, comprehension, reconstruction and interpretation of philosophical arguments, while building expertise in critical analysis and reflection.
  • Post-studies success: Our graduates are well placed to progress to MPhil or PhD research or go on to a professional future in academic institutions, the arts and publishing.

Open days

Future open days will be scheduled from December 2021 until May 2022. Please check back here by November 2021 to register.

Scholarships, bursaries and awards

Jane Rapley Scholarships
The Trask Fund MRes Art Bursaries
UAL EU Transitional Awards
UAL Home Postgraduate £5,000 Scholarships
UAL International Postgraduate £40,000 Scholarships
UAL International Postgraduate £5,000 Scholarships

Stay up to date

Follow this course for news and events on Twitter: @mresphilosophy

Meet Course Leader Christopher Kul-Want and students

Facilities

Events archive

View the MRes Art: Theory and Philosophy lecture archive

Research projects

View examples of MRes Art: Theory and Philosophy research projects

Course overview

MRes Art is made up of three specialist pathways: Theory and Philosophy; Moving Image; and Exhibition Studies. MRes Art uses research and writing to develop modes of questioning, speculative thinking and critical evaluation. Drawing upon a wealth of scholarly expertise from the staff team, visiting lecturers and practitioners, the course considers the relationship of contemporary art research to wider aesthetic, cultural and socio-political issues.

There are opportunities for students on each pathway to come together for shared taught components both on campus and on-line. You will also be encouraged to develop student-led activities. In the past, our students have collaborated on research events and publications, as well as the Tate Exchange programme at Tate Modern.

The Theory and Philosophy pathway is for artists and writers who want to study philosophy and art from a contemporary perspective. You will investigate how radical innovations in philosophy today can facilitate not just an understanding of art, but also how they can shape developments in contemporary culture and art practice.

This pathway has a uniquely informed dynamic of teaching and group dialogue. This is assisted by the staff team’s research practice which is engaged in the areas of both art and philosophy. The theories that the curriculum draws upon are at the forefront of thinking today. These include continental philosophy, the Marxist intellectual tradition and phenomenology. You will also study relevant theories for the plurality of art today within its socio-political context. These include theories of aesthetics, psychoanalysis, gender, race, linguistics, performance, affect, neuroscience, cybernetics, the algorithmic condition and the Anthropocene. 

MRes Art: Theory and Philosophy responds to the radical transformation that thinking has undergone in recent years. As a consequence of this, approaches to writing theory have also changed, by adopting more fluid, less didactic models of practice. The purpose of this pathway is to enhance your thinking, writing and, if relevant, art practice in light of ongoing transformations in philosophy, theory and knowledge. 

Course units

MRes Art: Theory and Philosophy is dedicated to creative and flexible ways in which its ideas can merge with your own interests. Alongside an intensive program of seminars which deepen your knowledge, the pathway also supports your own developing lines of enquiry and research, especially towards the end of the first year and throughout the second year of the course. 

The curriculum will advance your research abilities and knowledge in both theoretical and art-related fields. Enabling an understanding of key issues and debates informing art discourse and practice today, the curriculum incorporates a wide range of practices – writing, publishing, group discussions, tutorials, gallery visits and public symposia – as integral to your studies. 

Unit 1: Innovations: Art, Writing, Philosophy

Responding to the question posed by the title of their 1991 book What Is Philosophy? Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari declare that "Philosophy is the art of forming, inventing, and fabricating concepts." By this, the authors infer that philosophy not only invents new ideas, theories and forms of cognition but, equally, that it opens up new realms of perception and subjective experience. The teaching on the pathway, as well as the writing and research it supports, takes up the consequent challenge of these innovations for art and cultural and social discourses. It affirms the innovations created by philosophical thought and its difference from traditional, categorial assumptions of knowledge.

Unit 1 will enable you to absorb and understand the seminal advances and speculative thinking developed by philosophy. It conceptually maps the legacies of continental philosophy for thinking, writing and art today. This opens up new possibilities for thinking and writing, as well as advances ways by which to interpret and contribute to developments in art, culture and the social today.

Unit 2: Methodologies and Methods I

Unit 2 is an opportunity for all the students in the MRes Art course to study together. The unit has two distinct components: methodologies and methods. Methodologies aims to make you aware of a range of methodological approaches that have shaped debates in your field of study. These include, but are not limited to, structuralism, Marxism, psychoanalysis, feminism, postcolonial and decolonial studies. Methods aims to equip you with essential research skills.

Unit 3: Methodologies and Methods II

Following on from Unit 2, this unit deepens your understanding of specific artistic and discursive methods. You will examine how they operate in specific texts, debates and events by relating them to the pathways’ respective subject areas. Seminars and workshops are integral to the unit, in which methods of research and writing are collectively tested.

Unit 4: Individual Research Project

Unit 4 has two parts. Part one continues the seminar series in Unit 1 concerned with philosophical innovations and their relevance for thinking and writing. Additionally, you will also focus on developing your research project proposal. This involves reading and viewing, the formulation of appropriate research questions and methods. You will also produce a literature review.

In part two, you will lead presentations about your research. You will discuss progress, challenges and findings and issues of form, audience and dissemination. At the end of Unit 4 you will be assessed through presentation of your realised research project in the agreed forms. 

Mode of study

MRes Art is offered in extended full-time mode which runs for 60 weeks over two academic years. You will be expected to commit 30 hours per week to study, which includes teaching time and independent study.  

The course has been designed in this way to enable you to pursue studies, while also undertaking part-time employment, internships or care responsibilities.  

Credit and award requirements

The course is credit-rated at 180 credits. 

On successfully completing the course, you will gain a Master of Research (MRes degree). 

Under the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications, an MRes is Level 7. All units must be passed in order to achieve the MRes but the classification of the award is derived from the marks for the third and fourth units. 

If you are unable to continue on the course, a Postgraduate Certificate (PG Cert) will normally be offered following the successful completion of 60 credits.  

Learning and teaching methods

During your course you will engage with learning and teaching that includes both online and face-to-face modes. Typically, this will include:

  • Briefing materials, written guidance and meetings
  • Inductions and workshops 
  • Lectures and guest speakers 
  • Project proposal document for individual programme of study (Year 2) 
  • Collaborative project opportunities 
  • Personal and group tutorials 
  • Seminars 
  • Symposia 
  • Presentations and discussion forums 
  • Recommended reading, exhibition viewing and visits 
  • Independent study 
  • Self-critical and peer evaluation 
  • Assessment feedback 

Assessment methods

  • Research and preparatory work 
  • Project proposal document 
  • Essays 
  • Documentation of work 
  • Verbal and visual presentations 
  • Participation in activities and debate 
  • Realised project work (normally written outputs) 

How to apply

Opportunities for all

We are committed to making university education an achievable option for a wider range of people and to supporting all of our students in achieving their potential both during and after their courses.

We welcome applications from people with disabilities. If you have a disability (e.g. mobility difficulties, sensory impairments, medical or mental health conditions or Asperger’s syndrome) we strongly encourage you to contact us on disability@arts.ac.uk or +44 (0)20 7514 6156 so that we can plan the right support for you. All enquiries are treated confidentially. To find out more, visit our Disability & Dyslexia webpages.

Entry requirements

The standard entry requirements for this course are as follows: 

  • An honours degree  
  • Or an equivalent EU/international qualification. 

AP(E)L – Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning

Exceptionally applicants who do not meet these course entry requirements may still be considered. The course team will consider each application that demonstrates additional strengths and alternative evidence. This might, for example, be demonstrated by: 

  • Related academic or work experience 
  • The quality of the personal statement 
  • A strong academic or other professional reference 

Or a combination of these factors. 

Each application will be considered on its own merit but we cannot guarantee an offer in each case. 

English language requirements 

IELTS level 7.0 or above, with at least 6.0 in reading, writing, listening and speaking (please check our main English language requirements webpage). 

Selection criteria

We select applicants according to potential and current ability in the following areas:

  • Evidence of skills and experience appropriate to the proposed field of enquiry
  • Effective communication of the intentions and issues in the proposal
  • The level of contextual awareness
  • Awareness of the range and nature of challenges implied.

The interview: for those applicants selected following submission of the form, indicative proposal and supporting work. The interview is used to evaluate the extent to which a candidate demonstrates:

  • The capacity for independent research
  • Appropriate background knowledge and critical abilities
  • Awareness of the cultural and social context within which their interests/work is situated
  • Appropriate communication skills
  • A preparedness to participate collaboratively in debate and presentation.

What we are looking for

We are seeking imaginative, resourceful individuals who are committed to exploring art discourses.

Making your application

You should apply by clicking on the link to the direct form below. The application form can be saved as you fill it out, so you do not need to complete it all at once. You will also have the chance to review all the information and make any necessary amendments before you submit the application form.

Deferred entry

Central Saint Martins does not accept applications for deferred entry. You should therefore apply in the year you wish to study.

Transfers

If you are currently studying at another institution and if you have successfully completed 60 credits in the equivalent units and modules on your current postgraduate course and wish to continue your studies at Central Saint Martins, you can apply to transfer. The Admissions Tutor will consider applications on a case by case basis, subject to places being available. You must apply directly to the course via the course webpage as early as possible.

Please check our Student Transfer Policy for more important information and be ready to provide us with your current course handbook and unit transcripts.

You will need to provide an official document (translated into English) from your current university, explaining the learning outcomes of the units you have completed.

Start your application now

Before you apply, please take time to read the guidance below. You will be asked to provide the following information when completing the online application form:

General information

Personal details (including legal full name, date of birth, nationality, addresses)

Current English language level

Current and/or previous education and qualification details

Employment history

Personal statemen

Your personal statement should be approximately 500 words in length, and outline the following:

  • Why you are interested in the course?
  • What aspects of your experience relate to the course?
  • How will the course impact on your future career?

Indicative project proposal

To apply for this course we require that you write an initial project proposal. This proposal should demonstrate your critical understanding and thinking. The course sets no boundaries to the fields of possible interest, and it is understood that proposals will evolve and change during the course (you will probably need to write between 800 and 1,000 words).

Summary of proposed project
  • Briefly describe what you are interested in undertaking and developing; describe the overall aims, objectives and rationale of the project.
Methods and resources
  • Briefly explain your proposed approach and the methods for structuring your project and ideas
  • Highlight any problems you may encounter and how you hope to solve them.
Sources and references
  • Indicate key texts and sources. What resources will be involved? For example, access to archives, collections, specialist networks etc.
Any final points
  • Please briefly indicate any particular questions or further points in relation to your proposal.

Previous work

  • You will be required to submit digital examples of previous written work and/or documentary material relevant to your research interests.

We cannot consider your application if you do not provide all the information above.

Communicating with you

After you have successfully submitted your application, you will receive an email confirming we have successfully received your application and providing you with your login details for the UAL Portal.  We will request any additional information from you, including inviting you to upload documents / portfolio / book an interview, through the portal.  You should check your UAL Portal regularly for any important updates and requests.

Please add csm.ukeu@arts.ac.uk to your contacts to ensure that you do not miss any important updates re: your application to UAL.  Also consider altering your spam or junk mail filter to ensure that emails from @arts.ac.uk get through to you.

Application deadline

15 May 2021

We recommend you apply as soon as possible before this date, for equal consideration. We may still be able to accept applications after this date, depending on availability.

When you’ll hear from us

Once you’ve sent in your application, this will be sent through to our course teams for review. We’ll be in touch shortly after you apply with information about next steps. Find out more about what happens after you apply.

There are two ways international students can apply:

If you are applying directly you click on the link to the direct form below. The application form can be saved as you fill it out, so you do not need to complete it all at once. You will also have the chance to review all the information and make any necessary amendments before you submit the application form.

Deferred entry

Central Saint Martins does not accept applications for deferred entry. You should therefore apply in the year you wish to study.

Transfers

If you are currently studying at another institution and if you have successfully completed 60 credits in the equivalent units and modules on your current postgraduate course and wish to continue your studies at Central Saint Martins, you can apply to transfer. The Admissions Tutor will consider applications on a case by case basis, subject to places being available. You must apply directly to the course via the course webpage as early as possible.

Please check our Student Transfer Policy for more important information and be ready to provide us with your current course handbook and unit transcripts.

You will need to provide an official document (translated into English) from your current university, explaining the learning outcomes of the units you have completed.

Start your application now

Before you apply, please take time to read the guidance below. You will be asked to provide the following information when completing the online application form:

General information

Personal details (including legal full name, date of birth, nationality, addresses)

Current English language level

Current and/or previous education and qualification details

Employment history

Personal statement

Your personal statement should be approximately 500 words in length, and outline the following:

  • Why you are interested in the course?
  • What aspects of your experience relate to the course?
  • How will the course impact on your future career?

Indicative project proposal

To apply for this course we require that you write an initial project proposal. This proposal should demonstrate your critical understanding and thinking. The course sets no boundaries to the fields of possible interest, and it is understood that proposals will evolve and change during the course (you will probably need to write between 800 and 1,000 words).

Summary of proposed project
  • Briefly describe what you are interested in undertaking and developing; describe the overall aims, objectives and rationale of the project.
Methods and resources
  • Briefly explain your proposed approach and the methods for structuring your project and ideas
  • Highlight any problems you may encounter and how you hope to solve them.
Sources and references
  • Indicate key texts and sources. What resources will be involved? For example, access to archives, collections, specialist networks etc.
Any final points
  • Please briefly indicate any particular questions or further points in relation to your proposal.

Previous work

  • You will be required to submit digital examples of previous written work and/or documentary material relevant to your research interests.

Immigration history check

Whether you are applying online or through a UAL representative you will need to complete an immigration history check to establish whether you are eligible to study at UAL.  If you do not complete the check we will not be able to proceed with your application.

We cannot consider your application if you do not provide all the information above.

Communicating with you

After you have successfully submitted your application, you will receive an email confirming we have successfully received your application and providing you with your login details for the UAL Portal.  We will request any additional information from you, including inviting you to upload documents / portfolio / book an interview, through the portal.  You should check your UAL Portal regularly for any important updates and requests.

Please add csm.international@arts.ac.uk to your contacts to ensure that you do not miss any important updates re: your application to UAL  Also consider altering your spam or junk mail filter to ensure that emails from @arts.ac.uk get through to you.

Application deadline

15 May 2021

We recommend you apply as soon as possible before this date, for equal consideration. We may still be able to accept applications after this date, depending on availability.

When you’ll hear from us

Once you’ve sent in your application, this will be sent through to our course teams for review. We’ll be in touch shortly after you apply with information about next steps. Find out more about what happens after you apply.


After you apply

What happens next

Initial application check

We check your application to see if you meet the standard entry requirements for the course.  Following a review of the application documents, successful applicants will be invited to an interview.

Interview

The interview is used to evaluate the extent to which a candidate demonstrates:

  • The capacity for independent research
  • Appropriate background knowledge and critical abilities
  • Awareness of the cultural and social context within which their interests/work is situated
  • Appropriate communication skills
  • A preparedness to participate collaboratively in debate and presentation.

Interviews take place online or by telephone.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

You will receive the outcome of your application through the UAL Portal.

Fees and funding

Home fee

£5,610 per year

This fee is correct for 2021/22 entry and is subject to change for 2022/23 entry. Tuition fees may increase in future years for new and continuing students on courses lasting more than one year. For this course, you can pay tuition fees in instalments.

Home fees are currently charged to UK resident nationals. However, the rules are complex and you can find out more on our tuition fees pages.

From 2021/22 entry, most EU students will be charged the International tuition fee rate, although this may depend on your individual circumstances. If you started your course in October 2020 or earlier, you’ll continue to pay Home (UK) fees for the duration of your course. Read more advice for EU students on our Brexit information webpage

International fee

£12,940 per year

This fee is correct for 2021/22 entry and is subject to change for 2022/23 entry. Tuition fees for international students may increase by up to 5% in each future year of your course. For this course, you can pay tuition fees in instalments.

International fees are currently charged to students from countries outside of the UK. However, the rules are complex and more information can be found on our tuition fees pages.

From 2021/22 entry, most EU students will be charged the International tuition fee rate, although this may depend on your individual circumstances. If you started your course in October 2020 or earlier, you’ll continue to pay Home (UK) fees for the duration of your course. Read more advice for EU students on our Brexit information webpage

Scholarship search

Careers and alumni

Our Postgraduate Art Programme offers valuable opportunities to build transferable professional knowledge and skills. The exchange of perspectives with others through shared units, reading groups and debates helps establish stimulating and productive networks.

The focus on proposing and developing a major independent programme of study is supported by a shared professional practice lecture series featuring guest speakers plus opportunities to attend symposia and critique work in progress across subject areas. The Postgraduate Art Programme has wide-ranging links with professional organisations, collections and galleries in London and beyond, and includes opportunities for interaction and networking according to your personal career direction.

MRes Art: Theory and Philosophy gives you an advanced knowledge of research methods and familiarises you with the important features, issues and problems of philosophical aesthetics. You'll gain skills in close textual analysis, comprehension, reconstruction and interpretation of philosophical arguments, while building expertise in critical analysis and reflection. The location of the MRes within our postgraduate environment enhances your ability to relate philosophical analysis to art and cultural practices. In addition to further MPhil or PhD research, we envisage a range of professional futures for MRes Art: Theory and Philosophy graduates in academic institutions, the arts, and publishing.

Recent MRes Art: Theory and Philosophy alumni activity demonstrates the breadth of student activity within the subject:

  • Jordan Silver who has gained a funded doctoral place in the Dept. of Art History, Film and Visual Studies, Birmingham University. He will also be undertaking a curatorial internship at the Museé d’Orsay, Paris during the summer
  • Lukas Slothuus has gained a funded doctoral place in the Dept. of Philosophy, Edinburgh University to research into contemporary modes of political resistance
  • Constanza Nunez-Melgar Molinari has gained a doctoral place at Kings College, London University to research into the philosopher Georges Bataille and ideas of heterology
  • Adonia Bouchehri completed a Masters in philosophy in the Dept. of Philosophy, Kingston University (2015), currently preparing a doctoral application
  • Niina Keks, runs Reclectic Emporium a design company specialising in furniture and photography
  • Kimberly Shen currently works for the Arts Council of Singapore
  • Nathalie Czarnecki has created 'Miguel, I am Sofia', a contemporary cabaret telling the story of a Spanish boy's journey towards becoming a woman