Undergraduate study - 2019 entry

Subject area: History of Art

Why choose History of Art at the University of Edinburgh?

  • You will work alongside leading academics, many of whom are involved in curating or displaying their work at major international art exhibitions.

  • Our range of teaching specialisms is one of the broadest in the UK and covers everything from Celtic and early Islamic art, to contemporary art and the current global art market. We also have specialisms in medieval and Renaissance, early modern, and both 19th and 20th century art. We also teach about Chinese, Japanese and Indian art.

  • In Year 3, you will have the opportunity to apply for work experience in one of the city’s collections, and gain behind-the-scenes access to Edinburgh’s renowned art galleries and museums.

  • The University’s own Talbot Rice Gallery exhibits work by leading contemporary artists alongside important historical collections.

  • During year 3, you will have the opportunity to study abroad or pursue independent projects.

  • You will be given behind-the-scenes access to Edinburgh’s renowned art galleries and museums and could take up work experience in one of the city’s collections.

Study abroad
Placements

My programme is equipping me with broad knowledge of my fields of study but also instilling the specific critical attitude necessary to follow a path into gallery curation, journalism or academia.

Tabby Carless-Frost 2nd year MA (Hons) History of Art & English Literature
Tabby Carless-Frost 2nd year MA (Hons) History of Art & English Literature


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 aim 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.

Many of our academic staff curate, or exhibit in, major international art exhibitions. You will also have access to Edinburgh's renowned art galleries and museums.

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 from other subject areas.

If you study history of art with another subject as part of a joint programme, you will study compulsory courses from that subject and may be able to choose one option course from another subject area.

Year 2

You will study History of Art 2, which begins with the 18th century and continues to the present day.

As in Year 1, you will be able to choose two option courses from related fields such as architectural history and classical art or, alternatively, from unrelated subjects available across the University.

If you are studying history of art with another subject as part of a joint programme you will take compulsory courses from that subject and may be able to choose one option.

Year 3

You will start to specialise and can either focus solely on history of art or choose one or two courses from other academic areas. If you are studying history of art with another subject as part of a joint programme you will take specialist courses from that subject.

All students will complete either a placement within a gallery or cultural institution or a major 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).

Are there 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.

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

Placements

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

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.

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, after additional training, while some choose to go on to further study.