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 a module that is jointly taught in collaboration with our partners (eg the Tate or the V&A).
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.
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.
Find out more about the benefits of studying your MA in History of Art at York.
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.
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.
Architectural History and Theory: Research Skills and Methods (10 credits)
You'll be introduced to key concepts and cutting-edge methods of art historical research so to improve your understanding of artwork, to develop a critical attitude towards existing scholarship, to identify future fields of inquiry and to hone your communicative and digital skills. You'll also explore tools and methodologies specific to research in architectural history. This course runs throughout the year.
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 our partners will contribute. Read more about your choice of option modules.
You can choose up to two option 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.
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 words. You'll submit this in September, and it will account for 50% of your final degree mark.
Recent dissertation topics have included:
|Full-time (1 year)||£7,810||£17,370|
|Part-time (2 years)|
Fees for subsequent years are subject to confirmation.
year 1 fee
year 1 fee
Students on a Tier 4 Visa are not currently permitted to study part-time at York.
For courses which are longer than one year, the tuition fees quoted are for the first year of study. Fees for subsequent years are subject to increase (no more than 2% each year).
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.
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.
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.
You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers additional costs that are not included in your tuition fee such as expenses for accommodation and study materials.
I am focussing 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)
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.
Each option 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.
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.
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.
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.
You'll submit a 4,000 word essay per optional module. For the Research Skills in History of Art module, you'll produce a dissertation synopsis as your assessment. You'll also complete a dissertation.
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.
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.
If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:
For more information see our postgraduate English language requirements.
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.
Get in touch if you have any questions
We offer a range of campus accommodation to suit you and your budget, from economy to premium.
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Lively, full of culture and beautiful, York is regularly voted one of the best places to live and visit in the UK.