About your course
The Liverpool School of Art and Design offers a rewarding research opportunity for you to develop your art and design research ideas, methods and skills under the tutelage of expert practitioners in one of the oldest schools of its kind outside of London.
- Course offered full time (1 year)
- Develop your research and creative output 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 study
- Enhanced career opportunities through working with arts organisations, networking and collaboration
Because of the MRes I am now considering a PhD, but ultimately I’d like to mix the practical side of art and academic work perhaps with an artist’s residency. The arts scene is really well developed in Liverpool, and not as elitist as London – the Masters course is a great way to access that network and build highly valuable relationships with key people working at major arts institutions.
Introduction to the School
Liverpool School of Art and Design is organised around strong disciplinary cultures within a dynamic environment that supports interaction and debate between staff and students within and across subject areas.
Our programmes are geared towards combining teaching and work-related learning with practical knowledge, enabling you to succeed in your chosen career beyond graduation. Teaching is individually tailored to each student, with the week divided between lectures, seminars, tutorials, studio supervisions and workshops.
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 leading edge of developments in the field and that you have an opportunity to study alongside leading experts.
Research is organised thematically to bring disciplines together and exploit their methods, addressing issues significant of broader cultural significance. Our internationally excellent research informs our curriculum and underpins our teaching. All of our staff, including Readers and Professors, are involved in the day-to-day delivery of undergraduate, postgraduate and research programmes.
Why study this course at LJMU?
The Liverpool School of Art and Design provides the freedom of a truly cross-disciplinary environment, fully equipped with the experts and facilities that will enable you to take a project from conception to its final, intended outcome.
Building a foundation
The programme provides you with a valuable foundation for progressing to PhD, while helping you develop skills in research, analysis, conceptualisation and argument which are highly prized in many areas of employment. The course also offers the full range of research training demanded by the AHRC for doctoral research grants.
National research and relationships
Our dynamic, professional and experienced staff excel in innovative and exciting research which, in turn, contributes to the course's contemporary teaching and learning methods. Our working relationships with Merseyside arts organisations and employers also frequently benefit academic, personal and career development.
Programme outline and structure
Postgraduate study at the Liverpool School of Art and Design is committed to giving a voice to those with a passion for uncovering new and established configurations of form. Our Art and Design graduates are people who confidently make their own creative decisions in both research and practice.
This programme allows the exploration and critical appraisal of individually negotiated Art and Design research projects. You will explore subject-specific research practices, with an ultimate view to interpreting these concepts, methodologies and debates in your own final art and design project.
Applying a range of historical, contemporary and critical processes, you will produce a rich and original piece of work using a specialist, descriptive and interpretative vocabulary.
You will also acquire skills in scholarly presentation, organisation communication, documentation and evaluation.
Under the guidance of specialist supervision, and amongst a diverse community of fellow researchers, your work will include the opportunity to present a Symposium at Tate Liverpool and will culminate in the MRes thesis. This final assessment and celebration, will provide you with experience of real-world research processes. This will include an academic Q&A and new opportunities to connect with professionals in this heavily networked arts sector.
What you will study on this degree
Please see guidance below on core and option modules for further information on what you will study.
- Research methods for arts, professional and social studies
Introduces you to library, bibliographic, online and other facilities necessary for postgraduate research; assisting you in recognising and applying appropriate strategies for developing a research project
- Professional development for researchers in arts, professional and social studies
Provides you with professional guidance geared to the conduct and dissemination of research
- Research proposition and development
Offers the support of a practical and critical environment within which students can develop the skills necessary to critically evaluate their research.
- Research project
Assesses the feasibility of a proposed research project via a literature review including an investigation of primary and secondary source material
- Collaborative Practice
A school-wide module which promotes in depth investigation into contemporary creative practices and provides, through collaboration with established key partners, an understanding of the social, cultural and economic environment of the city
Further guidance on modules
The information listed in the section entitled ‘What you will study’ is an overview of the academic content of the programme that will take the form of either core or option modules. Modules are designated as core or option in accordance with professional body requirements and internal Academic Framework review, so may be subject to change. Students will be required to undertake modules that the University designates as core and will have a choice of designated option modules. Additionally, option modules may be offered subject to meeting minimum student numbers.
Academic Framework reviews are conducted by LJMU from time to time to ensure that academic standards continue to be maintained.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you require further guidance or clarification.
How will I be assessed?
Our expert academics have designed your assessed work to ensure that you fulfil your potential at this important stage of your development as a postgraduate.
The programme offers a qualification in its own right, equivalent to a modular Masters degree on a taught programme. It can also operate as the base on 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.
Varied assessment methods include illustrated oral presentations and 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 techniques, 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 develop confidence and expertise, and will learn to manage your time effectively and organise your work. The final Research Project also includes the opportunity for you, where appropriate, to curate your own exhibition, produce a practical portfolio or exhibition and submit a body of creative work.
Staff research interests
Research in the Liverpool School of Art and Design is conducted within the ART LABS research centre.
ART LABS comprises four research labs focused on the following themes: contemporary art; 3D digital art and applications in the real world; the uses of art and cultural enrichment; exhibitions and curatorship and design discourse and practice.
In the 2014 REF, 85% of research submitted by Art and Design: History, Practice and Theory at LJMU was either recognised internationally, or considered internationally excellent. This research helps to 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.
Research topics in the Liverpool School of Art and Design include:
- contemporary art and design practice
- international art
- sound and the visual arts
- art history
- curatorial practice
- art and creative technologies
- environmental art
- contemporary printmaking
- urban architecture
We are also particularly interested in interdisciplinary methodologies.
For more information about ART LABS, visit the Centre's web pages.
Entry requirements (Home)
Art & Design MRes 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.
LJMU welcomes applications from international students. In addition to normal entry requirements, you will be expected to demonstrate a very good level of English language competence, for example an IELTS score of 6.0-6.5 or equivalent. Please note: specific courses may require higher levels of English language competence. If you have applied to study a full-time taught Masters, MRes, MPhil or PhD at LJMU, you should check if you require an Academic Technology Approval Scheme or ATAS certificate. It can take four to six weeks to receive an ATAS certificate, so please make sure you apply as early as possible. You can find out more on the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) website. Alternatively, contact LJMU’s International Admissions Team for guidance. Please note: international students entering on a Tier 4 visa cannot study part time. Students entering the UK on alternate types of visa may be in a position to study part time. Please contact LJMU’s International Admissions Team for further details before making your application. In order to obtain a visa you will also need to show evidence that the money required to cover your tuition fees and living expenses has been in your bank account for at least 28 days prior to submitting your visa application. So please make sure that your finances are in place before applying. For more details, go to our international website.
For advice on any aspect of the application process, please contact LJMU’s International Admissions Team.
Selection is made on the basis of the application form, but staff usually meet with prospective students to discuss the programme before they submit an application. However, we recognise that some overseas applicants will not be able to attend in person.
6.5 (Minimum of 5.5 in each component)
58-64 (Min. 51 in each component for UKVI Purposes)
Please Note: All international qualifications are subject to a qualification equivalency check via NARIC.
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 email to LJMU’s Student Funding Team as soon as possible.
Sources of funding
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’s main travel bursary, The Susan Cotton Travel Awards, consists of three European Awards of £1,400 and two International Awards of £2,200. The awards are intended to help students undertake significant domestic or international travel in support of their 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.
The School benefits from being able to offer financial scholarship awards, thanks to a number of benefactors who support our aims in developing cutting-edge, thoughtful art and design practice.
The Michael Pugh Thomas and Julia Carter Preston Legacy awards 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 awards consist a number of £1,000 scholarships, and must be applied for as part of the application process to study on an MA programme at the School of Art and Design. Applicants are required to write a 500 word letter alongside their application to study stating why they should be awarded the scholarship, the benefits it will bring to their studies and any exceptional circumstances they face in studying for a postgraduate qualification.
The Government recently announced that it would be launching a new postgraduate student loan scheme from 2016 onwards. These new loans are expected to provide funding of up to £10,000 for new postgraduates under the age of 30 enrolling on taught Masters degrees. Details on eligibility criteria, repayment plans and how to apply for these loans have not yet been announced but will be published on the LJMU website as soon as these details are released.
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*).
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.
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.
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.
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.
This programme enables you to gain valuable, transferable skills in research, analysis, interpretation, presentation, teamwork, and initiative as specifically applied to your investigation of Art and Design. These disciplines enrich our lives and provide lifelong value.
As a graduate you will be ready to embark on, or continue developing, your career as a practicing artist, designer, researcher, teacher or academic, writer or curator.
Previous graduates have gone on to work with: Universities nationally and internationally, Arts Council England, the British Council, Tate Liverpool, NML’s World Museum, Liverpool’s Biennial, FACT, Bluecoat and Homotopia to name but a few.
The options for future progression are non-prescriptive and potentially far-reaching. Emma E. Ashman a 2012 graduate had the following experience:
“My MRes research formed the basis of my show at Tate Liverpool which celebrated its twenty-fifth birthday; constructed of a timeline, the exhibition was a depiction of what I had learnt whilst studying on the course. This exhibition, along with my MRes and the experience I have had whilst studying at LJMU, has opened doors for me not only at Tate but with Homotopia, NML’s World Museum and Liverpool’s Independent Biennial. It has started to establish me in the industry, provide me with a teaching position at the university and is helping me to become an expert in my research area; Tate and British Art. The MRes has helped me immensely; and is invaluable for those wanting a career in research in the future.”
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 www.ljmu.ac.uk/international for more information and advice.
LJMU has launched 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: www.ljmu.ac.uk/international
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.
The University may make changes to a programme of study or module where such changes are deemed to be beneficial to students, are minor in nature and unlikely to impact negatively upon students or become necessary due to circumstances beyond the control of the University.
Further guidance on programme changes