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BA (Hons) History of Art

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Year of entry: 2024/25

UCAS code

V350

Institution code

Y50

Length

3 years full-time

Typical offer

AAB (full entry requirements)

Start date

September 2024 (semester dates)

UK (home) fees

£9,250 per year

International and EU fees

£23,700 per year

Undergraduate Open Days

Book your place for our Open Days on 22 and 23 June and 6 and 7 September.

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in the UK for history of art research impact and environment

according to the Times Higher Education’s ranking of the latest REF results (2021).

in the UK for history of art, architecture and design

Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024

in the UK for history of art, architecture and design

Complete University Guide 2025

Our BA History of Art will give you three distinctive and complementary years of studying the history of art and architecture.

You'll start with a year-long introduction to the history of art and then build on this, in years two and three, with rounded training in the discipline and practice of art history. The interdisciplinary nature of art history allows you to develop your existing skills and interests and is reflected in our close relationship with other departments and centres in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities and Faculty of Social Sciences.

We'll introduce you to an extraordinary variety of art and architecture from many areas, including Europe, the Americas, but also covering the Middle East, North Africa, and South and South East Asia. You can also study an exciting range of time periods, from the late antique to the contemporary.

History of Art is a traditional humanities subject with a strong vocational element, allowing you to develop valuable transferable skills. We have close relationships with a range of local, regional, national, and international arts organisations. We also work on art beyond the museum and gallery system, including with partners in country houses, maritime museums, and churches. These partnerships contribute to the teaching and research in our department and you'll benefit from our collaborative links with these institutions.

Collaborations with museums and galleries

Our range of collaborations with museums and galleries will be invaluable to your education

Bite-sized History of Art

Learn more about our lecturers favourite topics with a few short videos

Learn a language

You can learn a language as part of your course which could benefit your future career

History of Art teaches you to question everything. It's about how you see the world. I often have to produce articles quickly, which require quite a bit of previous research and reading. My degree was probably the best training ground for that level of production.
Miranda, Reporter (BA History of Art, 2013)

Course content

Our course is designed and taught by expert art historians, many of whom are curators with international reputations. In the first year of the course you'll receive a revealing and rigorous introduction to the history of art and architecture. As you progress in the second and third years you'll be able to specialise more, choosing your own blend of modules taught by experts in the field and introducing you to the newest and most exciting research and ideas. You'll also be able to learn a language which can enhance your experience of art history, and benefit your career.

History of Art is a subject with a strong vocational element that will allow you to develop many transferable skills. We have close relationships with a wide variety of local, national, and international arts and heritage institutions, as well as other third-sector organisations. We also work on art beyond the museum and gallery system, including with partners in country houses, churches and cathedrals, as well as human rights and law enforcement institutions.

Here are just some of our partners:

  • York Museums Trust
  • York Minster
  • Yorkshire Country House partnership
  • St Paul’s Cathedral
  • Hepworth Wakefield
  • Yorkshire Sculpture Park

For more on the Department's diverse partnerships, see York Art History Collaborations.

Study abroad

There are other opportunities for you to spend time abroad during your course:

We also offer BA History of Art (with a year abroad).

Placements

There are opportunities to spend time in industry as part of this course.

Year 1

Your first year introduces you to the fundamental concepts and skills you'll need as an art historian.

Core modules

Option modules

You will also choose one of these modules to support your studies:

Academic integrity module

In addition to the above you will also need to complete our online Academic Integrity module.

Year 2

In your second year, you'll be able to explore your own interests from a wide variety of time periods, media, and institutional contexts. For instance, you’ll learn how artworks operate within cultural and heritage organisations, as well as in other types of spaces such as hospitals, churches, or law enforcement units. Through lectures and Problem Based Learning (PBL) activities, students will gain insights into the skills required to tackle real-life challenges in these spaces. You’ll also develop your ability to work independently, design imaginative research strategies to prepare for your dissertation, and gain crucial insight into conducting academic work.

Core modules

Option modules

You'll choose modules from a wide range, with the opportunity to cover a number of different time periods and types of art. 

You will study four option modules. In previous years, options have covered topics such as:

Note: We often update the modules we run to reflect the active research in our department. These modules are some of the ones running for our current students.

Elective modules

You may be able to replace one option module with an elective module, studying a complementary subject, a language or an interdisciplinary topic.

Year 3

In your third year, you'll focus on option modules and your dissertation. 

Your dissertation will draw on the knowledge and skills you have developed throughout your degree. It will consist of 7,000-8,000 words and represents a year-long, independent research project on a topic that most interests you. You will also choose special subject modules that might either support your dissertation or broaden your horizons in a different direction.

Option modules

You will study four option modules. In previous years, options have covered topics such as:

Elective modules

You may be able to replace one option module with an elective module, studying a complementary subject, a language or an interdisciplinary topic.

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

Learning by design

Every course at York has been designed to provide clear and ambitious learning outcomes. These learning outcomes give you an understanding of what you will be able to do at the end of the course. We develop each course by designing modules that grow your abilities towards the learning outcomes and help you to explain what you can offer to employers. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • Deploy a broad knowledge of varied types of art and architecture from diverse periods and places, together with understanding of their historical and cultural contexts, with in-depth critical understanding of more than one subfield.
  • When encountering new visual material either first-hand or in reproduction, apply high-level descriptive and observational skills, develop critical visual analysis drawing upon an appropriate range of methodological approaches, and identify relevant sources for further research.
  • Communicate complex ideas effectively, both orally and in writing, well-supported by visual material where required, at varied lengths and registers appropriate to the context and intended audience.
  • Confront and interrogate widely-held assumptions, understand how interpretations of culture and its contexts have changed over time both incrementally and in more radical paradigm shifts, and continue to engage critically with future changes in ways of thinking.
  • Carry out an original and independent investigative project from beginning to end: identify and assemble relevant primary material, develop relevant methodologies for interpretation, consult significant source materials and experts, manage time in an appropriate framework, and complete the project to a deadline in the required format.
  • Work both independently and as an effective team member in pursuit of an objective, exercising initiative and leadership when appropriate.
  • Evaluate how artworks are understood, employed, and valued in various institutions both within and beyond the heritage sector.
  • For History of Art with a Year Abroad only. Adapt successfully to unfamiliar contexts and take advantage of the intellectual and wider benefits of intercultural experiences.

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees

UK (home) International and EU
£9,250 £23,700

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.

Fees for subsequent years

  • UK (home) fees may increase within the government fee cap in subsequent academic years. We will notify you of any increase as soon as we can.
  • International fees are subject to increase in subsequent years in line with the prevailing Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation rate (up to a maximum of 10%).

More information

For more information about tuition fees, any reduced fees for study abroad and work placement years, scholarships, tuition fee loans, maintenance loans and living costs see undergraduate fees and funding.

Additional costs

Some of the modules you can choose from may include associated field trips to allow you to visit art and architecture. Financial support with transport is usually provided.

Funding

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

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.

Studying here allows you to make your engagement with History of Art as personal as you’d like, with incredible opportunities to travel and develop outside your course.
Senah, History of Art

Read Senah's blog post.

Teaching Excellence Framework Gold Award

Gold-standard education

Our teaching, learning and student experience is outstanding, recognised by a Gold rating from the Office for Students in the 2023 national assessment (Teaching Excellence Framework).

Why we’re gold-rated

Teaching and assessment

You’ll study and learn with academics who are active researchers, experts in their field and have a passion for their subjects. 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

We believe that you learn best in an interactive and stimulating environment where you can discuss ideas with experts and fellow students, and develop your capacity for critical thought. We'll teach you in small groups, through a combination of lectures, seminars, field trips, individual tutorials and workshops.

You'll be taught by the best: our art historians are curators with serious international reputations. Our internationally-renowned academics will challenge you to think critically about periods, places, images and ideas - and the scholarship they’ve inspired.

We believe in the importance of studying art and architecture in the original. So many modules include visits to collections, either locally or across the UK. The majority of these trips are funded. Recent trips have included Cambridge, Canterbury, Edinburgh, Manchester and London.

Timetabled activities

In your first year, you can expect:

Lectures1-2 hours per week
Seminars6 hours per week
Tutorials1-2 hours per term
Workshops1-2 hours per week

These figures are representative of a typical week. Your contact hours will vary throughout the year due to your module choices, non-compulsory classes, exam periods and changes to scheduled activities.

Outside your timetabled hours, you'll study independently. This may include preparation for classes, follow-up work, wider reading, practice completion of assessment tasks, or revision.

In the UK, full-time students are expected to spend 1,200 hours a year learning. That's about 40 hours of classes and independent study each week during semesters. Everyone learns at a different rate, so the number of hours you spend on independent study will be different to other students on your course.

Facilities

The student-run Norman Rea Gallery gallery hosts exciting exhibitions throughout the year and promotes the work of both student and professional artists.

The University art collection contains a wide variety of works, from ancient to contemporary, across a diverse array of materials, including painting, sculpture, ceramics, prints, book art, photography, and textiles. The collection includes key work by internationally significant artists including Barbara Hepworth and Jacob Epstein, Paul Nash and Sydney Nolan, R B Kitaj and Elizabeth Blackadder. The collection is available for innovative curatorial displays and exhibitions on and beyond campus.

There are also many libraries and galleries nearby.

Teaching location

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

Your contact hours will be divided between Vanbrugh College on Campus West, and King's Manor in the city centre.

York is the perfect place to inspire your studies, with a rich and turbulent history stretching back to the Romans. Today the city boasts beautiful historic architecture, as well as museums, galleries, and archives.

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 - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can use the fast and frequent bus service. Take a campus tour.

Assessment and feedback

We use varied assessments to develop and evaluate your different strengths. Our assessments include:

  • Essays and other written assignments
  • Closed exams
  • A 7,000-8,000-word research dissertation

You'll receive regular feedback on your assessment. You'll get verbal and written advice on your work in one-to-one tutorials. You'll also be able to discuss your work with your personal supervisor, who will help support you throughout your degree.

Student measuring black and white image projection
Group of students in York Minster

Careers and skills

The skills you'll develop on this course go far beyond art history. You might be surprised by the range of careers our students have gone in to. Our alumni are art educators, journalists, curators, auctioneers and valuers. We also have students who work in law, public administration, social work and education.

Many graduates take the first step of their careers on prestigious internships - recently at MoMA and the Guggenheim in Venice. Others go on to postgraduate study here and at other top universities.

Career opportunities

  • Academic careers
  • Antiques Dealer
  • Archivist
  • Art Consultant
  • Art practitioner
  • Broadcaster
  • Charity Fundraiser
  • Conservation Officer
  • Curator
  • Editor
  • Freelance writer
  • Gallery Director
  • Learning Officer

Transferable skills

  • Analytical skills
  • Research
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Presenting and communicating
  • Persuasive writing
  • Independent thinking
  • Time management
  • Problem-solving

Free online courses

Get a taste of university-level study on one of York's free short courses, including our subject course, 'Modern sculpture'.

Entry requirements

Typical offer
A levels

AAB

You do not need an A level in History of Art.

Access to Higher Education Diploma Obtain Access to HE Diploma with 36 credits at Distinction and 9 credits at Merit or higher
BTEC National Extended Diploma DDD
Cambridge Pre-U D3, D3, M2
European Baccalaureate 80%
International Baccalaureate 35 points
T levels We will consider a range of T Level qualifications for entry. Please visit our dedicated T Levels page for a full list of accepted T Levels.
Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers Scottish Highers - AABBB

Advanced Highers - not required for entry

We may also be able to consider three Advanced Highers or a combination of Highers and Advanced Highers, where an applicant does not meet the grade requirement through Highers alone. Please contact us to discuss your qualifications.
UAL Level 3 Extended Diploma in Art and Design Distinction. We will also consider other qualifications from the University of the Arts London in different specialisms, at Level 3 or higher.
International foundation programme Foundation Certificate from our International Pathway College or an appropriate alternative.
Other international qualifications Equivalent qualifications from your country

Alternative offers

Meeting the following additional criteria may qualify you for an alternative offer.

Criteria Adjustment
Widening participation If you successfully complete one of the following programmes, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to three A level grades (or equivalent) below our typical offer: Black Access Programme, Next Step York, Realising Opportunities, YESS, YorWay to York. More about widening participation.
Contextual offers If you have experience of local authority care or live in an area with low progression to university, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to two A level grades (or equivalent) below our typical offer. More about contextual offers.
EPQ If you achieve C or higher at EPQ, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to one A level grade (or equivalent) below our typical offer.
Core Maths If you achieve B or higher in Core Maths, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to one A level grade (or equivalent) below our typical offer.
MOOCs If you successfully complete our online course Modern Sculpture: An Introduction to History of Art do let us know, as you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to one A level grade (or equivalent) below our typical offer. More about MOOCs.

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) 6.5, with a minimum of 6.0 in each component
Cambridge CEFR 176, with a minimum of 169 in each component
Oxford ELLT 7, with a minimum of 6 in each component
Duolingo 120, minimum 105 in each component
GCSE/IGCSE/O level English Language (as a first or second language) Grade C / Grade 4
LanguageCert SELT B2 with a minimum score of 33/50 in each component
LanguageCert Academic B2 Communicator with a minimum score of 33/50 in each component
KITE 459 Main Flight score with 426 in each component
Skills for English B2: Merit overall, with Pass with Merit in each component
PTE Academic 61, with a minimum of 55 in each component
TOEFL 87 overall, with a minimum of 21 in each component
Trinity ISE III Merit in all components

For more information see our undergraduate 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

To apply to York, you will need to complete an online application via UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service).

Applications must be made through UCAS. We currently make our selection based on your UCAS form. However if you have been away from study for some time you may be invited to interview.

In your personal statement we're particularly interested to know why you want to study History of Art. Tell us about any galleries, exhibitions, buildings or cities you've been to and particularly liked.

We don't expect you to have travelled the world: we're interested in what you have to say, rather than where you have been. Remember to keep it honest and personal – you’re not expected to love everything equally, so try to examine and then explain your own motivations for applying for the course.

If you receive an offer we'll invite you to one of our visit days which gives you a chance to experience our teaching style and to meet staff and students here. You'll also be able to explore the facilities of both our department and the wider University.

York is a beautiful city. It’s quite a privilege to spend your days encountering that history, stumbling around incredibly long cobbled streets! I really miss it as a place. That’s why I’ve loved coming back for the past nine years to give talks – it feels like coming full circle.
Greg Jenner, York Alumni
Public Historian & Podcast Host

Next steps

Contact us

Get in touch if you have any questions

Prof. Jason Edwards

Learn more

Department of History of Art

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