Birkbeck, University of London: History of Art (MA/Postgraduate Certificate - PgCert/Postgraduate Diploma - PgDip)

InstitutionBirkbeck, University of London View institution profile
Department History of Art
Telephone 020 7631 6110
Study type Taught


History of art is a rich and dynamic discipline, combining the rigorous investigation of the visual arts with the creative exploration of their connections to culture, politics and society. Postgraduate study in this area trains you at a high level in looking at, thinking about and researching art and its histories.

The programme exposes you to key art historical approaches, and allows you to focus in depth on areas and periods of particular interest to you, in early and modern (including contemporary) periods, through taught options (see an indicative list of modules on the 'course structure' tab) and independent research. The course also offers opportunities for work placements with London museums, galleries and archives.

The course develops your visual acuity and your understanding of art's histories, while stimulating critical debate and stretching your research skills. In addition to independent written work, you will take part in group discussion, give oral presentations and engage with the Department of History of Art's research culture.

Sponsorship info

The government's new postgraduate loan scheme allows you to borrow up to £10,000 to cover the cost of your tuition fees, living costs or other study expenses – and you don't have to start repaying until 2019.

Funds are available to support research expenses for your coursework on this MA.

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

Part-time students who are experiencing financial need may apply for assistance from the Birkbeck Alumni Fund Postgraduate Opportunity Bursary.

10 course options

Qualification MA
Level RQF Level 7
Entry requirements

Good Honours degree in a relevant subject or equivalent (for example, professional experience). For students with a degree in a subject other than history of art, the 1-year part-time Graduate Certificate in history of art and architecture can be used as a conversion course. Students who successfully complete the graduate certificate with merit will normally be guaranteed a place on this programme. If you are in this position, you do not need to complete an admissions exercise. If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, the requirement for this programme is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 7.0, with not less than 6.5 in each of the sub-tests.


3 coursework essays of 5000 words each, a research project report of 6000 words and a 15,000-word dissertation.


Core module:

Current Approaches to History of Art .

Option modules:

Art and Identity: 'Race', Ideology, Culture;
Art in the Age of Giotto: evidence and interpretation;
Creating a Public. Museums and their audiences;
Gender, Modernity and the City;
Gothic in England: Architecture, Liturgy and Identity 1170-1360;
Histories in Transition: Visual Culture, History and Memory in South Africa and Beyond;
Inventing the Victorians;
Museum Environments;
Museums, Memory and National Identity;
Photography and the Index;
The Art of Persuasion: Religious Imagery and the Catholic Reformation .

Research project/work placement option modules:

Museum Cultures Work Placement;
Research Project Report MA History of Art .


Location Bloomsbury Campus
Malet Street


EU 8175 GBP for Year 1
England 8175 GBP for Year 1
Northern Ireland 8175 GBP for Year 1
Scotland 8175 GBP for Year 1
Wales 8175 GBP for Year 1
International 14850 GBP for Year 1

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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