according to the Times Higher Education’s ranking of the latest REF results (2021).
Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023
Complete University Guide 2024
This innovative degree builds on our reputation as one of the UK's leading art history departments.
You'll study the history of art, which will be invaluable as you develop skills in curating in spaces such as museums, galleries, or other cultural and heritage sites, as well as in institutions outside of the art world. You may further have the opportunity to partake in field trips to encounter objects in their various institutional settings.
As part of the degree, you'll study a range of art history and curatorial modules. Some of these will take place in a seminar room and others in museums and galleries. You will work both with staff from our department, many of whom are curators with an international reputation, and with museum and gallery professionals, from a range of our partner institutions, including:
For more on the Department's diverse partnerships with organisations including Tate, the V&A, the National Gallery, York Museums Trust, the National Railway Museum, the Bowes Museum, the Hepworth Wakefield, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, see York Art History Collaborations.
You'll be taught by dedicated staff, including curators, artists and academics.
Our range of collaborations with museums and galleries will be invaluable to your education.
You'll study a wide range of modules that cover the fundamentals of art history and develop a range of approaches to curating an art museum or gallery. You'll also get to plan an exhibition as part of a group project and take a placement with an art institution. 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.
Some of the modules you can choose from may include associated field trips to allow you to visit art and architecture. We will cover the cost of any major air/sea/rail travel and accommodation, but you will be expected to pay for local transportation, food and entrance costs.
There are other opportunities for you to spend time abroad during your course:
There are opportunities to spend time in industry as part of this course.
You'll study a range of modules that will develop your skills in art history and cover a range of approaches to curating art museums. You can also choose to study a language module, several of which are specifically designed for art historians.
With our modules you'll visit works of art and architecture in York and beyond to study them first hand, and you'll explore the material nature of works and learn to describe, analyse and interpret the visual and material qualities of a wide range of media. You'll learn to challenge commonly held assumptions, and develop your skills for literary, critical and rhetorical analysis. You'll be introduced to the history and current practice of art curation. You'll work with case studies and texts and learn about relevant methodologies and conceptual problems, and will critically assess the collection and display of visual objects.
You will also have a choice to study one option modules from one of the following examples:
In addition to the above you will also need to complete our online Academic Integrity module.
This module covers some of the essential skills and knowledge which will help you to study independently and produce work of a high academic standard which is vital for success at York.
This module will:
You'll be able to choose from modules across a wide historical, geographical, and theoretical range. The emphasis will be on learning to think about exhibitions and displays.
You'll undertake a curatorial internship which is a placement with an arts institution which allows you to practise the skills you've acquired and to develop your own curatorial interests.
You'll also take part in a group project to plan an exhibition with the University Art Collection. You'll focus on a particular display project or exhibition and explore the full process of developing an exhibition, including object selection and arrangement, the production of interpretive texts, catalogue conception, audience analysis, marketing, fundraising and more. You'll experience at first hand how curatorial theory intersects with the practical demands of planning an exhibition.
You'll also choose option modules that allow you to study certain time-periods or types of art in more detail. There will be restrictions on which modules you can choose, to ensure you study a sufficient amount of curatorial material. Modules change to reflect the latest research and developments but will include a range of interesting subjects from the medieval to the contemporary.
You will study four option modules. In previous years, options have covered topics such as:
You'll live, study, and potentially work abroad, combining university study with an international vocational opportunity. The department has a number of partners in Europe and China, but you’ll also be able to make use of the university’s partners in the World University Network, and partners beyond the university as well. During the year, you'll study modules on offer at your host institution and you'll pay a reduced fee to York for that year of study. Your assessment will be via two modules, in which you'll write a 2000-word essay, in English, discussing your experience abroad, and assessed by the York department.
Our current international partners
In your fourth year, you'll continue to explore your own interests from a wide variety of time periods, contexts and media.
You'll also work on your 7,000-8,000-word dissertation. This will give you a chance to explore an interesting topic in significant detail, and must have a significant curatorial aspect.
You will also study four option modules. In previous years, options have covered topics such as:
Our modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.
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.
|UK (home)||International and EU|
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.
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.
Many of the modules you can choose from will have associated field trips to allow you to visit the art and architecture. Field trips can be local, national or international. We'll cover the cost of any major air/sea/rail travel and accommodation, but you'll be expected to pay for local transportation, food and entrance costs.
Your third year will be spent abroad with one of our partner institutions and you will pay a reduced fee to York for that year of study.
We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2024/25 throughout the year.
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 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.
You'll be taught by art historians that are writing some of the texts you'll read, as well as curating some of the exhibitions you'll see.
In your first year you'll attend seminars, tutorials, lectures and workshops. As the degree progresses you'll find you spend more time in seminars where you, with a small group of other students and a tutor, will discuss a topic for which you've done preliminary research and preparation. As your studies progress you will be asked to give presentations or lead the discussions in seminars.
Some of our curators and their recent exhibitions include:
In your first year, you can expect:
|Lectures||1-2 hours per week|
|Seminars||6 hours per week|
|Tutorials||1-2 hours per term|
|Workshops||1-2 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.
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.
You will be based in the Department of History of Art 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.
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.
We use a number of different assessment formats:
We'll also ask you to write procedural essays and we'll give you feedback. You'll also be assessed on your performance in seminars.
You'll develop skills that are attractive to a wide range of employers, but particularly suitable for careers in cultural roles such as gallery/museum curator, the art market, conservation and journalism.
During you'll degree you'll find many exciting opportunities for gaining relevant and useful curatorial and museological skills. In previous years students have worked with organisations such as York Museums Trust, the National Trust and Rievaulx Abbey, on events, exhibitions, heritage and outreach.
Recent graduates from the department have gone on to roles that include:
They've worked for a range of organisations including:
As well as gaining skills applicable to art history and curatorships you'll also develop skills that can be used across academic disciplines and throughout your career:
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|
|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|
Meeting the following additional criteria may qualify you for an alternative offer.
|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.|
If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:
|IELTS (Academic)||6.5, with a minimum of 6.0 in each component|
|C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency||176, with a minimum of 169 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 International ESOL||B2 Communicator with a minimum score of 33/50 in each component|
|PTE Academic/PTE Academic Online||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.
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.
Get in touch if you have any questions
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