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History of Art - MA

Course Description

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.

Degree information

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).

Core modules
-Methods, Debates and Sources in History of Art

Optional modules - options may include the following:
-Human and Non-Human in Medieval Art
-Cannibalism and the Early Modern Image
-Vision, Tourism, Imperialism: Art and Travel in the British Empire, 1760-1870
-American Media: Publicity and the Logics of Surveillance
-Politics of the Image: Germany 1890-1945
-Art as Theory: The Writing of Art
-Art and Technology in Nineteenth-Century France
-Photographic Cultures: Photography's Publics and the Production of Politics
-On Sex and Violence
-Race/Place: Exotic/Erotic
-Tracing the Body: Technologies of Representation in 18th and 19th-Century France

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 courses (six essays in all), the dissertation and a viva.


UCL's History of Art graduates have a 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 sucessfully received funding for research degrees, and subsequently obtained academic positions, at prestigious institutions in the UK, North America, and elsewhere.

Top career destinations for this degree:
-Artist Assistant, Ai Weiwei
-Head of Client Service, Bonhams 1793
-Collections Assistant, The Barber Institute of Fine Arts
-PhD History of Art, University College London (UCL)
-Museum Intern, Peggy Guggenheim Collection

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.

Why study this degree at UCL?

History of Art at UCL is one of the most dynamic centres for the study of art history and visual cultures in the world. The department is top-rated 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 c. 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.

Visit the History of Art - MA page on the University College London website for more details!

All Available Videos:

(Student Profile)

James Baskerville

"I have really enjoyed the freedom to explore both major and minor elements of the subjects covered by the taught courses. My primary interest in Old Masters has been developed by one of my taught courses and by my choice of dissertation topic was in turn influenced by a seemingly unrelated course on nineteenth-century technology. It is the predominant focus on the visual (and indeed sometimes not-visual) in conjunction with a strong theoreticall framework that develops the students of the History of Art MA into strong well-rounded critical thinkers."


UCL Graduate Support Bursary - 20+ Awards

UCL is making 93 individual bursary awards available. Each bursary will cover the full tuition fee cost for the programme and provide £10,000 in maintenance funding per year.

Value of Scholarship(s)



The scheme is aimed at supporting traditionally under-represented groups to progress on to graduate study at UCL. All applicants will be required to demonstrate that their annual household income is currently under £42,611. This scheme is open to prospective students domiciled in the UK (that is, UK is your country of "ordinary residence”) who have "Home" tuition fee status.

Application Procedure

This initiative is funded through the HEFCE Postgraduate Support Scheme. The UCL Graduate Support Bursary scheme forms part of UCL’s wider initiative to support graduate Master’s students.

Further Information


Entry Requirements

Entry requirementsA minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree in a relevant discipline from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

Last Updated

12 October 2016

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