Art History and Film & Visual Culture, MA

Art History and Film & Visual Culture, MA

Introduction

Film & Visual Culture and Art History at Aberdeen adds another dimension to your rigorous training in the history and theory of the moving image in the 21st century. You will study buildings, sculptures, drawings, paintings, prints, decorative and industrial arts from all periods at Scotland’s top-rated university for the impact of its research in the history of art. You will gain the skills to open up a range of exciting career options.

Study Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
MA
Duration
48 months
Study Mode
Full Time
Start Month
September
UCAS Code
WV63
Degree marketing image

Our unique Film and Visual Culture programme combines close analysis of visual objects and artefacts – analogue and digital, moving and still, underground and mainstream – with theories of visual representation, production and circulation. You will gain specialist knowledge and skills in the academic study of cinema, with an emphasis on building analytical skills in research and critical writing. You will also have the opportunity to develop skills in digital video production and web design.

You will complement this with extensive specialised knowledge of the history of painting, sculpture, architecture and the decorative arts in Europe and North America from the Middle Ages to the present day. You will study in buildings centuries old, yet with the most modern teaching and technology, inspired by teachers and researchers whose specialist areas range from Pictish art, medieval architecture, Italian Baroque painting, early modern prints, and Scottish and British painting from the 17th to 20th centuries.

Your specialist skills make you ideally placed to enter the art gallery and museum sectors, arts education, publishing and journalism, or fine art conservation. You will also gain transferable skills, including teamwork, time management, personal initiative and highly developed enquiry, analytical and presentational skills ideally suited to a range of careers.

What You'll Study

Year 1

Compulsory Courses

Academic Writing for Divinity, History & Philosophy (AW1007)

This compulsory evaluation is designed to find out if your academic writing is of a sufficient standard to enable you to succeed at university and, if you need it, to provide support to improve. It is completed on-line via MyAberdeen with clear instructions to guide you through it. If you pass the evaluation at the first assessment it will not take much of your time. If you do not, you will be provided with resources to help you improve. This evaluation does not carry credits but if you do not complete it this will be recorded on your degree transcript.

Getting Started at the University of Aberdeen (PD1002)

This course, which is prescribed for level 1 undergraduate students (and articulating students who are in their first year at the University), is studied entirely online, takes approximately 5-6 hours to complete and can be taken in one sitting, or spread across a number of weeks.

Topics include orientation overview, equality and diversity, health, safety and cyber security and how to make the most of your time at university in relation to careers and employability.

Successful completion of this course will be recorded on your Enhanced Transcript as ‘Achieved’.

Introduction to Visual Culture (FS1008)

15 Credit Points

What is Visual Culture? Over the last twenty years, the visual landscape has become digital, virtual, viral, and global. A vibrant cross-section of scholars and practitioners from Art History, Critical Theory, Cultural Studies, Anthropology, and Film Studies have responded, not only engaging contemporary image production and consumption, but also the foundations of visual knowledge: What is an image? What is vision? How and why do we look, gaze, and spectate? From the nomadic pathways of the digital archive to the embodied look that looks back, this course will introduce students to the key concepts that shape this fluid field.

Introduction to Art History (HA1004)

15 Credit Points

This course explores art history in the Western world from antiquity to the nineteenth century. We examine the artistic production of distinct historical periods, with reference to their social, religious, political and cultural contexts, and consider art history’s use of specific labels and chronologies, from Classical and Medieval, to Renaissance, Baroque, and Romantic art.

Introduction to Film and the Cinematic Experience (FS1508)

15 Credit Points

This course offers an introduction to the language and practice of formal film analysis. Each week we will explore a different element of film form and analyze the ways in which it shapes the moving image. This course invites students to think about formal elements within and across a wide range of genres, styles, historical moments, and national contexts. By the end of this course, the successful FS1508 student will be able to recognize and communicate the ways in which meaning is made in cinema.

Introduction to Modern and Contemporary Art (AH1503)

15 Credit Points

This course discusses key works and movements in the history of art from c. 1800 to today. It serves as an introduction to one of the most dynamic and multifaceted chapters in art history. Topics to be discussed may range from the Pre-Raphaelites and the rise of abstraction to contemporary performance art. The course will also consider the global intersections of Western art, aiming to de-centre our understanding of what counts as 'modern'

Optional Courses

Select further credit points from courses of choice to reach 120 credit points.

Year 2

Compulsory Courses

Visualising Modernity (FS2007)

30 Credit Points

The first half of a film history sequence at the second year level, Visualising Modernity focuses on crucial moments, concepts and cinematic works from the period 1895 to 1945. Students will be marked according to a mid-term essay, a final exam, short assignments on Blackboard, and attendance in lectures and tutorials.

Visualising Revolution (FS2507)

30 Credit Points

The second half of a film history sequence at the second year level, Cinema & Revolution focuses on crucial moments, concepts and cinematic works from the period between 1945 and the present. Students will be marked according to a mid-term essay, a final exam, short assignments on Blackboard, and participation and attendance in lectures and tutorials.

Art Matters: Materials and Techniques (HA2511)

30 Credit Points

This course focuses on how artworks are made. Students will be introduced to a wide range of materials, techniques and processes over the centuries relating to paintings, prints, drawings, sculpture, photography and more. Each method and material will be examined using case-study examples, with discussion opening out to issues of the agency of materials and media and their cultural logics. In doing so, students will learn how artistic intentions are shaped and determined by material qualities.

Optional Courses

Select ONE of the following:

What is Art? (AH2001)

30 Credit Points

‘Art’ is a controversial category. In museums, you might see urinals and cardboard boxes exhibited – but what earns them this accolade? Is it about skill? Creativity? Beauty? Who decides what counts as ‘good’ art? And why are museums full of stuff made by white men? This course discusses these and related questions. It will introduce you to a wide range of historical definitions of art, and discuss key works, from antiquity to Instagram - many of which challenged the boundaries of ‘art’.

Object Lessons: Ten Works in Context (HA2012)

30 Credit Points

This course focuses on ten art objects, mapping the wealth and diversity of art historical research: from iconic 'masterpieces' to popular imagery, votive objects and craft. Works discussed may range from the Parthenon marbles and Velazquez' 'Las Meninas' to wax penises and pub signs.

Each case study introduces different questions and approaches for discussing art objects: a series of lessons in critical interpretation.

Year 3

Optional Courses

Select ONE of the following:

  • AH3501 - Curation: Theory and Practice
  • AH3507 - Climates of Classicism: Scottish Travellers in Greece, 1770-1880
  • HA351A - Italian Mural Painting and the Making of Visual Cultures, 1400-1500

Also, select ONE of the following:

  • HA3082 - Painting in Tudor and Early Stuart England
  • AH3008 - Reproduction and the Body in Modern and Contemporary Art after 1945

Plus, select 60 credit points in level 3 Film and Visual Culture courses.

Painting in Tudor and Early Stuart England (HA3082)

30 Credit Points

This module develops students' knowledge and understanding of early modern European painting, providing a chronological overview of elite portraiture and diplomatic commissions in England between 1530 and 1650. Artists studied in their English contexts include Hans Holbein, Nicholas Hilliard, Peter Paul Rubens and Anthony Van Dyck. Furthermore, this module asks important questions about the persuasive and diplomatic possibilities of the visual arts, the relationship between painter and patron, and the impact and legacy of foreign artists on British painting and visual culture through the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and beyond.

Reproduction and the Body in Modern and Contemporary Art After 1945 (AH3008)
Curation: Theory and Practice (AH3501)

30 Credit Points

This course focuses on the theory and practice of curation, making use of the internationally renowned University Museums and Special collections, which include artworks and material culture from the earliest times to the present day. The course comprises a series of seminars covering topics, including museum and exhibition history, object selection, exhibition texts and education, which prepare the ground for student curatorial teams to design an exhibition proposal. The course is assessed by portfolio work, a presentation and a position paper. It is co-taught by Art History and Museums and Special Collections.

Climates of Classicism: Scottish Travellers in Greece, 1770 - 1880 (AH3507)

30 Credit Points

Throughout the 19th century, countless artists travelled to Greece in search for the splendours of antiquity. Many were disappointed by the rugged and mountainous country -

but for many Scottish travellers Greece proved surprisingly similar to their homeland. We will focus on these Scottish artists and antiquaries travelling to Greece, and their experiences.

The course is based on the study of material in Aberdeen collections, serving also as hands-on training in work with primary sources.

Italian Mural Painting and the Making of Visual Cultures, 1400 - 1500 (HA351A)

Year 4

Optional Courses

Select ONE of the following dissertation options:

  • Dissertation in Film & Visual Culture (FS4002)
  • Dissertation in Film & Visual Culture (FS4506)
  • Art History Dissertation (HA4588)

Also, select ONE of the following:

  • Reproduction and the Body in Modern and Contemporary Art after 1945 (AH4008)
  • Art and the City (AH4011)
  • Painting in Tudor and Early Stuart England (HA4082)

Select further credit points from available level 4 course(s) in Film and Visual Culture to make up 60 credit points in the discipline.

Also, select 30 credit points in Level 4 Art History if required.

Dissertation in Film & Visual Culture (FS4506)

30 Credit Points

Students will have the opportunity to write a dissertation on a topic of their choosing within Film and Visual Culture.

History of Art Dissertation (HA4588)

30 Credit Points

Your dissertation is intended to give you the opportunity to carry out a piece of sustained research on a topic of your own choice and to demonstrate to the examiners your ability to present the results of such research in a proper, scholarly manner. Your research may be of various kinds. It may address works of art (or a single work of art) directly, through first-hand study in galleries, museums, or private collections, or it may be of a more literary kind, addressing critical or theoretical problems. Or it might involve both.

Dissertation in Film & Visual Culture (FS4002)

30 Credit Points

Students will have the opportunity to write a dissertation on a topic of their choosing within Film and Visual Culture.

Art and the City (AH4011)

30 Credit Points

This course focuses on the physical and social contexts for the production and consumption of works of art and architecture. At the core of this course is a subsidised fieldtrip to a European city, allowing for an in-depth study of the urban contexts of art across time. Seminars and the fieldtrip will discuss themes such as urbanism, the specificities of public and private, sacred and profane spaces, and histories of collecting.

Painting in Tudor and Early Stuart England (HA4082)

30 Credit Points

This module develops students' knowledge and understanding of early modern European painting, providing a chronological overview of elite portraiture and diplomatic commissions in England between 1530 and 1650. Artists studied in their English contexts include Hans Holbein, Nicholas Hilliard, Peter Paul Rubens and Anthony Van Dyck. Furthermore, this module asks important questions about the persuasive and diplomatic possibilities of the visual arts, the relationship between painter and patron, and the impact and legacy of foreign artists on British painting and visual culture through the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and beyond.

Reproduction and the Body in Modern and Contemporary Art After 1945 (AH4008)

We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

How You'll Study

Learning Methods

  • Individual Projects
  • Lectures
  • Research
  • Tutorials

Assessment Methods

Students are assessed by any combination of three assessment methods:

  • Coursework such as essays and reports completed throughout the course.
  • Practical assessments of the skills and competencies they learn on the course.
  • Written examinations at the end of each course.

The exact mix of these methods differs between subject areas, years of study and individual courses.

Honours projects are typically assessed on the basis of a written dissertation.

Why Study Art History and Film & Visual Culture?

Why Film & Visual Culture

  • A curriculum which perfectly balances creativity with broad study, theory and critical analysis as you learn to think within the movements of cinema, and pursue questions beyond the film frame.
  • Director's Cut, the University’s popular events series which invites leading international film-makers onto campus for masterclasses with students, and packed public 'in conversation' events, filmed for the web and for teaching.
  • Sir David Attenborough, Nicholas Roeg, John Akomfrah, Raul Ruiz, Kevin MacDonald, and film editor Peter Lambert (Love Actually to Twilight Saga) all among previous guests for Director's Cut.
  • The George Washington Wilson Centre for Visual Culture, promoting interest and organising events in visual culture, including film, photography, art history, anthropology and museum studies.
  • A programme which also looks at the practical elements of film and visual culture, including the production and circulation of film.
  • A packed campus programme of student and public events, exhibitions, seminars, café discussions and film showings, including the annual May Festival which features Director’s Cut events as highlights of each spring's programme.
  • Strong emphasis on applied learning as well as theory, so you develop a range of practical skills that will give you a good grounding in your future career.
  • An exciting and flourishing cultural scene in north-east Scotland, including the independent Belmont Filmhouse which celebrates world cinema in all its brilliance and diversity, and frequently partners with this academic programme.
  • The spectacular, award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library providing a stunning, iconic and inspiring study environment with state-of-the-art learning technology and reference works on film and visual culture.

Why Art History

  • Ranked the leading university in Scotland for the impact of Art History research, and second in the UK in the latest UK Research Excellence Framework.
  • Teaching rated ‘Highly Satisfactory’ in the last national Teaching Quality Assessment.
  • Our magnificent art collection, including the generous gifts of alumni through the centuries, and modern artworks by leading Scottish artists making our spaces special, and adding thought-provoking inspiration to our campus.
  • The inspiration of the beautiful King’s College Chapel, begun in 1495 by University founder Bishop Elphinstone, a treasure-house of history, showcasing some of the finest work of medieval craftsmen in Europe.
  • Spectacular, award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library with an excellent modern collection of art history books covering all periods, particularly strong in 18th and 19th century material, including art theory and criticism, archaeology and travel.
  • Home to the Buildings of Scotland Project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, the definitive inventory of Scottish Architecture for Aberdeenshire, Moray and Aberdeen.
  • Historic treasures including important medieval manuscripts and estate papers, and the unique George Washington Wilson archive with over 45,000 original glass plate negatives made by this pioneer Victorian photographer.
  • North-east Scotland’s distinguished architectural heritage from the Middle Ages onwards, the Aberdeen Art Gallery collections of French and British art, including one of the best collections of Victorian painting outside London.
  • The National Galleries of Scotland, the Burrell Collection, Glasgow Art Gallery and the Hunterian Museum are within easy reach by train, bus or car.
  • Visits to major galleries and architecture in Edinburgh, London and Paris, as part of your programme, and a final year week-long visit to a city of artistic and cultural significance – most recently Paris.
  • A packed campus programme of student and public events, exhibitions, seminars, invited speakers, and the annual May Festival which includes tours and talks on our medieval architecture and art treasures.

Entry Requirements

Qualifications

The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.


General Entry Requirements

2022 Entry

SQA Highers

Standard: AABB

Applicants who have achieved AABB (or better), are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/ Advanced Highers may be required.

Minimum: BBB

Applicants who have achieved BBB (or are on course to achieve this by the end of S5) are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will normally be required.

Adjusted: BB

Applicants who have achieved BB, and who meet one of the widening participation criteria are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will be required.

More information on our definition of Standard, Minimum and Adjusted entry qualifications.

A LEVELS

Standard: BBB

Minimum: BBC

Adjusted: CCC

More information on our definition of Standard, Minimum and Adjusted entry qualifications.

International Baccalaureate

32 points, including 5, 5, 5 at HL.

Irish Leaving Certificate

5H with 3 at H2 AND 2 at H3.

Entry from College

Advanced entry to this degree may be possible from some HNC/HND qualifications, please see www.abdn.ac.uk/study/articulation for more details.

2023 Entry

SQA Highers

Standard: AABB

Applicants who have achieved AABB (or better), are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/ Advanced Highers may be required.

Minimum: BBB

Applicants who have achieved BBB (or are on course to achieve this by the end of S5) are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will normally be required.

Adjusted: BB

Applicants who have achieved BB, and who meet one of the widening participation criteria are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will be required.

More information on our definition of Standard, Minimum and Adjusted entry qualifications.

A LEVELS

Standard: BBB

Minimum: BBC

Adjusted: CCC

More information on our definition of Standard, Minimum and Adjusted entry qualifications.

International Baccalaureate

32 points, including 5, 5, 5 at HL.

Irish Leaving Certificate

5H with 3 at H2 AND 2 at H3.

Entry from College

Advanced entry to this degree may be possible from some HNC/HND qualifications, please see www.abdn.ac.uk/study/articulation for more details.

The information displayed in this section shows a shortened summary of our entry requirements. For more information, or for full entry requirements for Arts and Social Sciences degrees, see our detailed entry requirements section.


English Language Requirements

To study for an Undergraduate degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. The minimum requirements for this degree are as follows:

IELTS Academic:

OVERALL - 6.0 with: Listening - 5.5; Reading - 5.5; Speaking - 5.5; Writing - 6.0

TOEFL iBT:

OVERALL - 78 with: Listening - 17; Reading - 18; Speaking - 20; Writing - 21

PTE Academic:

OVERALL - 59 with: Listening - 59; Reading - 59; Speaking - 59; Writing - 59

Cambridge English B2 First, C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency:

OVERALL - 169 with: Listening - 162; Reading - 162; Speaking - 162; Writing - 169

Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

Fees and Funding

You will be classified as one of the fee categories below.

Fee information
Fee category Cost
RUK £9,250
Tuition Fees for 2022/23 Academic Year
EU / International students £19,800
Tuition Fees for 2022/23 Academic Year
Home Students £1,820
Tuition Fees for 2022/23 Academic Year

Scholarships and Funding

Students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland, who pay tuition fees may be eligible for specific scholarships allowing them to receive additional funding. These are designed to provide assistance to help students support themselves during their time at Aberdeen.

Additional Fees

  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trips. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
  • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.

Our Funding Database

View all funding options in our Funding Database.

Careers

There are many opportunities at the University of Aberdeen to develop your knowledge, gain experience and build a competitive set of skills to enhance your employability. This is essential for your future career success. The Careers and Employability Service can help you to plan your career and support your choices throughout your time with us, from first to final year – and beyond.

Our Experts

Information About Staff Changes

You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

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Get in Touch

Contact Details

Address
Student Recruitment & Admissions
University of Aberdeen
University Office
Regent Walk
Aberdeen
AB24 3FX