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MA History and Philosophy of Art (with a term in Rome)

Course Description

The MA in History and Philosophy of Art (with a term in Rome) provides a structured introduction to postgraduate study of the history and philosophy of art.

It includes a term in Rome where we run the MA with the American University of Rome. A range of themes and approaches are considered in this MA with a particular focus on medieval, Renaissance and Baroque art in Italy. The first term is taught in Canterbury.

During the term in Rome you will study the art of Rome first hand, visiting relevant sites and museums, with options to study the history of Rome and specific artists. Kent staff are present for part of the spring term in Rome to ensure continuity of academic guidance and pastoral support. The campus is located in the Monteverde district of Rome, a picturesque district with a wide range of shops and amenities. From nearby Trastevere, it is a short bus-ride to the historic centre of Rome with its astonishing range of Roman sites, monuments, churches and museums.

The programme is intended for graduates in art history and other arts subjects. It gives you the opportunity to pursue your interest in visual art at advanced level, to develop a high level of expertise in topics in history and philosophy of art and to prepare for doctoral research in history of art.

Visit the website https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/344/history-of-art-rome

About the Department of History of Art

The History of Art Department within the School of Arts, provides opportunities for graduate study with well-established researchers in the fields of art history, philosophy of art and aesthetics. Staff research covers contemporary art and aesthetics, modernism, theories of art, the historiography of art and the Cold War; biographical monographs, the photograph (in its historical, contemporary and critical contexts), and the historical interplay of image, theory and institutions from the Renaissance to the present (especially European and North American).

Postgraduates have the opportunity to participate in the activities of the multidisciplinary Aesthetics Research Centre and the Art History and Visual Cultures Research Centre. There is also a full programme of visiting speakers from across the constituent subject areas within the School of Arts, which includes Film and Drama.

Course structure

You take one core module and one optional module during your first term in Canterbury and your second term in Rome. Over the course of these two terms you discuss with the course director your ideas and plans for your 15,000-word dissertation. The writing of the dissertation takes place in the summer with completion in August.


The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This list is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.

Term 1 (Canterbury):

Compulsory modules:
HA838 - Key Concepts and Classic Texts in History and Philosophy of Art

One option from:

HA826 - History and Theory of Curating
FI812 - Advanced Film Theory
FR872 - Theories of Art in Modern French Thought
HA826 - History and Theory of Curating
HA835 - A Matter of Taste: The Art and Aesthetics of Food and Drink
HA898 Dissertation

Term 2 (Rome):
Compulsory Module:
HA833 Discovering Rome in Rome: Arts in Rome from antiquity to the present day

One option from:

Optional modules in Rome are taken through the American University in Rome and change each year. Past options have included:

- Michelangelo in Rome

This seminar on Michelangelo examines the work of the Renaissance master; his sculpture, painting, architecture and literary production. His works are investigated within their specific historical context, focusing on issues of commission, iconography, censorship, biography, historiography and aesthetics. An excursion to Florence is also planned. Beyond a complete comprehension of Michelangelo’s work, the course aims toward a mastery of art historical research skills, the evaluation of current scholarship and independent critical thought on art.

Term 3: Dissertation
HA833 - Discovering Rome in Rome: Arts in Rome from Antiquity to the Present Da (30 credits)
HA838 - Key Concepts and Classic Texts in History and Philosophy of Art (30 credits)
HA898 - History & Philosophy of Art Dissertation (60 credits)


Assessment is by two assignments per module and the dissertation.

Programme aims

This programme aims to:

- provide you with a focused programme of taught postgraduate study in history and philosophy of art; enhanced through the opportunity to study for one term in Rome

- provide you with a taught foundation for subsequent postgraduate research

- enable you to acquire or deepen your knowledge and understanding of the historical and contemporary topics within the history of art and philosophy of art

- enable you to develop your art historical and philosophical skills beyond that expected of an undergraduate; especially through study abroad and site visits

- enable you to develop, articulate and defend art historical and philosophical ideas as they relate to art

- provide access to enhanced intercultural awareness and understanding through the opportunity to study for one term in Rome

- enable you to engage with historical and contemporary theoretical thought about the arts from art historical and philosophical perspectives

- provide opportunities for the development of personal, communication and research skills and other key skills appropriate for graduate employment both in industry and in the public sector.

Research areas

The Department has a collective interest in developing interdisciplinary projects, including projects informed by art history and philosophy of art or aesthetics. Shared areas of research interest include: photography, art theory from the Renaissance to recent times and contemporary art.


Arts postgraduates have gone on to work in a range of professions, from museum positions and teaching roles to marketing and gallery assistants. Our graduates have found work with Tate Britain, the V&A, Museum of Childhood and other arts, culture and heritage-related organisations.

Find out how to apply here - https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/apply/

Visit the MA History and Philosophy of Art (with a term in Rome) page on the University of Kent website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Michael Healey

I graduated with confidence, believing that I had the necessary skills and experience to work in the fiercely competitive art world. Indeed, having befriended the artist Humphrey Ocean, I undertook an internship with him, archiving his work – a hugely enjoyable and invaluable experience, which I am continuing with.

As a result of writing on average two essays per module, and reading the work of other art theorists and critics, the degree also improved my writing style considerably. Indeed, in a positive review of Krikey! Kentemporary Prints (an exhibition I curated as part of my degree) which appeared in the scholarly print journal Print Quarterly, Paul Coldwell singled out the catalogue essay I wrote for particular praise. The ‘Print Collecting & Curating’ module, for which I curated the aforementioned exhibition, has had the most profound effect on me, both in terms of personal development and employability. As regards the latter, as well as archiving for Humphrey Ocean, I was put in touch with an art dealer, on whose behalf I have been selling artworks, from 19th century political prints to modern and contemporary paintings. In so doing, I have sold to museums, galleries, societies and universities.

My biggest success so far has been turning a £600 investment into over £11,000 profit. I
am in the process of devising an exhibition proposal – based on a University essay I wrote – and am in discussion with a major London institution to host it.


Entry Requirements

An upper second-class honours degree or better, usually in a relevant humanities subject. In certain circumstances, the School will consider candidates who have not followed a conventional education path or who may have relevant experience in the industry. These cases are assessed individually by the Director of Graduate Studies. For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages (View Website).

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