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Course content

Are you fascinated by visual culture and history relating to a specific artist, period or movement?

Do you want to learn about the methods of art history and how to apply them to particular historical problems?

This programme provides you with the opportunity to choose from a range of subject areas and historical periods in History of Art.

The programme is underpinned by two core modules in critical theory and research methodologies, and a 15,000-word dissertation on a research area of your choice, supported by a supervisor. You will also select optional modules from a range of options and ‘Special Subjects’ which vary from year to year. 

Course details

This MA is ideal for those who wish to develop a solid foundation in History of Art, either as preparation for further research or for related careers. You will have the opportunity to develop both academic and professional contacts to support your personal and professional development.

You will study two core modules:

  • Criticism and Methods in the History of Art and Visual Culture
  • Postgraduate Research Training and Methods

You will also choose three Special Subjects and one optional module. Further module information is available below.

Assessment

Your modules will be assessed by a range of written and oral assessments. You will also complete a 15,000-word dissertation, with support from a supervisor.

Learning and teaching

The teaching on this programme mainly takes place in the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, which houses the Barber Institute Gallery, and is used by members of staff on a regular basis as part of your learning.

The Gallery has an excellent and representative collection of post-medieval European art, including paintings, engravings and drawings by artists such as Rembrandt, Turner, Van Dyck, Veronese and Vigée-LeBrun, as well as a major collection of 19th- and 20th-century works by artists such as Degas, Gauguin, Käthe Kollwitz, George Grosz, Manet, Miró, Picasso and Whistler.

The Barber Institute is home to an on-site research library which, in conjunction with the holdings of the University Main Library and the Special Collections of the Cadbury Research Library, makes Birmingham one of the best resourced Departments of History of Art in Britain.

Support with academic writing

As a postgraduate student in the College of Arts and Law, you have access to the Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) which aims to help your transition from undergraduate to taught Masters level, or back into academia after time away. The service offers guidance on writing assignments and dissertations for your MA/MSc programme with individual support from an academic writing advisor via tutorials, email and the provision of online materials.

International students can access support for English Language development and skills through the Birmingham International Academy (BIA).

Employability

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by a range of employability support services offered by the University.

The University's Careers Network provides advice and information specifically for postgraduates that will help you to develop an effective career and skills development strategy, and to make the most of your time with us at the University. The College of Arts and Law also has a dedicated careers and employability team to deliver tailored programmes of careers events and local support.

You will have opportunities to: meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs; attend employer presentations and skills workshops; receive individual guidance on your job applications, writing your CV and improving your interview technique; and access to comprehensive listings of hundreds of graduate jobs and work experience opportunities.

You will also be able to access our full range of careers support for up to two years after graduation.

Postgraduate employability: History of Art

Birmingham's History of Art graduates develop a broad range of transferable skills, including: familiarity with research methods; the ability to manage large quantities of information from diverse sources; the ability to organise information in a logical and coherent manner; the expertise to write clearly and concisely and to tight deadlines; critical and analytical ability; the capacity for argument, debate and speculation; and the ability to base conclusions on detailed research.

Our History of Art postgraduates also have the advantage of gaining hands-on experience at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts: the university's on-campus art gallery which is home to the Department of Art History, Curating and Visual Studies.

Over the past two years, 100% of History of Art postgraduates were in work and/or further study six months after graduation. Many graduates enter occupations relating to gallery and museum management and curatorship; others pursue careers in academia. Employers that our graduates have gone on to work for include: Barber Institute of Fine Arts; Courtauld Institute of Arts; National Portrait Gallery; Royal Birmingham Society of Artists; University of Birmingham; and the Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust.


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

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