Art History empowers us in our increasingly visual world

The Art History programme at the University of Aberdeen provides students with an extensive knowledge of the history of art from the Middle Ages to the present day, covering a wide range of media and techniques. Our curriculum aims to situate European art in its global connectedness and its full complexities.

We offer a four-year undergraduate programme leading to an Honours degree in Art History, together with a wide range of joint degree options. Our teaching is informed by our staff’s cutting-edge research, providing an education that engages with the latest debates of the discipline. We also welcome applications from interested candidates for research degrees at MLitt and PhD levels. The university’s prestigious art collection, as well as Aberdeen’s internationally-renowned galleries and museums form a significant part of our degree programme and allow for first-hand encounters with a wide variety of artworks and architecture.

We are an active group of researchers, furthering specialist knowledge and understanding in a range of areas including late medieval art and visual culture, early modern prints, European 19th-century art, art theory and historiography, and exhibition history. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, the impact of our research was rated first in Scotland and second across universities in the United Kingdom.

We hold a regular series of research seminars across the academic year to which all are welcome. Find out more about our activities on our News and Events pages, and follow us on Twitter:

Why study Art History at Aberdeen?

We are a small and accessible department, with a strong interdisciplinary outlook. Aberdeen is an excellent location in which to study Art History in an academically rigorous way and with close attention to the materiality of the object.

In our increasingly visual world, art historical skills have become indispensable for an ever-increasing range of professions, and for navigating contemporary culture more broadly. Aberdeen’s Art History degree with its strong vocational focus offers an ideal pathway for careers in many areas of the art and culture sector. The programme teaches students critical skills in how to look, to think and to present ideas succinctly and persuasively.

Many of our students go on to pursue careers in the art gallery and museum sectors, arts education, auction houses, publishing and journalism, and fine art conservation, together with further postgraduate study. Employers of our most recent graduates include Christie’s London, Sotheby’s Zurich, the Weiss Gallery, London, Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums, the Pier Arts Centre, Orkney, and the McManus Gallery, Dundee.

Art History students also acquire transferable skills during the course of their degree which are valuable across a range of career possibilities. These include teamwork, time management, and personal initiative, while focused historical study encourages the development of analytical and presentational skills. These abilities are consistently drawn upon and developed during the four years of undergraduate study in Art History, through the completion of essays and reports, seminar presentations, and the final year dissertation.