MPhil Contemporary Art

Study mode

Full-time (2 years)

Part-time (4 years)

Start date(s)

September 2018

Tuition fees 18/19
Home (full-time, per year): £4,525
Home (part-time, per year): £2,265
International (full-time, per year): £14,450
International (part-time, per year): £7,225

Contact details

General enquiries:

0151 231 5090

Arts, Professional and Social Studies

0151 231 5175

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About this course

This Contemporary Art MPhil from LJMU is designed for artists, writers, curators and cultural practitioners.

  • Study on a programme backed by the cutting-edge research of the Exhibition Research Lab (ERL) at Liverpool School of Art and Design and Liverpool Biennial
  • Benefit from partnerships with key cultural institutions in Liverpool including Tate Liverpool, Liverpool Biennial and FACT
  • Develop distinctive research-based practice
  • Be supported by internationally distinguished academics, visiting professors and advisers
  • Each programme of study must be approved by Faculty and University Research Degrees Committees

This nationally and internationally distinctive programme supports practice-based research in partnership with Liverpool Biennial and in parallel to its biannual cycle. It offers the opportunity to undertake advance research in areas relating to a wide range of artistic practices, critical writing, exhibition studies, and curating, including periodic art exhibitions such as biennials.

​The programme benefits from collaborations with key cultural institutions in Liverpool, including Tate Liverpool, FACT (Foundation for Creative Art and Technology) and RIBA North (Royal Institute of British Architects) through: collaborative posts held by staff; joint projects and activities. Research 


students have the potential to collaborate in artistic, curatorial or theoretical modes and benefit from opportunities to develop public presentations, curatorial projects, and exhibitions.

The programme benefits from the context of our own Exhibition Research Centre activities and public art gallery. Researchers also have access to the extensive resources of LJMU Libraries, Special Collections and Archives (including Liverpool Biennial Archives) and a range of international collaborations and partnerships developed by staff.

Art in Sci

Fees and funding

There are many ways to fund postgraduate study for home and international students


The fees quoted at the top of this page cover registration, tuition, supervision, assessment and examinations as well as:

  • Library membership with access to printed, multimedia and digital resources
  • Access to programme-appropriate software
  • Library and student IT support
  • Free on-campus wifi via eduroam

Additional costs

Although not all of the following are compulsory/relevant, you should keep in mind the costs of:

  • accommodation and living expenditure
  • books (should you wish to have your own copies)
  • printing, photocopying and stationery
  • PC/laptop (should you prefer to use your own)
  • mobile phone/tablet (to access online services)
  • field trips (travel and activity costs)

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  • placements (travel expenses and living costs)
  • student visas (international students only)
  • study abroad opportunities (travel costs, accommodation, visas and immunisations)
  • academic conferences (travel costs)
  • professional-body membership
  • graduation (gown hire etc)


There are many ways to fund postgraduate study for home and international students. From Postgraduate Masters Loans to International Scholarships and subject-specific funding, you’ll find all of the information you need on our specialist postgraduate funding pages.


Further your career prospects

LJMU has an excellent employability record with 96% (HESA 2017) of our postgraduates in work or further study six months after graduation. Our applied learning techniques and strong industry connections ensure our students are fully prepared for the workplace on graduation and understand how to apply their knowledge in a real world context.

Studying for a postgraduate research degree enhances your employability in a number of ways. As well as enabling you to focus on your specific areas of interest and expand your subject knowledge ready for employment in your chosen sector, you can take charge of your career path by demonstrating your contribution to an area of knowledge.

Some postgraduate research students are already in full-time employment when they begin their studies, whilst others are recent graduates looking to extend their research capabilities and subject expertise.

A good proportion of our students return to their existing roles with enhanced career prospects, others move on to further study or take up teaching roles in universities and other educational establishments.

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"This programme offers a unique opportunity to develop advanced and applied research through an active engagement with the wider research community at LJMU and working in collaboration with a high profile arts organisation in Liverpool that operates internationally."

Professor Joasia Krysa, Director, Exhibition Research Lab at Liverpool School of Art and Design, and Head of Research at Liverpool Biennial

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Course modules

Discover the building blocks of your programme

Your programme is made up of a number of core modules which are part of the course framework. Some programmes also have optional modules that can be selected to enhance your learning in certain areas and many feature a dissertation, extended report or research project to demonstrate your advanced learning.

Biennial event
Core Modules

Professional Development for Researchers in Arts, Professional & Social Studies

This module provides a context to identify and explore opportunities for professional training and development. It:

  • provides professional guidance geared to the conduct and dissemination of research
  • provides opportunities for identifying and contributing to professional networks and organisations
  • enables you to reflect on your conceptions of professionalism and on ways of enhancing your own professional practice

Research Proposition and Development

Drawing on the expertise of established researchers in Art and Design, this module offers the subject-specific tools for an exploration and critical appraisal of theoretical and practice-led research in Art and Design. It:

  • offers the support of a practical and critical environment within which you can develop the skills necessary to critically evaluate your research
  • identifies and explores broad critical debates relating to Art and Design research
  • extends awareness and analysis of research practices
  • critically examines a range of advanced research methodologies

Research Project

This module will help you to:

  • assess the feasibility of a proposed research project via a literature review including an investigation of primary and secondary source material
  • establish parameters of research, set terminal dates and define terms
  • formulate an appropriate methodology through the critique and application of appropriate research
  • complete an advanced research project to deadline
  • defend the project in a viva voce

Research Methods for Arts, Professional and Social Studies

This module introduces and develops generic research skills in arts, humanities and social science. It:

  • introduces you to library, bibliographic, online and other facilities necessary for postgraduate research
  • assists you in recognising and applying appropriate strategies for developing a research project – identifying research questions, theoretical problems, material for analysis and critical position
  • develops your capacities for evaluating strengths and weaknesses in the methodologies of researchers in your field
  • helps you to gain confidence in communicating your ideas verbally to your peers, and conform to postgraduate-level standards for the presentation of written work


An insight into teaching on your course

Teaching methods

You will work alongside dedicated supervisors, be involved in training workshops and seminars, actively participate in our research environment and public events, and engage with our external cultural partner institutions.

Contributing staff include: Professor Joasia Krysa (Programme Leader), Dr Michael Birchall (Senior Lecturer and Curator of Public Practice at Tate Liverpool), Dr Mark Wright (Senior Lecturer at Director of FACTLab), Dr Hanna Leaper (John Moores Painting Prize Senior Lecturer).

Applied learning

The programme is underpinned by the internationally distinguished research expertise of LJMU staff and visiting contributors, and a range of international collaborations and partnerships. 

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How learning is monitored on your programme

To cater for the wide-ranging content of our courses and the varied learning preferences of our students, we offer a range of assessment methods on each programme. Assessment techniques vary from module to module to reflect relevant assessment approaches and the key learning points of each topic.

Following the completion of your research, your MPhil will be assessed via a thesis and oral examination.

Course tutors

Our staff are committed to the highest standards of teaching and learning

Joasia Krysa

Joasia Krysa

Programme Leader

Joasia Krysa is Professor of Exhibition Research and Director of the Exhibition Research Lab at Liverpool John Moores University, with a joint appointment at Liverpool Biennial where she is Head of Research and part of the biennial curatorial team. In 2016, she was awarded an Honorary Associate Professorship at Aarhus University, Denmark. Between 2012 and 2015, she was Artistic Director of Kunsthal Aarhus in Denmark and served as part of curatorial team for DOCUMENTA 13 and Liverpool Biennial 2016. She has a background in curatorial studies (Goldsmiths, University of London) and cultural studies (Wroclaw University). Her research and curatorial practice is located across contemporary art, digital culture and critical theory, with a distinctive research expertise in the emerging field at the intersection of curating and computation.

The combination of academic work and applied research as part of Liverpool Biennial is a wonderful opportunity to bind together my passions. I am interested in the way academic research informs curating and vice versa, and how this points to new creative possibilities for research, teaching and curatorial practice.

School facilities

What you can expect from your School

The programme is based in the Liverpool School of Art and Design’s John Lennon Art and Design Building, a purpose-built facility in the Mount Pleasant Campus, which brings together the varied disciplines studied at the School.

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Entry requirements

You will need:

You will need:

  • a minimum 2:1 in a relevant subject

Additional information:

  • IELTS English language requirement: 6.5 (minimum 5.5 in each component)
  • Pearson requirements: 58-64 (minimum 51 in each component for UKVI purposes)
  • RPL is accepted on this programme 

If you have any specific queries, please contact

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Please note: All international qualifications are subject to a qualification equivalency check via NARIC.

View country specific entry requirements

Contact LJMU's International Admissions Team for guidance on visa information. Further information is also available from our international web pages.

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Application and selection

Securing your place at LJMU

You will apply for the majority of postgraduate courses using our online application form. You should complete the form thoroughly and provide a detailed personal statement which reflects your suitability and aptitude for the programme.

All research degree registrations are subject to approval by the Faculty and University’s Research Degrees Committee. The Applications process is as follows:

  1. Complete and submit your application using this online form (Apply for MPhil Liverpool School of Art & Design). Please state in the research topic overview section, the application is for the MPhil Contemporary Arts
  2. You will receive an acknowledgement receipt
  3. Your application will be considered by the Admissions Tutor
  4. We will take up your academic references
  5. You may need to provide further information or attend an interview
  6. You will be informed if your application has been successful and will find out about any conditions of acceptance

The University reserves the right to withdraw or make alterations to a course and facilities if necessary; this may be because 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. Where this does happen, the University operates a policy of consultation, advice and support to all enrolled students affected by the proposed change to their course or module.
Further information on the terms and conditions of any offer made, our admissions policy and the complaints and appeals process.