This programme is designed to provide both academic excellence and vocational development - a balance that is highly sought after by employers in today's intellectual, professional and creative industries. The programme is also very flexible, allowing you to specialise as you progress.
History of Art at Birmingham is an exciting and stimulating Department, with a diverse curriculum and wide application to modern life. Much of our teaching draws on the collection of the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, and this is supported by further resources across the University and Birmingham.
Within English Literature, you will have the opportunity to explore a range of approaches to the study of literature, gaining a good grounding in all genres and periods of literature. Complement this by taking a module in an area of creative practice such as Creative Writing, Film or Drama. We have a unique provision for the study of Shakespeare: the Shakespeare Institute, based in Stratford-upon-Avon, is a world-leading centre for international Shakespeare scholarship.
This programme also offers the opportunity to spend a year abroad at one of our carefully selected partner universities, where we have close personal ties with academic staff.
The optional modules listed on the website for this programme may unfortunately occasionally be subject to change. As you will appreciate key members of staff may leave the University and this necessitates a review of the modules that are offered. Where the module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you make other choices.
Your first year of study is split equally between English Literature and History of Art (60 credits in each subject). Following this, you have flexible options to alter your balance of study, meaning that you could take 80 credits in one subject and 40 in the other in either or both of years 2 and 3, or stay with the 60/60 balance.
English Literature: Your first-year modules in Joint Honours English will introduce you to the key genres of English Literature across a wide historical and international span, and train you in new ways of thinking about literature. By studying core modules on ‘Poetry’, ‘Prose’ and ‘Plays and Performance’, you will develop the close reading skills needed to analyse all kinds of texts, from medieval plays and early modern poetry to contemporary drama. You will also develop new understanding of how the historical and cultural contexts in which literature is produced and read can shape its meaning.
Alongside these literature-focused modules, ‘Language for Literature’, taught by expert colleagues in English Language, will develop your technical skills and understanding of how literary texts are put together, and how literary language works.
History of Art: This is your foundation year and you will take modules which introduce you to concepts, categories and approaches to studying art and artists, as well as modules which examine the techniques and materials used in the production of artworks. Other modules will give you an outline of selected key historical periods and themes in the history of art, such as the Renaissance and Modernism.
History of Art first year modules may include:
English Literature: The second year of your degree is an excellent opportunity to build on the new interests and passions that you discovered in your first-year modules.
You can choose between modules in ‘Histories of Literature’ to deepen your knowledge and understanding of all literary periods from medieval to the present day.
You will have the opportunity to encounter Shakespeare’s work through two exciting modules taught in collaboration with Birmingham’s world-leading Shakespeare Institute, based in Stratford-upon-Avon, and working closely with the Royal Shakespeare Company.
You will also have the option of exploring our ‘Themes in Literature’, from ‘The Gothic’ to ‘Tragedy’.
History of Art: The second year in History of Art is structured to allow you to acquire greater depth by focusing a number of more specific subjects. You will have the opportunity to choose from a number of optional modules on themes or periods in the history of art. If you are taking 80 or 60 credits of History of Art these are supported by a module on research techniques in the history of art as well as a study trip to a major artistic and cultural centre overseas, where you will have the opportunity to access works of art and architecture unavailable in Britain and to study them in situ.
History of Art second year modules may include:
- Research Techniques in the History of Art
- Art History in the Field – Overseas Study Trip
- Renaissance Art in Italy and the Netherlands 1400-1460
- Art, Architecture and Design in Fin de Siècle Vienna
- Power, Society, Politics: Religious art in Northern Europe
- Inside the Gallery. Histories, Theories and Practices of Museums and Galleries
- Impressionism and after: Art and Society in the Nineteenth-Century France
- Arts and the Industrial Revolution
- History of Art Second Year Module descriptions
English Literature: Depending on whether you elect to take 80, 60 or 40 credits in English Literature, you will take a number of the Special Subject modules below plus either a 12,000-word Dissertation or a 6,000-word Extended Essay on a subject of your choice, for which you will be supervised by an expert in the field. You also have the option of writing a ‘link’ Dissertation with joint supervision from the two Departments.
History of Art: In the final year of History of Art you opt to focus on several History of Art special subjects, which you study in depth and detail. If you are taking 80 or 60 credits of History of Art you have the opportunity to develop your research skills in a Dissertation, a piece of writing on a topic of your own choice. You may also study for a linked Dissertation, focusing on a topic of relevance to History and History of Art.
History of Art final year modules include:
- The Dissertation
- Women and Artistic Culture 1400-1600
- Paris Moderne 1850-1930: Image, Concept, Femininity
- Prague, Budapest, Cracow: Art and the Politics of Identity in Central Europe, 1867-1918
- Fashioning Flesh and Technology: Modernism and the Body in Germany 1918-1933
- Architecture and Decoration in Sixteenth-Century Venice
- The Destruction of Images
- Representing War: British Art, Design and the First World War
- Contemporary Art: New Practices, New Worlds
- History of Art Final Year Module descriptions
You will have the option to take a year abroad between your second and final year at one of a wide range of carefully selected partner institutions from around the world.
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