Postgraduate Factfile: Art and Design MRes

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Course at a glance

Mode of study: Full Time & Part Time
Start date: September
Expected Intake: 8 per year
  • Course offered full time (1 year) and part time (2 years)
  • Develop your work in state-of-the-art workspaces and facilities within the modern, purpose-built and RIBA award-winning John Lennon Art and Design Building, in the heart of Liverpool’s knowledge Quarter on Mount Pleasant
  • Direct links with Liverpool’s most significant arts organisations, such as TATE Liverpool, Biennial, FACT and design agencies Uniform, Smiling Wolf and Non-Conform
  • A valuable foundation for progression to PhD level study
  • Enhanced career opportunities through working with arts organisation, networking and collaboration

Postgraduate open days

Our taught masters programmes and research degrees could transform your career prospects. Find out more at our forthcoming postgraduate recruitment events – click here for details

Course overview

This Masters in Research programme will equip you with a range of knowledge and skills for undertaking and completing an independent research project.  Its structure, content and approach emerge from LJMU’s commitment to research and interdisciplinary study of the practice, production, interpretation and reception and of art works and written texts both historical and contemporary.

Through the programme you will develop a range of critical and analytical skills that are relevant to the discipline of research in art and design. You will also acquire more general skills in scholarly presentation, communication, documentation and evaluation of ideas appropriate to work at postgraduate level. Working more independently will give you practical experience in honing your organisational skills but also greater opportunity for creative and innovative thinking than undergraduate study may have allowed.

Our dynamic, professional and experienced staff excel in innovative and exciting research which in turn contributes to the contemporary teaching and learning methods you will experience here. Our working relationships with Merseyside arts organisations and employers may also benefit your academic, and personal and career development.

Research in the School includes: contemporary art and design practice, international art, sound and the visual arts, art history, curatorial practice, art and creative technologies, environmental art, contemporary printmaking, illustration, and urban architecture. We are also particularly interested in interdisciplinary methodologies.

Staff at the School of Art and Design includes four Professors and six Readers and all are active in research.


Erasmus is a European Union-funded programme that could enable you to either study or work in Europe. If selected, you will receive a grant which can be used to meet some of the costs of funding your placement. To find out more about Erasmus, and explore the opportunities available within your Faculty/School, please visit

How will I be assessed?

The MRes award indicates formal training in research methods. It is a qualification in its own right, equivalent to a modular Masters degree on a taught programme. It can also operate as the base from which a doctoral programme (PhD) is mounted. On successful completion you are eligible to apply for PhD direct without undergoing the normal MPhil registration and subsequent transfer application to PhD.

A variety of assessment methods include illustrated oral presentations, preparation for coursework, group and individual research projects. Key skills are monitored in your use of IT, research methods, the ability work as part of a team, enhanced essay writing technique, ability to give oral presentations, compile reports, write reviews, maintain reflective practice journals and prepare documents to a high standard of presentation. In terms of personal skills you will have gained in confidence and expertise, and will have learned how to manage your time effectively and to organise your work. The final Research Project also includes the opportunity for you, where appropriate, to curate your own exhibition, to produce a practical portfolio or exhibition and to submit a body of creative work.

What do past and present students say about the course?

"After working for a number of years as an assistant curator, I had the long term aim of enrolling as a PhD student. The year long course enabled me to test ideas, develop research skills and lay the ground work for doctoral research in a supportive and creative environment.

"Particularly valuable was the opportunity to develop a research project over the whole year, the demystifying of the world of academic conferences and publications, and the extremely high quality of dissertation supervision I received. A section of my MRes dissertation has been accepted for publication, something that would not have happened without the advice and encouragement of my supervisor.

"Towards the end of completion of the course I was offered a PhD scholarship at Cardiff School of Art. The MRes was key to being able to demonstrate my ability as a researcher and establish my suitability for doctoral study."
Laura Gray, PhD Student, Centre for Ceramics Research, Cardiff School of Art

Why study this course at LJMU?

In the 2014 REF, 85% of research submitted by Art and Design: History, Practice and Theory at LJMU was either recognised internationally, or considered as internationally excellent. 

This research helps ensure that our postgraduate courses are positioned at the vanguard of developments in the field and that you have an opportunity to study alongside leading experts.

The Masters of Research gives you the opportunity to pursue your own interests in Art and Design at postgraduate level, under the guidance of specialist supervision and amongst a diverse community of fellow researchers. 

It provides you with a valuable foundation for progressing to PhD while helping you develop skills of research, analysis, conceptualisation and argument that are highly prized in many areas of employment.  The course also aims to equip you with the full range of research training that is demanded by the AHRC for grants given to doctoral researchers.

Introduction to the School

The Liverpool School of Art and Design provides an ideal environment for you to expand your knowledge, horizons and opportunities, leading you to a broad range of careers. 

Our dynamic, professional and experienced staff excel in innovative and exciting research which in turn contributes to the contemporary teaching and learning methods you will experience here. 

You will join a warm and friendly learning community, offering excellent learning resources and first class student support.  Our working relationships with Merseyside arts organisations and employers may benefit you in your academic and personal and career development.

Staff research interests

Research in the Liverpool School of Art and Design includes:

  • contemporary art and design practice
  • international art
  • sound and the visual arts
  • art history
  • curatorial practice
  • art and creative technologies
  • environmental art
  • contemporary printmaking
  • illustration
  • urban architecture

We are also particularly interested in interdisciplinary methodologies.

Employment and careers

The programme enables you to gain valuable transferable skills of research, analysis, interpretation, presentation, teamwork, and initiative which are of lifelong value. Students may also gain from experience of working with arts organisations, networking and collaboration.

Map of UK

International applicants are required to demonstrate equivalent qualifications to the standard requirements for entry when applying for courses at LJMU.

Students must also demonstrate a proficiency in communicating through English, for example via an IELTS tests or equivalent.

Please note: UK visa restrictions mean that international students are only permitted to study on a full-time basis.

Please contact LJMU’s International Team by visiting for more information and advice.


LJMU awards a range of generous international scholarships for students enrolling at the University.

These prestigious scholarships take the form of tuition fee waivers and are available for outstanding international students applying for taught postgraduate programmes and research degrees.

You will need to complete an additional application form in order to be considered for these scholarships. Full eligibility criteria and the online application form are available here:

Applications for these scholarships are welcomed from:

  • new international applicants
  • current LJMU international students hoping to progress onto postgraduate study at the University
  • LJMU international alumni

English for Postgraduate courses bursary

A bursary will be available for students who must complete the six week English for Postgraduate Studies course to improve their IELTS score by 0.5 prior to enrolling on their postgraduate taught or research degree at LJMU.

This bursary take the form of a tuition fee waiver, which will be deducted from your tuition fee when you enrol on your degree programme. You do not need to complete the online scholarship form in order to receive this bursary. Please note: If you are awarded this bursary you are not eligible to apply for an international scholarship.

English language requirements


  • 6.5 (minimum of 5.5 in each component)


  • 58-64

English language requirements


6.5 (minimum of 5.5 in each component)


58-64 (Min. 51 in each component for UKVI Purposes)

Entry requirements

The programme offers people from a range of backgrounds an avenue into research that includes: students with a first degree but with no training in research methods, employees in the cultural industries who seek a formal training in relevant research techniques, and international students. The Masters programme is open to both full-time and part-time, home and overseas students.

You will normally be expected to have a good first degree in a visual arts related subject, although applications from students with other degrees will be considered.

Where English is not a first language, an IELTS score of 6.5 (minimum 5.5 in each component) must be achieved.

Application and Selection

Applicants must complete the online application and provide evidence of previous qualifications.

We also require a personal statement and a clearly written research proposal. The Research proposal should be approximately 1,000 words.

Applications submitted prior to this date will be held on file until shortlisting takes place.

Fees information

Tuition fees for full-time home and EU students for the academic year 2015-2016 are £4,000. Part-time fees are charged at a flat rate of £22.00 per credit.  Home and EU student fees can be paid in full or by instalments throughout the academic year.

Tuition fees for international students for the academic year 2014-2015 are £11,000. Students residing in the Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey are classified as international students for fee purposes.

International students fees are payable in full on registration or you can choose to pay 50% with the balance paid in full four months later.

Bursaries and study awards

The Liverpool School of Art and Design offers students across all taught postgraduate programmes opportunities to apply for scholarships aimed at broadening student knowledge and experience.

The School benefits from being able to offer generous financial bursaries, thanks to a number of benefactors who support the School’s aims in developing cutting-edge, thoughtful art and design practice.

The Michael Pugh Thomas and Julia Carter Preston Legacy bursaries are open to full-time and part-time home and international students who wish to study for a postgraduate qualification in art and design with LJMU.

The bursaries consist of a number of £1,000 awards, and must be applied for as part of the application process to study on an MA programme at the School of Art and Design, as long as the application is received by LJMU by the end of August for a September start.

You are required to write a 500 word letter after submission of your application form which must be sent separately to, making sure to include your name, contact details, the full title of the course you have applied to study on and 500 words stating why you should be awarded the scholarship, the benefits it will bring to your studies and any exceptional circumstances you face in studying for a postgraduate qualification.

Further information for international students about finance, fees and scholarships can be found here.

The School’s main travel bursary for existing students, The Susan Cotton Travel Awards, consist of three European Awards of £1,400 and two International Awards of £2,200. The awards are intended to help you to undertake significant domestic or international travel in support of your work and personal development. The awards aren’t necessarily about academic study, instead focus on the spirit of travel and adventure. Previous winners of the bursary have travelled to a tropical island to experience life at its most basic, cycled round the Danube, spent a month in Morocco and inter-railed through Europe.

Financial support

Tuition fees

All full and part-time students enrolled on postgraduate taught programmes at LJMU are liable to pay an annual tuition fee. You can opt to pay your tuition fees in full at the start of each academic year or pay by instalments. If you need advice about how you will pay your tuition fees, please talk to LJMU’s Student Funding Team as soon as possible:, 0151 0151 231 3153/3154.

Sources of funding

LJMU Alumni Award

Final year undergraduates and alumni of the University are eligible to apply for a 15% reduction in their postgraduate tuition fees if they choose to progress onto a higher degree programme at LJMU. Both home and international LJMU students and alumni can apply for this award (subject to eligibility criteria*).  Please go to for more details.

Postgraduate International Scholarships

LJMU offers scholarships for international applicants accepted onto taught Masters programmes (excluding distance learning programmes) and research degrees. Current LJMU international students and alumni interested in pursuing postgraduate study and research at the University are eligible to apply for these scholarships along with new applicants. For further details, go to:  

English for Postgraduate Studies Bursary

A Bursary is also available for international students who need to improve their IELTS score prior to enrolling on their postgraduate course or research programme at the University. This course is run by LJMU’s International Study Centre ( For further details, go to:   

Earn While You Learn

Working while you study means you may be able to pay for your course without taking out any further loans or at least reducing the amount you need to borrow. Working while you study also gives you the skills valued by employers, such as managing your workload and prioritising your time.

LJMU’s Vacancy website ( can help you find graduate vacancies, sandwich/industrial placements, internships/ summer work, part-time jobs, volunteering opportunities and work-based learning placements. Over 1,000 local and regional employers regularly list opportunities on the website.

Professional and Career Development Loans (PCDL)

Many students fund their postgraduate studies via Professional and Career Development Loans. This is a bank loan which you will have to pay back once you’ve completed the course. However, while you are studying any interest on the loan will be paid for you by the Skills Funding Agency. PCDLs worth between £300 and £10,000 are available for eligible postgraduates to fund up to two years of study (three if the course includes work experience). The loan is split into course fees and living costs. Go to for more details.

Employer sponsorship

Some organisations and companies fund the cost of postgraduate studies for their employees as they recognise the value of having well qualified staff. Check out our courses and see if there are any on offer that could enhance your current career. Remember, employer support doesn’t always have to be financial; it can take other forms too, such as flexible working arrangements, day release and time in lieu of study.

Support for disabled students

Disabled Students’ Allowances or DSAs are designed to help meet the extra course costs students can face as a direct result of a disability, on-going health condition, mental health condition or specific learning difficulty. DSAs don’t have to be paid back and the type of support you receive will be determined by your specific needs not your household income. Please contact LJMU’s Disability team for further advice: 0151 231 3164/3165.

Council tax exemption

All full-time postgraduate students studying courses lasting one year or more are eligible for a council tax exemption certificate.

How to apply

Further information

Please contact the Faculty of Arts, Professional and Social Studies on:

tel: 0151 231 5175
web: Faculty web site

If you have any queries relating to LJMU or university life in general please contact:

Course Enquiries
tel: +44(0)151 231 5090

Please apply via the online application form

LJMU's Admissions policy is in line with the University's Equal Opportunities Policy and applications are welcome from all candidates who fulfil the entry criteria. The university has a commitment to equality of opportunity and welcomes application from everyone regardless of age, disability, race or sex. The University is committed to widening participation and therefore will actively consider applicants who do not have a relevant degree but who are able to provide satisfactory evidence of their knowledge in the area. All applicants will be considered by the Recruitment and Selection Panel, if shortlisted applicants will be asked to attend for an interview.

International students

LJMU offers an extensive support system through its international office and study centre. An equivalence to the normal entry requirements is needed for entry. Students must also demonstrate a proficiency in communicating through English, for example with an IELTS tests or equivalent. Please note that because of UK visa restrictions, International students are only permitted to study on a full-time basis. Please contact LJMU’s International Team by visiting for more information and advice.

Please Note: The University reserves the right to cancel, suspend or modify in any way the information contained in this leaflet.

Page last modified by Marketing and Corporate Communications on 04 March 2015.
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