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History & Archaeology×

University of Birmingham Masters Degrees in History of Art, Architecture & Design

We have 4 University of Birmingham Masters Degrees in History of Art, Architecture & Design

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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?. Read more

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.



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If you want to focus on researching one specific area in the History of Art without going straight into a PhD, then the MRes is the programme for you. Read more

If you want to focus on researching one specific area in the History of Art without going straight into a PhD, then the MRes is the programme for you.

At the end of this programme many of our graduates continue on to do a PhD, where they undertake a much more extensive research project. 

Most of the teaching on the MRes programme takes place in the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, which houses the Barber Institute Gallery, a valuable teaching collection, used by all members of staff on a regular basis. The Barber Institute is home to an onsite research library, a prints and drawings study room and a coin study room. These facilities, together with the holdings of the University Main Library and the Special Collections of the Cadbury Research Library, make Birmingham one of the best resourced Departments of History of Art in Britain.

Course details

The core of the MRes programme is a 20,000-word thesis, which is supported by both research training and art theory modules.

Both of these core modules will equip you with the skills to enable you to complete your thesis.

The core research training module offers advice on how to hone your research topic, write a research rationale and present your thesis.

‘Criticism and Methods’ engages with a range of art historical methodologies and addresses theoretical debates emerging within the discipline. The module helps you frame your current research within the wider art historical research context.

In your second term, you also choose one optional module. Recent subjects have included: Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art; Theorising and Historicising Exhibitions; and Artists’ Film and Video.

Learning and teaching

The teaching on the Masters 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 collection is 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.

You will also become part of, and contribute to, the vibrant international community of the College of Arts and Law Graduate School, which offers dedicated research resources and a supportive working environment. Our team of academic and operational staff are on hand to offer support and advice to all postgraduate students within the College.

The History of Art MRes aims to:

  • Develop your subject-specific analytical skills
  • Enhance your generic research skills
  • Provide a critical framework of the historiography and methods of the discipline of art history
  • Develop your skills of verbal presentation and argument
  • Develop a deep understanding of the interpretation of visual material

It also aims to provide you with following skills:

  • Originality in the application of art historical knowledge
  • Ability to use research techniques to seek out and utilize significant, new or pertinent resources, both primary and secondary
  • Ability to engage with current debates and, where appropriate, use them in order to frame or enhance arguments
  • Self-discipline, initiative and independence in identifying and solving problems and in carrying through their research and writing to a planned timetable
  • Capacity to discuss and debate verbally and in writing, using the critical and theoretical perspectives of others in a scholarly framework

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.



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Are you fascinated by visual culture and exhibition practice?. Do you want to pursue a career in the gallery and arts sectors? . Read more

Are you fascinated by visual culture and exhibition practice?

Do you want to pursue a career in the gallery and arts sectors? 

The MA in Art History and Curating is one of the few postgraduate programmes in the country that offers you the opportunity to work in a team with academic and museum professionals to curate an art exhibition in a public gallery. This will take place in the Barber Institute of Fine Arts on campus or at Grand Union in Birmingham city centre. 

We are also delighted to announce a new partnership with Royal Collection Trust. Students co-curating the exhibition at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts will have the exceptional opportunity of working with objects from the Royal Collection.

Please note: Places on this programme are limited due to the placement and curatorial experience, so early applications are encouraged and deadlines apply. See 'How to apply' in course details for more information.

Course details

This unique programme enables you to develop the knowledge and skills to conduct original research into art objects, to understand at first hand the history, theory and contemporary practice of their curation, to co-curate a public art exhibition and complete a 15,000-word dissertation.

The core components of the programme include the double module ‘Curatorial Practices’ that provides you with a range of skills to curate an exhibition and the opportunity to put those skills into practice, and two single modules, 'Postgraduate Research Training and Methods,' which will help you to develop essential research skills, and 'Criticism and Methods in the History of Art and Visual Culture,' which provides a theoretical foundation for your studies.

The programme also offers you the flexibility to select a further two options from a range of complementary practical, theoretical and historical modules. These include: a placement with a local gallery or other arts organisation set up on your behalf; the history and theory of exhibitions; aesthetics and the philosophy of art. As a result, this unique programme will provide you with the knowledge, experience and employability skills invaluable to the museum, commercial and academic sectors whilst enabling you to establish professional networks in both.

Assessment

Your modules will be assessed by a range of written and oral assessments. You will also complete a 15,000-word dissertation, supported through one-to-one tutorials with your academic supervisor. Your dissertation topic is chosen by you, with close guidance from academic staff. Recent subjects have included topics relating to art history and/or gallery practices, such as: art forgery; art interpretation; art dealers; films and aesthetic theory; art historiography; artist and exhibition case studies; fashion plates and art journals. 

Learning and teaching

The teaching on the MA 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 features 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).



Read less
The Department of Art History, Curating and Visual Studies offers promising candidates the opportunity to carry out research in one of the most dynamic institutions in Britain. Read more

The Department of Art History, Curating and Visual Studies offers promising candidates the opportunity to carry out research in one of the most dynamic institutions in Britain.

We give all possible support to our researchers, developing the resources available at the University and encouraging an active postgraduate environment for the exchange of information and concepts.

Course details

The MA by Research programme requires you to prepare a thesis of up to 40,000 words on a topic of your choice under the expert guidance of an academic member of staff. The PhD, the most advanced research degree, comprises of a thesis of up to 80,000 words on a subject of your choice, again under the expert supervision of an academic member of staff. 

Distance learning

You can study an MA by Research or PhD programme on campus or by distance learning. Please note that if you are studying with us by distance learning, the programme includes a fully-funded annual visit to campus for each full year of your programme (every two years for part-time students).

For more information on distance learning including answers to frequently asked questions, student experiences and funding opportunities, please see our distance learning website

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.



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