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Overview See the bigger picture

UCAS code


Typical offer

AAB-ABB (full entry requirements)


3 years full-time

Studying art history with Sarah Brown a senior lecturer in our Department of History of Art

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.

We'll introduce you to an extraordinary variety of art and architecture from many areas, including Europe and America, but also covering the Middle East, North Africa, and East and South 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 partnerships with the Tate, the National Gallery, the V&A and York Museums trust. 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.

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)

We have developed into one of the leading departments in the UK, and worldwide, for the study of Art History. In the recent Research Excellence Framework we were ranked first in the UK for our research environment and for the impact of our research beyond the academy, compared to other History of Art departments.

Course content What you’ll study


Our course is designed and taught by expert art historians, many 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.

Year 1

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

Core modules:

  • The Materials of Art and Architecture
  • Objects in Focus
  • Critical readings in the History of Art
  • Reinventing Antiquity
  • Theory for Art Historians

Optional modules:

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

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 your second year you'll be able to start exploring your own interests from a wide variety of time periods, contexts and media.

Core module:

  • Museology and Curatorship

Intermediate seminar modules:

You will then be able to choose four modules from a wide range. You'll be able to cover a number of different time periods and types of art. By the end of the third year, you'll have been able to study modules from across three chronological periods: Medieval, Early Modern, and Modern.


  • An Introduction to Medieval Art
  • Art in the City: Late Medieval York
  • Body, Space & Image in Medieval Europe & across the Mediterranean
  • Eccentric Cities: Art, Politics & Trade in Italy, 1100-1400
  • Image & Icon: Representing the Sacred in the Early Medieval World
  • Jerusalem in Western Medieval Art & Architecture
  • Medieval Cairo: An Introduction to Islamic Architecture
  • Norman Sicily: Encounters in the Medieval Mediterranean
  • The Art of the Dome: Building Heaven on Earth in the Early Medieval World

Early Modern

  • Art in Venice from Bellini to Titian
  • Castle Howard: Architecture, Gardens, Landscape;
  • Critical Approaches to the Baroque
  • Cut, Bite, Stamp: The Power of Print in Eighteenth Century Britain
  • The English Country House 1550-1900 (this also covers the Modern time period)
  • Encountering the Individual in Early Modern Portraits;
  • Elizabethan Architecture;
  • Image Controversies and Iconoclasms
  • Palladio and Palladianism
  • Satire and the City: William Hogarth and Eighteenth-Century London;
  • The British School: Sculpture in Britain, 1760-1837
  • The English Country House 1550-1900 (this also covers the Modern time period)
  • The English Urban Renaissance: Continuity and Change in Eighteenth-Century Architecture
  • The Georgian Face: Portraiture in Eighteenth-century England
  • The Power of Seventeenth-Century Realism
  • Velazquez
  • What is Architecture: An Introduction to Architectural Theory


  • American Photography, 1930 to the Present
  • Art and Colonialism in South Asia, c.1750-1900
  • Art in the USA: 1945-1975
  • Art of the Avant-Gardes
  • Casts and Cultures: The Crystal Palace Sydenham, 1854-1936
  • Contemporary Art
  • Contemporary Art in the Mediterranean and Islamic World
  • Drawing with Light: Nineteenth-century Photography
  • Futurism
  • Image and Word in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries
  • Issues in Contemporary Art
  • Modern Colours: The New Black
  • Practice and Debate
  • Sculpture in the 20th Century
  • Situating the Body in the 1960s: Video/Performance/Space
  • The Elephant in the Room: Art and Money
  • The Modern Metropolis: Representing the City in France and Britain, 1840-1920
  • The Victorian Gothic Revival

Dissertation training:

You'll also spend time on a dissertation training module: building the skills you'll need when you embark on your dissertation in the third year. You'll develop your ability to work independently and design imaginative research strategies. You'll learn to how to devise a topic for your dissertation and gain crucial insight into conducting academic research.

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.

Year 3

In your third year, you'll focus your studies on your dissertation and two special subject modules.


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.

Special subject modules:


  • Bosch and Bruegel in Netherlandish Art
  • Church, College, and Castle 1250-1400
  • Death and Devotion in the Gothic Imagination
  • European Art of the High Middle Ages
  • Illuminating the Bible, 1200-1500
  • Impacts of the Late Antique c350-850
  • Making Sense of the World: Art, Medicine and Science
  • Pisa: A Mediterranean Centre of the 12th Century
  • Royal Spaces in Medieval Europe: Church, City and Realm
  • Seeing and Being Seen: English Art in the 14th Century
  • Stained Glass in the Great Church c1170-1350
  • The Art of Anglo-Saxon England c600-1066
  • The Art of the Insular World
  • The Age of Cathedrals: Medieval Architecture in England, 1050-1250
  • The Virgin's Places: Chartres, Siena, and Castile

Early Modern

  • Architecture and Politics in Stuart England
  • Architecture and Society in Fifteenth-Century Italy
  • Architecture, Gender, and Sexuality
  • Art and Patronage in 15th-century Florence
  • Art of the Northern Renaissance
  • Classical Architecture in France, 1600-1750
  • Making Faces: Portraiture in Eighteenth-century England
  • Materiality, Holiness, Place: Baroque Art & Architecture
  • New Approaches to Baroque Cities
  • The Self-Fashioning of Rembrandt
  • Visual Culture in the Seventh-century Dutch Republic


  • Art in Paris in the Nineteenth Century.
  • Art and Scale
  • Art in America 1770-1913
  • Art Law for Art Historians
  • Art Nouveau to the Bauhaus
  • Contemporary Art and Digital Culture
  • Global Encounters: Art, Visual Culture, and the British Empire
  • Global Pop? Pop in a Global Context
  • Interwoven: Fashion and Clothing in Art History
  • Mirrors and Screens: The World of Andy Warhol
  • Modern Architecture and Design:
  • Realism and Surrealism: Art and Politics Between the Wars
  • Subjectivity and Sexuality in Art since 1960
  • The Cultures of Sculpture, 1760-1914
  • The Making of a Modern Style, 1889-1933
  • The Modernist Object Image and Identity in California 1950-1985
  • Theories of Abstraction
  • Victorian Art
  • Victorian Sculpture

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.

Study abroad

We also offer a BA History of Art (with a year abroad). We have many other opportunities to study abroad, from exchanges to short courses and summer schools abroad:

We believe in the importance of studying art and architecture in the original. So many modules include visits to collections, either locally, across the UK or on the Continent. The majority of these trips are funded. Recent destinations include: Rome, Paris, Milan, Florence and Basel. We also visit key cities in the UK; recent destinations have included Cambridge, Canterbury, Edinburgh, Manchester and London.

History of Art is one of the most intellectually stimulating degrees out there. Since starting at York I’ve had to gather and develop knowledge in a multitude of other subjects like psychology and philosophy as well as economic, social and political history.

Teaching and assessment How you’ll be taught and assessed

Howe we teach art history, and how you'll learn in our department

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, of fifteen or less, through a combination of lectures, seminars, field trips, individual tutorials and online activities.

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.

Assessment methods in our Department of History of Art


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

  • Essays
  • Closed exams
  • Open papers - a take-home exam lasting 48 hours
  • Group projects
  • An 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.

My favourite thing about York is definitely the underground creative scene. At first glance, York can seem very Medieval focused in terms of visual arts but there’s a blossoming cultural scene that is incredibly engaging.
Kasimiira, Iceland

Careers Where you’ll go from here

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

History of Art is a subject with a strong vocational element that will allow you to develop many transferable skills. We have a number of established partnerships, not just with art museums and galleries; we're also distinct in the number of partnerships we have with country houses, maritime museums and churches.

Here's just some of our partners:

  • Tate
  • National Gallery
  • V&A
  • York Museums Trust
  • York Minster
  • Yorkshire Country House partnership
  • Hull Maritime Museum

Entry requirements How to get here

Course entry

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.

A-levels and GCSEs


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

General Studies is accepted.

Other UK qualifications

Scottish Highers


BTEC Extended Diploma


Cambridge Pre-U

  • D3, D3, M2 - D3, M2, M2

International options

European Baccalaureate

  • Grade of 75%-80% or higher

 International Baccalaureate

  • 35/34 points

Irish leaving certificate

  • AABBBB-AAAABB or H2,H2,H2,H2,H3,H3 - H2,H2,H3,H3,H3,H3. 

Country specific qualifications

English language

IELTS: 6.5, with a minimum of 5.5 in each component

Pearson: 61, with a minimum of 51 in each component

CAE and CPE (taken from January 2015): 176, with a minimum of 162 each component

TOEFL: 87 overall, with a minimum of 17 in Listening, 18 in Reading, 20 in Speaking, 17 in Writing

Trinity ISE III: Merit in all components

Unistats for this course

Enquire Contact our admissions tutor if you have any questions