Masters by Research in Social Sculpture

For those with considerable experience in social sculpture or closely related fields wanting to develop a one year practice-based and/or theoretical research project in the field of Social Sculpture and transformative, connective practices.

This is a 1-year intensive research programme that centres primarily round an individually initiated research project. The research project may be either practice-based or theoretical.

Although you will be encouraged to join modules on the taught Masters programme at the beginning of your Masters by Research this is primarily an independent research process supported by individual tutorial supervision.

In most cases it is better to either do a Taught Masters in Social Sculpture or more extended research degree (MPhil/PhD).

The Masters by Research requires a similar level of understanding in the field of social sculpture and related practices as does the MPhil/PhD, as well as a fairly well formed research exploration in mind. It is difficult to begin and complete a research project in one year unless it is already reasonable clear at the start. This Masters by Research must be completed in one year. It cannot be extended. If you wish to continue to do an MPhil/PhD in Social Sculpture, you would need to develop a significantly different, new research proposal. One cannot simply expand and continue the Masters by Research work into an MPhil/PhD.

The Masters by Research in Social Sculpture is appropriate if you already have an understanding of the field and an achievable practice-based and/or theoretical project that you want to research independently. It is also useful if you:

  1. cannot be present in Oxford on a weekly basis for the Taught Masters in Social Sculpture
  2. are a foreign student that cannot get financial support for more than a 1-year research programme


The university’s entry prerequisites are a Masters degree in a related discipline, or a good undergraduate degree and/or several years of relevant practice. As with other higher research degrees, eligibility to enrol is decided by the relevant members of the departmental team and a potential supervisor.

Prospective students may come from any disciplinary background or field of practice provided this has prepared them for the kind of focused study required at this research level. In other words, even if you envisage doing a practice-based research project, you do need to be able to articulate your ideas and practice both in both written and spoken forms.


This application goes through processes similar to the registration of an MPhil/PhD research degree. This is one of the differences between this Masters of Research in Social Sculpture and the taught MA in Social Sculpture.

Having gone through similar enrolment and registration procedures to the MPhil/PhD, the Masters of Research is supervised by a main director of studies. It also culminates in a written research report and practice-based project as well as a viva voce (vocal exam with an external examiner).

If your research project is practice-based, the nature and extent of the practice-based research as well as its relationship to the written component is agreed on entry.

The Viva Voce exam must take place within the 1-year maximum period for this Masters of Research degree.


If you are eligible for the Masters of Research, and are also hoping to continue on to do a doctorate in the field, this Masters by Research will count toward the first year of a three year full-time doctorate and as 1.5 years of a five year part-time doctorate in Social Sculpture.

Please note: If you want to continue to do an MPhil/PhD in Social Sculpture, you would need to develop a significantly different, new research proposal, even if it is dealing with similar questions. One cannot simply continue the Masters by Research work into an MPhil/PhD.


You will need to be on site in the first semester of your research programme [late September to mid December] to sit in on the two taught modules – Creative Strategies and Social Sculpture – of the MA Social Sculpture programme. During this period, students on the Masters by Research begin to map out and shape their research project [either practice based or theoretical].


Main supervisors: Prof. Shelley Sacks and Dr. Wolfgang Zumdick
Special advisors by negotiation: Dr. Hildegard Kurt, Prof. Walter Kugler, Dr. Graham van Wyk



Prof. Shelley Sacks – to discuss your eligibility and suitability for the Masters by Research in Social Sculpture programme –

For all other queries including fees, please contact Jill Organ
Telephone: 0044 [0]1865 74 1111 [ask for Jill Organ]