Art History: Dress and Textile Histories MLitt

Prestigious Scottish Funding Council Awards are available to high calibre applicants for this programme. The SFC has selected this programme in recognition of the high demand for students with these qualifications. The awards cover all tuition costs; for further information, please see: funded places.

The Masters in Dress & Textile Histories provides you with the skills to research and interpret the history of dress and textiles. Drawing on the knowledge of interdisciplinary academic and curatorial experts, the programme combines taught and research components based on a combination of theoretical and object based approaches. Working with museum collections, archives and historic interiors you will also be given a unique insight into the curation, interpretation and preservation of historic dress and textile collections.

Key facts

Why this programme

  • The programme provides you with a unique opportunity within the UK to study historic dress and textiles, enabling you to develop knowledge and understanding of theory and practice in dress and textile histories in a critical and/or historical context
  • Scotland has a rich textile heritage and Glasgow is the ideal city in which to study dress and textile history, as there are internationally significant object and archival collections in the city and close by, including the National Museums Scotland, Paisley Museum and Art Gallery, and the Scottish Business Archives at the University of Glasgow.
  • You will have privileged access to primary source material, objects and archives, including at the University of Glasgow’s Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery and Glasgow Museums.   
  • The work placement option will enable you to develop your professional expertise within the heritage sector.

Programme structure

The taught component consists of five core courses and one optional course running over two semesters. This is followed by a period of supervised research and writing of the dissertation which is submitted at the end of August.  The dissertation is 15,000 words in length (including footnotes but excluding bibliography) and will be on a topic chosen in consultation with the tutors and the programme convenor.

A number of study visits are built into the programme, introducing important local collections.  You will also undertake a four-day study trip to see relevant collections in another UK city.

Teaching is delivered by a combination of in-house specialist and visiting scholars and experts.  The lectures are enhanced by seminar discussions, some based in museums and galleries, giving you the opportunity to present your ideas and discuss them with classmates in a supportive yet challenging environment. 

Core courses

Semester 1

  • Framing Dress and Textile Histories
  • Research Methods in Practice

    plus one of the following:

  • The Birth of Modern Fashion? Textiles and Dress, 1680-1815
  • Understanding Textiles

Semester 2

  • Museums and the Making of Dress and Textile Histories

    plus one of the following:

  • Victorian Visions: Dress and Textiles c.1837-1901
  • Material Cultures

Optional courses

You may choose from the following options run by History of Art:

  • Work placement
  • Independent study

Or from the following options in the College of Arts:

  • A Humanities Advanced Technology and Information Institution (HATII) course : 2D Digitisation (Theory and Practice)
  • A course from elsewhere in the College of Arts, subject to the approval of the programme convenor.

Core and optional courses

Core Courses

Art History: Dress and Textile Histories

Framing Dress & Textile Histories (HISTART5022)
Semester 1

This course will enable you to gain an understanding of approaches to dress and textile histories from a variety of theoretical perspectives, including material culture, art history, social history, gender theory and fashion theory. Case studies from the medieval period to the present day are used to explore the theorisation of the subject.  A core component will be the opportunity to conduct object-based research using collections at Glasgow Museums.
Convenor: Dr Sally Tuckett

Research Methods in Practice (HISTART5105)
Semester 1

This course will consist of teaching and learning sessions run by different staff and some guest speakers on a wide range of topics, both practical and theoretical. Bringing all taught postgraduate students in the subject together, it is intended to enable students effectively to engage with broad questions of research methods and their application in History of Art. It is designed and structured to meet the need for a critical, theoretical and methodological underpinning to postgraduate study and to equip you with vital practical research skills.

The Birth of Modern Fashion? Textiles and Dress, 1680-1815 (HISTART5020)
Semester 1

This course will examine the history and development of textiles and dress during the long eighteenth century. It will consider the characteristics of the production, dissemination and consumption of textiles and dress that have led some historians to propose that ‘fashion’ as we know it today, has its roots in this period.  Key aesthetic, economic, political, social and technological developments will provide the context.
Convenor: Dr Sally Tuckett

Understanding Textiles (HISTART5070)
Semester 1

The course aims to give you an understanding of the processes involved in forming yarns and fabrics from fibres, including spinning, weaving and non-woven techniques, and of the main historic decorative and construction techniques. As a result you should be able to identify techniques found in historic and modern textiles, understand how they influence the deterioration of textiles and be able to document and record the techniques used.
Convenor: Frances Lennard


Material Cultures
Semester 2

This course provides an introduction to the cultural heritage sector and enables you to gain an understanding of how you may contribute to the sector as professionals after graduation. It explores both the material and symbolic properties of objects in order to analyse why artefacts matter, and why they are collected, exhibited and conserved; concepts from material culture frameworks, such as object biographies, are introduced as ‘working tools’ for interdisciplinary research by those involved in preserving and interpreting objects.
Convenor: Frances Lennard


Victorian Visions: Dress and Textiles c. 1837-1901 (HISTART5104)
Semester 2

The nineteenth century was a period of industrial, retailing and consumption revolutions, at the heart of which were textiles and dress.  This course will examine the production and use of dress and textiles during the nineteenth century, placing them within the context of key aesthetic, economic, political, social and technological developments.  The course will include lectures, object-based study sessions and visits to collections and historic sites in central Scotland.
Convenor: Dr Sally Tuckett

‌Former PhD student, Emily Taylor, mounting a green silk pelisse, circa 1810. Emily is now Assistant Curator, Art and Design, National Museums Scotland.


Museums and the Making of Dress and Textile Histories (HISTART5040)
Semester 2

This course will enable you to gain the ability to think critically and creatively about the research and application of textile and dress history.  It will include an introduction to the history and nature of dress and textile collections, as well as the curation, interpretation and preservation of such artefacts.  You will develop professional skills that will benefit your future career, with a particular emphasis on those wishing to work in museums or with historic collections.  This course will be supported by practical skills and study sessions with local collections. 

French fan, circa 1780 (c) Culture and Sport Glasgow

Study Trip
These courses are supported by a four day study trip.

Previous trips have included Manchester (2012), Leeds (2013) and London (2014-15).


V&A study session with Christopher Marsden looking at a pattern book of samples in the archives


A conservation session with Tina Cogram, V&A, on the contents of a doll's house, undergoing treatment in preparation for an exhibition


Tina Cogram, V&A, examining a velvet garment with applied heraldic motifs

Studying the velvet covered arms with pink fringes of a carved chair with Max Donnelly, V&A

At Hampton Court

Dissertation (HISTART5018P)
Submitted at the end of August
The dissertation, or other substantial piece of work, encourages independent work through deeper study of a particular art historical, or related, problem and encourages the application of acquired research skills. It is expected that MLitt dissertations should make a contribution to some aspect of the subject. The dissertation is 15-20,000 words in length (including footnotes and bibliography) and will be on a topic chosen in consultation with tutors.

Academic Staff

The programme is team-taught by University staff and external specialists.

Dr Sally Tuckett, Lecturer and Convenor, MLitt Dress and Textile Histories

Prof Lesley Miller, Professor of Dress and Textile History

Senior Curator (Textiles) Department of Furniture, Textiles and Fashion, Victoria and Albert Museum

Rebecca Quinton, Honorary Senior Research Fellow

Curator, European Costume & Textiles, Glasgow Museums

Frances Lennard, Senior Lecturer in Textile Conservation

Sarah Foskett, Textile Conservation Tutor

Karen Thompson, University Teacher in Textile Conservation

Anita Quye, Lecturer in Conservation Science


Recent guest lecturers have included:

  • Dinah Eastop, Clothworkers Research Fellow, The National Archives, Kew
  • Mairi Mackenzie, Research Fellow, School of Design, Glasgow School of Art
  • Barbara Burman, author of The Culture of Sewing: Gender, Consumption and Home Dressmaking,
  • Dr Robyne Calvert, Research Fellow, Glasgow School of Art


(c) Culture and Sport Glasgow 

(c) Culture and Sport Glasgow

Evening dress sold by Murielle's, Glasgow, circa 1924, (c) Culture and Sport Glasgow


Entry requirements

for entry in 2015

Entry requirements for postgraduate taught programmes are a 2.1 Honours degree or equivalent qualification (for example, GPA 3.0 or above) in a relevant subject unless otherwise specified.

Note: A minimum 2.1 in History of Art or a related subject is required. You should also submit a writing sample of 2-3000 words, a CV and a personal statement.

English language requirements

For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training):

  • overall score 7.0
  • 2 subtests not lower than 7.0 and no other sub-test lower than 6.5
  • or equivalent scores in another recognised qualification (see below)

Common equivalent English language qualifications

All stated English tests are acceptable for admission for both home/EU and international students for this programme:

  • ibTOEFL: 92; no sub-test less than 24
  • CAE (Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English): 185 overall; two sub-tests no less than 185; no other sub-test less than 176
  • CPE (Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English): 185 overall; two sub-tests no less than 185; no other sub-test less than 176
  • PTE Academic (Person Test of English, Academic test): 68no sub-test less than 60

For international students, the Home Office has confirmed that the University can choose to use these tests to make its own assessment of English language ability for visa applications to degree level programmes. The University is also able to accept an IELTS test (Academic module) from any of the 1000 IELTS test centres from around the world and we do not require a specific UKVI IELTS test for degree level programmes. We therefore still accept any of the English tests listed for admission to this programme.

Pre-sessional courses
The University of Glasgow accepts evidence of the required language level from the Language Centre Pre-sessional courses. We also consider other BALEAP accredited pre-sessional courses:


What do I do if...

my language qualifications are below the requirements?

The University's Language Centre offers a range of Pre-Sessional Courses to bring you up to entry level. The course is accredited by BALEAP, the UK professional association for academic English teaching; see Links.

my language qualifications are not listed here?

Please contact the Recruitment and International Office:


For further information about English language requirements, please contact the Recruitment and International Office:

Fees and funding

Tuition fees for 2016-17


Home and EU
Full time fee£6950
Part time 20 credits£772
Full time fee£15250

Fees are subject to change and for guidance only

Funding opportunities

Career prospects

The attributes you gain will be attractive to employers from museums, the heritage sector, art dealers and auction houses. You could also get into theatre, film and television production as a costume researcher/designer. The programme also offers an excellent foundation upon which to progress to PhD studies and an academic career.

How to apply

We ask that you apply online for a postgraduate taught degree. Our system allows you to fill out the standard application form online and submit this to the University within 42 days of starting your application.

You need to read the guide to applying online before starting your application. It will ensure you are ready to proceed, as well as answer many common questions about the process.

Guide to applying online

Do I have to apply online for a postgraduate taught degree?

Yes. To apply for a postgraduate taught degree you must apply online. We are unable to accept your application by any other means than online.

Do I need to complete and submit the application in a single session?

No. You have 42 days to submit your application once you begin the process. You may save and return to your application as many times as you wish to update information, complete sections or upload additional documents such as your final transcript or your language test.

What documents do I need to provide to make an application?

As well as completing your online application fully, it is essential that you submit the following documents:

  • A copy (or copies) of your official degree certificate(s) (if you have already completed your degree)
  • A copy (or copies) of your official academic transcript(s), showing full details of subjects studied and grades/marks obtained
  • Official English translations of the certificate(s) and transcript(s)
  • Two supporting reference letters on headed paper
  • Evidence of your English Language ability (if your first language is not English)
  • Any additional documents required for this programme (see Entry requirements for this programme)
  • A copy of the photo page of your passport (Non-EU students only)

If you do not have all of these documents at the time of submitting your application then it is still possible to make an application and provide any further documents at a later date, as long as you include a full current transcript (and an English translation if required) with your application. See the ‘Your References, Transcripts and English Qualification’ sections of our Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

Do my supporting documents need to be submitted online?

Yes, where possible, please upload the supporting documents with your application.

How do I provide my references?

You must either upload the required references to your online application or ask your referees to send the references to the University as we do not contact referees directly. There is two main ways that you can provide references: you can either upload references on headed paper when you are making an application using the Online Application (or through Applicant Self-Service after you have submitted your application) or you can ask your referee to email the reference directly to See the 'Your References, Transcripts and English Qualifications' section of the Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

What if I am unable to submit all of my supporting documents online?

If you cannot upload an electronic copy of a document and need to send it in by post, please attach a cover sheet to it that includes your name, the programme you are applying for, and your application reference number.

You may send them to:

Recruitment & International Office
71 Southpark Avenue
G12 8QQ
Fax: +44 141 330 4045

Can I email my supporting documents?

No. We cannot accept email submissions of your supporting documents.

What entry requirements should I have met before applying? Where can I find them?

You should check that you have met (or are likely to have met prior to the start of the programme) the individual entry requirements for the degree programme you are applying for. This information can be found on the ‘entry requirements’ tab on each individual programme page, such as the one you are viewing now.

What English Language requirements should I have met before applying? Where can I find them?

If you are an international student, you should also check that you have met the English Language requirements specific to the programme you are applying for. These can also be found on the ‘entry requirements’ tab for each specific programme.

Further Information

Please see the Frequently Asked Questions for more information on applying to a postgraduate taught programme.

Guidance notes for using the online application

These notes are intended to help you complete the online application form accurately, they are also available within the help section of the online application form. If you experience any difficulties accessing the online application then you should visit the Application Troubleshooting/FAQs page.

  • Name and Date of birth: must appear exactly as they do on your passport. Please take time to check the spelling and lay-out.
  • Contact Details: Correspondence address. All contact relevant to your application will be sent to this address including the offer letter(s). If your address changes, please contact us as soon as possible.
  • Choice of course: Please select carefully the course you want to study. As your application will be sent to the admissions committee for each course you select it is important to consider at this stage why you are interested in the course and that it is reflected in your application.
  • Proposed date of entry: Please state your preferred start date including the month and the year. Taught masters degrees tend to begin in September. Research degrees may start in any month.
  • Education and Qualifications: Please complete this section as fully as possible indicating any relevant Higher Education qualifications starting with the most recent. Complete the name of the Institution (s) as it appears on the degree certificate or transcript.
  • English Language Proficiency: Please state the date of any English language test taken (or to be taken) and the award date (or expected award date if known).
  • Employment and Experience: Please complete this section as fully as possible with all employments relevant to your course. Additional details may be attached in your personal statement/proposal where appropriate.
  • References: Please provide the names and contact details of two academic references. Where applicable one of these references may be from your current employer. References should be completed on letter headed paper and uploaded on to your application.

Application deadlines

There are two application deadlines for entry in September 2016:

  • 30 January 2016: interviews to be held in February 2016
  • 29 May 2016: interviews to be held in June 2016

Please note that places are limited, and are competitively awarded. We cannot guarantee that applications received after 29 May 2016 will be considered for 2016 entry.

Please note: applications for SFC funded places are open for entry in September 2015.

Apply now