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Overview The Story of Humanity’s Creative History

UCAS code


Typical offer

AAB (full entry requirements)


3 years full-time

By combining English and History of Art you’ll get to explore how textual and visual material interact with one another. Studying the two subjects together asks how creativity works to shape the world. You’ll learn how to master art-historical and literary criticism, and discover the connections between different artistic media. In doing so you’ll gain you an exciting and fresh perspective on the history of human expression. You will graduate with skills highly prized by employers across a wide range of industries.

You can discover more about the Department of English and Related Literature’s exciting degree courses by watching our video.

World-class art historians in a beautiful medieval city – what it’s like to study History of Art at York.


Course content What you’ll study


You'll cover a broad range of literary and art-historical topics that range from the classical period to the 21st century. Our international outlook takes account of the European and global contexts of art and literature.

All combined course students take 120 credits each year, adding up to 360 credits across the course of your degree. You’ll split your time equally between English and History of Art in your first year. In Years Two and Three, it’s possible to vary the balance and devote more time to one subject or the other. 

NB: This information reflects the current course content and structure, which may be revised from year to year.

Year 1

In the first year of your degree, we’ll introduce you to the undergraduate study of English and History of Art. Our modules will give you the skills you need to start doing literary and art-historical research, and advice on how to combine the two disciplines.

English/History of Art students take the following three modules in English, which are worth 20 credits each. These modules are designed to lay the foundation of literary study for your whole degree.

  • Approaches to Literature I (Autumn) and Approaches to Literature II (Spring) – Get a feel for the shape of literary history by studying works from the medieval, early modern, eighteenth-century and Romantic, and modern periods on these linked modules.
  • Key Concepts – A year-long foundation module that provides you with important critical and methodological contexts for the study of literature.

You will also take a further 60 credits in History of Art:

  • The Materials of Art & Architecture

One from: 

  • Reinventing Antiquity
  • Objects in Focus

One from: 

  • The Art of Describing
  • Language Course

Academic integrity module

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

  • define academic integrity and academic misconduct
  • explain why and when you should reference source material and other people's work
  • provide interactive exercises to help you to assess whether you've understood the concepts
  • provide answers to FAQs and links to useful resources.

Year 2

In the second year of your degree, you’ll choose from a range of intermediate modules across the English and History of Art departments.

English/History of Art students take a minimum of 40, and a maximum of 80, credits in English in Year 2. You will choose from the same English options as our single subject students. These include a choice of modules covering Medieval, Renaissance, Eighteenth-Century and Romantic, and Modern Literature, as well as Critical Questions, our World Literature offerings, and Topic Modules.

In History of Art, you will choose from modules ranging from the late antique to the contemporary. In the second year, some of these are focussed on specific periods, such as introductions to medieval art; some consider specific places, such as the Mediterranean world; some examine specific media, for example photography or stained glass; whilst others are thematic, examining the intersections of architecture and gender; or consider specific institutions, such as the Crystal Palace at Sydenham.

Year 3

In the third year of your degree, you will take a single, term-long History of Art module from a variety of options, really allowing you to understand a period, place, or problem in unprecedented detail. English/History of Art students will also take two Advanced Option Modules in English, one in the Autumn and one in the Spring.

You will also undertake a Bridge Dissertation, one of the distinctive features of the English/History of Art degree at York. The Bridge Dissertation invites students to undertake a research project that brings the study of English and History of Art together, and is supervised by a member of staff in each department. This year-long advanced module offers you the chance to use all the research and writing skills you will have developed at York. 

Study abroad

We are proud of our international outlook. If you’re also interested in studying abroad, there are a number of options both in the English-speaking world and in Europe. 

The Department of English and Related Literature is ranked second overall in the UK for the quality of its research and the Department of History of Art is third overall in the UK for research performance (REF 2014).

Both departments are part of our Faculty of Arts and Humanities, which is ranked in the top 25 in the 2015-16 Times Higher Education World University Rankings.

Teaching and assessment How you’ll be taught and assessed

Teaching format

In English, you'll learn through a programme of seminars, lectures, workshops, and one-to-one consultations. We emphasize small-group teaching, which means you’ll mainly be taught in seminars.

In History of Art, teaching occurs in a variety of ways, including lectures to the entire cohort and workshops, where group work is often prioritised, especially at the start of your degree when you are still finding your feet. The department is, however, most committed to small-group teaching. From the first year onwards, you will be very regularly in a seminar room with no more than fifteen other students across an entire term. This creates a lively, guided, democratic environment for discussion, which, we believe, represents the best way to learn about the discipline.

In addition, the Department of History of Art is committed to seeing and understanding works of art and architecture in all of their detail and complexity. As a result, wherever possible, we try to take you to see the works themselves in the flesh, often making use of our international connections and partnerships with Tate, the V&A, and the National Gallery, as well as a host of local museums and galleries, to give you privileged access. 


The Department of English and Related Literature employs a variety of assessment methods, including group presentations and closed exams, but with a strong emphasis on essay writing. Your main mode of assessment will be essays, which will range from short exploratory exercises to more detailed discussions on a topic of your choice. We offer high levels of feedback and ample opportunities for students to meet with staff to discuss their written work.

Assessment in History of Art takes a variety of forms, from assessed seminar participation, involving presentations as well as group work and discussion, through essays of increasing length and ambition, to open and closed exams. We offer a range of forms of assessment mindful that different students have different strengths, and to enable you to demonstrate your flexibility to your future employers.

In both cases, the culmination of your degree is a year-long bridge dissertation, an independent piece of research of 7,000-8,000 words tailored to your own particular interests, across literature and art history.

York’s English and History of Art degree is renowned for its flexible and innovative approach.

  • You can expect an average of seven hours of contact time a week — and sometimes more, depending on which modules you choose to study.
  • Our cutting-edge research informs all our teaching activities.
  • Our staff are world-leading experts, but are friendly, approachable, and accessible – they all have two open office hours a week.
  • We organize many guest lectures and readings by well-known artists, curators, and writers.

Careers Where you’ll go from here

Studying English and History of Art at York will provide you with numerous career possibilities. You’ll learn presentation, language, and critical thinking skills during your combined degree, and gain expertise in complex analysis and research. These skills suit a wide range of careers related to the creative industries, from arts administration to conservation and curation.

Our English alumni
Our History of Art alumni

Career opportunities

  • Advertising, Marketing, and Public Relations
  • Antiques Dealer
  • Arts Administration
  • Auctioneer
  • Civil and Diplomatic Services
  • Conservation Officer
  • Creative and Media Work
  • Librarianship
  • Museum Curation
  • Postgraduate study
  • Publishing
  • Teaching

Transferable skills

  • Ability to analyse and compare complex texts
  • Communication and teamwork skills
  • Critical and analytical thinking
  • Data interpretation
  • Experience of researching and debating challenging topics
  • Independent study skills
  • Logic and rhetoric
  • Proficiency in presenting findings cogently and persuasively using information technology
My undergraduate degree in History of Art was extremely visual. I was able to immerse myself in the writings and ideas of so many incredibly clever people and came to see visual culture as fascinating and a gateway to understanding.
Leila Johnston
Digital copywriter

Entry requirements How to get here

Course entry

All applications must be made through UCAS.

Normally, only mature candidates and those with special circumstances and/or qualifications will have an interview. Interviews will usually be a half-hour conversation about your interests. We’ll also ask you to bring along some of your recent essays.

A-levels and GCSEs

  • AAB, including an A in English at minimum.
  • We’ll ask for an A grade in English Literature (English Language and Literature is also acceptable).
  • We won’t accept General Studies or Critical Thinking.

Other UK qualifications

Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

  • AAAAB at Higher level.
  • AA at Advanced Higher level, including A in English.

Cambridge Pre-U

D3, D3, M2, including D3 in English.

Access to HE

  • 30 credits from units awarded Distinction.
  • 9 credits from units awarded Merit or Higher.

International options

International Baccalaureate
35 points, with 6 in Higher level English.

Irish Leaving Certificate
H1 (English) H2, H2, H2, H2, H3

European Baccalaureate
80 overall, with 85 in English.

English language

Our English language requirements for international applicants can be found on our Entry Requirements page.

Unistats for this course

Enquire Contact our admissions tutor if you have any questions