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MA History of Art (Architectural History and Theory)

Explore architectural and art history across different times and cultures

Year of entry: 2024 (September)

Length

1 year full-time,
2 years part-time

Start date

September 2024 (semester dates)

Online Open Day

Join us on Wednesday 5 June 2024 to find out what postgraduate study at York is all about. 

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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 has been much disputed by architectural historians and theorists. At York we enable you to explore the most exciting and cutting-edge, as well as traditional and accepted, ideas and theories around art and architecture.

Our flexible course has exceptional historical and geographical breadth and depth. You’ll learn to read architecture critically, and to think about it beyond the study of individual buildings. We encourage you to engage with architecture as metaphor, and with 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. 

We are among the largest History of Art departments in the UK, with one of the widest-ranging groups of experts in architectural history and theory. We have developed successful partnerships with museums, galleries and country houses that 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.

Course content

You play an active role in building your degree, furthering your established or emerging specialisms and designing research projects. You'll heighten your 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 communication, and effective project management. You'll be given specialist training in archival work and the study of drawings. You'll acquire a high level of expertise in visual analysis and art historical research through object-focused study and an intensively researched MA dissertation. 

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

At least two of your option modules, your research skills module and your dissertation must be completed on Architectural History and Theory. You can either specialise entirely in this area, or select up to two option modules from other fields.

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. 

Core modules

Option modules 

You will also study four option modules. At least two of these must pertain to Architectural History and Theory. Examples may include:

Interdisciplinary options

You can choose a limited number of modules from those offered by other humanities departments at York and by our centres.

Our modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff, and in line with Department/School academic planning.

Dissertation

You'll complete your dissertation with the support of your academic supervisor. The dissertation will be up to 15,000 words. 

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

The York approach

Every course at York is built on a distinctive set of learning outcomes. These will give you a clear understanding of what you will be able to accomplish at the end of the course and help you explain what you can offer employers. Our academics identify the knowledge, skills, and experiences you'll need upon graduation and then design the course to get you there.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • Demonstrate in-depth understanding of current research, theoretical approaches, context, sources and advanced scholarship at the forefront of art historical studies, as relevant to chosen programme (Depth of Knowledge)
  • Synthesise information in a sophisticated and mature fashion and critically analyse a wide range of materials by rigorously applying observational, descriptive, analytical and methodological skills, as relevant to chosen programme (Methodological Rigor)
  • Formulate independent research questions stemming from the accurate location and evaluation of archival, written, and visual sources and informed by knowledge of scholarly arguments and relevant disciplinary approaches, as relevant to chosen programme (Originality)
  • Analyse and critique the assumptions, theoretical principles and the use of evidence employed in present and past scholarship and situate them within larger art historical dynamics, as relevant to chosen programme (Critical Evaluation)
  • Confidently present relevant information and sophisticated arguments verbally and visually to a high professional standard to a range of academic and other audiences (Communication and Digital Literacy)
    Initiate, conduct, and take responsibility for independent research projects, drawing on skills honed by graduate-level research training (Project Management).
  • Initiate, conduct, and take responsibility for independent research projects, drawing on skills honed by graduate-level research training (Project Management)

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2024/25

Study modeUK (home)International and EU
Full-time (1 year) £10,590£23,900
Part-time (2 years)
This is the year 1 fee. Fees for future years are subject to confirmation.
£5,295£11,950

Students on a Student 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.

  • UK (home) fees may increase in subsequent years (up to a maximum of 2%).
  • International fees may increase in subsequent years in line with the prevailing Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation rate (up to a maximum of 10%).

Fees information

UK (home) or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK (home) or international student. Check your fee status.

Find out more information about tuition fees and how to pay them.

Funding information

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

We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2024/25 throughout the year.

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

Funding opportunities

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 additional costs that are not included in your tuition fee such as expenses for accommodation and study materials.

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.

Teaching format

Each option module is taught by weekly two-hour seminars. 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 six 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 Cluster.

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.

About our campus

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 option module. For the Research Skills module, you'll produce a dissertation portfolio as your assessment. You'll also complete a dissertation.

Art Gallery Columns King's Manor
Louis Vuitton Fondation

Careers and skills

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

  • curator/digital curator
  • teacher of art history
  • heritage manager
  • conservationist
  • collections manager
  • marketing officer

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
  • time management

Entry requirements

Typical offer
Undergraduate degree 2:1 or equivalent. We welcome students who have previously studied History of Art, but also those from other backgrounds. Applicants below 2:1 or equivalent will be considered on condition of an interview with the programme leader
Other qualifications and experience 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.
Other international qualifications Equivalent qualifications from your country

Additional requirements

You will need to submit an example of written work with your application. Please see our guidance on submitting written work.

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:

Minimum requirement
IELTS (Academic and Indicator) 6.5, minimum 6.0 in each component
Cambridge CEFR B2 First: 176, with 169 in each component
Oxford ELLT 7, minimum of 6 in each component
Duolingo 120, minimum 105 in all other components
LanguageCert SELT B2 with 33/50 in each component
LanguageCert Academic 70 with a minimum of 65 in each component
KITE 459-494, with 426-458 in all other components
Skills for English B2: Merit overall, with Pass with Merit in each component
PTE Academic 61, minimum 55 in each component
TOEFL 87, minimum of 21 in each component
Trinity ISE III Merit in all requirements

For more information see our postgraduate English language requirements.

If you haven't met our English language requirements

You may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language courses. These courses will provide you with the level of English needed to meet the conditions of your offer.

The length of course you need to take depends on your current English language test scores and how much you need to improve to reach our English language requirements.

After you've accepted your offer to study at York, we'll confirm which pre-sessional course you should apply to via You@York.

Applying

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

Applications open 25 September 2023.

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