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Art History: Inventing Modern Art, 1768-1918 - MLitt

Course content

Inventing Modern Art enables you to understand how painting, design and architecture took new forms and meanings in an age of radical social, scientific and technological change. Working with leading experts, you will learn to interpret these from theoretical as well as object-based approaches.

Why this programme

  • World-leading resources, from Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s School of Art to the Burrell Collection and The Hunterian, home to the world’s largest public Whistler display.
  • State-of-the-art collections access at the new Kelvin Hall Study Centre, and tuition by specialists including the Mackintosh and European Modernism Academic Curator.

Programme structure

The programme offers a wide-ranging mix of taught and research components, and is taught by a team including the Academic Curator in Mackintosh studies and European Modernism, and experts in the Enlightenment, Whistler, Impressionism, the Vienna Secession, and dress history. 

The 20-credit core course on 'Research Methods in Practice' is taken by all students in Semester 1, and provides an introduction to the key techniques and principles of advanced art-historical study and research. This provides a foundation for the programme's other components, which consist of:

  • A compulsory dissertation (60 credits; 15-20,000 words, including footnotes and bibliography). This is submitted in August and written under the guidance of a specialist tutor. It provides opportunity for self-directed research on a topic chosen by the student in consultation with the programme convener and the tutor.
  • Five individual option courses, each worth 20 credits. These enable you to study particular themes or artistic movements in depth, and, if desired, also to obtain work experience. They include opportunities for first-hand engagement with relevant work in local collections and the new Kelvin Hall Collections Study Centre, and are selected from the following list.

Some courses are taught in Semester 1 and some in Semester 2 (not all are available each year):

  • Whistler, Impressionism, and European Avant-Gardes
  • The Artistic House
  • The Birth of Modern Fashion? Textiles and Dress, 1680-1815
  • Victorian Visions: Dress and Textiles c. 1837-1901
  • Cultures of Collecting
  • Provenance
  • Work Placement 
  • Independent Study 
  • Semester Abroad (Ecole du Louvre, Paris)
  • Research Forum 

One or more of your option courses may be chosen from those available in other College of Arts subjects, to create a distinctive interdisciplinary emphasis within your degree. The programme convener will give guidance on choices relevant to your personal goals and interests. 

Career prospects

The programme provides a strong foundation for work in the museum, heritage, and education sectors, as well as in media, publishing, and arts administration. Its distinctive object-based study sessions and field trips introduce you to key professionals, whilst the placement option provides 'live' work experience - an essential first step in much arts employment. Our Art History Masters' graduates have secured curatorial posts at institutions including the Palace of Westminster, V&A Museum, Ironbridge Museum, and Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, as well as specialist positions with film and TV companies and auction houses. For those interested in an academic career, the dissertation component provides essential preparation for doctoral research. 


Visit the Art History: Inventing Modern Art, 1768-1918 - MLitt page on the University of Glasgow website for more details!

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