Undergraduate study - 2019 entry

MA History of Art

UCAS code: V350

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Edinburgh College of Art

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Study abroad

Introducing MA History of Art

History of art will introduce you to art from different periods and world cultures. You will learn how, and for whom, works of art were made, as well as situating artworks within visual and material culture more broadly.

You will explore the meanings of works of art and visual culture and the ways they continue to be interpreted. In Years 3 and 4 you will have the opportunity to specialise in particular aspects of the field, and develop independent research projects and a dissertation. In Year 3 you will have the opportunity to study abroad.

Our intention is to produce graduates who have an informed and nuanced understanding of artistic practice and visual and material culture at different historical periods, who also possess an extensive and well-based knowledge and understanding of art history and its methods of study.

Year 1

You will study History of Art 1, covering the period from the fall of the Roman Empire until the end of the Counter-Reformation. This will include non-western material. You will also choose two option courses.

Year 2

You will study History of Art 2, which begins with the 18th century and continues to the present day. As with Year 1, you will be able to choose two option courses.

You may select option courses from related fields such as architectural history and classical art or, alternatively, from unrelated subjects available across the University.

Year 3

You can start to specialise and can either focus solely on history of art or choose courses from other academic areas.

All students will complete either a placement within a gallery or cultural institution or an independent project that focuses on skills relevant to careers in history of art. Study abroad is possible in Year 3.

Year 4

You will select courses that build on your subject choices in Year 3. Again, you can choose solely history of art courses or additionally choose one or two courses from other academic areas. You will also write a dissertation (8-10,000 words).

Programme structure

Find out more about the compulsory and optional courses in this degree programme.

To give you an idea of what you will study on this programme, we publish the latest available information. However, please note this may not be for your year of entry, but for a different academic year.

Programme structure (2017/18)

Our facilities

Most History of Art teaching takes place in the University's Central Area or on the Lauriston campus, within Edinburgh College of Art (ECA).

You will have access to the University's libraries and computing facilities and can take advantage of Edinburgh's galleries and museums, many of which are located near the University.

The University is investing in the ECA estate and facilities to further develop our flexible, stimulating, supportive and sustainable learning and research environment for students and staff.

Further information is available on the ECA website.

Facilities and resources at ECA


In Year 3, if you do not go abroad, you will have the option of a work placement, which involves a supervised position in one of Edinburgh's many museums, galleries, special collections or heritage management institutions. Entry to the work placement is competitive, based on your CV and an interview with the host institution.

Study abroad

There are opportunities to study abroad in Europe and North America, via Erasmus and other international exchange schemes.

For details see the information available at ‘Student Exchanges’ on the Edinburgh Global webpage.

Student exchanges

Guaranteed study abroad funding for students required to complete a year abroad

How will I learn?

You will be taught through a combination of lectures, seminars, individual supervisions and museum and gallery visits.

In Year 3, you will have the opportunity to pursue supervised independent projects that aim to develop pragmatic skills and experience directly relevant to careers in areas such as galleries, museums, heritage management, auction houses and art journalism.

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed by coursework and exams. In Years 3 and 4, you will complete at least one independent project and a longer dissertation.

Programme details

Find out more about this programme's aims, what you will learn, how you will be assessed and what skills and knowledge you will develop.

To give you an idea of what to expect from this programme, we publish the latest available information. However, please note this may not be for your year of entry, but for a different academic year.

Programme details (2018/19)

Studying history of art at the University of Edinburgh prepares you for a range of careers in the art world such as curatorships in galleries and museums, art journalism, publishing, art dealing, tourism, graphics, advertising, heritage management and auctioneering.

Some graduates use their skills and experience for careers in management or teaching, while some choose to go on to further study.

Typical offer range

The typical offer is likely to be:

  • SQA Highers: AAAA - ABBB.
  • A Levels: AAB - ABB.
  • IB: 40 points (grades 766 at HL) - 34 points (grades 655 at HL).

Access threshold

The access threshold for a contextual offer is:

  • SQA Highers: ABBB.
  • A Levels: ABB.
  • IB: 34 points (grades 655 at HL).

Find out more about access thresholds and contextual offers

Detailed requirements for all applicants

To be considered for an offer of a place all applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S5 or ABBBB/AABB from S4-S6, with a minimum of BBB achieved in one year of S4-S6. National 5: English at Grade C and Mathematics or an approved science at Grade C.
  • A Levels: ABB. GCSEs: English at Grade C or 4 and Mathematics or an approved science at Grade C or 4.
  • IB: Award of Diploma with 34 points overall and grades 655 in HL subjects. SL: English at 5 and Mathematics or an approved science at 4.

Find out more about entry requirements

International applicants

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.

Entry requirements by country

International Foundation Programme

If you are an international student and your school qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to the University you may be eligible for admission to this degree programme through our International Foundation Programme.

International Foundation Programme

Mature applicants

We welcome applications from mature students and accept a range of qualifications.

Mature applicant qualifications

You must provide evidence that your written and spoken English is at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies.

English language tests

If English is not your first language, you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your spoken and written English:

  • IELTS Academic module overall 6.5 with 5.5 in each component
  • TOEFL-iBT 92 or above with 20 in each section
  • Cambridge English: Advanced or Proficiency overall 176 with 162 in each component
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic): Total 61 with at least 51 in each "Communicative Skills" section
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with a distinction in all four components

About English language requirements


For SQA, GCSE and IB students, unless a higher level is specified in the stated entry requirements, a pass is required in English at the following grades or higher:

  • SQA National 5 Grade C
  • SQA Standard Grade 3
  • SQA Intermediate 1 Grade A
  • SQA Intermediate 2 Grade C
  • GCSE Grade C or 4
  • Level 2 Certificate Grade C
  • IB Standard Level Grade 5 (English ab initio is not accepted for entry)

This information is part of a government initiative to enhance the material that higher education institutions provide about their degree programmes.

It is one of many sources of information which will enable you to make an informed decision on what and where to study.

Please note that some programmes do not have Unistats data available.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees for MA History of Art

Additional costs

You will bear the costs of printing your work, for example, the final year dissertation, which must be submitted on paper. In addition, there may be small costs associated with travel to visit exhibitions, but these are usually limited to c£10-£20 per visit.


For more information on how much it will cost to study with us and the financial support available see our fees and funding information.

Fees and funding