The MLitt in History of Photography offers a unique opportunity to study the history of photography as a specialised field of research.
The MLitt degree requires two semesters of full-time (or four semesters part-time) coursework, normally equivalent to four modules. Each module has a minimum contact time of 16 hours. The modules are taught as small group discussion seminars, with an average size of four to eight students in each group. Additionally, there may be class trips where relevant to the taught modules.
The assessment for the taught modules is based on coursework including:
The modules in this programme have varying methods of delivery and assessment. For more details of each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the latest module catalogue which is for the 2017–2018 academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2018 entry.
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.
This course will engage you in the challenging task of making sense of the multitude of photographic images that shape the world today.
It is the first MA in the UK to combine the history and theory of photography with practice and curation in a genuinely interdisciplinary context.
You’ll explore the pivotal role of photography over the past two centuries across diverse global contexts – from the ways in which photography represents the complexities of 19th-century world views to the ubiquity and power of photography in our digital age.
You’ll also develop your practical skills, working with expert practitioners and leading photography curators.
Choose to study this course full time or part time, to fit around your work and family life. Modules for the full-time course are listed below.
For details about the part-time course, contact course co-ordinator Sophie Heath at [email protected]
You may choose to study this course full time over one year, or part time over two years to suit your work schedule or other commitments.
You’ll learn from our faculty and also external experts and professionals. Teaching is by lectures, seminar debates and visits to collections of photographic materials across the south of England.
The MA is structured for you to explore theoretical and practical aspects of photography in core modules during the autumn term(s). In the spring term(s), you choose from a range of options on topics such as:
During the summer, you choose to either write a dissertation or develop a practice-based project.
Assessment methods include essays and practice-based projects, encouraging you to develop a portfolio of practical and critical skills and expertise.
This course is currently subject to validation, in line with our procedures for assuring the quality of our degrees. This means that some course detail may change. The validation process will be concluded before the course starts.
Our aim is to ensure that every student who wants to study with us is able to despite financial barriers, so that we continue to attract talented and unique individuals.
Our Careers and Employability Centre can help you find part-time work while you study. Find out more about career development and part-time work
You’ll gain academic and research skills as well as a crucial range of professional skills directed at working in the cultural, creative and heritage sectors – an arena in which millions of people are employed worldwide.
This MA prepares you for a variety of exciting careers across:
It also provides an ideal foundation for doctoral research.