As competing models for the study of art history proliferate, the MA at Leeds interrogates the formation and development of art history as an academic discipline.
You’ll encounter first-hand the texts and debates that reveal art history’s complex legacies, enabling you to understand how art history has found itself increasingly figured within a wider field of cultural formations, and to trace how contemporary problems (intellectual, political and institutional) bear on the ways art history is currently practised.
We provide a rigorous framework for you to engage with the most diverse range of artistic practices as they intersect with issues of subjectivity, history, global politics, materiality and memory. We combine a series of optional modules (on topics from medieval art to contemporary capitalism to ‘non-Western’ practices), core modules on methodology and advanced research skills, and self-directed research leading to a dissertation on a topic of your own choice.
In 2016 the School moves to a new location on campus, offering a fully redesigned and refurbished learning environment in a beautiful listed building complete with professionally laid out studios and versatile exhibition spaces.
The University also incorporates museums and galleries such as the Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery and the History of Science, Technology and Medicine Museum, as well as other performance and exhibition spaces.
The world class Brotherton Library holds a wide variety of archive and early printed material in its Special Collections which are available for use in your independent research. Our other library resources are also excellent, and the University Library offers a comprehensive training programme to help you make the most of them.
Across both semesters, you’ll take core modules. These will enable you to develop practical skills for advanced-level research, and to engage critically with key debates in art history from the foundations of the discipline up to contemporary approaches.
Alongside this, you’ll work in depth on specialist topics, with choices from an array of optional modules covering a considerable chronological and geographic range with diverse critical and methodological approaches.
The development of your research skills and specialist knowledge will ultimately be focused in the writing of your dissertation – an independent and self-devised research project, which you will undertake with the guidance of your supervisor.
If you choose to study part-time, you’ll study over a longer period and take fewer modules in each year.
We use a range of teaching methods including lectures, online learning, seminars and tutorials. However, independent study is crucial to the programme – it allows you to prepare for classes and assessments, build on your skills and form your own ideas and research questions.
Most of our taught modules are assessed through essays, which you’ll submit at the end of the semester in which you take each module. However, you’ll also experience in-course assessments on your core modules, as well as being assessed on presentations and reports.
This programme will develop your visual, critical and cultural awareness and expand your subject knowledge in history of art. In addition, it will equip you with sophisticated research, analytical, critical and communication skills that will put you in a good position to succeed in a variety of careers.
Our graduates have pursued careers as curators and education staff in museums and galleries and worked for national heritage organisations, as well as in journalism, publishing, arts marketing, public relations, university administration and teaching. Others have transferred the skills they gained into fields like the insurance industry, independent style editing and freelance writing on fashion, arts and culture.
Many of our graduates have also continued with their research at PhD level and secured external funding to support them – including AHRC scholarships. A large proportion of our former research students are now developing academic careers in the UK, Europe, Asia, USA and Canada.
We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.
The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.
Visit the History of Art MA page on the University of Leeds website for more details!