Undergraduate study - 2024 entry
Edinburgh. Extraordinary futures await.

MA Italian and History of Art

UCAS code: RV33

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Literatures, Languages and Cultures

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Study abroad

Introducing MA Italian and History of Art

As one of Europe's most creative and diverse civilisations, Italy is the birthplace of many influential artists and art movements.

Studying Italian and History of Art helps you understand the contemporary world, while shedding light on the past.

During your time with us, you will gain the skills to talk and write in Italian on a range of issues relating to Italy and the Italianate world, including its visual and material culture.

When you graduate, you will have the combination of broad cultural education and specialist knowledge valued by employers worldwide.

Italian

Study Italian with us, and you will learn the language in the context of some of the world's most famous and influential works of literature, art and cinema.

No previous knowledge of Italian is needed. Intensive language tuition, including a year spent studying or working in Italy, will develop your ability to read, write and speak the language to a high standard with advanced translation skills.

History of Art

Beyond Italy, History of Art will introduce you to art from different periods and cultures around the globe.

You will learn how, and for whom, works of art were made. You will also explore their meaning and discover the ways in which they can be interpreted.

Why Edinburgh

From the Italian Cultural Institute to the four National Galleries of Scotland, you will find many places in Edinburgh to develop your interest in Italian art, cinema and literature.

Italian has been taught here since 1919, and has been part of our tradition for many years, as far back as the 18th century.

We are unique in Scotland in offering students a full academic year abroad within the four-year honours programme, regardless of whether you spend the year studying or working.

Our programme is also flexible. In Years 1 and 2, as well as Italian and History of Art, you will choose option courses from a wide range of disciplines. You will then specialise as you progress through your honours years.

One of the most attractive characteristics of this four-year programme is its flexibility.

In Years 1 and 2, your pre-honours years, you will choose option courses from a wide range of disciplines in addition to your core subjects of Italian and History of Art.

As well as broadening your education and skill set, this may enable you to change the focus of your programme in Years 3 and 4, your honours years.

Year 1

Italian

You will study the foundations of the Italian language, both written and spoken.

You will also take classes in Italian:

  • history
  • literature
  • arts

History of Art

You will study History of Art 1. This course covers the period from the fall of the Roman Empire until the end of the Counter-Reformation. It will include non-western material.

Option courses

You will complete your Year 1 studies with option courses chosen from a wide range offered by the University of Edinburgh.

You can, for example, opt to study another language. We offer one of the widest range of languages of any UK university - the majority are suitable for complete beginners and include cultural study.

Other options include, but are not limited to, courses in:

  • linguistics and language sciences
  • business, economics and informatics
  • politics, social policy and social anthropology
  • art and architectural history
  • history, classics and archaeology
  • Celtic and Scottish ethnology
  • philosophy, divinity and law

Year 2

Italian

You will continue to study the Italian language. You will expand your knowledge of vocabulary, syntax and grammar, and develop an awareness of different registers and styles.

You will also explore Italian literature, history and culture from the Middle Ages to the present day.

Some of our Year 2 classes are taught in Italian to help prepare you for your Italian experience on the year abroad.

History of Art

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

Option courses

As in Year 1, you will also choose from a wide range of option courses.

These option courses include a great selection in European languages and cultures that explore literature, film and theatre in themed and comparative contexts.

Typical options include:

  • Cultural Responses to War
  • Migration, Exile, Diaspora
  • Crime and Detection in Literature
  • Gender and Culture
  • The Coming-of-Age Narrative
  • Introduction to European Cinema
  • Dynamics of Language and Power
  • Languages Beyond University

Year 3

If international travel restrictions allow, you will spend Year 3 in Italy, turning classroom learning into living engagement with Italian culture.

You will either study or do a work placement, such as working as a teaching assistant in a school.

Whether studying or working, our graduates have told us how much the year abroad has benefited their broader life experience and skills, as well as their understanding of Italian language and culture.

During your year abroad, we will aim to ensure your experience is as beneficial as possible to your final year, as well as to your wider language learning, cultural awareness and skills development.

You will complete prescribed work in both History of Art and Italian. For example, for Italian you will take an e-learning language course, which will count as part of your Year 3 mark and prepare you for your Year 4 language courses.

If international travel is not possible, you will be offered an alternative means of engaging with your subjects, enabling you to meet your learning outcomes and preparing you for your final year.

Year 4

You will combine advanced language courses with your choice of specialist, honours-level option courses in Italian and History of Art.

For Italian, these specialist courses typically cover a wide range of topics and periods in Italian culture, from Dante to modern cinema and avant-garde literature.

You will complete your dissertation or long essay.

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 (2023/24)

Our facilities

On campus

When you are on campus, you can expect to spend most of your time in the University of Edinburgh's Central Area - in class, in the library, at Edinburgh College of Art (ECA), or in one of the University’s many social and support spaces.

The Central Area is located on the edge of Edinburgh's historic Old Town, surrounded by lots of green space.

Libraries and collections

The Main University Library holds academic books, journals and databases, films, newspapers and other media. There are a further two libraries in ECA.

The Library's Centre for Research Collections is unique in the UK. It brings together a collection of more than 400,000 rare books, six kilometres of archives and manuscripts, and over 8,000 works of art collected over 400 years. Highlights include:

  • the Torrie Collection of Dutch ‘Golden Age’ landscape painting and Italian bronze sculpture
  • the Contemporary Art Research Collection, which takes globalisation as its central theme, setting a specific focus on women's experience
Events and activities

From acting to dancing, making friends in language cafes to campaigning on global issues, student-led groups offer lots of ways to explore your subjects, interests and talents socially.

The Italian Society and History of Art Society are among around 300 societies and clubs supported by Edinburgh University Students' Association. The Association also promotes opportunities with local charities through its volunteering centre.

If you love to write, our online creative writing magazine Babble is the place to publish your:

  • prose
  • poetry
  • drama
  • non-fiction, including film and exhibition reviews

Babble goes out twice a year and includes work written in Italian and eight other European languages. You can get involved in the editorial committee, and launch nights typically include readings and performances.

In the city

Edinburgh is a world-leading festival city. Twinned with Florence, it is filled with cinemas, theatres, galleries, libraries and collections.

The city's resources for studying languages and cultures are exceptional. Many of them are located close to the University's Central Area, making them easy to access between classes.

Highlights include the National Library of Scotland, which has a significant collection of Italian books and manuscripts, and the Italian Cultural Institute, with whom we work closely.

There are fantastic medieval, Renaissance and modern collections in the National Galleries of Scotland, including many notable works by Italian artists.

Most of the city centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with the Old Town retaining many of its medieval buildings and streets.

Study abroad

If international travel restrictions allow, you will spend Year 3 (a minimum of 30 weeks) in Italy.

This is your chance to immerse yourself in Italian culture. It will allow you to develop broader life experience and skills that you can use after university.

How will I learn?

University is a place to plan your own goals under expert guidance, study independently and in groups, and reflect upon your learning throughout your degree.

Our approach to learning and teaching is active, inclusive and question driven, so it may be different to your experiences at school. It will help you gain the skills for life after university, and we will guide you through the steps from one phase to the next.

Depending on the size of your year group, and which option courses you take, your classes will typically fall into three categories:

  • lectures
  • tutorials
  • seminars

For History of Art, some of these classes will take place in museums and galleries.

As well as your classes, to get the most out of your courses, you will need to read widely.

We make extensive use of our audio and visual resources, and you will also be encouraged to use online materials.

Lectures

Lectures are taken by all students on a course, typically at the same time. They are delivered as interactive presentations which may involve audio-visual material.

Lectures are given by an experienced academic. They are designed to guide you through the background, questions and debates related to the topic you are studying.

Tutorials

Tutorial groups are smaller. They are also led by an academic, but here the emphasis is more on what you think about the topic yourself. So, tutorials are your chance to discuss and expand upon what you have learned in a lecture.

Language tutorials give you the opportunity to develop your linguistic skills in a range of real-world tasks under the supervision of an experienced language teacher.

These classes typically cover skills such as reading, writing, listening and speaking – all of which involve learning and applying grammar.

Seminars

Seminars blend features of lectures and tutorials. Again, they are designed to encourage and enable your active participation in learning.

On some courses, you will have seminars instead of lectures, especially in your honours years (Years 3 and 4).

Support

As well as the teaching and other staff you will meet day-to-day, there are lots of ways to get help with your learning, including through the University’s Institute for Academic Development (IAD).

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed through a combination of coursework and exams.

Coursework is generally completed throughout the year, while exams take place at the end of a teaching block.

Coursework may take a range of forms to give you the opportunity to practice different skills. For example, you may be asked to:

  • write an essay, review, blog post, opinion piece or learning journal
  • respond to a piece of writing, film, or other media, including through close reading
  • give a short talk or presentation
  • record a podcast or video
  • design a poster or presentation

Exams will include oral exams to test your spoken language skills.

Depending on where you go and what you do on your Year Abroad, Year 3 may include being assessed, in part, by a host university.

In your final year, you will also complete a dissertation or long essay.

Skills and experience

Combining the study of a language with History of Art demonstrates that you are a good communicator, and someone open to other cultures and new ideas – what employers value as Intercultural Competence.

Beyond the language skills you will develop, you will also gain a nuanced understanding of other cultures and societies throughout history.

Graduating with a four-year Master of Arts degree from the University of Edinburgh shows intellectual maturity, resilience, and flexibility.

The skills you will be able to demonstrate to employers when you graduate include the ability to:

  • understand, analyse and articulate complex issues and concepts
  • manage your time to meet deadlines on different types of project
  • work independently and as part of a group

Opportunities across sectors

This joint honours programme is an ideal primer for a career in:

  • publishing, culture, heritage and the arts

Your language and humanities skills will also open many other doors. As well as the cultural sector, previous graduates have gone on to work in:

  • business, finance and commerce
  • communications, marketing, advertising and public relations
  • education, outreach, advocacy and training
  • journalism, broadcasting and media
  • leisure, tourism and travel
  • politics, policy work, diplomacy, civil service and law
  • research, development and venture acceleration
  • translating and interpreting

Careers span the private, public, not-for-profit, and for-benefit sectors.

Home and away

With increasing migration in response to changing global dynamics, there is demand for our graduates both at home and abroad.

Wherever you are based in the world, the ability to communicate in another language, and to understand the cultures to which it opens doors, will make you stand out.

If you are keen to work abroad, it’s good to know that Italy is a cultural and scientific powerhouse; an advanced economy with the ninth largest nominal GDP in the world, and the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites of any nation.

The country is a founding member of the European Union and a member of numerous international institutions, including the UN, NATO, and the Council of Europe.

Further study

The enhanced research skills you will develop on a four-year programme, particularly in your honours years, are a valuable asset if you wish to continue studying at postgraduate level.

At the University of Edinburgh, we typically offer Masters by Research degrees in:

  • Italian
  • History of Art
  • Collections and Curating Practices

Each of these programmes is a good stepping stone to a PhD, but is equally of value as a stand-alone qualification.

Our interdisciplinary taught MSc programmes typically include:

  • Comparative Literature
  • Intermediality
  • History of Art, Theory and Display
  • Modern and Contemporary Art

Careers advice

Throughout your time with us, we will encourage you to identify and hone your employability skills.

LLC has a dedicated Careers Consultant within the University's excellent Careers Service.

Through our careers service, you can:

  • book one-to-one appointments and practice interviews
  • access a range of online resources
  • attend themed fairs such as the Creative and Cultural Careers Festival

Popular peer support includes Life After LLC, a panel event where you can draw inspiration from our recent graduates.

Standard entry requirement

The standard entry requirement is:

  • SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S5 or AABB/ABBBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: ABB.
  • IB: 34 points with 655 at HL.

Minimum entry requirement

The minimum entry requirement for widening access applicants is:

  • SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: ABB.
  • IB: 34 points with 655 at HL.

More information for widening access applicants

Required subjects

The grades used to meet our entry requirements must include:

  • SQA: Highers: no specific Higher subjects required. National 5s: a language other than English at B and English at C.
  • A Levels: no specific A Level subjects required. GCSEs: a language other than English at B or 6 and English at C or 4.
  • IB: HL: no specific subjects required. SL: a language other than English at 5 and English at 5.

Additional requirements

Language requirement

For degrees that have a subject requirement of a language other than English, students may not use their own native language to meet this requirement. In these instances, English or an alternative language other than native will be acceptable.

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

Regardless of your nationality or country of residence, you must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies.

SQA, GCSE and IB

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 at C
  • GCSE at C or 4
  • Level 2 Certificate at C
  • IB Standard Level at 5 (English ab initio is not accepted for entry)

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 5.5 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 92 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 176 with at least 162 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 62 with at least 54 in each component.

(Revised 29 August 2023 to remove PTE Academic Online)

We also accept a wider range of international qualifications and tests.

Unless you are a national of a majority English speaking country, your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start of the month in which the degree you are applying to study begins. If you are using an IELTS, PTE Academic, TOEFL or Trinity ISE test, it must be no more than two years old on the first of the month in which the degree begins, regardless of your nationality.

English language requirements

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 Discover Uni data available.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees for MA Italian and History of Art

Additional costs

As long as international restrictions allow, you will spend Year 3 in Italy. The costs you have to pay will depend on where you decide to go, and how you spend your time.

Some study placements at language schools may charge a fee, but we will normally refund you for tuition costs as long as your activity has been approved. You will be responsible for associated travel costs such as flights and visas.

Funding

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