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BA (Hons) Curating and Art History

A practical introduction to working in museums and galleries

Year of entry: 2022/23

UCAS code


Institution code



3 years full-time (plus optional placement year)

Typical offer

AAB (full entry requirements)

Start date

September 2022(term dates)

UK (home) fees

£9,250 per year

International and EU fees

£19,600 per year

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in the UK for History of Art research impact

Times Higher Education’s ranking of the Research Excellence Framework 2014

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 galleries and art museums. You’ll go on a number of field trips to encounter objects in their various institutional settings.

You can also study a language in your first year, with options specially tailored for art historians.

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:

York Museums Trust

The Hepworth Wakefield

YCHP (Yorkshire Country House Partnership)

Castle Howard

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.

Expert teaching

You'll be taught by dedicated staff, including curators, artists and academics.

Collaborations with museums and galleries

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

Course content

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.

Many of the modules you can choose from will have associated field trips to allow you to visit the art and architecture. These field trips will range from local, to national and occasionally international. We cover the cost of any major air/sea/rail travel and accommodation, although you'll be expected to pay for any local transportation, food and entrance costs.

Study abroad

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

 We also offer BA Curating and Art History (with a year abroad). Some modules include study trips abroad during term time which will be subsidised by the department. 

Year 1

In your first year 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'll take a selection of modules, examples of which may include:

You'll also have a choice to study another module from one of the following examples:

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 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. This module is taught in collaboration with one of our established museum partners, and you'll have a chance to familiarise yourself with their collections and their spaces. 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.

Core modules

You'll take core modules that develop your curatorial and exhibition skills and knowledge:

Seminar option modules

You'll also choose seminar 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'll take a selection of option modules, examples of which may include:

Year 3

In your third year you'll choose modules that allow you to study a time period or type of art in significant 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. 

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.

Special subject modules

You'll take a selection of special subject modules, examples of which may include:

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.

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, cultural and institutional contexts. 
  • 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. 
  • Analyse and evaluate how works of art are presented in museums, galleries and other settings, and demonstrate an understanding of how the contexts of collection, preservation and display have helped to shape the history of art. 
  • Identify and engage with concepts, values and debates that inform contemporary curatorial practice, drawing on first-hand practical experience. 
  • 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 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.

Fees and funding

The fees and funding figures below are for 2022/23 entry. If you take a year abroad or year in industry you'll pay a reduced rate of fees for that year

Annual tuition fees

UK (home) International and EU
£9,250 £19,600

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): further increases within the government fee cap will apply in subsequent academic years. We will notify you of any increase as soon as we can.
  • International: fees for international and EU students are subject to annual increases. Increases are currently capped at two per cent each year.

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

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.

Type Amount
Field trips Included in course fees £30
Year in industry Optional additional expense £0
Travel to non-UoY locations Included in course fees £0
Printing, photocopying and dissertation binding Optional additional expense £0


We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2022/23 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.

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Our University of the Year nomination

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

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. All modules include seminars with no more than 15 students in a group.

Some of our curators and their recent exhibitions include:

Timetabled activities

In your first year, you can expect:

Lectures2 hours per week
Seminars4-5 hours per week
Tutorials1-2 hours per term
Workshops2 hours per week
Field trips15 trips. Most are around 2 hours long, though some day trips are also included.

These figures are based on an average student in an average 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 term time. 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.

Teaching location

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.

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

We use a number of different assessment formats:

  • open papers - a take home exam that lasts for a set amount of days
  • group-project
  • internship portfolio
  • essays
  • formal closed exams
  • research dissertation (of around 7,000-8,000 words).

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.

Percentage of the course typically assessed by coursework and exams

Year 1Year 2Year 3
Written exams62%30%60%
Practical exams5%15%7%

The figures above are based on data from 2016/17.

Students in Yorkshire Museum
Students looking at black and white geometric art

Careers and skills

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.

Career opportunities

Recent graduates from the department have gone on to roles that include:

  • Curator
  • Gallery director
  • Conservation officer
  • Art consultant.

They've worked for a range of organisations including:

  • National Museum of Wales
  • Museums Sheffield
  • Sotheby's
  • Christie's
  • BBC.

Transferable skills

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:

  • Researching complex topics
  • Thinking analytically and independently
  • Presentation and team working.

Entry requirements

Typical offer
A levels


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
UAL Level 3 Extended Diploma in Art and Design Distinction. We will also consider other qualifications from the University of the Arts London in Art and Design 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: Next Step York, Realising Opportunities. 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 Art History, 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 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 110 overall, with a minimum of 100 in each component
GCSE/IGCSE/O level English Language (as a first or second language) Grade C
LanguageCert International ESOL SELT B2 Communicator High Pass with a minimum score of 33/50 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've not 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.


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

We normally make offers based on your UCAS application. However, if you have been away from study for some time you may be invited to interview.

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.

Next steps

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Department of History of Art

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