Modern and contemporary art has great cultural significance for our lives today. Numerous galleries and museums globally specialise in these works, offering diverse definitions of modernity and the contemporary era.
Develop your ability to analyse images, art and architecture in a conceptual way; this is an increasingly valuable skill in a contemporary society with innovative technologies for visual research and communication.
Our flexible course enables you to study a wide variety of works ranging from painting, sculpture and architecture, to photography, installation, and performance art, and to also engage with new media and the digital world.
You’ll go on field trips for practical experience, and to benefit from Yorkshire’s strong modern and contemporary art presence. The Hepworth Wakefield, Yorkshire Sculpture Park and Henry Moore Institute are all within easy reach.
We have developed successful partnerships with a range of modern art museums and galleries, which will enrich your studies and may offer you placement opportunities and privileged access to collections.
Find out more about the benefits of studying your MA in History of Art at York.
Our collaborations support your learning and research through jointly designed modules, privileged access to collections and studentship opportunities.
We are first in the UK for History of Art research impact according to Times Higher Education’s ranking of the 2014 Research Excellence Framework.
You play an active role in building your degree, furthering your established or emerging specialisms and designing research projects. You can study works of art from the nineteenth century to the contemporary, or focus on a specific period, issue, or media.
The course enables you to develop advanced skills in verbal and written communication, and effective project management. 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 history, literature, archaeology, philosophy, sociology and via the Centre for Modern Studies.
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 Modern and Contemporary Art. You can either specialise entirely in this area, or select up to two option modules from other fields.
Taken full-time, the one-year taught MA consists of:
If you study the course part-time you'll take one option in each of the Autumn and Spring Terms, and work on your dissertation during the Summer Terms and vacations.
You’ll study artworks from geographically diverse regions. You’ll engage with the international rise of pop art in the 1960s, to the arts of the Americas, and western and eastern European art from the early twentieth century to the present day.
You'll study one core module and four option modules.
The list of options offered each year will vary according to staff availability. Modules offered may change before the start of the academic year.
You can choose up to two option modules from those offered by other humanities departments and our interdisciplinary centres.
Our modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.
Our course structures are changing in September 2023. Find out more about how this course may be affected.
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:
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.
I am always interested in art and I was fascinated by the discussion of modernity during undergraduate study as an English major. I chose York because I really appreciated the flexibility to combine modules from different paths and different departments together.Yayi, MA History of Art
Read more about the course from Yayi.
|Study mode||UK (home)||International and EU|
|Full-time (1 year)||£8,440||£18,700|
|Part-time (2 years)
This is the year 1 fee. Fees for future years are subject to confirmation.
Students on a Student Visa (formerly 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 (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.
Discover your funding options to help with tuition fees and living costs.
We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2021/22 throughout the year.
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.
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.
We've made some changes to the way our courses are delivered to minimise potential disruption from the ongoing global pandemic.
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 the Modern and Contemporary research group, and you'll benefit from our close links to the Centre for Modern Studies.
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 option module. For the Research Skills 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 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.
|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|
You will need to submit an example of written work with your application. Please see our guidance on submitting written work.
If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:
|IELTS||6.5, minimum 6.0 in each component|
|C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency||176, minimum 169 in each component|
|Duolingo||110, minimum 100 in all other components|
|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.
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.
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