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BA History of Art

Start date
September
Duration
3 years
UCAS code
V350
Course Type
Undergraduate, Single Honours
Fees

We charge an annual tuition fee.
Fees for 2019/20:
£9,250 (Home/EU)
£17,640 (Overseas)
More detail.

History of Art is a way of unlocking the past through material culture and understanding the process of human creativity itself.

Discover art and visual culture through a broad range of perspectives, such as social history, global art, philosophy, anthropology, feminism and religion. You will have access to original works, a dedicated fine art library and collection of resources in the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, our acclaimed public gallery on-campus. Here you will find works by Botticelli, Van Gogh, Monet, Magritte, Degas, Gwen John, Vigée LeBrun and Rodin.

Study trips play an important part in your degree and include visits to galleries and museums in the UK and abroad. You will participate in a week-long, University-funded trip to a major European centre of artistic importance, where you have the opportunity to examine works of art and architecture in situ. Previous study trips have been to Rome, Prague, Berlin and Paris and are led by staff with specific research interests in the city. The trip provides a great opportunity to get to know the entire year group in an informal and inspiring setting.

I did a module on Early Renaissance Italy in second year and one of my final year classes was on the depiction and interpretation of animals in Art History. I love how passionate the tutors are about their research areas.

Eeruj

Why Study this Course?

  • Excellent student experience - Our students gave the course an overall satisfaction rating of 100% in the National Student Survey 2018. They benefit from small classes, study trips, the opportunity to write blog posts for The Golovine, access to extensive Research and Cultural Collections, and an array of other extra-curricular activities.
  • Fantastic travel opportunities - Gallery study trips are organised in the West Midlands and London, whilst students enjoy a week-long, University-funded trip to a major European city in their second year. Students can also apply to study abroad for one year or one semester during their degree, taking History of Art-related subjects taught in English. Our exchange universities include Melbourne University in Australia, Lund University in Sweden and Leiden University in the Netherlands.
  • Great employability prospects - As the cultural industries remain a key part of our economic future, it is no surprise that 90% of our History of Art students are in work or further study just six months after completing their degree (DLHE 2017). As a History of Art graduate, you can join the 40% of the University’s former students who stay in Birmingham after their studies. You may also be eligible to apply for one of our 6 paid internships with the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, or with other cultural organisations, through the Cultural Intern Scheme. There are also plenty more work and internship opportunities in the city and through the College of Arts and Law Careers team, who also host events such as ‘Careers in History of Art’. 
  • On-campus gallery - Teaching regularly takes place in our working gallery on campus, The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, which is home to a dedicated fine art library and some of the highest standards of artwork outside of London. Seminars and events regularly take place in front of these works of art, which really helps to deepen your understanding. You can also explore how the Barber’s different departments work together, whilst drawing on the gallery staff’s own expertise. This hands-on approach to studying History of Art will expand your knowledge of the museum and heritage sector.
  • Based in a city brimming with culture - The city of Birmingham hosts many art venues and cultural festivals. You will find a thriving underground arts scene, edgy contemporary pieces in the Ikon Gallery, and stunning traditional works in the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, which houses the largest collection of pre-Raphaelite artwork in the world. There is something to suit all artistic interests.

You can also visit our 'Why Study History of Art?' page to discover why studying this subject at the University of Birmingham is both rewarding in itself and useful for your future career.

Modules

Please note: You will take 120 credits of modules in each year of study. The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods. Unless indicated otherwise, the modules listed for this programme are for students starting in 2019. On rare occasions, we may need to make unexpected changes to compulsory modules; in this event we will contact offer holders as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.

Year 1

Compulsory Modules

  • Historical Concepts in the History of Art (20)
  • Debates and Methods in the History of Art (20)
  • Object and Medium 1: Paintings, Drawings, Prints, Sculptures (20)
  • Object and Medium 2: Photography, Film, Performance and Installation (20)
  • Writing Art's Histories I: From Antiquity to Enlightenment (10)
  • Writing Art's Histories II: Modern and Contemporary At (10)
  • Module Outside the Main Discipline (20)

Detailed descriptions of Year 1 compulsory modules

Year 2

Compulsory Modules

  • Research Techniques in History of Art (10)
  • Art History in the Field: European Study Trip (10)

Detailed descriptions of Year 2 compulsory modules

You will also take 80 credits of optional modules

In addition, you have the opportunity to spend one semester in your second year studying abroad at a foreign university.

Final Year

Compulsory Module

  • Dissertation (40)

Detailed descriptions of Final Year compulsory module

You will also take 80 credits of optional modules

Fees

For UK students beginning their studies in September 2019, the University of Birmingham will charge the maximum approved tuition fee per year. The fees for your first year of study will therefore be £9,250. Visit our tuition fees page for more information.

Fees for 2019/20 are as follows:

  • Home / EU: £9,250
  • Overseas: £17,640

Eligibility for Home/EU or Overseas fees can be verified with Admissions. Learn more about fees for international students.

For further information on tuition fees, living costs and available financial support, please see our pages on undergraduate fees and funding.


For EU students applying for the 2020/21 academic year

The UK Government has confirmed that EU students will continue to be eligible for 'home fee status' for entry in September 2020, and will continue to have access to financial support available via student loans for the duration of their course. For more information take a look at the gov.uk website.

Tuition fees when studying abroad

For those spending a whole academic year abroad (where available):

  • Students who are classed as home/EU for fees purposes are required to pay 15% of their normal annual tuition fee
  • Students who are classed as overseas for fee purposes are required to pay 50% of their normal annual tuition fee

For those studying abroad for just one semester (where available), normal annual tuition fees apply.

Note - Study abroad opportunities vary between courses; please see the course description for details of study abroad options offered.

How To Apply

Standard offer

International Requirements



Number of A levels required:
3
Typical offer:
ABB
General Studies:
Not accepted.

IB Diploma:
6,5,5 in Higher level subjects plus 32 points overall.

BTEC qualifications:

  • BTEC Extended Diploma: DDD.
  • BTEC Diploma: DD, plus B at A-level.
  • BTEC Subsidiary Diploma: D, plus AB at A-level.

Other qualifications are considered - learn more about entry requirements.

International Students

We welcome applications from international students and invite you to join our vibrant community of over 4500 international students who represent 150 different countries. We accept a range of qualifications, our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.

Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in one of our foundation pathways, which offer specially structured programmes for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on Birmingham International Academy web pages.

In the 1480s, this was very much a new type of painting: a painting of the Olympian gods dealing with mythological subjects. From that, we can begin to think about how the painting could connect with mythological texts.

Dr David Hemsoll

University of Birmingham students are part of an academic elite and learn from world-leading experts. We will challenge you to become an independent and self-motivated learner, qualities that are highly sought after by employers.

You will have a diverse learning experience, including:

  • lectures
  • small group tutorials
  • independent study
  • and peer group learning, such as delivering presentations with your classmates

Support

You will have access to a comprehensive support system to help you make the transition to Higher Education.

  • Personal tutors - You will be assigned your own personal tutor who will get to know you as you progress through your studies. They will provide academic support and advice to enable you to make the most of your time here at Birmingham.
  • Wellbeing officers - We have dedicated wellbeing officers who provide professional support, advice and guidance to students across a range of issues. They can meet with you to discuss extensions, disabilities, reasonable adjustments, extenuating circumstances, or talk through any problems you might be experiencing, and help you access wider support on campus and beyond.
  • Academic Skills Centre - The centre aims to help you become a more effective and independent learner through a range of high-quality support services. The centre offers workshops on a range of topics, such as note-taking, reading, academic writing and presentation skills.
  • Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) - the AWAS team will provide guidance on writing essays and dissertations at University-level. You will receive individual support from an academic writing advisor and meet with postgraduate tutors who specialise in particular subjects. Support is given in a variety of ways, such as small-group workshops, online activities, tutorials and email correspondence.
  • Student experience - Our Student Experience Team will help you get the most out of your academic experience. They will offer research opportunities, study skills support and help you prepare for your post-university careers. They will also organise social events, such as field trips, to help you meet fellow students from your course.

During your first year it is important that you have a smooth transition into university. You will be able to talk to your tutors about this and discuss if there are particular areas where you need support.

Teaching staff

Students at the University of Birmingham are taught by a mixture of professors, senior lecturers, lecturers and doctoral researchers, thereby receiving a rich diversity of academic knowledge and experience. Many of our teaching staff have published important works about their areas of expertise, whilst others have taught at international institutions and can offer unique perspectives of their subjects.

You can find out more about the members of staff (including their qualifications, publication history and specific areas of interest) in their academic profiles linked below.

Study trips play an important part in the teaching on the programme. These include visits to galleries and museums in Birmingham and the West Midlands, as well as overseas group trips that are funded by the University. Recent destinations have included Rome, Berlin and Paris, and provide you with the opportunity to examine works of art and architecture in situ.

One-to-one tutorials become increasingly important as you progress through your course. This is particularly the case in your final year, when a major part of your programme will be a dissertation on a topic of your choice. Tutorials enable you to discuss your research with your project supervisor in depth.

Contact Hours

Throughout your History of Art degree you can expect about 8 hours of contact time per week made up of both lectures and seminars.

Assessment Methods

Assessments - you will be assessed in a variety of ways to help you transition to a new style of learning. At the beginning of each module, you will be given information on how and when you will be assessed. Assessments methods will vary with each module and could include:

  • coursework, such as essays
  • group and individual presentations
  • and formal exams

Feedback - you will receive feedback on each assessment within four weeks, so you can learn from each assignment. You will also be given feedback on any exams that you take. If you should fail an exam, we will ensure that particularly detailed feedback is provided to help you prepare for future exams.

Year one

The above data provides an indication of the type of activity a student is likely to undertake during a typical pathway on their chosen programme of study. The balance of assessment by examination and assessment by coursework depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose. 

For a detailed breakdown of the contact hours associated with each module available on this programme, please visit:  https://intranet.birmingham.ac.uk/as/registry/policy/programmemodule/handbook/index.aspx 

 

Year two

The above data provides an indication of the type of activity a student is likely to undertake during a typical pathway on their chosen programme of study. The balance of assessment by examination and assessment by coursework depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose. 

For a detailed breakdown of the contact hours associated with each module available on this programme, please visit:  https://intranet.birmingham.ac.uk/as/registry/policy/programmemodule/handbook/index.aspx 

 

Year three

The above data provides an indication of the type of activity a student is likely to undertake during a typical pathway on their chosen programme of study. The balance of assessment by examination and assessment by coursework depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose. 

For a detailed breakdown of the contact hours associated with each module available on this programme, please visit:  https://intranet.birmingham.ac.uk/as/registry/policy/programmemodule/handbook/index.aspx 

 

The cultural industries remain a key part of our economic future and 90% of our History of Art students enter employment or further study within six months of graduation (DLHE 2017). 

You will acquire skills that are highly prized by employers in many sectors:

  • Strong communication skills
  • An awareness and appreciation of other cultures
  • The ability to identify and target key audiences
  • Visual and textual analysis and interpretation
  • Researching, analysing and interpreting information
  • Handling complex information
  • The ability to critically analyse information and form concise, articulate arguments
  • Managing your time and prioritising your workload.

Throughout your degree you will have the opportunity to gain valuable work experience in museums and galleries, both on and off campus.

You can also benefit from our biennial Art History Careers Fair. Graduates return to campus to talk to current students about their careers, how to find opportunities and the wide variety of roles available in the industry. Recent speakers hold positions at the Wallace Collection, BMAG, Sotheby’s Institute, Manchester’s Craft and Design Centre and the White Cube Gallery.

Our graduates have also gone on to work at Kettle’s Yard, the Bodleian Library, Cath Kidston, Historic Royal Palaces, The National Portrait Gallery, Christie’s, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the National Museum of Wales.

Examples of graduate jobs include Archivist, Curator, Gallery Coordinator, Events Officer, Exhibitions Assistant, Learning and Access Officer, Programme Coordinator, and Researcher.

Other History of Art graduates choose to forge a career outside the Arts sector. Recent graduates have obtained graduate positions in sectors such as teaching, media, law, sales, local/central government, management, accounting, horse-racing, real estate, and business.

Hear from our graduates >

Developing your career

Employers target University of Birmingham students for their diverse skill-set and our graduate employment statistics have continued to climb at a rate well above national trends. If you make the most of our wide range of opportunities you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.

  • Careers events - we hold events covering careers in teaching, event management, marketing and working with charities to help you meet potential employers and learn more about these sectors.
  • Global Challenge - you can apply to work overseas on an expenses-paid placement during your summer vacation through our Global Challenge initiative.
  • Work experience bursary - we encourage you to apply your skills in the workplace by undertaking internships in the summer. Our work experience bursaries allow you to apply for funding to support you during unpaid internships.
  • Cultural Internships - our innovative Cultural Internships offer graduates the opportunity for a six month paid internship at a leading cultural institution in the West Midlands. These internships will give you professional experience to set you apart in a competitive graduate market. Our current partners include Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, Birmingham REP, Birmingham Royal Ballet, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust, Library of Birmingham.

There are also internships available at our own cultural assets, such as Winterbourne House, the Lapworth Museum, and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts.

Extra-curricular activities

To enhance your career prospects even further, you will need to think about engaging in some extra-curricular activities to broaden your skills and network of contacts.

  • Undergraduate Research Scholarship Scheme - our College of Arts and Law Undergraduate Research Scholarship Scheme enables interested students to work on a current academic research project being run by one of our academic researchers. Undergraduate research scholars gain work experience over the summer after their first or second year and have the chance to develop skills in both collaborative and independent research.
  • Personal Skills Award - our employer-endorsed award-winning Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities, and provides an accredited employability programme designed to improve your career prospects.
  • Guild of Students - there is a vast number of student groups and volunteering opportunities offered by the Guild of Students, which cover a wide variety of interests.