Undergraduate study - 2020 entry

Degree Programme Specification 2019/2020

MA Honours in History of Art and History of Music

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: MA Honours
Programme title: History of Art and History of Music
UCAS code: VW33
Relevant QAA subject benchmarking group(s): History of Art, Architecture and Design; Music
Postholder with overall responsibility for QA: ECA Quality Assurance Director
Date of production/revision: 11 Jul 2012 

External summary

The study of History of Art and History of Music at the University of Edinburgh aims to equip students with an understanding of the formal qualities and theoretical frameworks of music, art and architecture and their relationships to the wider cultural, social, economic, technological and political circumstances in which musical and artistic works were created.

The 4-year degree takes full advantage of Edinburgh’s position as a capital city.  The national collections, archives and rich architectural heritage are essential to teaching in the History of Art, and the Edinburgh University Collection of Historic Musical Instruments forms an invaluable resource for this combined degree. Equally, Edinburgh is the home of the the Scottish Chamber Orchestra as well as the Fringe Festival, Edinburgh International Festival and the Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

The programme aims to develop the critical, analytical, and interpretative skills of students by engaging with a broad range of approaches, theories and material. More specifically, the combined degree allows students to take a truly interdisciplinary approach to specific cultural periods.

Educational aims of programme

The programme aims to equip students with:

  • a wide-ranging knowledge of the history of art and of music from antiquity to present day
  • an understanding of the methodologies as well as the historical, theoretical, and critical frameworks of History of Art
  • the ability to engage with the materials of musical composition by analysing works by past and contemporary composers, and to explore musical repertoires and their cultural contexts in society past and present
  • a familiarity with the roles of connoisseurship, collecting, and art-historical and musical criticism

and

  • To give students an understanding of historical method and a sensitivity to issues of historical and cultural difference.
  • to develop intellectual creativity through engaging with art historical and music theory and criticism.
  • To provide students with skills of visual and musical 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 the history of music.

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, architecture and music of a wide range of European and non-European cultures (Medieval, Renaissance, Early Modern, Nineteenth-Century, Modern).
  • A detailed understanding of particular areas or aspects of the histories of art and music.  
  • An informed awareness of the variety of methods and theoretical frameworks that have informed the work of art and music historians, past and present.  
  • A capacity to place works of art, architecture and music in their appropriate historical contexts.
  • An ability to understand works of art, architecture and music 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 understand the theory and practice of music and art, and to describe the material, technical and formal features of a given work of art or music.

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

  • Utilise a wide range of approaches to the study of the histories of art and music: aural, historical, analytical, critical, ethnographic, social, physical and technological.
  • Provide clear, well-organised arguments concerning the appreciation and interpretation of works of art and music, in the form of both oral and written presentations.
  • Make appropriate use of primary documentation and historical sources to illuminate works of art and music, including studying artefacts through which music and musical performances are preserved, and learning to interrogate them in various ways.
  • Searching for, evaluating and using a wide variety of sources to develop personal knowledge and understanding, employing the diverse resources that are available for obtaining information, ideas and images, such as books, journals, the internet, slide and image libraries and collections of music recordings, scores and historic instruments.
  • Take account of the fact that works of art and music 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 History of Music, graduates will be able to develop and demonstrate:

  • The ability to ask key questions and exercise rational enquiry, demonstrating appropriate intellectual scepticism and a willingness to challenge received assumptions.
  • Ability to evaluate the different positions and arguments that arise in solving particular art-historical and musical study 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 to plan, undertake and (in a scholarly and literate fashion) draft extended pieces of project work and dissertations.
  • Ability to test, modify and strengthen their own views through collaboration and debate.

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in communication

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

  • Communicate an approach to a particular issue in a concise, accurate, lucid and coherent form, both oral and written, constructing cogent arguments;
  • 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;
  • The ability to articulate their skills through self-reflection.

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

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

  • Effective time management to meet self-imposed and external deadlines.
  • The ability to work autonomously, setting their own goals, self-motivating and organising their own learning.
  • The capacity to respond positively and creatively to criticism and feedback, while maintaining confidence in their own abilities.
  • The flexibility to transfer knowledge, learning, skills and abilities from one context to another.
  • An understanding of the variety of contexts within which individual thought and practice operate, exercising sensitivity to ambiguity and multiplicity of meanings.
  • An awareness of personal strengths and areas for development.

Programme outcomes: Technical/practical skills

  • Students will be encouraged to learn to develop their visual and musical memories. 
  • The ability to deploy good bibliographical and library research skills, as well as a range of skills in reading and textual and artefactual analysis.
  • 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 literature.
  • An ability to make effective presentation, using audio-visual aids.

Programme structure and features

Entry Requirements: The typical offer is likely to be: - SQA Highers: AAAA - GCE A Levels: AAA - IB: 37 points overall and grades 666 at Higher Level

PROGRAMME OF STUDY:

Year 1 COMPULSORY COURSES This year has 1 compulsory course

Code

Course Name

Period

Credits

HIAR08009

History of Art 1

As available

40

COURSE OPTIONS This year has 2 sets of course options with the following rules:

Select exactly 40 credits from the following list of courses, as available

Code

Course Name

Credits

MUSI08011

Music 1A: Music in Social Contexts

20

MUSI08012

Music 1B: Music and Technologies

20

AND 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

MUSI08031

Music 2A: Music and Ideas

As available

20

MUSI08033

Music 2B: Set Works

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

Notes: To progress to Honours students must achieve a mark of 40% or above in History of Art 2 at the first attempt and an average of 50% or above in Music 2A and Music 2B at the first attempt.

Year 3 COMPULSORY COURSES This year has 1 compulsory course

Code

Course Name

Period

Credits

MUSI10066

Research Methods in Music

As available

20

COURSE OPTIONS This year has 5 sets of course options with the following rules:

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

Overarching rule collection group A Select exactly 40 credits from these collections, a minimum of 0 and a maximum of 40 credits from each of the following two sets:

Code

Course Name

Credits

MUSI10018

Aesthetics of Music

20

MUSI10013

History of Instruments

20

MUSI10031

Performance Practice

20

AND/OR

Code

Course Name

Credits

MUSI10009

Special History in Music: Music in Christian Worship

20

MUSI10071

Special History in Music: A Century of Rhythm

20

MUSI10074

Special History in Music: Bach's Instrumental Music

20

MUSI10075

Film Music to 1950

20

Overarching rule collection group B Select exactly 40 credits from these collections, a minimum of 0 and a maximum of 40 credits from each of the following two sets:

Code

Course Name

Credits

MUSI10018

Aesthetics of Music

20

MUSI10013

History of Instruments

20

MUSI10031

Performance Practice

20

AND/OR

Code

Course Name

Credits

MUSI10009

Special History in Music: Music in Christian Worship

20

MUSI10071

Special History in Music: A Century of Rhythm

20

MUSI10074

Special History in Music: Bach's Instrumental Music

20

MUSI10075

Film Music to 1950

20

Overarching rule collection group B Select exactly 40 credits from these collections, a minimum of 0 and a maximum of 40 credits from each of the following two sets:

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

AND/OR

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 5 sets of course options with the following rules:

Select exactly 40 credits from the following list of courses, as available

Code

Course Name

Credits

HIAR10006

Dissertation (History of Art and Combined Degrees)

40

MUSI10016

Dissertation in Music

40

AND

Overarching rule collection group A Select exactly 40 credits from these collections, a minimum of 0 and a maximum of 40 credits from each of the following two sets:

Code

Course Name

Credits

MUSI10018

Aesthetics of Music

20

MUSI10013

History of Instruments

20

MUSI10031

Performance Practice

20

AND/OR

Code

Course Name

Credits

MUSI10009

Special History in Music: Music in Christian Worship

20

MUSI10071

Special History in Music: A Century of Rhythm

20

MUSI10074

Special History in Music: Bach's Instrumental Music

20

MUSI10075

Film Music to 1950

20

Overarching rule collection group B Select exactly 40 credits from these collections, a minimum of 0 and a maximum of 40 credits from each of the following two sets:

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

AND/OR

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 history of music 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

Facilities: As well as the outstanding collection in the University’s Main Library, students have access to the specialist collections held in the ECA Library, Evolution House and Art and Architecture library, Minto House, as well as other libraries around the University. There are many other library facilities in the city, including the Fine Art department of Edinburgh City Library and the National Library of Scotland, situated very nearby.   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.

The Reid Music Library, situated in the Main Library, is an exceptionally fine general music library of some 85,000 volumes (20,000 books, 65,000 scores and over 8,500 sound recordings) containing many rarities and valuable first editions.  There are also important collections in the National Library of Scotland.  Archives of material relating to Scots culture, including all types of traditional Scottish music, are housed in the research centre of Celtic and Scottish Studies in the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures, which also houses the John Levy Archive of mainly religious and court music from South Asia and the Far East.  Students also have access to the Reid Concert Hall and St Cecila’s Hall Museums of Instruments, housing fine collections of historic instruments used for teaching, research and performance.

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 124760
Year 222780
Year 314860
Year 410900

Assessment methods and strategies

Assessment and Feedback: Courses can be assessed by a diverse range of methods, and assessment often takes the form of formative work (particularly essays) which provide opportunities for ongoing feedback, as well as summative assessments the marks for which count towards the final degree classification.  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.

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 and literary culture of Edinburgh, Scotland and beyond as they arise.

Teaching and Learning Activities

In All years

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

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 145253
Year 233958
Year 317578
Year 417380

Career opportunities

There are a variety of careers open to History of Art and History of Music graduates. You can choose to work in arts education, museums, commercial galleries, the heritage industry, publishing, teaching, arts administration or a media-related career like PR, media production or advertising. There are opportunities for postgraduate study at the University of Edinburgh or you may choose to continue studying at another university.  The University Careers service offers effective help and advice.

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