This intensive 1-year programme offers you the opportunity to develop your understanding of the history of art and architecture. You will learn to critically analyse and interpret art objects and buildings, and will engage with the concepts, values and debates that inform the study and practice of the history of art.
If you want to study history of art, or a similar course, at Master's level (either at Birkbeck or elsewhere) but have a first degree in another subject, then this programme can be used as a conversion course. You will acquire and develop skills and knowledge of the discipline up to final-year undergraduate level.
If you are not intending to progress to an MA, the programme will allow you to continue your exploration of the history of art and architecture at a higher level.
We offer taster events and information evenings for prospective students interested in our history of art programmes throughout the year.
As well as regular museum and gallery visits, the department offers an exciting study trip every spring.
Staff teaching on this programme
Charlotte Ashby Prasannajit de Silva Nick Lambrianou.
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. Prepares you for entry to Birkbeck's MA History of Art, MA Museum Cultures and other Master's programmes offered by the School of Arts. Museum and site visits form a regular feature of the course. Tutors have a first-class reputation for teaching and learning, and their teaching is informed by their research. You will have access to the Birkbeck Library. Our location in Bloomsbury gives you easy access to specialist libraries of the University of London, including the Senate House Library, but also to a wide range of art institutions in central London, and to their collections and temporary exhibitions - from the British Museum and the National Gallery, to the Courtauld Institute of Art and the Institute of Contemporary Arts. Keep up-to-date with our research on the Birkbeck History of Art blog.
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 and internationally excellent research.
Alexandra Chiriac has launched her second career and found her dream job in an art gallery thanks to studying art history at Birkbeck. She traces her success and current role at a not-for-profit gallery exhibiting Russian art to her evening courses. After her first degree in Management from Lancaster University, Alexandra worked in management and banking for both Sainsbury’s and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. But she wanted to explore her passion for art, and decided to start researching evening study.
Aged 24, Alexandra began a Certificate in Higher Education in the History of Art at Birkbeck. She thoroughly enjoyed the course, and later returned to the College to study a Graduate Certificate in History of Art and Architecture. Alexandra said: 'My job was in finance and concerned numbers, so I relished the opportunity to write about art. When I first started taking evening classes in art history at Birkbeck as a diversion from my day job, I didn’t imagine they would change my life. Fast-forward several years later and here I am curating, writing, and lecturing about my interests in twentieth century Russian art at a new gallery in London called GRAD: Gallery for Russian Arts and Design. I have definitely achieved my ambition and more than I ever thought possible. I couldn’t have developed my career in the art world without Birkbeck.'
Alexandra’s second Birkbeck qualification proved a turning point as it confirmed her intention to change career. She said: 'I found the Graduate Certificate an invaluable experience, especially thanks to the tutors and the course co-ordinator. Thanks to the excellent teaching and the relevant assessments, the theoretical side of art history was demystified and I felt I was beginning to take my first steps as an arts professional. The optional module on the Northern Renaissance was truly fascinating and enlightening, revealing the importance of Northern masters unfairly eclipsed by their Italian counterparts.'
Alexandra gained a Distinction for her Graduate Certificate, and, on the strength of her academic work at Birkbeck, she continued her studies at the prestigious Courtauld Institute of Art, where she studied an MA in Russian Art. After completing her course at the Courtauld, Alexandra was offered a job at Sotheby’s, where she worked on the Russian paintings auctions, before joining the GRAD gallery. Alexandra added: 'None of this would have been possible without the flexibility and the great teaching that Birkbeck offers. I would absolutely recommend Birkbeck.'
James was looking to challenge himself outside work by studying at Birkbeck. 'The opportunity to do something challenging and stimulating which was very different from my day job was really enjoyable.
'This course was the obvious thing to do if you want part-time study to fit in with work. If you've had a break from studying, it's a great way to get you back into writing essays and researching.
'It was important to me that I could get a qualification at the end of it, because I wanted the experience to be measurable, and the fact that it's a University of London one gives it credibility.'
Good first degree or equivalent. If you do not already hold a first degree, but believe that you are a suitable candidate for the graduate certificate through other experience and educational achievements, please contact the admissions tutor. If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.
Part-time home/EU students: £ 2650 pa Part-time overseas students: £ 4825 pa
Recipient: Birkbeck, University of London
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