Undergraduate study - 2021 entry

Degree Programme Specification 2020/2021

MA Honours in History of Art and Chinese Studies

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 Chinese Studies

UCAS code: TV13
Relevant QAA subject benchmarking group(s): History of Art, Architecture and Design; Languages and Related Studies
Postholder with overall responsibility for QA: ECA Quality Assurance Director
Date of production/revision: 5 Jul 2012 

External summary

The MA History of Art and Chinese Studies programme aims to teach students to speak, write and read Mandarin Chinese while equipping them with an understanding of art’s formal qualities, theoretical framework and its relationship to the wider cultural, social, economic and political circumstances in which the works of art and architecture were created.

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

  • History of Art at the University of Edinburgh, unlike most programmes in the UK, has a long tradition of teaching eastern cultures, especially Chinese and Middle Eastern, as an integral component. Similarly, the modern and contemporary areas explore the effects of globalization on art.
  • Edinburgh’s position as a capital city with national collections and archives and a rich architectural heritage 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.
  • Established, independent projects, such as the History of Art Analytical Report as well as a minimum of 30 weeks studying abroad, 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 visual culture from antiquity to present day; an understanding of the historical, theoretical, and critical frameworks of History of Art and its methodologies; a familiarity with the roles of connoisseurship, collecting and criticism as well as materials, display and curating
  • the ability to speak, write and read Mandarin Chinese at an advanced level of proficiency; to translate and interpret from and into Mandarin Chinese
  • an in-depth knowledge of Chinese culture and history

Educational aims of programme

  • To introduce students to the art and architecture of many of the most significant periods of European, Middle Eastern and Chinese cultures.  And to allow them to engage in a more specialised way with those periods and cultures that especially interest them.
  • 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 teach students to speak, write and read Mandarin Chinese at an advanced level of proficiency.
  •  To teach students to translate and interpret from and into Mandarin Chinese.
  • To introduce students to Internet and bibliographic resources in both Mandarin Chinese and English.
  • To enable students to inform and educate others about Chinese language and culture

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 of a wide range of European, Middle Eastern and Chinese cultures (Antique, Medieval, Renaissance, Early Modern, Nineteenth-Century, Modern).
  • A detailed understanding of particular areas or aspects of the history of art.  
  • An informed awareness of the variety of methods and theoretical frameworks that have informed the work of art historians, past and present. 
  • A capacity to place works of art and architecture in their appropriate historical contexts.
  • An ability to understand works of art 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 knowledge of modern spoken and written Chinese (Mandarin); and of linguistic issues related to the language (its structure, functions, registers, writing systems etc.)
  • A knowledge of modern and classical Chinese literature.
  • A knowledge of Chinese history and thought.
  • An understanding of political and social issues related to Chinese speaking countries.
  • An understanding of the methods and concepts of literary, historical and linguistic analysis.

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 literature.
  • Employing the diverse resources that are available in English and in Mandarin 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, and sometimes literature and culture, 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 Chinese Studies, graduates will be able to develop and demonstrate:

  • appropriate intellectual scepticism, and a willingness to challenge received assumptions
  • ability to analyse critically both visual and textual materials
  • ability to evaluate the different positions and arguments that arise in solving particular art-historical and literature-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 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 Chinese Studies, graduates will be able to develop and demonstrate their ability to:

  • 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 Chinese Studies, 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

Programme structure and features

The undergraduate degree is a four-year degree.  The programme is arranged across eight 13 week teaching semesters, and 4 shorter periods in the summers devoted to examining.  The first two years comprise pre-Honours, and 3rd and 4th years constitute Honours.  The whole of the third year is spent in a Chinese speaking country.

PROGRAMME OF STUDY:

Year 1

COMPULSORY COURSES This year has 3 compulsory course(s).

Code

Course Name

Period

Credits

ASST08001

Chinese 1

As available

40

HIAR08009

History of Art 1

As available

40

ASST08031

East Asian Civilization 1

As available

40

COURSE OPTIONS This year has no course options.

Year 2

COMPULSORY COURSES This year has 2 compulsory course(s).

Code

Course Name

Period

Credits

ASST08018

Chinese 2A

As available

40

HIAR08012

History of Art 2

As available

40

COURSE OPTIONS

This year has 2 set of course options with the following rules:

EITHER Select exactly 40 credits from the following list:

Code

Course Name

Credits

ASST08019

Chinese 2B

40

ASST08039

Pre-modern East Asia to 1600

40

OR Select a minimum of 0 credits and maximum of 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 2 compulsory coursess

Code

Course Name

Period

Credits

ASST10077

Chinese 3 Year Abroad

As available

80

Notes: At least 30 weeks spent in the relevant country and prescribed work in History of Art and in the relevant language in an approved establishment

HIAR10004

History of Art Analytical Report (A)

As available

20

COURSE OPTIONS This year has 2 sets of course options with the following rules: Select exactly 20 credits from these collections:

HIAR10031

History of Art Analytical Report B

As available

20

OR

ASST09002

Chinese Special Subject 3

As available

20

Year 4

This year has 3 compulsory courses

Code

Course Name

Period

Credits

ASST10094

Chinese Language 4a

As available

10

ASST10095

Chinese Language 4B

As available

10

ASST10093

Chinese Oral

As available

0

COURSE OPTIONS

This year has 7 sets of course options with the following rules:

Students must select at least one course from collection B; they may also take a course from collection C. Students should be taking 2 History of Art courses (40 credits).

Overarching rule collection group: A Select exactly 20 credits from these collections

Code

Course Name

Credits

ASST10106

Chinese Literature 4A (pre-modern)

20

ASST10107

Chinese Literature 4B (modern)

20

ASST10108

Chinese History and Thought 4A (pre-modern)

20

ASST10109

Chinese History and Thought 4B (modern)

20

ECSH10075

Tradition and Transformation in the Chinese Economy, 1842-1949

20

ECSH10076

Tradition and Transformation in the Chinese Economy, Since 1949

20

Overarching rule collection group: B Select exactly 40 credits from these collections:

Code

Course Name

Credits

HIAR10074

Persian Painting

20

HIAR10014

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

20

HIAR10106

Chinese Painting and Calligraphy: The Elite World of China

20

HIAR10084

Eve's Children: Art and Gender 600-1400

20

ARHI10035

Scottish Architecture: Context and Conservation

20

AND/OR

Code

Course Name

Credits

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

ARHI10005

Evolution of the Edinburgh Townscape

20

ARHI10031

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

20

Overarching rule collection group: C Select a minimum of 0 credits and a maximum of 20 credits from these collections:

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

Overarching rule collection group: D

Select exactly 40 credits as below:

HIAR10006

Dissertation (History of Art and Combined Degrees)

40

OR

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

Code

Course Name

Credits

ASST10106

Chinese Literature 4A (pre-modern)

20

ASST10107

Chinese Literature 4B (modern)

20

ASST10108

Chinese History and Thought 4A (pre-modern)

20

ASST10109

Chinese History and Thought 4B (modern)

20

ECSH10075

Tradition and Transformation in the Chinese Economy, 1842-1949

20

ECSH10076

Tradition and Transformation in the Chinese Economy, Since 1949

20

AND

Select exactly 20 credits as below

ASST10081

Chinese Special Subject 4

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.  In History of Art, written work is usually returned 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. In Chinese, classes are given on literary, historical and linguistic concepts and on approaches to translation. Throughout their studies, students take classes and receive instruction in Mandarin Chinese language.The language is acquired through small-group classes, tutorials and regular, assessed coursework. Additional support is provided through the self-access facilities for language learning at the Language and Humanities Centre and the Languages Microlab. The third year abroad further promotes the active learning of the Chinese language to an advanced level. Comprehensive bibliographies are provided for each course, as are guidelines for the production of essays, coursework assignments and dissertations

Teaching and Research: In the Honours years especially, students benefit from studying fields and topics 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:  Students choose Honours courses from a wide list of options, and construct their own programme of study in consultation with their Director of Studies.  

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 collections in the Main University Library and 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 128720
Year 226740
Year 333166
Year 415850

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 least 50% in History of Art 2 and 50% in Chinese 2A OR Chinese 2B, no later than May of the second year, and to pass the third subject.   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. Use of the Mandarin Chinese language and translating and interpreting from and into Chinese are assessed by class and home exercises, tests and degree examinations. Ability to gather information on Chinese speaking countries and to present it effectively in English are assessed through degree examinations on Chinese literature, history, thought, culture and society.

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, the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures, 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 150545
Year 248745
Year 300100
Year 438062

Career opportunities

History of Art and Chinese Studies students are well placed to go on to successful careers in education, museum curating, and arts administration.  The University Careers service offers effective help and advice.

Other items

Study Abroad: The whole of third year is spent abroad, in a Chinese speaking country.