You will study two core modules:
- Criticism and Methods in the History of Art and Visual Culture
- Postgraduate Research Training and Methods
The specialised research skills module prepares you for both writing your dissertation.
You will also study a range of optional modules, choosing one Special Subject module and two 20-credit modules. Further module information is available below.
The programme culminates in a 15,000-word dissertation in a research area that you choose with the guidance of academic staff.
You will study two core modules:
Criticism and Methods in the History of Art and Visual Culture
This module looks at the historiography, methods and theoretical underpinning of contemporary practices of artistic and visual analysis. Based on close reading of key scholarly texts, you will engage with traditional art historical methods as well as more recent approaches to the study of art and visual culture. You will be asked to consider the relevance of these methods to a range of examples, including the potential topics for your final Masters thesis.
Postgraduate Research Training and Methods
This specialised module prepares you for both writing and researching your dissertation. It covers topics such as: referencing systems; writing a research proposal; literature reviews; approaching archives; and oral histories.
You will also choose one Special Subject module. These could include:
- After Modernism. Art and Culture since the 1970s
- Art and Revolution in France, 1789-1848
- Contemporary Visual Arts and Postcolonialism
- Fashioning Flesh and Technology: Modernism and the Body in Germany 1918-1933
- Inside Out. Interiors and Interiority in French Art, Design and Visual Culture 1840-1940
- Women and Artistic Culture in the Late Medieval and Early Modern Period
You will also choose two 20-credit modules from a range including:
Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art
This module consists of a critical examination of topics in aesthetics and the philosophy of art. It considers subjects such as: art and the nature of aesthetic experience; beauty, ugliness and the sublime; symbolism and allegory; the aesthetics of modernism.
Architecture and public art in sixteenth-century Venice
The module will examine the architecture and the decoration of public buildings (e.g. the Doge’s Palace; churches and scuole) in Venice and certain Venetian mainland territories during the course of the sixteenth century. It will examine, in particular, how the styles and subject matter changed during the period. It will also chronicle the emergence of new kinds of building (e.g. the villa and new kinds of palace and church) and chart the effects of changing artistic practices. The architects covered will include Sanmicheli (in Verona) and Palladio (in Vicenza) as well as Sansovino (Venice’s official architect); among the artists studied will be Carpaccio, Titian, Veronese and Tintoretto. The module will place special emphasis on artistic traditions and themes that had a particular significance for Venice, and it will make regular reference to primary source material.
Art, Heritage and Digital Cultures
Digital Cultures offers you the opportunity to engage with History of Art through the application of digital technologies. This module will introduce you to the range of technologies that are becoming available and provide practical experience with a range of them. You will have the opportunity to work on material relevant to History of Art and Visual Studies. Significantly, this module will teach you the different cultures of engagement between your own disciplines and Digital Cultures to understand, for example, the difference in languages used. In this way, the module will focus on the breaking down of barriers to learning and engagement with cultural information in both practical and theoretical ways, offering you the chance to develop your own digital content and to demonstrate its value within your own disciplines and beyond.
This module will introduce and explore questions of power, ideology, discourse, culture and (post)colonialism through discussion of the ideas of Karl Marx, Louis Althusser, Antonio Gramsci, Michel Foucault, the cultural theorists of the Frankfurt School, Frederic Jameson, Jacques Ranciere, Edward Said and Homi Bhabha. One week will be devoted to study of the history of the Birmingham Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies, and issues of identity, subjectivity, psychoanalysis, gender/queer theory, feminism and the body will be examined through discussion of the writings of Sigmund Freud, Jacques Lacan, Luce Irigaray and Judith Butler.
The Body and its Representations in Visual Culture
This module analyses the representation of the body in western art and visual culture from the Renaissance to the present day. Rather than attempting a survey of periods we will analyse the body in visual representation according to a set of thematic concepts relevant to current debates. These might include: the body and western identity; body politics; technologies of the body; surface and interiority; performing the body; fashioning the body; self-representation and the body; feminism and the body; and the eroticised body.
Special subject and 20 credit module options may vary from year to year.
We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2015/16 are as follows:
Home / EU: £6,210 full-time; £3,105 part-time
Overseas: £14,140 full-time
For part-time students, the above fee quoted is for year one only and tuition fees will also be payable in year two of your programme.
Eligibility for Home/EU or Overseas fees can be verified with Admissions. Learn more about fees for international students
Tuition fees can either be paid in full or by instalments. Learn more about
postgraduate tuition fees and funding.
Scholarships and studentships
Scholarships to cover fees and/or maintenance costs may be available. To discover whether you are eligible for any award across the University, and to start your funding application, please visit the University's Postgraduate Funding Database.
International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government.
Birmingham Masters Scholarship Scheme
For 2015 entry the University has 224 new £10,000 scholarships available for Masters students from under-represented groups. These scholarships have been jointly funded by the British Government; the allocation of the awards, which is the fourth highest in the UK, further cements Birmingham?s place amongst the very best higher education institutions for postgraduate study. The application deadline is 31 July 2015.