PhD in Studio Art

Burren College of Art Time, Space & Inspiration

Dr. Eileen Hutton leads a primary school group visit to her PhD exhibition
Eileen Hutton

PhD in Studio Art

The aim of this four year full-time (six year part-time) research programme is the generation of a contribution to knowledge and understanding in Fine Art by means of enquiry conducted through studio research and, where relevant, other research methods. 

During the programme, students receive training in research methods and complete a research project based on a key research question. Students are also expected to:

  • Pursue a defined key research question through studio research
  • Investigate cognate studio research undertaken by others internationally
  • Explore the theoretical and historical dimensions of the enquiry through scholarship
  • Collaborate with others, as appropriate, to extend the range of the enquiry
  • Produce a body of work that embodies new knowledge in answer to the key research question
  • Write a brief summary of the contribution to knowledge and understanding together with a reflective analysis of the theoretical and historical context of the research and a critical review of the process of the research.

Programmes of Enquiry

We welcome proposals for studio based PhDs in the following aspects of studio art:

  • Drawing as a process of enquiry
  • Art and Ecology
  • Creative methods and methodology
  • Digital narrative (in collaboration with the Huston Film School, NUI Galway)
  • Interdisciplinary research that promotes collaboration across academic boundaries (with potentially any department of NUI, Galway)
  • Students may also propose research projects outside these criteria for consideration by the Burren College of Art.

A proposal for a research project should outline a key research question; the field of enquiry and planned research methods; a statement outlining why you want to pursue a PhD; and a current reading list. We welcome informal enquiries in advance of a formal application, and will assist shortlisted applicants to develop their proposals. 

In the first year students take courses in research methods and historical and critical studies and participate in the PhD induction programme of the Faculty of Arts at NUI Galway.

Full-time PhD students have their own dedicated studio space at Burren College of Art with 24/7 access and the availability of all BCA faculty as appropriate.  Part-time students should have their own studio space and be available for regular contact with their supervisor at BCA.


Supervision is undertaken by committee comprising of your main supervisor and faculty from Burren College of Art, the National a University of Ireland, Galway, and external experts as appropriate.