The History of Art MA at UCL draws on the world-leading research and teaching expertise within the department, and is designed to enable students to acquire specialised knowledge pertaining to the field of art history and to develop independent research skills.
Students develop skills for engaging with visual materials and gain historical knowledge, enabling them to interpret artefacts in relation to their social and cultural contexts. They are introduced to current methodological debates in the field and encouraged to define their own position through reasoned historical and theoretical arguments.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of a core module (30 credits), two optional modules (60 credits) and a research dissertation (90 credits).
Options may include the following:
All MA students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of approximately 13,000 words.
Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, as well as gallery and museum visits. Assessment is by two essays for each of the taught modules (six essays in all), the dissertation and a viva.
Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: History of Art MA
UCL's History of Art graduates have an excellent record of success in entering PhD programmes, careers in museums and galleries, the art trade, the heritage industry, art publishing, and art conservation. The unique combination of visual analysis and intellectual rigour offered by the MA has also proven valuable in diverse careers including journalism, publishing, and advertising. For those aspiring to an academic career, the MA is a requirement for a PhD, and many former MA students have successfully received funding for research degrees, and subsequently obtained academic positions, at prestigious institutions in the UK, North America, and elsewhere.
Recent career destinations for this degree
Our History of Art MA provides focused training in the history of art and its methodologies. It encourages students to develop original critical thinking on all aspects of visual culture, and promotes a serious engagement with historical and contemporary cultural debates. You will learn how to work collaboratively as well as independently to develop your skills in written and oral communications. The MA is an excellent starting point for a career in academia, curating, for working in the heritage industry, commercial art galleries, and other sectors of the cultural industries.
Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2013–2015 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.
UCL History of Art is one of the most dynamic centres for the study of art history and visual cultures in the world. It is one of the leading departments in the UK for research; and all staff are active researchers in a range of specialist fields. Our teaching and research move beyond traditional forms of art history to address visual and material cultures more broadly, and we are committed to a wide range of critical and historiographical enquiry.
The MA in History of Art is a challenging and versatile degree; you will study in a community of approximately 40 graduate students; at the same time you will work in smaller groups and in close contact with tutors in your special subject courses.
The department is located in Bloomsbury, close to the Warburg Institute, the British Library, and the British Museum. The National Gallery, Tate Galleries, and the Victoria and Albert Museum are also within easy reach. UCL's own Art Museum holds many rare and important works.
The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.
The following REF score was awarded to the department: History of Art
85% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)
Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.
The study of the history of art at Leeds has an international reputation for its innovative, rigorous, diverse and critically engaged approaches. Previously called MA History of Art, the name has been changed for 2018 to highlight the established strengths of this course with its emphasis on social and political approaches to art history.
At the cutting edge of the discipline, the MA in the Social History of Art builds on a unique legacy of dynamic and challenging scholarship, and continues to test the parameters of the discipline and shape wider debates in the field.
Around a shared commitment to understanding art as central to the production and reproduction of the social worlds we inhabit, our key research strengths lie in feminist, gender and Jewish studies, on questions of materialism and materiality, the postcolonial and the ‘non-Western’, as well as in provocations of those fields of art history considered more ‘established’, from Medieval and Renaissance up to the contemporary.
We combine an exceptional range of optional modules, core modules on methodology and advanced research skills, and self-directed research leading to a dissertation on a topic of your own choice.
The School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies offers a modern and well-equipped learning environment, complete with professionally laid out studios and versatile exhibition spaces in a beautiful listed building, fully redesigned and refurbished, at the heart of the University campus.
The University incorporates world-class library resources and collections, the Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery, Treasures of the Brotherton, the Museum of the History of Science, Technology and Medicine, ULITA – an Archive of International Textiles and the [email protected] performance venue.
The world class Brotherton Library holds a wide variety of archive and early printed material in its Special Collections which are available for use in your independent research. Our other library resources are also excellent, and the University Library offers a comprehensive training programme to help you make the most of them.
Across both semesters, you’ll take core modules. These will enable you to develop practical skills for advanced-level research, and to engage critically with key debates in art history from the foundations of the discipline up to contemporary approaches.
Alongside this, you’ll work in depth on specialist topics, with choices from an array of optional modules covering a considerable chronological and geographic range with diverse critical and methodological approaches.
The development of your research skills and specialist knowledge will ultimately be focused in the writing of your dissertation – an independent and self-devised research project, which you will undertake with the guidance of your supervisor.
If you choose to study part-time, you’ll study over a longer period and take fewer modules in each year.
These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.
We use a range of teaching methods including lectures, online learning, seminars and tutorials. However, independent study is crucial to the programme ― it allows you to prepare for classes and assessments, build on your skills and form your own ideas and research questions.
Our taught modules are generally assessed through essays, which you will submit at the end of the semester in which you take each module.
This programme will develop your visual, critical and cultural awareness and expand your subject knowledge in history of art. In addition, it will equip you with sophisticated research, analytical, critical and communication skills that will put you in a good position to succeed in a variety of careers.
Our graduates have pursued careers as curators and education staff in museums and galleries and worked for national heritage organisations, as well as in journalism, publishing, arts marketing, public relations, university administration and teaching. Others have transferred the skills they gained into fields like the insurance industry, independent style editing and freelance writing on fashion, arts and culture.
Many of our graduates have also continued with their research at PhD level and secured external funding to support them – including AHRC scholarships. A large proportion of our former research students are now developing academic careers in the UK, Europe, Asia, USA and Canada.
We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.
The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.