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History of Art

BA (Hons)

Key facts


UCAS code

V350

Start dates

September 2020

Location

Headington

Course length

Full time: 3 years

Part time: 6 years

Department

School of History, Philosophy and Culture

UCAS Tariff Points

104

Overview


Oxford Brookes is the ideal place to study History of Art. We offer you a broad education in the histories of art and architecture, and allow you to specialise in what most interests you.

We strongly emphasise studying works of art first-hand. You will examine works of art on trips to galleries and exhibitions in Oxford and London. Oxford's famous museums and historic buildings will give you access to world-renowned art. The Ashmolean Museum has a diverse range of art pieces from around the globe. You can also use Oxford's famous Bodleian Library in your final year. This includes the Sackler Library, which has an extensive History of Art collection.

Our teaching staff have an excellent range of expertise, specialising in:

  • drawing
  • painting
  • prints
  • architecture
  • art theory
  • sculpture.

Our friendly department will support you to get the most out of your course. We encourage you to refine and develop your own interests throughout your degree. And to discuss your work and ideas with us outside of class.

Students researching in library

How to apply


Typical offers

UCAS Tariff Points: 104

A Level: BCC

IB Points: 29

BTEC: DMM

Wherever possible we make our conditional offers using the UCAS Tariff. This combination of A-level grades would be just one way of achieving the UCAS Tariff points for this course.

If you accept a Conditional offer to this course as your Firm choice through UCAS, and the offer does not include a requirement to pass an English language test or improve your English language, we may be able to make the offer Unconditional. Please check your offer carefully where this will be confirmed for each applicant.

For combined honours, normally the offer will lie between the offers quoted for each subject.

Applications are also welcomed for consideration from applicants with European qualifications, international qualifications or recognised foundation courses. For advice on eligibility please contact Admissions: admissions@brookes.ac.uk

Entry requirements

Specific entry requirements

Please also see the University's general entry requirements.

English language requirements

Please see the University's standard English language requirements.

International qualifications and equivalences

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English requirements for visas

If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Visas and Immigration minimum language requirements as well as the University's requirements. Find out more about English language requirements.

Pathways courses for international and EU students

If you do not meet the entry requirements for this degree, or if you would like more preparation before you start, you can take an international foundation course. Once you enrol, you will have a guaranteed pathway to this degree if you pass your foundation course with the required grades.

If you only need to meet the language requirements, you can take our pre-sessional English course. You will develop key language and study skills for academic success and you will not need to take an external language test to progress to your degree.

Terms and Conditions of Enrolment

When you accept our offer, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

Credit transfer

Many of our courses consider applications for entry with credit for prior learning. Each application is individually assessed by our credit entry tutors. 

If you would like more information about whether or not you may be eligible for the award of credit, for example from an HND, partly-completed degree or foundation degree, please contact our Admissions team.

We operate the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). All undergraduate single modules are equivalent to 7.5 ECTS credits and double modules to 15 ECTS credits. More about ECTS credits.

Application process

Full time Home / EU applicants

Apply through UCAS

Part time Home / EU applicants

Apply direct to the University

International applicants

Apply direct to the University

Full time applicants can also apply through UCAS

Tuition fees


Please see the fees note
Home/EU full time
£9,250

Home/EU part time
£750 per single module

International full time
£13,410

Home/EU full time
£9,250 (subject to agreement by Office for Students)

Home/EU part time
£1,155 per single module

International full time
£13,900

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees


2019/20
Home/EU full time
£9,250

Home/EU part time
£750 per single module

International full time
£13,410

2020/21
Home/EU full time
£9,250 (subject to agreement by Office for Students)

Home/EU part time
£1,155 per single module

International full time
£13,900

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088

Please note tuition fees for Home/EU students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students in line with an inflationary amount determined by government. Tuition fees for International students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students.

Oxford Brookes University intends to maintain its fees for new and returning home and EU students at the maximum permitted level.

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course, if any, are detailed below.

Financial support and scholarships

For general sources of financial support, see our Fees and funding pages.

Additional costs

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course, if any, are detailed below.

We do not expect students to purchase any compulsory course books, as they are all available in the library. If students wish to purchase additional books to supplement their reading, this is at their own discretion.

For the Paris study trip, the cost of travel to London and back, mid-day meals, and any entrance fees to galleries or museums whilst in Paris are not included in your course tuition fees, you would need to cover these.

In general, we recommend travelling to London and back on the Oxford Tube, which is £10 for a period return using a Brookes Key card. In addition we estimate a daily cost to the student of between €20-50 whilst on the Paris study trip to cover food and gallery entrance fees.

For other field trips we expect students to pay for their own travel (this is normally only as far as London, and some modules have visits to Oxford rather than London). We would not normally carry out visits to exhibitions which you have to pay to enter, and if we did it would be on a strictly voluntary basis. Travel to London from Oxford can be purchased for as little as a £10 period return on the Oxford Tube using the Brookes Key card discount.

Learning and assessment


Year 1 gives you a solid grounding in the key concepts and skills you need to study the History of Art from the Renaissance to the Modern period. 

In Year 2 the Curatorial Practice module gives you knowledge and direct experience of the theoretical and practical issues involved in curating displays and exhibitions. You will also go on a study trip to Paris.

In Years 2 and 3 you’ll take modules on wider thematic issues. You can give your studies a period focus by choosing modules on topics from the 15th to 20th centuries.  

In Year 3 we offer you a range of advanced seminars, you'll work in small groups and study topics in greater depth.

You'll take the year-long History of Art Synoptic. Each week you'll focus on a different controversy or issue in art history. 

You will also produce a dissertation with support from an expert in your chosen field. 

Independent study linked to a placement in a gallery or museum may be possible. Our exhibition space, the Glass Tank, offers two placements to History of Art students each year.

Student studying

Study modules

Year 1

Compulsory modules

Museums and Society

This module will introduce you to one of the central preoccupations of contemporary art historical studies: how, and why, works of art are presented to the public. It considers the role that museums, art galleries and exhibitions play, and have played, in shaping the production, dissemination and reception of the arts throughout the modern period (mid-eighteenth century to the present day). Such institutions are key points of contact between the work of art and its public. Hence, through lectures, discussion and visits, you will develop an awareness of them as historically-constructed as opposed to neutral spaces.

Making and Meaning in Western Architecture (recommended)

This module offers an introduction to art history through a contextual and stylistic examination of selected paintings and sculptures dating from the Renaissance to the present. These artworks will be used as the foci for considerations of specific themes and issues which are of general importance in art history. The module will, in consequence, furnish you with the basic tools and terms needed for the historical analysis of art.

Making and Meaning in Western Art

This module offers an introduction to art history through a contextual and stylistic examination of selected paintings and sculptures dating from the Renaissance to the present. These artworks will be used as the foci for considerations of specific themes and issues which are of general importance in art history. The module will, in consequence, furnish you with the basic tools and terms needed for the historical analysis of art.

Optional modules

Faiths of the West

Reading Art History (compulsory for single honours, recommended for combined honours)

This module is designed to develop your ability to be a reflective and critical reader of the kinds of writing you will encounter in your art historical studies. We will examine a range of concepts and approaches which have been employed in writing about art from the sixteenth century to the present day so as to enhance your capacity to understand and evaluate texts which are shaped by these concepts and approaches and to recognise differences of method in art historical writing.

Modern British Art

This module offers an introduction to a century of art practice in Britain from the work of the Camden Town Group through to exponents of Brit Art such as Damien Hirst and Rachel Whiteread. Exploring painting, sculpture and film, the concern is to explore through case studies the ways in which artists in Britain sought to create specifically modern forms of expression, as well as the media (exhibitions, manifestos, books, little magazines) through which they promote the resulting work. The course is taught through a mixture of lectures, seminars and on-site visits, and you will explore a range of contemporary and secondary literature and, wherever possible, works of art at first hand.

Art in Oxford (compulsory for single honours, recommended for combined honours)

This module uses selected collections in Oxford to introduce skills which are central to the practice of art history. Themes to be considered include the training and status of artists; the conditions under which they worked; the functions and uses of art; the market for art; the materials and techniques used; and the aesthetic theories affecting the reception of works of art in different periods and locations. The analysis of original art works will be emphasised, and basic training in research using information retrieval resources and in essay presentation will be given.

What's the Big Idea

Year 2

Optional modules

Themes in European Art 1450-1700

This module will focus on an aspect of European art from the period 1450-1700. Irrespective of the focus chosen (examples might be 'Italian art 1450-1550', 'Italy and Northern Europe in the Sixteenth Century' or 'Netherlandish art of the Seventeenth Century') you will gain an understanding of all or most of the following themes: the types of patronage prevalent in the period; the relationship between artists, patrons and centres; the range of subject-matter represented and the ways in which subjects were approached/developed; the organisation of workshop practice; prints and their role in disseminating artistic ideas; and the relationship between art and religion.

Themes in Eighteenth and Nineteenth-Century European Art

This module will focus on an aspect of European art from the period 1700-1900. Irrespective of the focus chosen (examples might be 'Art in Eighteenth-Century France', 'British Art from Hogarth to Turner', 'Nineteenth-Century European Art' or 'The Gothic Revival') particular reference will be made to the social, political and economic contexts of art, and you will gain an understanding of all or most of the following themes: questions of nationalism and internationalism; the importance of the art market and public exhibitions; the development of academies; relationships between different media; artistic revivals; and the rise of new audiences for art.

Themes in Modern Art

This module will focus on European and American art from c.1850 up to the present. The historical content to be studied may range from early modern architecture and design to realist and modernist artistic practices in central and western Europe and the United States, the areas of emphasis being determined by the module leader that year. You will gain an understanding of all or most of the following themes: the 'modernist paradigm' and its critique; the notion of the avant-garde; alternatives to main-stream modernism; art and everyday life, popular culture and technology; art and politics; issues of gender and cultural diversity; art markets and institutions; and new artistic media.

Field Work in Art History

This module provides an introduction to advanced fieldwork in art history. Undertaken during the Easter break, it is an intensive one-week study visit to Paris. During the visit you will participate in a range of staff-guided and self-managed visit options, including architectural/urban studies, visits to permanent galleries/museums and temporary exhibitions.

Oxford Buildings

A study of buildings in their social, environmental and architectural context, selected from the wide possibilities available in Oxford. The module stresses the direct study of buildings and incorporates site visits as well as classroom sessions.

Curatorial Practice

This module aims to give students knowledge and direct experience of the theoretical and practical issues involved in curating displays and exhibitions of historic and contemporary art. Themes will typically include: theories of curating; curating contemporary art; curating historic exhibitions; practical issues such as proposals, loans, funding, displays, lighting, layout, catalogues, interpretation.

Independent Study in History of Art

A module involving study under the supervision of one or more members of the History of Art staff, but designed by an individual or small group of students. The subject might be in response to a current exhibition, or an issue in the field of art history or criticism, be related to staff research, or might involve vocational work. It might be a specialised topic arising out of an advanced module.

Year 3

Compulsory modules

History of Art Dissertation

History of Art Synoptic

Optional modules

Advanced Independent Study in History of Art

Advanced Seminar in History of Art 1

Advanced Seminar in History of Art 2

Work placements

Optional modules

Work placements

There are many opportunities available to History of Art students in Oxford; you can gain work experience in museums, galleries, and auction houses. The University’s own exhibition space, the Glass Tank, offers two placements to History of Art students each year. Our undergraduates have also held both voluntary and paid positions at the Ashmolean, Modern Art Oxford, Sanders printsellers, and Mallams auctioneers. Our module on curatorial practice also offers direct experience of the theoretical and practical issues involved in curating displays and exhibitions.

Please note: As our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the modules you can choose from may vary from that shown here. The structure of the course may also mean some modules are not available to you.

Learning and teaching

You will learn through a mixture of:

  • lectures
  • seminars 
  • tutorials.

We place a strong emphasis on interaction between students and lecturers.

First-hand experience of art works and buildings is important so most modules feature a guided visit. We teach the fieldwork module entirely on site.

All our History of Art tutors are active researchers with strong reputations in their fields. They regularly publish books and major articles and are involved with the curation of exhibitions.

Many of the modules, in particular the final year advanced seminars, are closely based on staff research interests. You can find out more about our individual research and expertise on our staff pages

  • Lectures and seminars
  • Placement
  • Other learning activities (including group work, research, conferences etc.)

Year 1

  • Lectures and seminars - 16%
  • Placement - 0%
  • Other learning activities (including group work, research, conferences etc.) - 84%

Year 2

  • Lectures and seminars - 14%
  • Placement - 0%
  • Other learning activities (including group work, research, conferences etc.) - 86%

Year 3

  • Lectures and seminars - 13%
  • Placement - 0%
  • Other learning activities (including group work, research, conferences etc.) - 87%

Learning and teaching percentages are indicative. There may be slight year-on-year variations.

Field trips

  • The course includes regular trips to galleries, museums and architectural sites.
  • London is an easy coach journey away, and many modules feature guided visits to London museums.
  • A highlight for many students is the study trip to Paris, usually taken in the second year. It involves a week’s intensive study of great artworks and buildings under the guidance of your tutors.

For the Paris study trip, the cost of your travel from London to Paris and back, accommodation, breakfast and evening meals are all covered by your course tuition fees. The cost of travel to London and back, mid-day meals, and any entrance fees to galleries or museums whilst in Paris are not included by your course tuition fees, and would need to be covered by the student.

In general, we recommend travelling to London and back on the Oxford Tube, which is £10 for a period return using a Brookes Key card. In addition we estimate a daily cost to the student of between €20-50 whilst on the Paris study trip to cover food and gallery entrance fees.

For other field trips we expect students to pay for their own travel (this is normally only as far as London, and some modules have visits to Oxford rather than London). We would not normally carry out visits to exhibitions which you have to pay to enter, and if we did it would be on a strictly voluntary basis. Travel to London from Oxford can be purchased for as little as a £10 period return on the Oxford Tube using the Brookes Key card discount.

Assessment

Assessment methods used on this course

We will assess you predominantly through essays and exams. 

The final year dissertation is compulsory for single honours History of Arts students and optional for combined honours students.

  • Written exams
  • Coursework
  • Practical exams

Year 1

  • Written exams - 31%
  • Coursework - 69%
  • Practical exams - 0%

Year 2

  • Written exams - 44%
  • Coursework - 56%
  • Practical exams - 0%

Year 3

  • Written exams - 25%
  • Coursework - 75%
  • Practical exams - 0%

Assessment method percentages are indicative. There may be slight year-on-year variations.

Study Abroad


You may be able to go on a European or international study exchange while you are at Brookes. Most exchanges take place in the second year. Although we will help as much as we can with your plans, ultimately you are responsible for organising and funding this study abroad.

After you graduate


Career prospects

  • A History of Art degree offers a gateway into many art-related professions, including museums, commercial galleries, auction houses and arts journalism.
  • Recent graduates have gone on to work in the Ashmolean Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum and Christie's auction house.
  • History of Art does not only prepare you for arts-related professions. Like other humanities degrees, it offers a general training in analytical thinking, research skills, self-discipline and effective written and spoken communication.
  • Our graduates enter a very wide range of careers, from school teaching to librarianship, banking to advertising.
  • You'll be encouraged to think about career opportunities through in-house careers events and by talking to your tutors and other University staff in our careers centre about your ideas and aspirations.

Further study

Many of our students are inspired to undertake further study of art-historical subjects at MA or PhD level.

You can choose to stay with us to continue your studies. We offer a MA by Research, MPhil and PhD in Art History. Current doctoral research topics include 'Henry VII's use of Visual Culture', 'Landscape painting and exhibitions in England, 1760-1790', 'Modern Art for Middle America: American Abstraction in Postwar Mass Magazines' and 'Paintings and Photographs of Fisherfolk in West Cornwall, 1860-1910'.

Find out more about postgraduate research degrees in our School.

Student profiles


Our Staff


Professor Christiana Payne

In her teaching, Christiana Payne encourages students to engage directly with original works of art in galleries and museums, to examine their physical characteristics, and the materials and techniques used to create them, as well as thinking about their function and meaning within the societies that produced them.

Read more about Christiana

Free language courses


Free language courses are available to full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students on many of our courses, and can be taken as a credit on some courses.

Information from Discover Uni


Programme Changes: On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website.

For more information, please visit our Changes to programmes page.