PhD in Arts

ARIA organises and supervises research and PhDs in, with and for the arts. The institute safeguards the special character of research in the arts and fosters collaboration and knowledge exchange with other artistic and scientific disciplines. It achieves this through unique partnerships among the Antwerp Schools of Arts and the University of Antwerp, in which the partners’ autonomy and integrity come first.

Artistic Research

Artistic Research (research in the arts) differs substantially from research on the arts (such as art history, musicology, performance studies etc). The results of an artistic PhD-project are in the first place artistic and are recognized as such by peers. The doctor in arts is however also willing to dialogue with his peers and to communicate about her/his research trajectory. 

Practical Aspects

A PhD trajectory in the arts generally takes four years and is guided by two supervisors: one coming from one of the Schools of Arts and one coming from the University of Antwerp. An individual PhD commission follows the process. Members of this commission are the two supervisors, a chair coming from UAntwerp and an external member.

Download the full roadmap explaining all the procedures and regulations below.

The general doctoral regulations and the additional faculty regulations for Arts can be found on the Antwerp Doctoral School subsite.

The ‘Practical guide for international PhD students’ provides an overview of all practicalities of living in Belgium and at the University of Antwerp.

Admission to the doctoral study programme

ARIA’s steering committee oversees admissions to the doctoral study programme. Students are accepted following a binding recommendation issued by OR-ARIA, ARIA’s research board, which is a consultative body comprising researchers of the three Antwerp Schools of Arts and a number of research groups at the university.

You can apply for a PhD fellowship by responding to one of the open calls before the yearly deadline. 

Doctoral programme

The title of ‘Doctor of Arts’ is conferred by the university. Students who are preparing a PhD in the arts are considered students of the university, more specifically of the Antwerp Doctoral School, where they are enrolled in the doctoral study programme. They have two supervisors: a member of the university’s senior academic staff (lecturer, senior lecturer or professor) and a supervisor from one of the Antwerp Schools of Arts. An individual PhD commission, consisting of three or four members, also monitors the progress of their doctoral research. You can find out more about all of these aspects in the brochure ‘Doing a PhD at the University of Antwerp’.

We work closely with docARTES, a doctoral study programme offered by the Orpheus Institute, for PhDs in music. PhD students focusing on the performing arts have the option of working with a.pass. For audiovisual and visual arts, we work with the other Schools of Arts in the context of SeminArt.

Individual PhD commission and doctoral jury

What is an individual PhD commission (IPC)?

This is a small group of people (4 to 6) who oversee your PhD procedure. The group consists of your supervisor, a chairperson and an external member.

What is expected of the external member(s) of the IPC?

  1. To provide feedback on the report submitted by the PhD student at least once a year. This may take the form of a face-to-face meeting.
  2. To explicitly consider the final evaluation of the research throughout the PhD process, together with the other IPC members. What kind of artistic product is the PhD student going to submit? To what extent will the jury be able to assess the artistic process of the research? How will the 'theoretical reflection' component be made visible and submitted to the jury for assessment?
  3. Not to be actively involved in the research, as this is the exclusive task of the supervisors.
  4. To decide, together with the other IPC members, whether or not to grant approval for the thesis to be submitted.
  5. Preferably (but not necessarily) to sit in the doctoral jury.
  6. If a member of the doctoral jury: to participate in both the preliminary defence and the public defence, and to draw up a short report prior to the preliminary defence, stipulating whether or not the candidate can be admitted to the final defence.

The travel expenses of IPC members serving as doctoral jury members will be reimbursed by ARIA. Travel expenses for IPC meetings during the PhD process may not always be reimbursed. Expenses incurred for an additional involvement (e.g. guest lecture, workshop, masterclass, etc.) can be reimbursed.

What is a doctoral jury?

A committee of five to eight people who assess the quality of the thesis and decide on admission to the public defence. It consists of the supervisors, chairperson and other IPC members, along with at least one but no more than three external members.

What is expected of the jury members?

  1. To read the thesis and submit a first round of written comments to the chair of the doctoral jury, including a clear recommendation with regard to admission or non-admission to the defence. This may take up to five weeks.
  2. To be present at the preliminary defence. External members may be excused. In such case, they will be represented by the chairperson on the basis of their first round of comments.
  3. To express their opinion, together with the other members of the jury, on the admission of the PhD student to the public defence.
  4. To be present at the public defence and to participate in the debate between the members of the jury and the PhD student.
  5. To draw up a factual report with their qualitative assessment of both the thesis (positive aspects as well as any shortcomings) and the defence by the PhD student.