Art History

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Academic Year of Entry: 2024/25
Course overview
(Integrated Master in Art History:) Integrated Master in Art History
Art History
University of Essex
University of Essex
Philosophical, Historical and Interdisciplinary Studies (School of)
Colchester Campus
History of Art, Architecture and Design


Professional accreditation


Admission criteria

  • A-levels: ABB - BBB or 128 - 120 UCAS tariff points from a minimum of 2 full A-levels.
  • BTEC: DDM or 120 UCAS tariff points from a minimum of the equivalent of 2 full A-levels. The acceptability of BTECs is dependent on subject studied and optional units taken - email for advice.
  • Combined qualifications on the UCAS tariff: 128 - 120 UCAS tariff points from a minimum of 2 full A levels or equivalent. Tariff point offers may be made if you are taking a qualification, or mixture of qualifications, from the list on our undergraduate application information page.
  • IB: 32 - 30 points or three Higher Level certificates with 655-555.
  • IB Career-related Programme: We consider combinations of IB Diploma Programme courses with BTECs or other qualifications. Advice on acceptability can be provided, email Undergraduate Admissions.
  • QAA-approved Access to HE Diploma: 15 level 3 credits at Distinction and 30 level 3 credits at Merit, depending on subject studied - advice on acceptability can be provided, email Undergraduate Admissions.
  • T-levels: We consider T-levels on a case-by-case basis, depending on subject studied. The offer for most courses is Distinction overall. Depending on the course applied for there may be additional requirements, which may include a specific grade in the Core.

Contextual Offers:

We are committed to ensuring that all students with the merit and potential to benefit from an Essex education are supported to do so. For October 2024 entry, if you are a home fee paying student residing in the UK you may be eligible for a Contextual Offer of up to two A-level grades, or equivalent, below our standard conditional offer.
Factors we consider:

  • Applicants from underrepresented groups
  • Applicants progressing from University of Essex Schools Membership schools/colleges
  • Applicants who attend a compulsory admissions interview
  • Applicants who attend an Offer Holder Day at our Colchester or Southend campus

Our contextual offers policy outlines additional circumstances and eligibility criteria.

For further information about what a contextual offer may look like for your specific qualification profile, email

If you haven't got the grades you hoped for, have a non-traditional academic background, are a mature student, or have any questions about eligibility for your course, more information can be found on our undergraduate application information page. or get in touch with our Undergraduate Admissions Team.

IELTS (International English Language Testing System) code

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall, or specified score in another equivalent test that we accept.

Details of English language requirements, including component scores, and the tests we accept for applicants who require a Student visa (excluding Nationals of Majority English Speaking Countries) can be found here

If we accept the English component of an international qualification it will be included in the academic levels listed above for the relevant countries.

English language shelf-life

Most English language qualifications have a validity period of 5 years. The validity period of Pearson Test of English, TOEFL and CBSE or CISCE English is 2 years.

If you require a Student visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.

Pre-sessional English courses

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

Pending English language qualifications

You don’t need to achieve the required level before making your application, but it will be one of the conditions of your offer.

If you cannot find the qualification that you have achieved or are pending, then please email .

Requirements for second and final year entry

Different requirements apply for second and final year entry, and specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a visa to study in the UK. Details of English language requirements, including UK Visas and Immigration minimum component scores, and the tests we accept for applicants who require a Student visa (excluding Nationals of Majority English Speaking Countries) can be found here

Additional Notes

If you’re an international student, but do not meet the English language or academic requirements for direct admission to this degree, you could prepare and gain entry through a pathway course. Find out more about opportunities available to you at the University of Essex International College

Course qualifiers

A course qualifier is a bracketed addition to your course title to denote a specialisation or pathway that you have achieved via the completion of specific modules during your course. The specific module requirements for each qualifier title are noted below. Eligibility for any selected qualifier will be determined by the department and confirmed by the final year Board of Examiners. If the required modules are not successfully completed, your course title will remain as described above without any bracketed addition. Selection of a course qualifier is optional and student can register preferences or opt-out via Online Module Enrolment (eNROL).


Rules of assessment

Rules of assessment are the rules, principles and frameworks which the University uses to calculate your course progression and final results.

Additional notes


External examiners

Staff photo
Dr Dominic Paterson

Senior Lecturer in History of Art / Curator of Contemporary Art

University of Glasgow

External Examiners provide an independent overview of our courses, offering their expertise and help towards our continual improvement of course content, teaching, learning, and assessment. External Examiners are normally academics from other higher education institutions, but may be from the industry, business or the profession as appropriate for the course. They comment on how well courses align with national standards, and on how well the teaching, learning and assessment methods allow students to develop and demonstrate the relevant knowledge and skills needed to achieve their awards. External Examiners who are responsible for awards are key members of Boards of Examiners. These boards make decisions about student progression within their course and about whether students can receive their final award.

eNROL, the module enrolment system, is now open until Monday 21 October 2024 8:59AM, for students wishing to make changes to their module options.


Core You must take this module.
You must pass this module. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options You can choose which module to study.
You must pass this module. No failure can be permitted.
Compulsory You must take this module.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.
Compulsory with Options You can choose which module to study.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.
Optional You can choose which module to study.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.

Year 1 - 2024/25

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  AR122-4-SP-CO  Writing and Researching Art History  Compulsory  15  15 
02  AR119-4-SP-CO  Art and Ideas: I  Compulsory  15  15 
03  AR116-4-AU-CO  Ways of Seeing  Compulsory  15  15 
04    Art History option(s) from list  Optional  45  45 
05    Art History option(s) from list or outside option(s)  Optional  30  30 
06  CS107-4-SP-CO  Beyond the BA: Skills for the Next Step  Compulsory 

Year 2 - 2025/26

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  AR220-5-SP-CO  Art and Ideas II: More Art, More Ideas - Critique and Historiography in the History of Art  Compulsory  15  15 
02    Art History option  Compulsory with Options  15  15 
03    Art History option(s)  Optional  30  30 
04    Art History option(s) or outside option(s)  Optional  30  30 
05    Art History option  Optional  15  15 
06    CS200-5-AU or (CS207-5-AU and option from list)  Optional  15  15 

Year 3 - 2026/27

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01    Art History option(s)  Optional  30  30 
02    Art History option(s)  Optional  30  30 
03  AR383-6-SP-CO  Final Year Dissertation Project  Compulsory  15  15 
04    Art History option(s)  Optional  30  30 
05  AR323-6-AU-CO  Art and Ideas III  Compulsory  15  15 
06  CS307-6-AU-CO  Beyond the BA: Preparing for Life as a Graduate  Compulsory 

Year 4 - 2027/28

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  AR980-7-SU-CO  Final Project: Writing Art History  Core  40  40 
02    Art History option(s)  Optional  40  40 
03    Art History option(s)  Optional  40  40 

Exit awards

A module is given one of the following statuses: 'core' – meaning it must be taken and passed; 'compulsory' – meaning it must be taken; or 'optional' – meaning that students can choose the module from a designated list. The rules of assessment may allow for limited condonement of fails in 'compulsory' or 'optional' modules, but 'core' modules cannot be failed. The status of the module may be different in any exit awards which are available for the course. Exam Boards will consider students' eligibility for an exit award if they fail the main award or do not complete their studies.

Programme aims

1. To offer a varied, flexible and distinctive undergraduate and postgraduate curriculum across the field of Art History and Theory.
2. To encourage both critical engagement with and enjoyment of the visual arts, particularly through first-hand observation.
3. To introduce and develop sound understanding of a variety of interpretive methods and forms of questioning appropriate to visual artefacts: including historical inquiry, theory of representation, aesthetic approaches to the value and function of visual art, and critical approaches to the conditions of the production, consumption, interpretation or reinterpretation of visual artefacts.
4. To provide the opportunity for an in-depth understanding of aspects of art history from Early Renaissance art and architecture to the present day, including systematic knowledge informed by developing new material or by applying ideas to existing material.
5. To develop the knowledge and skills appropriate to the advanced study of art history (critical inquiry and argument, imaginative understanding, written, spoken and visual interpretation, communication and presentation), in particular through the writing of a draft journal article for their final project, thus providing them with the basis for further progression.

Learning outcomes and learning, teaching and assessment methods

On successful completion of the programme a graduate should demonstrate knowledge and skills as follows:

A: Knowledge and understanding

A101: Advanced knowledge of developments in visual art from the Early Renaissance to the present day, including theoretical issues that have been central to the Western European tradition in visual art.

A102: Critical understanding of the relationships between works of visual art and their broader cultural contexts, including methods of critical analysis and argument appropriate to visual artefacts.

A103: Detailed knowledge of one or more artists, exhibitions, places, theoretical texts.

A104: Ability to engage critically with substantive areas of current research in Art History

A105: In-depth understanding methods of critical analysis and argument appropriate to visual artefacts

A106: Advanced knowledge of the concepts, values and debates that inform study and practice in this field.

Learning methods

A101-A106 are acquired through lectures, classes, coursework (with regular feedback, both oral and written, from tutors), and various study visits, for example, to museum and galleries both within the UK and abroad.

At UG level, art history lectures and seminars demonstrate skills of visual analysis and theoretical understanding in the context of a particular historical/geographical framework. Knowledge and understanding are developed further on study visits to examine work, for example, ‘as display’ and in situ and through seminar discussions and presentations with oral feedback from tutors.

Throughout, students are expected to extend and enhance the knowledge and understanding they acquire from classes and lectures by regularly consulting library or archival materials related to the course. This independent research is then consolidated in essay work and through feedback in written form.

At PG level, teaching takes the form of two-hour seminars. Students may be asked to give short non-assessed presentation of their research, followed by discussion. This provides an opportunity for an informal assessment of their skills in the critical analysis and argument appropriate to visual artefacts.

Students also prepare a Capstone project and a Final Project on topics of their choice which are individually supervised.

Assessment methods

Outcomes A101-A106 are formally assessed through written essays, take-home research papers, in-class slide tests, summaries of weekly readings, and unseen written examinations, including questions on visual material in photographic form.

Formal assessment is also carried out through the marking of the Capstone project and the Final Project.

B: Intellectual and cognitive skills

B101: Analyse a complex body of material, which may be incomplete, breaking it down into component points or parts and highlighting the most significant among them

B102: Reason critically and offer judgements based on argument that can be communicated effectively to a specialist or non-specialist audience

B103: Think independently and with an open-mind, sometimes making connections between familiar and new ideas or material

B104: To consider and solve problems using knowledge and experience

Learning methods

Intellectual and cognitive skills are practised in module seminars, either in responding to or giving presentations on agreed topics. The seminar work encourages critical discussion arising from the analysis and interpretation of texts or visual artefacts with an emphasis on being able to reason cogently, argue coherently, present one‘s own viewpoint persuasively, and learn from others.

The theoretical work done in Art and Ideas from Level 4 to Level 6 particularly emphasises skills B101-B104 through the guidance given in seminar discussion and through feedback on essays. The seminars are intended to foster cognitive skills. Students translate the skills acquired there collectively into individually assessed essays. In turn, the essays prepare students for examinations, in the modules in which they are held. Exams test students’ ability both to demonstrate and to sustain the same skills in controlled conditions.

Supervision of Capstones and Final Projects cultivates these skills through written commentary and discussion concerning the development of the research and on drafts of work.

Assessment methods

Assessment of B101-B103 is by written essays, take-home research papers, in-class slide tests, summaries of weekly readings, and unseen written examinations, including questions on visual material in photographic form.

C: Practical skills

C101: Visual Skills; including observation (including recognition of materials, mise-en-scene and techniques but also other aspects of works of visual art or films such as formal organisation or narrative structure), description (using ordinary as well as specialised language) and interpretation (recognising necessary differences between visual art and film, making appropriate use of personal responses, relating works of visual art and film to historical and contemporary cultural context).

C102: Research Skills: including use of appropriate methods to locate primary and secondary sources, and works of visual art, but also forming research questions and pursuing them autonomously.

C103: Critical Skills, including selection of relevant material and appraisal of other people's arguments on the basis of familiarity with source materials and current literature.

C104: Writing Skills: including use of proper academic conventions, creating logical and structured narratives, and effective use of language to articulate complex conceptual issues and create frameworks for understanding them.

Learning methods

Skills C101 and C103 are introduced in lectures and developed through classes and through seminars. Gallery visits (both on-campus and elsewhere) form a crucial element in the development of C101, through dialogue among students and with staff in front of particular artefacts, often after preparation in class. Guidance on skills C101, C102, C103 and C1044 is given in teaching, in supervision of essays, and to a limited extent in School Handbooks. The strategy ensures that, having acquired a basic command of the range of skills, students exercise these skills in the more specialised courses.

A member of staff gives students choosing an Art History Capstone or Final Project formal guidance on the development, research and writing of specialist studies in the form of written and verbal instruction. There will be detailed guidelines on the writing of Capstones and Final Projects in the Departmental handbook to supplement guidance given by the supervisor.

Considerable autonomy is encouraged in researching essays at postgraduate level, with a staff member aiming to assist in the formulation of research questions and in developing a strategy for answering them.

All students on the Integrated Masters programme are encouraged to attend the weekly Staff-Student Research Seminar, and to participate in debate on the topic presented.

Assessment methods

Assessment of students' knowledge and understanding takes place through a variety of assessment instruments at UG level including coursework essays, presentations, virtual exhibitions, and unseen written examinations, including questions on visual material in photographic form. Students are expected to analyse texts in the light of the contextual, conceptual and comparative frameworks offered to them during the scheme, whilst also formulating their own arguments and displaying critical competence.

In-class slide tests and unseen written examination questions, including questions on visual material in photographic form, test skills C101, C103 and C104.

Essay questions, the Capstone and the Final Project are designed to test all skills.

D: Key skills

D101: The ability to communicate information, arguments and ideas cogently and effectively in a range of different contexts using a range of different aids or resources; special ability to deploy visual material in a variety of media in the context of presentations or written work

D102: Students should be able to make use of IT for research purposes (including searchable databases such as library catalogues and internet sources), to present assessed work, and be able to use email.

D103: Management of projects and timetables. Students should be able to apply knowledge and understanding in order to make judgements and offer solutions in a range of contexts.

D104: Students should have the ability to work to briefs and deadline, to take responsibility for their own work, and to reflect on their own learning and performance and make constructive use of feedback

Learning methods

The five key skills are implicit throughout the degree.

Communication is developed through seminar discussion, but also through attending lectures. Visual media skills are developed through personal instruction to students using slides in class, and through drawing attention to the media whereby visual images are presented to us, both in terms of informing students but also developing a critical appreciation of the relationship between image and context in any medium. All students present their plans for Final Projects to their peers and to staff, using PowerPoint, etc.

Students are expected to acquire IT skills based on some initial guidance.

Students will be given the opportunity to work constructively and productively in groups, and be able to participate effectively in seminars.

Most seminars require students to present theories or historical material to the group, and to answer questions on the topic.

Students are expected and encouraged to share responsibility for their own programme of studies.

Assessment methods

Essays, Capstones and Final Projects are assessed for qualities that incorporate skills D101, D102, D103 and D104.


The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.


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