Undergraduate study - 2020 entry

Degree Programme Specification 2019/2020

MA Honours in History of Art and Architectural History

To give you an idea of what to expect from this programme, we publish the latest available information. This information is created when new programmes are established and is only updated periodically as programmes are formally reviewed. It is therefore only accurate on the date of last revision.
Awarding institution: The University of Edinburgh
Teaching institution: The University of Edinburgh
Programme accredited by: n/a
Final award: M.A. Honours
Programme title: History of Art and Architectural History
UCAS code: V360
Relevant QAA subject benchmarking group(s):
Postholder with overall responsibility for QA:
Date of production/revision:

External summary

The MA History of Art and Architectural History programme aims to equip students with an understanding of architecture and visual culture’s formal qualities, theoretical frameworks and relationship to the wider cultural, social, economic and political circumstances in which works of art and architecture were created.

The 4-year Edinburgh degree is unique for a number of reasons:

  • Edinburgh is a capital city with national collections and archives. A World Heritage site, it has over 4,500 listed buildings, ranging from medieval to modern. Its rich heritage and continued excellence in architectural design is essential to teaching and students’ independent projects. Our ties with institutions including the National Galleries of Scotland, Historic Scotland and the National Library of Scotland as well as with the city’s thriving contemporary art galleries have been carefully forged and maintained.
  • The University has a long tradition of teaching eastern art, especially Chinese and Middle Eastern, as an integral component of the program. Similarly, the modern and contemporary areas explore the effects of globalization on art and architecture.
  • Established, independent projects, such as Work Placement, provide students with vocational skills necessary to today’s competitive recruitment market.

The programme aims to equip students with:

  • a wide-ranging knowledge of the history of art and architecture from antiquity to present day
  • an understanding of the methodologies as well as the historical, theoretical, and critical frameworks of History of Art and architectural history
  • a familiarity with the roles of connoisseurship, collecting, criticism as well as materials, display, curating, heritage management and conservation.

Educational aims of programme

  • To introduce students to the art and architecture of many of the most significant periods of European culture. History of Art in particular includes Middle Eastern and Eastern material as a core component of the programme. And to allow students to engage in a more specialised way with those periods and cultures that especially interest them, both through their selection of Honours courses and through focussed Project and Dissertation work. 
  • To give students an understanding of historical method and a sensitivity to issues of historical and cultural difference.
  • To provide students with skills of visual and textual analysis and interpretation and to develop their ability to communicate their conclusions effectively. 
  • To encourage students to develop intellectual and creative independence of mind, with the confidence to articulate their views. 
  • To equip those who wish to proceed to postgraduate study with the requisite knowledge and understanding of the history of art and architecture.

Programme outcomes: Knowledge and understanding

  • During the course of the four-year degree programme, we expect our students progressively to develop:
  • Knowledge of the art and architecture of a wide range of European and non-European cultures (Medieval, Renaissance, Early Modern, Nineteenth-Century, Modern). In the pre-Honours years, History of Art 1 and 2, and Architectural History 1 and 2 combine to equip students with such a broad awareness.
  • A detailed understanding of particular areas or aspects of the history of art and architecture.   This begins with the seminar-based element in pre-Honours teaching, and underpins the increasingly specialised courses that students select in 3rd and 4th year.
  • An informed awareness of the variety of methods and theoretical frameworks that have informed the work of art and architectural historians, past and present. All students take the third-year course, Texts and Theories in Western Architecture.
  • A capacity to place works of art and architecture in their appropriate historical contexts.
  • An ability to understand works of art and architecture as the outcome of a complex process of thought, which might be illuminated by documents, preparatory drawings, or physical evidence of changes of mind. 
  • A sophisticated grasp of specialised terminology current within the disciplines, including a capacity to describe the material, technical and formal features of a given work of art or architecture.

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in research and enquiry

  • Provide clear, well-organised arguments concerning the interpretation of works of art and architecture, in the form of both oral and written presentations
  • Make appropriate use of primary documentation and historical sources to illuminate works of art and architecture.
  • Employing the diverse resources that are available for obtaining information, ideas and images, such as books, journals, the internet, and slide and image libraries
  • Take account of the fact that works of art and architecture will have been through processes of change that will have altered their original forms
  • Collaborating with others in group work

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in personal and intellectual autonomy

By engaging with and completing the degree in History of Art and Architectural History, graduates will be able to develop and demonstrate:

  • appropriate intellectual scepticism, and a willingness to challenge received assumptions
  • ability to evaluate the different positions and arguments that arise in solving particular art- and architectural-historical problems.
  • Ability to read texts critically, with an awareness of the assumptions and attitudes that underlie them and underpin interpretation
  • the ability to work independently, especially through project work and dissertations.

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in communication

By engaging with and completing the degree in History of Art and Architectural History, graduates will be able to develop and demonstrate:

  • Communicate an approach to a particular issue in a concise, lucid and coherent form, both oral and written
  • communicate effectively with other people, using verbal and written means and through presentations;
  • select the appropriate means and style of communication, in order to put ideas across effectively to differing audiences

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in personal effectiveness

By engaging with and completing the degree in History of Art and Architectural History, graduates will be able to develop and demonstrate:

  • effective time management
  • the capacity to respond positively and creatively to criticism and feedback, while maintaining confidence in their own abilities
  • an understanding of the variety of contexts within which individual thought and practice operate
  • an awareness of personal strengths and areas for development

Programme outcomes: Technical/practical skills

  • Students will be encouraged to learn to develop their visual memories 
  • Knowledge of how to use and construct bibliographies.
  • The use of information technology, including word-processing, e-mail and on-line resources.
  • A sophisticated grasp of specialised terminology current within the disciplines, including a capacity to describe the material, technical and formal features of a given work of art or architecture.

Programme structure and features

PROGRAMME OF STUDY:

Year 1

COMPULSORY COURSES

This year has 2 compulsory course(s).

Code

Course Name

Period

Credits

HIAR08009

History of Art 1

As available

40

ARHI08005

Architectural History 1

As available

40

COURSE OPTIONS

This year has 1 set of course options with the following rules:

Select exactly 40 credits from Level 7 and 8 courses in Schedules A to Q, T and W, as available

Year 2

COMPULSORY COURSES

This year has 3 compulsory course(s).

Code

Course Name

Period

Credits

HIAR08012

History of Art 2

As available

40

ARHI08002

Architectural History 2A

As available

20

ARHI08003

Architectural History 2B

As available

20

COURSE OPTIONS

This year has 1 set of course options with the following rules:

Select exactly 40 credits from Level 7 and 8 courses in Schedules A to Q, T and W, as available

Year 3

COMPULSORY COURSES

This year has 1 compulsory course

Code

Course Name

Period

Credits

ARHI10026

Texts and Theories in Western Architecture

As available

20

COURSE OPTIONS

This year has 4 sets of course options with the following rules:

Students must select at least one course from the third set, and may also take a maximum of three courses from the fourth set. Students should be taking 2 courses from these lists (if doing the Work Placement) and 4 courses if not doing the Work Placement. The courses should be as balanced as possible i.e. 1 course in both History of Art and Architectural History or 2 courses in each subject

Course sets:

Select exactly 20 credits from the following list of courses, as available:

Code

Course Name

Credits

HIAR10004

History of Art Analytical Report (A)

20

HIAR10031

History of Art Analytical Report B

20

Select a minimum of 0 credits and maximum of 40 credits from the following list of courses, as available.

Code

Course Name

Credits

HIAR10024

History of Art Work Placement

40

ARHI10017

Architectural History Work Placement

40

Select a minimum of 20 credits and maximum of 80 credits from the following list of courses, as available.

Code

Course Name

Credits

HIAR10082

The Rise of Islamic Art

20

HIAR10068

Sinners, Saints and Seers: Scottish, Irish and English art from 600-900

20

HIAR10008

Antiquity Recovered: Imag(in)ing Pompeii and Herculaneum

20

HIAR10070

Rome: From Imperial Capital to Holy City, c. 300-1300

20

HIAR10013

The Detailed Imagination: Netherlandish Painting in the Age of Jan van Eyck

20

HIAR10078

Velázquez in context

20

ARHI10005

Evolution of the Edinburgh Townscape

20

HIAR10108

Romanticism to Expressionism

20

HIAR10114

How to Make Italian Renaissance Art: Media, Methods and Materials in Theory and Practice 1400-1550

20

ARHI10031

Leon Battista Alberti: Theory & Practice of the Visual Arts in 15th-century Italy

20

ARHI10035

Scottish Architecture: Context and Conservation

20

Select a minimum of 0 credits and maximum of 60 credits from the following list of courses, as available.

Code

Course Name

Credits

HIAR10029

Europe 1900: Nationalism and Decadence at the Fin-De-Siecle

20

HIAR10097

The Death and Life of Painting

20

HIAR10035

Scottish Art in the Age of Change 1945-2000

20

HIAR10104

Dada and Surrealism: The Shattered Subject

20

ARHI10027

Architecture and Empire in Britain and the British Colonial World 1783 - 1947

20

ARHI10032

Barcelona and Modernity

20

HIAR10107

Modern Art in Shanghai, 1840-1930

20

HIAR10066

Sexual Politics and the Image

20

Year 4

This year has no compulsory courses

COURSE OPTIONS

This year has 3 sets of course options with the following rules:

Students must select at least one course from the second set, and may also take up to a maximum of three courses from the third set. Students should be taking 4 courses (80 credits) in total, 2 of which should be in Architectural History and 2 of which should be in History of Art.

Select a minimum of 20 credits and maximum of 40 credits from the following list of courses, as available.

Code

Course Name

Credits

HIAR10006

Dissertation (History of Art and Combined Degrees)

40

ARHI10002

Architectural History Dissertation

40

Select a minimum of 20 credits and maximum of 80 credits from the following list of courses, as available.

Code

Course Name

Credits

HIAR10074

Persian Painting

20

HIAR10053

The Renaissance Body

20

HIAR10014

Expanding Vision: Visual Culture in France from the Limbourgs to Leonardo

20

HIAR10009

From Jacobitism to Romanticism: The (Re)invention of Scotland in Visual and Material Culture

20

HIAR10016

Rubens and His World

20

HIAR10106

Chinese Painting and Calligraphy: The Elite World of China

20

HIAR10084

Eve's Children: Art and Gender 600-1400

20

ARHI10005

Evolution of the Edinburgh Townscape

20

ARHI10031

Leon Battista Alberti: Theory & Practice of the Visual Arts in 15th-century Italy

20

ARHI10035

Scottish Architecture: Context and Conservation

20

Select a minimum of 0 credits and maximum of 60 credits from the following list of courses, as available.

Code

Course Name

Credits

HIAR10030

France, 1850-1900: Visual Culture and Social Change

20

HIAR10077

Impressionism, Decadence, Rhythm: Artists in France and Britain 1870-1914

20

HIAR10034

Myth and History in Scottish Modern and Contemporary Art 1945-2000

20

HIAR10109

Expressionism, Dada, Bauhaus and Beyond

20

HIAR10065

The Aesthetics and Politics of Contemporary Art

20

ARHI10027

Architecture and Empire in Britain and the British Colonial World 1783 - 1947

20

ARHI10032

Barcelona and Modernity

20

HIAR10105

Art After Photography

20

HIAR10086

Francis Bacon and his Artistic Affinities

20

ARHI10020

Structure and Architecture: Technology, Design and Construction

20

Teaching and learning methods and strategies

Teaching and Learning strategies employed at the University of Edinburgh consist of a variety of different methods appropriate to the programme aims. The graduate attributes listed above are met through a teaching and learning framework (detailed below) which is appropriate to the level and content of the course.

Teaching Methods: As the degree unfolds, there is gradually less emphasis in the teaching on formal lectures, and more on small group seminar teaching.   At each stage within the degree, courses and independent learning projects are conceived as progressively more challenging for students.

Teaching and Research: In the Honours years especially, students benefit from studying fields and topics in the history of art and architecture which relate closely to the current research interests of members of staff. This can provide first-hand insight into the process of developing new approaches and knowledge, which students usually find very stimulating

Choice:  Throughout the programme students have the opportunity to take courses in other academic disciplines. Students choose Honours courses from a wide list of options, and construct their own programme of study in consultation with their Director of Studies.   There are several options for 3rd year Project work, and the Dissertation topic arises from the personal engagement and enthusiasm of the individual student.

Facilities: Students have access to the specialist collections held in the ECA Library, Evolution House and Art and Architecture library, Minto House, as well as to the other University libraries.  There are a range of other library facilities in the city, including the Fine Art department of Edinburgh City Library and the National Library of Scotland, situated very near ECA’s buildings.   Edinburgh’s many galleries and museums provide not only collections and exhibitions useful for teaching and personal research, but also an extensive range of educational events, from lectures to conferences.

Teaching and learning workload

You will learn through a mixture of scheduled teaching and independent study. Some programmes also offer work placements.

At Edinburgh we use a range of teaching and learning methods including lectures, tutorials, practical laboratory sessions, technical workshops and studio critiques.

The typical workload for a student on this programme is outlined in the table below, however the actual time you spend on each type of activity will depend on what courses you choose to study.

The typical workload for a student on this programme for each year of study
Start yearTime in scheduled teaching (%)Time in independant study (%)Time on placement (%)
Year 121790
Year 223770
Year 314797
Year 413870

Assessment methods and strategies

Assessment. Students are required to pass all first year courses to proceed into second year. To proceed from second into third year requires students to achieve, at the first sitting, 50% in History of Art 2 and a mean mark of 50% in the combination of Architectural History 2A and Architectural History 2B.   The final degree is calculated on the basis of the results of the course work, examinations, project work and dissertation written in the third and fourth years.  Third and fourth year Honours courses are assessed by a combination of essay and examination (each weighted at 50%). 

Students in all years for the programme are encouraged to attend and participate in research seminars and the wide range of public lectures, exhibitions and cultural activities arranged by ECA and the University throughout academic year, and also with the many wider opportunities for engagement with the wider creative culture of Edinburgh, Scotland and beyond as they present themselves.

Teaching and Learning Activities

In All years

  • Lectures
  • Tutorials, including presentations
  • Personal research work via dissertation

Feedback: Written work is usually returned, and feedback provided, at individual tutorials.  Project Work is supported by supervision and group discussions, the Dissertation by the supervision of an individual member of staff who specialises in the area.

Assessment method balance

You will be assessed through a variety of methods. These might include written or practical exams or coursework such as essays, projects, group work or presentations.

The typical assessment methods for a student on this programme are outlined below, however the balance between written exams, practical exams and coursework will vary depending on what courses you choose to study.

The typical assessment methods for a student on this programme for each year of study
Start yearAssessment by written exams (%)Assessment by practical exams (%)Assessment by coursework (%)
Year 135065
Year 233463
Year 325075
Year 417083

Career opportunities

History of Art and Architecture students from Edinburgh have gone to all manner of successful careers in the art world, working in education, museums, commercial galleries, the heritage industry and arts administration.  The University Careers service offers effective help and advice.

Other items

Study Abroad: The University has well-established exchange schemes in place with leading Universities in North America and Europe.  Many students over the years have arranged to spend the whole of third year abroad.