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MA History of Art (Architectural History and Theory)

Explore architectural and art history across different times and cultures

2018/19 entry

Length

1 year full-time,
2 years part-time

Start date

September 2018 (term dates)

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Our course will change the way you think about architecture. 

Architecture is fundamental to human survival and living in the world. You'll investigate the exact nature of our relationship with art and architecture, which is much disputed by architectural historians and theorists. At York we enable you to explore some of the most exciting, and cutting-edge, as well as traditional and accepted, of ideas and theories around art and architecture.

Our flexible degree programme is exceptional in its historical and geographical breadth and depth. You’ll read architecture critically, and think about architecture beyond the study of individual buildings. We encourage you to engage with architecture as metaphor, interiors, exteriors, materials and materiality, urbanism, patronage, and design process. You’ll explore the relationships between architecture and power, religion, gender and sexuality, education, and imperialism. You’ll be able to study modules that are jointly designed and taught in collaboration with the Tate.

We are one of the largest and liveliest History of Art departments in the UK, with one of the most wide-ranging groups of experts in architectural history and theory. We are recognised for the excellence of our research environment and research-led teaching.

We have developed successful partnerships with museums, galleries and country houses which will enrich your studies and may offer you placement opportunities and privileged access to collections.

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The reputation and access to medieval architecture here is truly incredible and the university’s vicinity to the Minster is a huge source of inspiration in my research.
George, MA History of Art (Architectural History & Theory)

Read more about the course from George.

Course content

You play an active role in building your degree, furthering your established or emerging specialisms and designing exciting research projects. You will also develop a heightened methodological awareness, helping you to forge a more sophisticated understanding of how art and architecture create meaning and why some works have been deemed culturally more significant than others.

The course enables you to develop advanced skills in verbal and written communication, and effective project management. You will acquire a high level of expertise in visual analysis and art historical research through object-focused study and an intensively researched MA dissertation. You'll be given specialist training in archival work and the study of drawings.

You also have the option to develop your interdisciplinary interests by taking modules in related academic disciplines such as history, literature, archaeology, philosophy, sociology and others.

Our expert academic staff support you every step of the way through personalised, small-group teaching, individual tutorials and field trips.

Modules

You can focus on time periods: medieval, early modern, and modern, or explore geographically in Britain, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Germany. You can study methodologically by approaches including historical materialism, critical theory, materiality, patronage and feminism. You can also benefit from our significant expertise in stained glass, architectural drawings, architectural models, urbanism, rural buildings and environments, domestic and religious architecture.

You'll study one core module and four option modules. Further information about the degree structure.

Core module: Research Skills and Methods in History of Art (10 credits)

You'll study archival, bibliographic and art-historical resources, and you'll be introduced to a range of significant methodologies. You'll learn how to apply and adapt methodologies appropriate to your own research and to develop your own independent research skills.

Option modules (20 credits each):

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. Read more about your choice of option modules.

You can choose up to two optional modules from those offered by other humanities departments at York and by our world-class Interdisciplinary Centres in the Humanities.

Please note, modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.

Dissertation

You'll complete your dissertation during the Summer Term and summer vacation with the support of your academic supervisor. The dissertation will be 15,000-20,000 words. You'll submit this in September, and it will account for 50% of your final degree mark.

Recent dissertation topics have included:

  • The Built Surface at Blenheim: a discussion of process and materiality in English Baroque
  • Richard Wright: Contemporary Wall-Painting and the Depiction of Space
  • "You saw the Crescents, We saw the whole of the Hulme": A revised approach to Modernist planning and community architecture in Hulme, Manchester
  • Constructing an Identity: The Assemblage Architecture of York Art Gallery

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2018/19

Study modeUK/EUInternational
Full-time (1 year)£7,580£16,780
Part-time (2 years)
Fees for subsequent years are subject to confirmation.
£3,790
year 1 fee
£8,390
year 1 fee

Fees information

UK/EU or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK/EU or international student.

Funding information

Discover your funding options to help with tuition fees and living costs.

If you've successfully completed an undergraduate degree at York you could be eligible for a 10% Masters fee discount.

Home/EU students

International students

Department scholarship information

A wide range of funding opportunities includes placements with funding from the Department's partnership studentships with museums and galleries, 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.

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers accommodation costs and estimated social costs.

I am focusing on medieval stained glass traditions. In the city you will meet with an abundance of churches. All slightly different but all a treasure trove of medieval delights. One of my modules ‘Art and Imagery of the York Minster’ is based in the Minster itself and at King’s Manor. Being able to learn about a building whilst being in the building itself is incredible.
Becca, MA History of Art (Medieval Art and Medievalisms)

Read more from Becca in her blog. Read more from our students.

Teaching and assessment

You’ll work with world‐leading academics who’ll challenge you to think independently and excel in all that you do. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Teaching format

Each optional module is taught by weekly two-hour seminars, and the core module is taught on a fortnightly basis. You'll also usually have the chance to go on field-trips to view art and architecture.

You'll be taught with lectures, seminars and one-to-one meetings with your lecturer or supervisor. You'll have between seven and nine hours on average per week of classes.
You'll study independently for 31-33 hours per week on average. This time gives you space to read widely and develop your thoughts on specialised topics.

We offer an extensive programme of research seminars and events which are an invaluable way to engage with different aspects of your subject, along with discussing module themes with your peers, and the staff weekly office hours.

Facilities

You'll be part of the vibrant interdisciplinary Humanities Research Centre and as a History of Art student you'll also have access to extensive resources. You'll be able to attend related lectures, conferences or site visits offered by the Architectural History and Theory Research School.

Teaching location

You will be based in the Department of History of Art on Campus West.

Most of your contact hours will be in Vanbrugh College, with some additional teaching on Campus West and King's Manor in the city.

Course location

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.

Assessment and feedback

You'll submit a 4,000 word essay per optional module. For the Research Skills and Methods in History of Art module, you'll produce a dissertation synopsis as your assessment. You'll also complete a dissertation.

Art Gallery Columns King's Manor
Louis Vuitton Fondation

Careers and skills

Watch our video to find out more about your career and placement opportunities. 

We offer amazing partnerships and placements with numerous museums and galleries that will help you in your future career. We work with the architectural and design department of the V&A, the National Gallery, Tate, and York Museums Trust. We have excellent relationships with regional museums, galleries and country houses— including the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, Castle Howard, the Hepworth Wakefield, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, and The Henry Moore Institute. Our collaborations will support your learning and research, with the opportunities for exclusive partnership studentships, work experience and privileged access to collections. The course prepares you for higher research degrees and a range of possible careers. Read about some of our alumni and where their degree has taken them.

Career opportunities

  • Museums, galleries and auction houses
  • Cultural management
  • Heritage and conservation
  • Architectural design, planning, and urban design
  • Environmental work
  • Journalism and media
  • Teaching
  • Academia
  • Education
  • Art administration

Transferable skills

  • The ability to analyse and interpret information from different sources
  • Intellectual independence and autonomy
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Applying and adapting methodologies appropriate to your own research
  • You'll be familiar with principal archival, bibliographic and art-historical resources
  • Time management

Entry requirements

Qualification Grade
Degree

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

You should have, or be about to complete, a 2:1 undergraduate degree or equivalent qualification.

We will consider applications from mature students or applicants without formal academic qualifications if you have substantial related experience. We may ask you for an interview in this instance.

You should provide an academic writing sample as part of your application.

If you are unsure about your eligibility, or want an informal chat about whether this course would be suitable for you, please contact us.

The international equivalents of UK qualifications are shown on our country-specific pages. You can also contact the international team for guidance.

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability.

  • IELTS: 7.0, with a minimum of 6.0 in Writing and no less than 5.5 in all other components
  • PTE: 67, with a minimum of 55 in Writing and no less than 51 in all other components
  • CAE and CPE (from January 2015): 185, with a minimum of 169 in Writing and no less than 162 in all other components
  • TOEFL: 96, with a minimum of 21 in Writing, 17 in Listening, 18 in Reading and 20 in Speaking
  • Trinity ISE: level 3 with Distinction in all requirements

Applying

You can apply and send all your documentation electronically through our online system. You don’t need to complete your application all at once: you can start it, save it and finish it later.

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Department of History of Art

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