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History of Art MA

Course Description

The Department of History of Art offers a broad-based Master's programme, which allows you to study a range of periods and approaches, before specialising for your dissertation. The MA draws on the research strengths of all members of the department, which includes specialists in medieval, renaissance and modern art.

We aim to help you develop an informed understanding of the main strands of art history, as practised in Europe and North America. We also offer curatorial units in collaboration with external museum partners, through which you will learn to research and catalogue museum collections and to mount exhibitions.

Our students are drawn from a variety of backgrounds. Some have undergraduate degrees in art history, others do not, and some are working artists. Studying for the MA is a chance to become part of a thriving academic community, with a sizeable and close-knit student body and a lively programme of research and social events.

Programme structure

You will study two core units and then select four optional units. Part-time students study the core units in the first year and stagger their optional units across the two years of the degree.

Optional units can vary each year but may include:
-Art and Memory
-Art in Russia and the Soviet Union
-Curating the Theatre Collection
-Collaborative Curatorial Unit
-Text and Image
-Weimar Women: Representing Modernity

The research component of the programme is written over the summer and is submitted in September.


Students who completed the MA programme in History of Art have gone on to careers as journalists, art consultants, buying and marketing executives, and gallery assistants.

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

(Student Profile)

Anna Bonewitz

5255.jpg I was initially drawn to the University of Bristol for postgraduate study by the curator at an American museum, who recommended Professor Elizabeth Prettejohn as the ideal scholar to support my study of Victorian art. Prior study abroad experiences in London and Florence, impressed upon me the benefits of studying the art and history of a culture while immersed in it and I instantly recognized the advantages that a program of study in the United Kingdom would bring.
I am very impressed by the resources available to students here and the range of courses that have allowed me to concentrate on British art from the outset. Not only did I take two courses on Victorian art, but also participated in a curatorial project at Montacute House in conjunction with the National Portrait Gallery as part of a course on Tudor and Jacobean portraits. This course, combined with another course on the emergence and development of museums in nineteenth-century Britain, complement not only my interest in British art, but are also of paramount importance to my future ambition as a curator.

What I think has most impressed me about the department at Bristol is the opportunity to produce individual research as early as the MA level. I am already developing interesting lines of research on fresh topics in the field of art history. The ability to make an individual contribution to the study of art is extremely satisfying, and I know I would not have happened upon these questions if I were not exposed to the vast array of primary documents and unique sources that are available to me at Bristol.

My experiences at Bristol have not only been fulfilling in the academic sense, but I am truly enjoying being part of Bristol’s vibrant international student community. This year I welcomed a position as a hall tutor at an undergraduate hall of residence, which has allowed me to become an integral part of university life from the moment that I moved to the United Kingdom.

I highly recommend the History of Art department at the University of Bristol, particularly to anyone wishing to specialize in British art. I also encourage American students to apply to the University of Bristol if they are looking for a university with strong academic credentials and the opportunity to experience university life in the United Kingdom.


Entry Requirements

An upper second-class honours degree (or international equivalent). Non-traditional qualifications/routes may also be considered.

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