Undergraduate study - 2021 entry

Degree Programme Specification 2020/2021

MA Honours in History of Art and Scottish Literature

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 Scottish Literature
UCAS code: VQ35
Relevant QAA subject benchmarking group(s): History of Art, Architecture and Design; English Literature
Postholder with overall responsibility for QA:

ECA Quality Assurance Director

Date of production/revision: July 2012 

External summary

The study of History of Art at the University of Edinburgh 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, architecture and visual and material culture were created.

Likewise Scottish Literature is a versatile academic discipline characterised by the rigorous and critical study of the production, reception and interpretation of written texts, both literary and non-literary; and with the nature, history and potential of the English language.

The study of both History of Art and Scottish Literature develops a flexible and responsive openness of mind, conceptual sophistication in argument, and the ability to engage in dialogue with past and present cultures and values.

The programme aims to develop the critical, analytic, linguistic and creative skills of students by engaging with a broad range of texts and a variety of approaches to reading literary texts, visual and material cultural artefacts, and secondary sources and critiques relating to these works. By enhancing the literary and critical faculties of individual students, the programme prepares them to contribute to a society in which an understanding of texts and creative cultural artefacts of all kinds is crucially important.  The programme offers society the resource of intellectually trained individuals capable of acting as conduits of knowledge and understanding between the cultures of literary production and critique and of creative artefactual production and critique.

Educational aims of programme

The programme aims to equip students with:

  • a wide-ranging knowledge of the history of art and Scottish literature from antiquity to present day.
  • an understanding of the methodologies as well as the historical, theoretical, and critical frameworks of History of Art and Scottish literature studies.
  • a familiarity with the roles of connoisseurship, collecting, and art-historical and literary criticism.

and:

  • 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 Scottish literature.

Programme outcomes: Knowledge and understanding

During the course of the four-year degree programme, we expect our students progressively to develop:

  • knowledge and understanding of the art of a wide range of European and non-European cultures (Medieval, Renaissance, Early Modern, Nineteenth-Century, Modern), and a detailed understanding of particular areas and/or aspects of the history of art
  • knowledge and understanding of Scottish literature past and present, and a wide variety of genres in English and Scottish Literature, and a critical understanding of their formal structures.
  • an informed awareness of the variety of methods and theoretical frameworks that have informed the work of art historians and researchers in English and Scottish literature, past and present.  
  • a capacity to place works of art and literature in their appropriate historical contexts, and understanding of the significance of issues such as class, nation and gender in the production and understanding of works and texts.
  • An ability to understand works of art and literature 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 literature.

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

  • Provide clear, well-organised arguments concerning the appreciation and interpretation of works of art and literature, 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.
  • 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, and slide and image libraries.
  • Take account of the fact that works of art and literature 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 Scottish Literature, 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 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 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 Scottish Literature, 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 Architectural History, 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 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

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

ENLI08016

Scottish Literature 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 2 compulsory course(s).

Code

Course Name

Period

Credits

HIAR08012

History of Art 2

As available

40

ENLI08004

Scottish Literature 2

As available

40

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

Years 3 and 4 Honours - Notes: 1. Progression to Honours normally requires a pass in all subjects taken in the first two years. Students must, however, achieve a pass (40%) in History of Art 2 at the first attempt and a mark of 50% or above in Scottish Literature 2 at the first attempt 2. Over their Honours years students must take a minimum of 4 courses in Scottish Literature to enable them to graduate with the degree of History if Art and Scottish Literature.

Year 3 COMPULSORY COURSES This year has no compulsory courses

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

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

Code

Course Name

Credits

ENLI10303

African American Modernism

20

ENLI10110

Body in Literature

20

ENLI10083

Ideology and Literature

20

ENLI10244

New Zealand Literature and Film

20

ENLI10118

Shakespeare the Fabulous Politican

20

ENLI10101

Stories for Boys

20

ENLI10079

Tragedy and Modernity

20

ENLI10122

Utopia 1: Imaginary Journeys from More to Huxley

20

ENLI10271

Working Class Representations

20

ENLI10174

Gender and Theatrical Representation

20

ENLI10307

Myths of Belonging: Australian and Canadian Settler Writing

20

ENLI10119

Shakespeare: Modes and Genres

20

ENLI10249

'We are [not] Amused': Victorian Comic Literature

20

ENLI10276

History, Time and Memory in the Contemporary Novel

20

ENLI10091

Western Fictions

20

ENLI10286

American Innocence

20

ENLI10115

Creative Writing Part 2: Prose

20

ENLI10210

Creative Writing Part I: Poetry

20

ENLI10301

Naturalist Fiction

20

ENLI10279

Shakespeare's Comedies: Identity and Illusion

20

Select exactly 60 credits from the following three sets of courses, as available:

Select a minimum of 20 credits and maximum of 60 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 40 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

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

Code

Course Name

Credits

ENLI10306

Critical Practice: Criticism

10

ENLI10187

Critical Practice: Poetry

10

ENLI10188

Critical Practice: Performance

10

ENLI10112

Critical Practice: Prose

10

Year 4 This year has no compulsory courses

COURSE OPTIONS This year has 4 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

SCAN10036

Dissertation (MA Social Anthropology)

40

AND Select exactly 80 credits from the following collections:

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

Code

Course Name

Credits

ENLI10113

Celtic Revivals: Writing on the Periphery,1890-1939

20

ENLI10172

Contemporary American Fiction

20

ENLI10206

Decolonization and the Novel

20

ENLI10274

Fairy Tales

20

ENLI10208

Gender and History in Postcolonial Space: Aspects of Canadian-English Textuality

20

ENLI10273

The Long Summer: Edwardian Texts and Contexts, 1900-1910

20

ENLI10201

Modern Scottish Fiction

20

ENLI10196

Postcolonial Pacific Writing

20

2ENLI10181

Society of the Spectacle

20

ENLI10275

Virginia Woolf: Texts and Contexts

20

ENLI10283

Early Drama: Performance and Reception

20

ENLI10205

The Literary Absolute: Truth, Value, Aesthetics

20

ENLI10311

Lyric and Society

20

ENLI10221

Medieval Romance

20

ENLI10302

Naturalist Theatre, 1880-1920

20

ENLI10217

Postcolonial Writing

20

ENLI10304

Shakespeare Adapted

20

ENLI10204

Shakespeare's Sister: Archival Research and the Politics of the Canon.

20

ENLI10270

The Literature Industry: Issues in the History of the Book

20

ENLI10133

Shakespearean Sexualities

20

ENLI10210

Creative Writing Part I: Poetry

20

ENLI10211

Creative Writing Part II: Prose

20

ENLI10257

Poet-Critics: the Style of Modern Poetry

20

ENLI10193

Writing the Body Politic

20

Select a minimum of 20 credits and maximum of 40 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 20 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 Scottish literature 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 academic staff.   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: As well as the outstanding collection in the University’s Main Library, stdents 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 Univesity. 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.

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 224760
Year 321790
Year 412880

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 147053
Year 250050
Year 317083
Year 427073

Career opportunities

There are a variety of careers open to History of Art and Scottish Literature 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. Previous graduates have also gone on to work in the finance or business sectors. 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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