MA in the History of Art (Medieval Art & Medievalisms)


About the MA pathway degree in Medieval Art and Medievalisms

Why take a pathway degree?

A pathway degree combines specialisation with flexibility. It is suited both to those of you who are beginning a journey towards a PhD in a particular field, and to those of you who wish to further develop undergraduate or personal interests. The pathways have emerged from clusters of excellence and expertise in the Department and relate directly to our Research Schools of Architectural History and Theory, British Art, Medieval Art and Medievalisms, Modern and Contemporary and Sculpture Studies. We therefore have concentrations of staff working in these areas, and related lectures, colloquia and site visits taking place.

The Medieval Art and Medievalisms pathway

If you select the Medieval Art and Medievalisms pathway you can work on a wide range of media, from stained glass to manuscripts and architecture. In order to complete the degree, at least two of your four option modules and your dissertation must be completed in Medieval Art and Medievalisms. Beyond this, the programme structure provides the flexibility for you to either specialise entirely in Medieval Art and Medievalisms, or to select up to two of your option modules from art history modules outside the field, or from modules offered by other humanities departments and interdisciplinary centres. Training will be offered in both general and pathway-specific research skills, which will prepare you for the development of a sustained independent research project for your dissertation, on which you will work closely with an academic supervisor who is expert in the field.

Degree structure

Degree Structure


Taken full-time, the one-year MA in History of Art (Medieval Art and Medievalisms) consists of:

  • Autumn and Spring Terms: A core module focusing on Research Skills and Methods in History of Art, including pathway-specific sessions.
  • Autumn Term: Two taught modules of your choice; an option is always offered on historiographical and theoretical approaches to art history.
  • Spring Term: Two further modules of your choice.
  • Summer Term and vacation: A dissertation of 15,000-20,000 words.


Taken part-time over two years, you would do one option in each of the Autumn and Spring terms, and work on your dissertation during the Summer terms and summer vacation.

Teaching and assessment

Each option is taught by weekly two-hour seminars and assessement is in the form of a 4,000 word essay. Field-trips to view art and architecture are included in the programme, as appropriate.

The Research Skills and Methods in History of Art module, which is taught on a fortnightly basis across the Autumn and Spring Term, culminates in the production of a dissertation synopsis, on which the module is assessed.

The programme culminates in the production of a 15,000-20,000 dissertation, produced under the supervision of a member of staff. The work accounts for 50% of the final degree mark.

Contact hours and self-directed study

The amount of study time you’ll need to commit to per week will depend on the modules/pathway you’ve chosen. Study time will also vary slightly throughout the course.

  • Teaching time (lectures, seminars and one-to-one meetings with your lecturer/supervisor): is likely to be between 7 and 9 hours per week on average. Teaching usually takes place Monday-Friday. Most assessment deadlines fall in the first week of the Spring and Summer Terms; all are clearly defined in your Handbook.
  • Independent study/research: is likely to be between 31 and 33 hours per week on average. This time gives you space to read widely and develop your thoughts on specialised topics. Discuss module themes with your peers, attend our extensive programme of research seminars and events and make the most of weekly staff office hours which are available to all students for further discussion. Most of your Dissertation writing will fall between May and early September so this will be your busiest time for independent study.


Option modules

Our aim is always to generate a diverse, innovative and stimulating range of options, covering art history and architecture from the early medieval period to the contemporary. The list of options offered each year will vary according to staff availability, but will include modules to which curatorial or research staff from Tate will contribute. 

2017-18 Modules

In order to gain this pathway degree, at least two of your four option modules must be taken from those modules listed as belonging to the Medieval Art and Medievalisms pathway. Your dissertation must also be on a related topic.

You have a free choice for your further two option modules, which may come from these pathway modules, from the full range of MA modules the department has on offer in 2017-18, or from modules outside History of Art (please see 'Interdisciplinarity' section below).



As well as choosing from the many modules run by the History of Art department, you can also choose up to two options from those offered by other humanities departments at York and by our world-class Interdisciplinary Centres in the Humanities:




We welcome students who have previously studied history of art, but also those from other backgrounds.


We expect applicants to have a good 2.1 or 1st-class undergraduate degree, or equivalent.

Exceptions may be made for mature students or applicants without formal academic qualifications but with substantial related experience, who may be called for interview.

English Language requirements

If your first language is not English you will need to show evidence that you meet our English Language requirements. The table below lists some popular tests which we accept but please consult the full list of accepted tests and proficiencies.

IELTS Pearson (PTE)  Cambridge English Scale Score CAE  CPE 
7.0, with a minimum of 6.0 in Writing 67, with a minimum of 55 in Writing 185, with a minimum of 169 in Writing 75, with 'Very Good' in Writing


General enquiries are welcome at any time to our Admissions Team or, if you have queries specifically about the programme content or admissions, please direct your query to the Director of MA programmes.


A wide range of funding opportunities includes AHRC-funded studentships offered via the White Rose College of Arts and Humanities, departmental studentships, overseas scholarships, travel fellowships, and funding for students with specific research interests.


How to apply

You can apply for this course using our online application system. If you've not already done so, please read the application guidance first so that you understand the various steps in the application process.


Application guidance

Full guidance information about the process of applying can be found on the central web pages for postgraduate admissions:

Sample of writing

Online applications

Files uploaded to online applications cannot exceed 1MB. You may therefore need to remove digital images from your work so that the file size does not exceed this limit.

We will read art-historical writing samples without images as long as your text indicates which images were originally included.

All applicants for the MA in History of Art (Medieval Art and Medievalisms) should submit one sample of academic writing, max. 1500 words in length. Where possible the subject matter should concern art history, but if your background lies in other areas, we would welcome work in another field such as literature or history.

If you have any questions or concerns about the writing sample, contact our Admissions Team for advice.


Normally we expect to receive applications for the MA in History of Art (Medieval Art and Medievalisms) by late Spring, although we may consider further applications until mid-August, and sometimes later in special circumstances.

The deadline for many scholarship competitions is early Feb, and many require applicants to have applied for, and in some cases secured a place on, their preferred course before they are eligible to apply for funding. We find that the process of reviewing an application, following up references, conducting an interview (where necessary), arriving at a topic for research and completing the different sections of the scholarship application form can take fully two months, so those planning on applying for a scholarship should submit their course application as early as possible.

Admissions enquiries


For information on applying, please see individual programmes pages and the university's central admissions pages.

For questions specific to the History of Art courses, please contact:

01904 322978

Further information:

York offers a really engaging, exciting and encouraging experience for postgraduate Art Historians, full of opportunities both within the department and beyond.

MA graduate, Emma Double

The course is well organised and stimulating; it makes the most of the city's rich history, and provides the opportunity to study its buildings and their contents first hand.

MA graduate, Alexandra Beresford

As an MA student in History of Art at the University of York, my expectations were fully met! That’s why I continue my studies as a PhD student at York.

Current full-time PhD student, Aikaterini Georgoulia

As a mature student I approached the course with some trepidation, however, the support and encouragement given by staff and fellow students has been superb.


MA graduate, Marti Hall

The Department of History of Art offers so much more than I had ever dreamed of when I was applying. It is an amazing academic community to be a part of. 


MA graduate, Nina Sipova

I relished the chance to choose modules from a diverse range of fascinating topics, which allowed me to angle my studies towards areas I particularly wanted to pursue.

Current PhD student, Beatrice Bertram