In Year 1 you will gain 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 you will go on a study trip to Paris, which for many students is one of the highlights of the degree. Year 2 also includes the option to take the Curatorial Practice module which aims to give students knowledge and direct experience of the theoretical and practical issues involved in curating displays and exhibitions.
In Years 2 and 3 you’ll take modules on wider thematic issues. You will be able to give your studies a period focus by choosing modules on topics from the 15th to 20th centuries. In Year 3, you choose from a range of advanced seminars which give you the chance to work in small groups and in considerable depth on topics which are closely linked to the research specialisms of staff.
You also take a year-long discussion-based course called the History of Art Synoptic which focuses each week on a different problem or controversy in art history. On this module you’ll be encouraged to reach your own overview of the discipline. The synoptic module is designed to complement the final module, the dissertation. By writing a dissertation, you will conduct an in depth investigation into a topic of your own choosing and you’ll be guided by an academic with relevant expertise.
It may be possible to pursue independent study linked to a placement in a gallery or museum. The University’s own exhibition space, the Glass Tank
, offers two placements to History of Art students each year.
Work placements »
As our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the module list you choose from may vary from that shown here.
- Making and Meaning in Western Art (compulsory for single and combined honours)
- Museums and Society (compulsory for single and combined honours)
- Reading Art History (compulsory for single honours)
- Art in Oxford (compulsory for single honours)
In addition most students take
- Making and Meaning in Western Architecture
- Modern British Art
Years 2 and 3
Topics in recent years have included:
- Themes in Modern Art
- Themes in European Art 1450-1700
- Themes in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century European Art
- Oxford Buildings (an in-depth study of the
remarkable architecture of Oxford which places particular emphasis
on first-hand experience of the buildings)
- Curatorial Practice
- Field trip to Paris (unlike many other trips this
is assessed, leading to a focused and intense but enjoyable week of
- Anthropology of Art
- Independent Study in History of Art
- Advanced Seminar in the History of Art I and II
(concentrated study of specialised topic: in recent years these
have included The Art of Death, The Pre-Raphaelites, Tradition and
Identity in Venetian Painting, 1450-1590 and This Changing World:
culture and modernity in 1930s England)
- History of Art Synoptic
Single honours students must take the compulsory
modules Field Work in Art History, Synoptic, the Dissertation, at least
two of the 'Themes' modules and at least one of the 'Advanced Seminar'
Combined honours students must take at least one of the
in detail » Module
- The course includes regular trips to galleries, museums and
- 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
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
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.
You may be available to go on a European or international study exchange
facilitated by the University. Students who wish to study abroad can
apply to do so in year two of their studies. This is not a mandatory
part of the course.
Studying abroad provides an amazing opportunity to add value to your
- increasing your employability within an international market
- boosting your language skills
- building your confidence in adapting to new situations
- improving your knowledge of different cultures.
Whilst on exchange you will gain credits which count towards your
degree. The department has links with the Universities of Perugia,
Italy, and Madrid, Spain. An alternative possibility is to spend a
semester at an English-speaking university in northern Europe, the USA
During your year abroad your tuition fees are paid as they would be if
you remained in the UK, either to Oxford Brookes via your Student Loan
or directly to Oxford Brookes according to your preference.
You will be responsible for all other costs such as accommodation,
purchasing your airfares, travel and health insurance and any requisite
visas. Funding is available through the Erasmus scheme, and also via
some international programmes such as the Santander Student Awards.
There is also a European work placement programme which gives you the
chance to work abroad as part of your studies.
For more information, visit our pages on studying
abroad and exchanges.
Free language courses for students - the Open Module
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.
Please note that the free language courses are not available if you are:
- studying at a Brookes partner college
- studying on any of our teacher education courses or postgraduate education courses.
Read about our newly developed curating module.
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.
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