Birkbeck, University of London: History of Art and Architecture (Graduate Certificate)

InstitutionBirkbeck, University of London View institution profile
Department History of Art
Telephone 020 3073 8369
Study type Taught


This intensive 1-year programme offers you the opportunity to develop your understanding of the history of art and architecture. You will learn to critically analyse and interpret art objects and buildings, and will engage with the concepts, values and debates that inform the study and practice of the history of art.

If you want to study history of art, or a similar course, at Master's level (either at Birkbeck or elsewhere) but have a first degree in another subject, then this programme can be used as a conversion course. You will acquire and develop skills and knowledge of the discipline up to final-year undergraduate level.

If you are not intending to progress to an MA, the programme will allow you to continue your exploration of the history of art and architecture at a higher level.

Sponsorship info

The School of Arts offers a number of bursaries for postgraduate students.

2 course options

Qualification Graduate Certificate
Level RQF Level 7
Entry requirements

Good first degree or equivalent. If you do not already hold a first degree, but believe that you are a suitable candidate for the graduate certificate through other experience and educational achievements, please contact the admissions tutor. If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.


Assessment is based entirely around coursework (no examinations). It develops incrementally from a 2000-word essay, on to two 2500-word essays and a 2500-word visual research exercise. It culminates in a 5000-word extended essay based on your own research. At each stage of the programme you receive written feedback on your coursework, so you can use the feedback to improve the next piece of work.


You take the Graduate Certificate core course, History of Art and Architecture: Skills and Approaches. This is taught, 1 evening per week, over 5 weeks in the autumn term and 5 weeks in the spring term. The course introduces you to the core skills of analysing images, objects and buildings and some of the different theoretical approaches that are used in this subject area.

You also take a BA History of Art option module, alongside third- and fourth-year BA students. This runs over the autumn and spring terms, 1 evening a week. You will have a choice of different art historical subject areas to focus on from a range of courses available; those listed below are indicative of the areas covered but the specific topics are not guaranteed.

Over the summer term you have an opportunity to consolidate your learning in the form of an extended essay. This is based on research into an art work or building of your own choosing. The essay will be supported by research workshops.
Compulsory module:

History of Art and Architecture: Skills and Approaches .

Option modules:

Art and Architecture at the Early Stuart Courts;
Art and Architecture in Rome c 1500 - 1527;
Art and the Sacred in the Middle Ages;
Art in America Since 1945;
Art of the British Empire;
Electronic Visions: Video, Animation, Kinetic and Computer Art since the 1950s;
English Portraiture in the Long Eighteenth Century;
Fin De Siecle Vienna;
Modernism in Scandinavian Art and Design;
Seventeenth-Century Painting in the Netherlands;
Spaces of Modernity: City, Suburb and Countryside in the Nineteenth Century;
Strategies of Display: Avant-Garde Exhibitions, The White Cube and Beyond .

Location Bloomsbury Campus
Malet Street

Birkbeck, University of London

Postgraduate courses at Birkbeck Birkbeck, University of London is a world-class research and teaching institution, a vibrant centre of academic excellence and London’s only specialist provider of evening higher education. Birkbeck provides the highest quality postgraduate teaching by world-class academics engaged in cutting-edge research. Over 90% of Birkbeck academics are research-active – the highest rate for any multi-faculty institution in London. The 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) confirmed the College’s status as a world-class research and teaching institution. Birkbeck entered over 90 per cent of its eligible staff into the RAE and the College was ranked in the top ...

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