Are you fascinated by visual culture and history relating to a specific artist, period or movement?
Do you want to learn about the methods of art history and how to apply them to particular historical problems?
This programme provides you with the opportunity to pursue an in-depth study of specific areas in the History of Art. The programme comprises of a series of taught 20-credit ´Special Subject´ modules and a dissertation in the research area of your choice. Your dissertation is supported by a supervisor and is 15,000 words in length.
Your studies will be supported by two core modules in critical theory and research methodologies. The taught module options offered each year on the MA will allow you to either choose from a range of subject areas and historical periods in the History of Art, or to specialise in early modern or modern and contemporary artistic periods.
We accept a range of qualifications
English language requirements
You can satisfy our English language requirements in two ways:
by holding an English language qualification to the right level
by taking and successfully completing one of our English courses for international students
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 three Special Subject modules. These could include:
Art and Revolution in France, 1789-1848
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
Paris Moderne 1980-1930: Image, Myth, Femininity
Postcolonial Readings in Contemporary Art
Prague, Budapest, Cracow 1867 - 1918
The Destruction of Images: Iconoclasm from the World until Today
Women and Artistic Culture in the Late Medieval and Early Modern Period
You will also choose one further 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.
Theorising and Historicising Exhibitions
In many ways, exhibitions have been fundamental to art history, perhaps because artists have been influenced by exhibitions or have been ‘periodised’ by exhibitions (for example, Impressionism and Post-Impressionism). Arguably, art history has also been made through exhibitions. Therefore this module explores art history from the perspective of exhibitions. Such a perspective not only offers an intriguing approach that can be applied to any artist or art period (e.g. studying Michelangelo through exhibitions), but an exhibition history constitutes an obligatory part of any exhibition proposal. Therefore, this module supports both curatorial and art-historical studies.
It provides an introduction to a variety of theoretical approaches to the role of exhibitions regarding society and institutional critique (Bourdieu, Foucault, Bhabha) and to aspects that are pertinent to exhibitions, including the relevance of place and (hyper-)space for an exhibition, display, the role of curator, artist and audiences, marketing and sponsoring. Different from ‘Curatorial Practices’, which probes such aspects in order to facilitate a proposal for or the actual mounting of an exhibition, this module explores them in order to analyse past and current shows (and thus will include gallery visits). It thus complements ‘Curatorial Practices’ but can also stand alone, not requiring that students follow them as pre-requisites or co-requisites.
Art, Heritage and Digital Cultures
Art, Heritage and 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.
Artists´ Film and Video from the 1920s to the Present
This module will offer an in-depth introduction of the field of twentieth century artists’ film. Starting with films by exponents of Dada and Surrealism such as Fernand Léger, Man Ray and Germaine Dulac, it will take in work by American avant-garde artists such as Maya Deren, Stan Brakhage, and Jonas Mekas, and more contemporary artist filmmakers such as Peter Greenaway, Valie Export, David Lynch, Derek Jarman, and Steve McQueen. Appropriate theoretical material on the artistic movements represented and on the field of artists’ film and video will be supplied alongside the films themselves throughout the module.
Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by the employability skills training offered through the College of Arts and Law Graduate School. The University also offers a wide range of activities and services to give our students the edge in the job market, including: career planning designed to meet the needs of postgraduates; opportunities to meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs, employer presentations and skills workshops; individual guidance on your job applications, writing your CV and improving your interview technique; and access to comprehensive listings of hundreds of graduate jobs and work experience opportunities.
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