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History of Art

BA (Hons)

Key facts

UCAS code

V350

Start dates

September 2021 / September 2022

Location

Headington

Course length

Full time: 3 years

Part time: 6 years

UCAS Tariff Points

104

Overview

Do you have a passion for the history of art and a deep desire to develop your own expertise?

By studying History of Art at Oxford Brookes, you’ll be exploring issues in a collaborative and dynamic environment. Your studies will include museum visits, walk-arounds and special talks from visiting experts from the likes of:

  • National Trust
  • Ashmolean
  • Modern Art Oxford
  • The V&A
  • Tate.

We are situated in the heart of a historic city, a mere stone’s throw from world-renowned museums and galleries.

A highlight of your study here will undoubtedly be your trip to Paris. This trip offers the opportunity to explore important art collections firsthand. You will experience major, influential works as well as more experimental pieces.

Your time with us will be exciting, stimulating and enriching. You’ll be amongst a close-knit and supportive department. You can expect to be taught by experts in their fields.  And, our teaching staff will work with you to help you develop your own interests, specialising in:

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

Joint honours options

You can also study this course as part of a joint honours degree. This course can be joined with:

How to apply

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

For more information about how we are supporting applicants impacted by Covid-19, please see our information for applicants page.

Standard offer

UCAS Tariff Points: 104

A Level: BCC

IB Points: 29

BTEC: DMM

Contextual offer

UCAS Tariff Points: 88

A Level: CCD

IB Points: 27

BTEC: MMM

Further offer details

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 part-way through the course for students who have credit from previous learning or relevant professional experience.

Find out more about transferring to Brookes. If you'd like to talk through your options, please contact our Admissions team.

Application process

Full time Home (UK) applicants

Apply through UCAS

Part time Home (UK) 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 (UK) full time
£9,250

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module

International / EU full time
£14,500

Home (UK) full time
£9,250 (subject to OfS confirmation, Sept 2021)

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module (subject to OfS confirmation, Sept 2021)

International / EU full time
£14,600

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees

2021 / 22
Home (UK) full time
£9,250

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module

International / EU full time
£14,500

2022 / 23
Home (UK) full time
£9,250 (subject to OfS confirmation, Sept 2021)

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module (subject to OfS confirmation, Sept 2021)

International / EU full time
£14,600

Questions about fees?

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

Please note tuition fees for Home 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 students at the maximum permitted level.

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, return travel from London to Paris, as well as accommodation in Paris, are paid for by the university. The cost of travel from Oxford (or your home) to London and back, 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.

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.

The published course and module descriptions were accurate when first published and remain the basis of the course, but the University has had to modify some course and module content in response to government restrictions and social distancing requirements. In the event of changes made to the government advice and social distancing rules by national or local government, the University may need to make further alterations to the published course content. Detailed information on the changes will be sent to every student on confirmation in August to ensure you have all the information before you come to Oxford Brookes.

Learning and assessment

We’ll give you a solid grounding in key concepts of the History of Art in your Year 1. Your studies will be focussed on art from the Renaissance to Modern-day art. 

Your Year 2 will provide you with the opportunity to study wider thematic issues. You’ll be able to focus your studies on specific periods, choosing modules from the 15th to the 20th centuries. Additionally, the Curatorial Practice module will give you knowledge and direct experience of the theoretical and practical issues involved in curating displays and exhibitions. Year 2 also includes a fantastic study trip to Paris.

In Year 3, we offer you a range of advanced seminars. You'll be working in small groups, studying subjects in much greater depth. You'll also take the year-long History of Art Synoptic where you'll focus on a different controversy or issue in art history every week. 

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

Art in Oxford

In this module, you’ll gain the core skills you need to succeed in your Art History degree. You’ll develop visual analysis skills, as you look at special art collections in Oxford. You’ll consider:

  • the training and status of artists in society
  •  the conditions they worked in
  • The uses of art
  • The market for art
  • The materials and techniques used in art

You’ll also investigate how people received art in different times and places. You’ll consider both western and non-western art. You’ll analyse artworks first-hand, giving you an expert understanding of them. You’ll also develop strong research skills, increasing your chances of success in your degree, as you learn how to find and apply relevant resources.

 

 

Museums and Society

How and why do we present works of art to the public? In this module, you’ll explore the role of museums, art galleries and exhibitions in shaping how people produced, displayed and received works of art from the mid eighteenth century to today. You’ll understand how museums and galleries create contact between artworks and the public who view them. You’ll consider how these spaces are affected by historical factors. And you’ll come to see them as much more than neutral containers for artworks.

 

Making and Meaning in Western Architecture

In this module, you’ll gain an understanding of architectural history by examining buildings. You’ll gain the basic tools and terms needed for the historical analysis of buildings, via in-class sessions and visits to buildings in Oxford. You’ll focus on the styles, materials and functions of the buildings themselves. You’ll also explore the social and political contexts which produced them. 

This module complements Making and Meaning in Western Art and Art in Oxford by offering an introduction to art historical study. It will also help you to build the skills essential for future modules, in particular those with an architectural component.

Reading Art History

In this module, you’ll develop your ability to be a reflective and critical reader of the kinds of writings you’ll encounter during your History of Art degree. You’ll dig into the key concepts and approaches in writing about art, from the sixteenth century to today. You’ll gain core evaluative skills as you look at texts which are shaped by these approaches. You’ll also gain valuable skills and knowledge of how to read critically and how to recognise differences of methods in art history writing.

Making and Meaning in Western Art

In this module, you’ll gain the tools you need to analyse art and its history. You’ll explore a fascinating range of paintings and sculptures, from the Renaissance to the nineteenth century. You’ll gain key skills as you examine these works of art and use them to investigate core themes and issues in art history.

Optional modules

The Faiths of the West

How have religious groups shaped the West, from the ancient to the modern world? How do different religious groups interact with each other? In this module, you’ll explore:

  • different religious groups and doctrines
  • religious art
  • religion in everyday life

We’ll mainly focus on Christianity, but also on the role of other faiths, such as Judaism and Islam.

 

 

Modern British Art

In this module, you’ll dive into art and artists through the century. You’ll explore the Camden Town Group of painters. You’ll examine the abstract sculptures of Barbara Hepworth. And you’ll analyse the collages of Pop artists like Peter Blake. You’ll scrutinise paintings, sculptures and films. You’ll discuss how British artists tried to create modern forms of expression. And you’ll  investigate the ways they promoted their work, like:

  • exhibitions
  • manifestos
  • books
  • little magazines

You’ll participate in on-site visits, where you’ll examine works of art firsthand. You’ll also attend exciting lectures and seminars where you’ll explore your ideas and enrich your understanding of modern British art.

 

Powers and Dominions: Ideologies of the West, 1650-200

In this module, you’ll gain critical knowledge of the ideas and concepts behind the rise of the West, and modern Western society. You’ll get to know the competing ideologies in Western society and power since the mid-seventeenth century. And you’ll explore marginalised groups and the processes of empire-building. You’ll gain the key skills to succeed in your degree, as you learn to:

  • communicate knowledge
  • present arguments
  • solve problems in a scholarly way. 

Year 2

Compulsory modules

Themes in European Art 1450-1700: Renaissance Bodies - Transformed, Constructed, Desired

How do we see the body in Michaelangelo's iconic marbles, or Titian’s bright canvases? In this module you’ll examine how Renaissance Europeans viewed the world - and the people in it. You’ll explore ideas about travel, science, the Church and colonialism that emerged during this extraordinary period. You’ll consider how Europeans saw themselves, and others, via their art. You’ll consider how art may have created or enforced social stereotypes. And you’ll be immersed in the charged debates of the time - on issues like race, sexuality and gender.

This module option is part of our compulsory Themes in European Art 1450-1700 module. This particular module option is subject to availability in any given year.

 

Themes in Modern Art: Art and the Modern World (1914-1939)

How did the First World War transform European culture? How did artists, architects and designers embrace new technologies, materials and new ways of thinking? And how did changing views on gender and sexuality influence art and architecture? In this module you’ll examine how emerging modernist culture was expressed. You’ll look at forms like paintings, buildings, magazines, film and exhibitions. And you’ll study artists like Charlotte Perriand, Varvara Setpanova, Wells Coates and Marcel Breuer.

This module option is part of our compulsory Themes in Modern Art module. This particular module option is subject to availability in any given year.

 

Field Work in Art History: Paris

In this module, you’ll be spending a week in Paris, one of the world’s most famous cities for art. You’ll gain core analytical skills and fresh insights for your History of Art degree. You’ll explore the city’s rich range of architecture, and its renowned galleries, museums and temporary exhibitions. You’ll benefit from the input of expert staff on guided visits, while having the freedom to explore sites and galleries independently, absorbing the city’s extraordinary paintings, sculptures and buildings. 

This field work trip ordinarily runs in Paris. It is possible that circumstances may arise in any given year that could change the destination of the field work trip.

 

Optional modules

Oxford Buildings

In this module, you’ll explore Oxford’s famous buildings first-hand. You’ll gain valuable analytical skills for studying the History of Art, as you explore the buildings in their social, environmental and architectural contexts. You’ll benefit from studying buildings directly, and visiting their sites. You’ll visit a diverse range of buildings in Oxford, from the renowned Oxford colleges to the Bodleian Library and the Sheldonian Theatre. 

Curatorial Practice

Do you dream of curating your own exhibition? Do you want to explore career options you didn’t know existed? In this module, you’ll gain direct and expert experience in curating displays and exhibitions of historic and contemporary art. You’ll learn the core issues in curating exhibitions, and explore themes such as: 

  • theories of curating
  • curating contemporary art
  • curating historic exhibitions.

You’ll also look at the practical side of curation, including: 

  • proposals
  • loans
  • funding
  • displays
  • lighting
  • layout
  • catalogues
  • interpretation.

Themes in 18th and 19th Century European Art: European Art (1700-1840)

In this module you’ll examine European Art during a period of transformative change. You’ll consider the sweeping political and social movements of the time - and their impact on art. You’ll explore the British Empire, the French Revolution and the drive for European political reform. You’ll learn about the rise of artistic exhibitions and the beginnings of the print trade. You’ll consider the emergence of a ‘public’ for art and the birth of art criticism. And you’ll examine a range of genres, from portraiture and tomb sculpture to comic art

This module option is part of our compulsory Themes in 18th and 19th Century European Art. This particular module option is subject to availability in any given year.

 

Independent Study in History of Art

This module gives you the chance to do independent study on a topic that fascinates you. You’ll have the support of our expert History of Art staff, while having the freedom to design your own topic alone or in a small group. Whether you’re responding to a current art exhibition, or a pressing issue in art history and criticism, you’ll shape your project around your passions and gain key research skills for your future career. 

Year 3

Compulsory modules

History of Art Dissertation

In this module, you’ll have the chance to do independent research on a topic that fascinates you. You’ll have the support of our expert academics who guide you as you carry out research on your chosen topic. You’ll gain key skills for your chosen career, as you gain expertise in your topic and express the knowledge you’ve gained throughout your degree. 

History of Art Synoptic

In this module, you’ll identify and harness all of the skills and knowledge you’ve gained throughout your course. Through weekly discussions and debates, you’ll unlock your potential for a groundbreaking career. You’ll gain a strong and advanced understanding of your History of Art course content. You’ll make new connections between the ideas and content you’ve encountered in all your modules, giving you critical knowledge of your course and supporting your academic success.

Optional modules

Advanced Independent Study in History of Art

This module gives you the opportunity to conduct an advanced level exploration of a subject not directly covered by the History of Art syllabus. In doing so, you’ll develop skills in independent research and analysis. 

You might choose to explore a response to a current exhibition, or investigate an issue in the field of art history or criticism. Alternatively, you might select a specialist topic related to another module, or connected to ongoing staff research. The topic will be a substantial one and you will design and carry out your study under the guidance and supervision of one or more members of the History of Art staff.

Advanced Seminar 1: Continuity and Change in Venetian Painting

What does Bellini’s intensive, meditative art have in common with Titian’s dramatic, emotive paintings? How are they part of the same tradition of Renaissance Venetian painting? In this module, you’ll explore Venice’s unique history and culture. You’ll consider Venetian material culture - from the perspective of residents and visitors. You’ll scrutinise ‘Venetian-ness.’ And you’ll examine how Venetian painters pushed boundaries in a traditional culture.

This module is subject to availability in any given year.

 

Advanced Seminar 1: The Art of Death

How is art involved in death? What is art’s role in rites of passage like mourning, burial and commemoration? In this module, you’ll explore the changing practices, beliefs and attitudes toward death - across cultures and centuries. You’ll investigate the Roman way of death. You’ll examine death in the Middle Ages, including the sumptuous Medieval chantry chapels. And you’ll learn how the Reformation drove sweeping changes in attitudes toward death across Europe. You’ll also consider specialist topics like commemoration, and the art of anatomy in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

This module is subject to availability in any given year.

 

Advanced Seminar 2: Dutch Seventeenth Century Painting

How is art involved in death? What is art’s role in rites of passage like mourning, burial and commemoration? In this module, you’ll explore the changing practices, beliefs and attitudes toward death - across cultures and centuries. You’ll investigate the Roman way of death. You’ll examine death in the Middle Ages, including the sumptuous Medieval chantry chapels. And you’ll learn how the Reformation drove sweeping changes in attitudes toward death across Europe. You’ll also consider specialist topics like commemoration, and the art of anatomy in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

This module is subject to availability in any given year.

 

Advanced Seminar 2: Culture and Modernity in 1920s and 1930s England

Explore the explosion of creativity surrounding art and ways of life in the 1920s and 30s. This visionary period saw the emergence of artists like Barbara Hepworth, Elizabeth Denby and Sadie Speight. And it produced groups like Unit One and the MARS Group. You’ll examine cultural artifacts of the time - from paintings and periodicals to film and furniture. You’ll explore debates about nationhood. And you’ll examine how these ideas impacted all areas of British culture.

This module is subject to availability in any given year.

 

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.

 
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.

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.

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 the return trip to Paris, accommodation, breakfast and evening meals are all covered by your course tuition fees. 

For return trips to London galleries or museums, mid-day meals, and any entrance fees are not included in 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.

Assessment

Assessment methods used on this course

Assessment is by coursework and examination. 
Coursework includes:

  • essays
  • group projects
  • individual seminar presentations
  • research projects.

 
Some modules involve an element of examination at the end of the semester, but others are assessed solely on the basis of your work during the semester. 

Assessed work for the honours dissertation takes the form of a 10,000 word piece of work.

Study Abroad

You may be able to go on a European or international study exchange while you are at Oxford Brookes. 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

Recent graduates have gone into careers in:

  • public museums, galleries and collections
  • commercial art galleries
  • auction houses
  • publishing
  • events and projects organisation and management
  • teaching and education (in both schools and museums)
  • journalism.

You’ll attain an excellent suite of core skills (research, analytical thinking, critical judgment, communication skills) which are regarded as highly desirable by many employers.

In addition, you’ll develop high levels of visual literacy and attentiveness which can fit graduates well for careers in areas like interpretation and advertising. 

The Curatorial Practice module provides training in specific skills for those interested in a career in a museum or gallery, whether commercial or publically funded. 

 

 

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

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.

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Information from Discover Uni

Full-time study

Part-time study

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.