Studying for a PhD at the Warburg Institute

The School of Advanced Study is the UK's national research hub in the humanities and offers a world-class research environment to our research students. We run a range of research training programmes, open to all postgraduate students, as well as an active public engagement calendar. The School is part of the AHRC-funded London Arts and Humanities Partnership (LAHP), through which we are able to offer a number of studentships in humanities disciplines. Our institutes also offer a range of bursaries and studentships for applicants on our programmes.


Students studying at the Warburg Institute have the advantage of access to the Warburg Library, one of the world's finest, as well as the Photographic Collection and Warburg Institute Archive. Lectures are friendly and intimate, and there is a constant flow of academics of international standing through our doors, as well as regular scholarly conferences, seminars and events which attract the larger academic community.

More about the Warburg Institute

How to Apply

Before agreeing to accept you, the School will require you to submit a research proposal, so it is worthwhile having this drafted ahead of a formal application. Guidelines on drafting your research proposal.

Once you have contacted the School, you will be put in touch with a potential supervisor. It is important that you discuss your outline research proposal with them, and that you feel you can work together. Your supervisor will discuss any further development or re-focusing of your proposal before the formal application is taken to the relevant Research Degrees Committee for approval.

Please apply by clicking the links to the appropriate online application form for the September 2018 session.

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Subject Areas

The Warburg Institute offers doctoral research supervision in the following areas:

  • Arabic and Islamic influences in Europe

  • Humanism and history of scholarship
  • Medieval to early modern art, history, philosophy and science



Prof Alastair Hamilton

Arcadian Visiting Research Professor


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Alastair Hamilton has been attached to the Warburg Institute since 2003.  A Fellow of the British Academy, former Dr C. Louise Thijssen-Schoute Professor of the History of Ideas at the University of Leiden and Emeritus Professor of the History of the Radical Reformation at the University of Amsterdam, he received his M.A. and PhD from Cambridge University.  


He is the general editor of the Arcadian Series published by the Arcadian Library in London and by Oxford University Press, and of Brill’s series ‘History of Oriental Studies’, as well as being on the editorial board of Brill’s Series in Church History, of the journals Religious Culture and Church History and Erudition and the Republic of Letters, and of Studi e testi per la storia religiosa del Cinquecento published by Olschki in Florence. He is also on the advisory board of the Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes and co-director of the Centre for the History of Arabic Studies in Europe (CHASE) at the Warburg Institute.

His main interests lie in two fields: the history of Arabic studies and, more generally, of orientalism in Europe in the early modern period, with a special emphasis on the Arabic-speaking Christians; and religious non-conformism in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Europe (especially in Spain, Italy and the Low Countries). A theme which has always fascinated him and which he introduces into most of his work is the fluctuating process of gathering and transmitting knowledge, the different means of evaluating sources (especially forgeries and apocrypha), and the illusions resulting from misinterpretation.

Read more about Prof Alastair Hamilton


Prof Charles Burnett 

Professor of the History of Arabic/Islamic Influences in Europe


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Charles Burnett, MA, PhD, LGSM is Professor of the History of Arabic/Islamic Influences in Europe at the Warburg Institute, University of London, and Co-Director of the Centre for the History of Arabic Studies in Europe. He is a Fellow of the British Academy, Corresponding Fellow of the Medieval Academy of America, and Fellow of the International Society for the History of Science. He is leader of the Humanities in the European Research Area project on Encounters with the Orient in Early Modern European Scholarship (EOS). 


His research centres on the transmission of texts, techniques and artefacts from the Arab world to the West, especially in the Middle Ages. He has documented this transmission by editing and translating several texts that were first translated from Arabic into Latin, and also by describing the historical and cultural context of these translations. Throughout his research and his publications he has aimed to document the extent to which Arabic authorities and texted translated from Arabic have shaped European learning, in the universities, in medical schools and in esoteric circles. Among his books in this subject area are The Introduction of Arabic Learning into England (1997), Arabic into Latin in the Middle Ages: The Translators and their Intellectual and Social Context (2009) and Numerals and Arithmetic in the Middle Ages (2010). Other interests include Jesuit education in Japan in the late sixteenth century, the use of Japanese themes in Latin drama in Europe in the seventeenth century and the use of music in therapy and in the Christian mission.

Read more Prof Charles Burnett




Prof Jill Kraye  

Honorary Fellow and Emeritus Professor of the History of Renaissance Philosophy


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B.A. in History (Departmental Honors with Great Distinction and University Honors with Great Distinction): University of California at Berkeley, 1969

M.A. in History: Columbia University, 1970

Ph.D in History (with distinction): Columbia University, 1991

Main research and supervision interests

Renaissance humanism and philosophy; later influence of classical philosophy (Aristotelianism, Platonism, Epicureanism and Stoicism); European intellectual history 1350-1650.

Read more about Prof Jill Kraye


Dr Paul Taylor  

Curator, Photographic Collection


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Research interests:

Early Modern, History of Art, Europe; Seventeenth-century Dutch art theory; Iconography

Read more about Dr Paul Taylor


Dr Rembrandt Duits  

Deputy-Curator, Photographic Collection


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Rembrandt Duits joined the staff of the Warburg Institute in 1999. He is responsible for the creation and maintenance of the Warburg Institute Iconographic Database, the on-line resource of the Photographic Collection. Together with Dr François Quiviger, he teaches an option on Renaissance Material Culture in the Institute’s two MA courses. He is an editor of the Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes. 


Rembrandt Duits joined the staff of the Warburg Institute in 1999. He is responsible for the creation and maintenance of the Warburg Institute Iconographic Database, the on-line resource of the Photographic Collection. Together with Dr François Quiviger, he teaches an option on Renaissance Material Culture in the Institute’s two MA courses. He is an editor of the Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes.

Rembrandt studied Art History and Iconology at the University of Utrecht (MA, PhD). His research concerns the social and economic mechanisms behind Renaissance art and material culture, examining issues of value and values, fashion and taste, social class and social mobility, technique and innovation in the manufacture, sale, use and appreciation of artefacts between 1300 and 1600, with a particular focus on Italy and the southern Netherlands and the relationships between them. He has published on the representation of luxury fabrics in Renaissance paintings and more recently on collections of Byzantine icons in Renaissance Italy. His wider research interests include the archaeology of Byzantine churches and frescoes from the Venetian period on Crete (1211-1669), astronomical and astrological images in medieval and Renaissance manuscripts, the afterlife of the pagan gods in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and the historiography of art history.

Rembrandt is a member of the advisory board of the journal Troianalexandrina. He won the Karel van Mander Prize for his PhD thesis in 2004.

Read more about Dr Rembrant Dutis 



Dr Alessandro Scafi  

Lecturer in Medieval and Renaissance Cultural History


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Alessandro Scafi's research interests over the last years have firmly grounded in a common theme: the way in which spiritual beliefs not only shaped contemporary world views but were also fundamental to cultural expression and political activities.


His work to date has been in the following areas:

The notion of the earthly paradise: I investigated this topic whilst writing my doctoral dissertation on the notion of the earthly paradise from the Patristic era to the fifteenth century (Warburg Institute, 1999) and have since studied in more depth and over a wider chronological span whilst preparing my book Mapping Paradise: A History of Heaven on Earth (London: British Library; Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006; Winner: 2006 Awards for Excellence, Association of American Publishers; Italian transl. Milan: Bruno Mondadori, 2007). I now intend to complete a nuanced exploration of the ways in which between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance Christian theologians have imagined the perfect condition of Adam and Eve before the Fall.

History of Cartography and Sacred Geography: I have a strong interest in the ways in which religion and geography intersect and interact, particularly in the context of medieval and early modern sacred geography. I maintained my interests in a number of related aspects of medieval and Renaissance cartography, including the shift from medieval to Renaissance mapping; musical iconography on medieval and Renaissance maps; the representation of non-Christian religious traditions; allegorical cartography in the early modern period. I have worked on the Hereford, Ebstorf and Psalter maps, the Fra Mauro World Map, the Kunstmann II Map.

Literature on journeys to the otherworld: I devoted particular attention to a little known text by Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini, the Dialogus de somnio quodam, which I translated from Latin into Italian and for which I wrote a detailed commentary (Turin: Aragno, 2004). I have also a strong interest in Dante. I have been working in connection with the Centro Dantesco in Ravenna, participating in many of their initiatives and supervising theses on Dante at their library.

Medieval and Renaissance views of the temporal and spiritual powers and their history: I have researched a number of inter-related subjects including papal art patronage in Church Jubilee years and medieval Christian ideas about pilgrimage and death. I have received a grant (with Dr Avril Maddrell, University of the West of England, Dr Heather Walton, University of Glasgow and Dr Veronica Della Dora, University of Bristol) from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (within the Religion and Society Scheme) for a research project on pilgrimage practices in different Christian traditions. I have focussed on pilgrimage through mental landscapes in the Roman Catholic tradition (at the monastery of Subiaco, Italy, in particular).

History of utopian thought and cultural interchange in the early modern age: I have worked on Filarete’s ideal city (Sforzinda) and on the relationships between Italy and Hungary in the Renaissance.

Aby Warburg: Warburg’s interest in musical iconography (a topic so far ignored by Warburg scholars) and Warburg’s involvement in World War I.

I have also authored publications intended for a wider readership,  for example a book on the graphic design and imagery of the European single currency (Eurodesign: Immagini, avventure e misteri della moneta europea, Milan: Bruno Mondadori, 2009), and a survey of paradise visions and journeys throughout the world (Alla scoperta del paradiso: Un Atlante del cielo sulla terra, Palermo: Sellerio, 2011). I have presented papers at international conferences and given public lectures in many countries, including Belgium, Finland, France, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, UK, USA.

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Dr Joanne Anderson 

Convener of the MA in Art History, Curatorship and Renaissance Culture


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Joanne Anderson's research interests include Christian iconography and female patronage within family dynamics in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. More recently she has been working on secular prints and their relationship with wall paintings, and other display objects, in the chivalric culture of courtly residences. 


Joanne Anderson is Lecturer in 13th-17th Century Art History at the Warburg Institute. She is convener of the MA in Art History, Curatorship and Renaissance Culture, contributing courses on Iconology and Renaissance mural painting (making and meanings). Joanne previously worked at Birkbeck, Sussex and Warwick as lecturer in Renaissance art history and was editorial assistant of The Art Bulletin 2011-13. She is a Research Associate at Sussex University, and was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Institute of Advanced Study, University of Warwick.

Joanne is currently preparing a book on the image of Mary Magdalen in northern Italy and the Alps during the long middle ages and its place in the wider Christian landscape. She is particularly concerned with the cultivation and circulation of visual types as linked to pilgrimage, artisanal practice and patronage in parish communities. Her interest in the Alps and its cultural production informs her new collaborative project on art, travel and geography, which borrow its title, Artistic Exchange in Unexpected Quarters, from Warburg's 1905 essay. 

To read more about Joanne, visit the Talking Humanities blog post: 'Picture this - Role of images in Society'

Read more about Dr Joanne Anderson


Raphaele Mouren 

Librarian of the Warburg Institute and Reader


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Editorial boards

  • Collection 'Kitab Tabulae', Atelier Perrousseaux
  • Secretary of the board, Histoire et civilisation du livre, Paris
  • Paratesto
  • Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes

Scientific Councils and Advisory Boards

  • Digital Library Internum
  • Centre interdisciplinaire de conservation et de restauration du patrimoine, Marseille
  • Funded project Biblissima, Institut de recherche et d'histoire des textes (CNRS) (Equipex programme, Agence nationale de la recherche) 
  • Group in charge of writing the Charter of conservation and preservation, French ministry of culture
  • Communauté de recherche académique "Cultures, Sciences, Sociétés et Médiation" (ARC5), région Rhône-Alpes
  • Consortium Cahiers (Très grande infrastructure de recherche Huma-Num, CNRS): represen­tative of the Centre Gabriel Naudé

Read more about Raphaele Mouren



Prof Michelle O'Malley 

Acting Director and Professor of the History of Art


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Professor Michelle O'Malley holds degrees in the History of Art from Newton College of the Sacred Heart (BA), Boston University (MA), and the Warburg Institute, University of London (PhD). In 1998 she headed the Centre for Research in the History of Art, Sussex University, arriving from the position of the Head of Education for Exhibitions at the Royal Academy of Arts, London. 


Professor Michelle O'Malley holds degrees in the History of Art from Newton College of the Sacred Heart (BA), Boston University (MA), and the Warburg Institute, University of London (PhD). In 1998 she headed the Centre for Research in the History of Art, Sussex University, arriving from the position of the Head of Education for Exhibitions at the Royal Academy of Arts, London.

She became the Director of the Centre for Arts Research Support in 2001 and was the Director of Research in the School of Humanities 2003 - 2008. From 2000-2014 she ran, with Evelyn Welch, the AHRC- and Getty-funded Material Renaissance Project and from 2008 to 2010 she held a Leverhulme Trust Fellowship award. Professor O'Malley was the Head of the Art History Department from 2010 to 2014 and In 2014-2015 was the Director of Research and Knowledge Exchange in the School of History, Art History and Philosophy. 2013 - 2016 she was the Director of Research Staff Development for the University of Sussex.In 2015/2016 she was a Research Fellow at the USA National Humanities Centre, in North Carolina.

Read more about Prof Michelle O'Malley 

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