12200934100?profile=originalThe School of Art History possesses an international reputation for high-quality research and outstanding teaching. St Andrews is ranked as one of the top five places in the UK to study the history of art in 2011 by The GuardianIndependent and Times university guides. The most recent Research Assessment Exercise in 2008 rated 75% of the research by the School’s staff as world-leading or internationally excellent; this rating reflects the School’s sustained commitment to research-oriented postgraduate teaching.

Postgraduate students make a vital contribution to the research culture of the School. Art History is keen to expand its postgraduate research community, as current postgraduate enrolment is not commensurate with the School’s reputation. In light of this, there is potential that the department will not make a strong showing when it is assessed in Research Excellence Framework 2014, the new system for measuring the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. Research postgraduate figures will certainly be included in the assessment criteria for this exercise.

In addition, the School of Art History is currently losing postgraduate students, as well as the work they would have achieved at St Andrews, to competitor institutions because of a lack of funded postgraduate places. To correct this situation and improve its competitiveness, the School wishes to offer six PhD scholarships in areas identified as research strengths: History of Photography, Sculpture, Mediaeval and Renaissance Studies and Art in the Modern Period.

The overall cost for six studentships at £12,000 a year for three years will be £216,000.The operations budget of the School is insufficient to provide postgraduate funding, except for an occasional fee waiver. The availability of scholarships, therefore, will be dependent on dedicated fundraising. These scholarships would be competitively awarded, thus ensuring admittance of high-quality candidates and therefore best value achieved.

Successful recruitment of high-calibre postgraduate students will be a worthwhile investment for the School of Art History and the University. First, a more impressive postgraduate enrolment will enhance the School’s research profile and improve the department’s performance in the Research Excellence Framework, resulting in an increased share of the distributed research funds. Second, a department that is known to have a large, active and lively postgraduate research community is more attractive to other prospective students.

The study of Art History at St Andrews has achieved an excellent reputation. Investment in postgraduate scholarships in Art History will ensure that this tradition of excellence, high-quality research and outstanding teaching continues for centuries to come.

For further information, check out the blog here.

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