British art making has been at the heart of a wide range of worldwide networks and dialogues, from the material culture of Anglo-Saxon Britain through the painting and sculpture of eighteenth-century and Victorian Britain, to British Modernism and Britart.
Studying on our MA in British art you’ll investigate notions of national, imperial, cosmopolitan and global visual and material cultures; you’ll be able to engage with debates about British and European cultural identity.
Our flexible degree programme is unique in the variety of works that you can study from painting, sculpture and architecture, through to graphic art, design and craft. You can explore photography, installation, performance and contemporary works engaging with new media, digital and other innovative technologies. 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 recognised as one of the leading centres of British Art studies in the UK, and 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.
Our range of collaborations and partnerships with leading museums and galleries will be invaluable to your education.
You play an active role in building your degree, furthering your specialist interests, and designing exciting research projects. You can study works of art from different periods or focus on a specific period or issue.
You will also develop a heightened methodological awareness, helping you to forge a more sophisticated understanding of how artworks create meaning and why some artworks 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 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'll study one core module and four option modules. Further information about the degree structure.
British Art: 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 British art. 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 submit a dissertation of 15,000 words in September. The dissertation will account for 50% of your final degree mark and will be supervised by a member of staff. Recent dissertations have included:
Discover a variety of British artworks nearby, in high-profile museums and galleries, local country houses, parish churches and our partnership institutions. Explore internationally significant collections of sculpture in the Henry Moore Institute, the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and the Hepworth Wakefield. Visit Yorkshire's surviving works of Anglo-Saxon art, the York area's later medieval sculptures in wood and stone, and the impressive York Minster.
|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 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.
Read more about available funding specific to History of Art.
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.
My time as a graduate student partner at Yorkshire Sculpture Park has been incredibly eye-opening and stimulating. I spend one day a week in their offices working with the curatorial staff and program assistants.Kat, MA History of Art (Modern and Contemporary Art)
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.
Each option module is taught by weekly two-hour seminars, and the core module is taught on a fortnightly basis. You'll have the opportunity to go on field-trips organised by the Department to view art and architecture, these will be an integral part of your learning.
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 our British Art 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.
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. You'll have the opportunity to engage first hand with some of the most exciting collections of British art in the country. We work with the National Gallery, Tate, the V&A, 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 through modules jointly designed with the partnership institution, and with 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.
The interdisciplinary style of the MA course at York has allowed me to develop and apply a range of different skills and work with people from a wide variety of fields, skills I know will prove invaluable.Eleanor, MA History of Art (Medieval Art & Medievalisms)
Find out more about the course from our students.
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 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 IELTS 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.
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
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