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History of Art (MPhil)

Course Description

The Department of History of Art has an international reputation for teaching and research in medieval, Renaissance and modern art history. Our range of interests extends into new areas of study, such as nineteenth- and twentieth-century design history, museology, issues relating to gender and representation, and interdisciplinary topics, particularly relationships between art and film; and art and anthropology.

Current research areas include: medieval architecture; Italian late medieval and Renaissance art and patronage; eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British art; the colonial encounter and cultural history in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries; museology; nationalism and ethnicity in contemporary visual culture; visual culture in South Africa; nineteenth- and twentieth-century architecture and design in France and England; aspects of gender and visual culture; art and design in fin-de-siècle Vienna; computer applications for art history; and digital media and critical theory.

Why study this course at Birkbeck?

Arts and humanities courses at Birkbeck are ranked third best in London and 11th in the UK in the Times Higher Education 2015-16 World University Subject Rankings.

Our research

Birkbeck is one of the world’s leading research-intensive institutions. Our cutting-edge scholarship informs public policy, achieves scientific advances, supports the economy, promotes culture and the arts, and makes a positive difference to society.

Birkbeck’s research excellence was confirmed in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, which placed Birkbeck 30th in the UK for research, with 73% of our research rated world-leading or internationally excellent.

In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), Art and Design at Birkbeck achieved 100% for a research environment supporting world-leading or internationally excellent research.

Visit the History of Art (MPhil) page on the Birkbeck, University of London website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Emma Rawlings

4088.jpg 'I looked at several History of Art Master’s courses at London universities and was impressed by the broad range of modules that were offered at Birkbeck. I appreciated the variety and the fact that I could study periods ranging from the Renaissance to the Victorians. The fact that the lecturers are leaders in their fields was an added bonus and the digital facilities were excellent too.

'While I was studying I worked part-time in the students’ union and also undertook some marketing internships and volunteered in museums and galleries. These days, employers expect you to have work experience when you graduate and the part-time study at Birkbeck means that you can balance study, paid work and internships.

'As well as giving me the opportunity to gain work experience while studying, the skills and knowledge that I gained at Birkbeck have also helped me to secure a graduate position in an advertising agency. As part of an assessment day which I attended I had to give a presentation on a subject which I was really passionate about. I used knowledge from my Birkbeck MA to talk about Victorian advertising, and how this was the start of the advertising industry as we know it. I’m sure this helped me to secure the job.

'The Master’s enabled me to develop my critical thinking skills further than at undergraduate level and taught me to analyse visual culture – which is at the heart of a career in advertising.

'I went into the Master’s straight from my undergraduate degree and found it inspiring to be in class with older learners who were incredibly enthusiastic about and committed to their studies. I would definitely recommend Birkbeck to people my age who want to access good teaching, good resources and develop in other areas at the same time.'


Postgraduate Support Scheme for final-year undergraduates (full-time) - 20+ Awards

We are pleased to announce that, for October 2015 entry, Birkbeck has a limited number of new £10,000 postgraduate scholarships. These scholarships are for students progressing from a full-time undergraduate degree to a part-time Master’s degree starting in 2015/16.

Value of Scholarship(s)



To be eligible for the scholarship you must be:Starting a 2-year part-time taught Master’s degree in 2015/16
Domiciled in the UK/EU
Progressing from an undergraduate course for which you were charged the higher tuition fee (applicable since 2012–13)
Studying at postgraduate Master’s level for the first time

Application Procedure

If you want to apply for this support, you must follow these steps:Submit an application for your intended course
Submit an application for the Postgraduate Support Scheme

Further Information


Entry Requirements

Good degree, usually including history of art.2000-word research proposal must be submitted with your application. If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, the requirement for this programme is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 7.0, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.

Course Fees

Part-time home/EU students: £ 2187 pa Full-time home/EU students: £ 4121 pa

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Recipient: Birkbeck, University of London

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