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Research Degrees

Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design (DJCAD) seeks to foster innovation within creative practice, employ creative practice as a methodology to enhance other disciplines or domains, and contribute towards an explicit and transparent knowledge base that furthers our disciplines in the future. In the most recent UK Research Assessment Exercise (RAE2008), DJCAD was rated top in the UK for the quality of its art & design research environment. Evidence of our research esteem is seen in the decision by the Victoria & Albert Museum and Scottish Enterprise, backed by the Scottish Government, to establish 'V&A Dundee' – a joint facility to conduct research into future visual products and processes in design and craft. In the last decade, in parallel to the development of our research profile and academic researchers, we have grown a thriving community of research degrees students. We welcome applications from excellent candidates who are keen to join this vibrant research community and whose interests align with our research strengths:

  • Digital Economy, Futures & Culture
    Exploring future technologies and user interactions through critical design Software and product design, Assistive technologies, Serious Games, Visual Effects for Film& TV Future Practices in Design & Craft, Sustainable Design, Environmental solutions
  • Visualisation & the Application of Visual Thinking
    Visualisation & Simulation, Mediating technology, information design, Applying design thinking, Public engagement, Identity cultural & sense of place, Design in Public, Policy, Society, Business-Service Design, Design in new contexts (health etc) Exploring the economic / social impact of new practices
  • Art, Media, and Visual Studies
    Histories & Archives, Curation as practice, Theoretical studies, Visual Studies, Art & Philosophy, Aesthetics, Word & Image, Artists’ practice-led research

Undertaking a research degree can be a highly rewarding journey, allowing you time and space to thoroughly explore a field about which you are passionate, under the guidance of a supervisor with expertise in the field. The enviable position of Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design within a world class research university means that we have excellent opportunities for interdisciplinary research and the facility to seek advice from a wide range of experts in many fields.

What is a research degree?

A research degree can be described as a critical investigation into a subject using appropriate methods, a systematic approach and rigorous evaluation. In art, media and design, the research degree can take the form of an investigation culminating in a conventional written thesis. However, we also have expertise in the supervision of practice led PhD’s where the creative practice forms the major part of the degree and is supported by a short written commentary.

In addition to a research degree culminating in a piece of scholarly work, research students develop a wide range of skills and understanding that go beyond their specific study area to equip you whether you intend a future career as a researcher or in a position outside academia. By the end of your research degree you should have gained competence and independence as a researcher, and your outcome should provide an original contribution to knowledge in your field and value to the University and wider academic community.

Types of research degree

There are two types of research degree offered at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, the Master of Philosophy (MPhil) and the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). The University of Dundee makes a distinction between a PhD and an MPhil. The MPhil degree differs from the PhD in terms of the depth of study required and the extent of the personal contribution to knowledge. The MPhil must display satisfactory background knowledge and requires competence in conducting an independent enquiry as well as in the use of appropriate research methods and techniques. The award of a PhD implies that the candidate has displayed mastery of a special field and made an original personal contribution to the understanding of a problem, or to the advancement of knowledge, or to the generation of new ideas.

Length of study

A Research degree can be undertaken on a full time or part time basis. The standard period of time for a research degree is:

 Full TimePart time

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

3 years

5 years

Masters by Research (MPhil)

2 years

4 years

The final output of a research degree undertaken in art, media and design at DJCAD may culminate in an entirely textual thesis or it can be a practice led research output which may comprise an exposition or portfolio of creative work with supporting documentation.  

Research environment

DJCAD has a very close relationship with Dundee Contemporary Arts, a leading arts complex in the UK. The Visual Research Centre occupies two floors of the DCA and offers a lively environment, conducive to the development of research and networking. At its heart is Centrespace, a test space for exposition, events and displays of all kinds. A number of our research students are housed in the VRC or its annex, while others are accommodated in the main art college buildings.

We currently have around 45 students from all over the world undertaking research degrees in the art, design and media disciplines.We will monitor your progress on a regular basis through a process called Thesis Monitoring. This is intended as a supportive process to help address any problems that students have encountered. All research students are also required to undertake research training each year. DJCAD organises a series of workshops specifically for art, media and design throughout the year.

Fully Funded PHD Scholarship Opportunities Available

AHRC Creative Economy PhD Studentship:  ‘Making a Difference – the longer term impact of Craft Scotland’s international exhibition programme on a maker’s career and Scotland’s creative economy’

The University of Dundee, in partnership with the University of Edinburgh and Craft Scotland are seeking to appoint a suitably qualified PhD candidate for a Creative Economies Studentship (CES) to study the longer-term impact of Craft Scotland’s international exhibition programme on a maker’s career and Scotland’s creative economy.

The Studentship will commence no later than 1st October 2017.

Value:             Tuition fees at UK/EU rate and stipend rates at RCUK rates

Deadline:        25th August 2017

Interviews:     5th September 2017

Start date:      1st October 2017

Eligibility: 1st or Upper 2nd Class Undergraduate Degree, or international equivalent and a Masters qualification in a relevant discipline.  This studentship is only open to candidates from the UK/EU.  You will be required to meet the University of Dundee’s entry language requirements for PhD study.

The project will be located within Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design (DJCAD) at the University of Dundee. The successful applicant will join an interdisciplinary research studio with expertise in design, craft, enterprise and entrepreneurship, smart textiles, human computer interaction, digital futures, curatorial practice, contemporary visual art practice, new media art, information visualisation, art and science collaborations, with a strong international research track record. 

The studentship will be under the supervision of Dr. Louise Valentine, Head of Enterprise and Entrepreneurship, DJCAD and Professor Sarah Cooper, Head of Entrepreneurship & Innovation Group, University of Edinburgh.

The successful candidate will investigate the creative economies and the impact which Craft Scotland, Scotland's national development agency for craft, has on makers’ practices. It will investigate the longer-term impact of Craft Scotland’s international exhibition programme, which includes showcases, retail and trade shows in Scotland, London and the US, on a maker’s career and Scotland’s creative economy.  The project will extend beyond the immediate snapshot feedback collated from these events to offer a longitudinal analysis of their impact on the development of artists’ creative and business practices. It will also consider how makers build successful and sustainable businesses, which add value to the craft sector and contribute to the wider economy.

Funding details

Funded by the AHRC through the SGSAH for 3 years full time or 5 years part time study.

Tuition fees at UK/EU rate (£4,195 in 2017/18).

Stipend award at RCUK rates (£14,553 for 2017/18) – for UK students only.

How to apply

Applicants should submit a PDF statement of application of their craft, design, business related and-or research experience responding to the aims of the CES project outlined above, copies of original transcripts and degree certificates, a CV and two references.

Applicants invited for interview will be asked to discuss their career portfolio of relevant work and future scenarios for the craft sector.  Please email applications to Fiona Fyffe Lawson, Research Administrator,

Application and further details:

Applicants should discuss applications informally with Louise Valentine by emailing