Introduction

History and History of Art at Aberdeen is the perfect combination to immerse yourself in all aspects of human activity in the past, with a fascinating in-depth study of the buildings, sculptures, drawings, paintings, prints, decorative and industrial arts of all periods. Studying at Scotland’s top-rated university for the work of its researchers in both history and history of art, you will gain great specialist and transferable skills to open up a range of exciting career options.

This programme is studied on campus.

History research at Aberdeen is rated top in Scotland for its impact and 2nd in the UK in the latest UK Research Excellence Framework, with teaching rated ‘Highly Satisfactory’ in the last national quality assessment and student satisfaction of 95%.

You will be enthused and inspired by teachers who are leaders in their fields, with expertise as diverse as medieval Scandinavia, early-modern Poland and modern East Asia and enthralled by our wonderful collections of historic treasures collected by distinguished alumni over the centuries.

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. Your language skills will open international opportunities and your transferable skills including teamwork, time management, and highly developed enquiry, analytical and presentational skills will appeal to employers in all fields.

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Key Programme Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
MA
Duration
48 months
Study Mode
Full Time
Start Month
September
UCAS Code
VV13

What You'll Study

Year 1

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.

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Professional Skills Part 1 (PD1001)

This course, which is prescribed for level 1 students and optional for level 2 students, is studied entirely online and covers topics relating to careers and employability, equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing. During the course you will learn about the Aberdeen Graduate Attributes, how they are relevant to you and the opportunities available to develop your skills and attributes alongside your University studies. You will also gain an understanding of equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing issues. Successful completion of this course will be recorded on your Enhanced Transcript as ‘Achieved’ (non-completion will be recorded as ‘Not Achieved’). The course takes approximately 3 hours to complete and can be taken in one sitting, or spread across a number of weeks and it will be available to you throughout the academic year.This course, which is prescribed for level 1 students and optional for level 2 students and above, is studied entirely online and covers topics relating to careers and employability, equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing. During the course you will learn about the Aberdeen Graduate Attributes, how they are relevant to you and the opportunities available to develop your skills and attributes alongside your University studies. You will also gain an understanding of equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing issues. Successful completion of this course will be recorded on your Enhanced Transcript as ‘Achieved’ (non-completion will be recorded as ‘Not Achieved’). The course takes approximately 3 hours to complete and can be taken in one sitting, or spread across a number of weeks and it will be available to you throughout the academic year

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Introduction to Art History (HA1004) - 15 Credit Points

This introductory course will trace major developments in the history of art in the western world from Classical art and architecture in ancient Greece to the beginnings of photography in the nineteenth century. Aspects of European art to be explored, through painting, prints, sculpture and architecture, will begin with Stone-Age cave painting and then range from Greek Classicism to Medieval Gothic cathedrals, the rebirth of Classicism in the Renaissance to the grandeur of the Baroque, the ornament of the Rococo, and the revolutionary order of Neo-Classicism. Download course guide.

View our course video: (Video) HA1004 - Introduction to Art History

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Making History (HI1027) - 15 Credit Points

This course will introduce students to the subject of university level history. Team taught lectures will introduce students to approaches, sources, and the dilemmas facing academic historians. Download course guide.

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Modern Art (HA1508) - 30 Credit Points

Beginning with the Romantic period, and the art of Victorian Britain, this course will trace major developments in Western art through to the late twentieth century. Nineteenth-century modernism and modernity in France will be explored through Realism, Impressionism, Post-Impressionism and the art of fin-de-siècle Paris. Twentieth-century movements will include German Expressionism, the wildness of Fauvism, the analytical eye of Cubism, the anarchy and dreams of Dada and Surrealism, and the rise of American painting with Abstract Expressionism. The move to postmodernism will be traced through Pop Art and beyond.

View our course video: (Video) HA1508 - Modern Art

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Optional Courses

  • Select a further 30 credit points from level 1 courses in History or History of Art
  • Select a further 30 credit points from courses of choice
Year 2

Year 2

Compulsory Courses

Cathedrals to Caravaggio (HA2009) - 30 Credit Points

This course will survey western European art from circa 1100 to 1600. It will cover the styles known as Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Mannerism and Baroque. It will examine media including architecture, sculpture, metalwork and painting. The iconography of the Christian church forms the basis much of this art, but classical mythology and vernacular themes are also significant. Major themes include those of pilgrimage and church reform, the Reformation and Counter-Reformation. It provides a fundamental understanding of the cultural world in which Aberdeen University began. Download course guide

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Making Masterpieces: Six Works in Context (HA2509) - 15 Credit Points

This course focuses on six major artistic masterpieces considered in their original and critical contexts. All the works considered have achieved fame or notoriety and have had a major impact on the history of art and culture. Works discussed may include the Bayeux Tapestry, Leonardo's Mona Lisa, Caravaggio's Calling of St Matthew, Courbet's Stonebreakers and Duchamp's Fountain.

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In the Flesh: Art on Location (HA2806) - 15 Credit Points

This course is organised around a series of tutor-led class visits to sites of special art historical significance. The class will visit key locations in and around Aberdeen, and there is also a trip to Edinburgh. A range of important works of art and architecture will be studied in situ, and this study will be supported by staff lectures on related topics. The material on the course will be organised in relation to broad themes that will introduce students to major issues in the discipline of art history.

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Optional Courses

  • Select a further 60 credit points from level 2 courses in History
Year 3

Year 3

Compulsory Courses

Critical Perspectives in the History of Art (HA3079) - 30 Credit Points

Unlike most other art history courses, this is a text‐based course, which will focus on a number of selected ‘key texts’ by a range of authors from the history of art. In most classes, the chosen texts, which you will read in advance, will be examined in relation to a small number of pre‐chosen images. Discussion will focus on the way in which the issues raised in a prescribed text can usefully illuminate (or otherwise!) the given images. Download course guide.

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Fieldwork 1 (HA3088)

Throughout the honours programme, you will be encouraged to reflect on your developing skills and knowledge as an art historian. Through tutor-led and self-directed visits to various locations, the Fieldwork course will foster a wide appreciation of past and current issues in the art world, beyond the classroom. The course will include not only a study of art and architecture but also a consideration of their context, display, function and interpretation. Download course guide.

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Thinking History (HI356J) - 30 Credit Points

This course looks at how history is written. It considers the problems involved in studying and explaining the past, and the many dilemmas faced by historians in reconstructing it. By examining the ways in which history has been written from the Ancient Greeks to Postmodernism, it considers the limits of historical study, asks whether history can ever be a science, and reveals the assumptions behind the various approaches to history that inform its writing. It is designed to provide honours history students with an essential understanding of what they are doing when they study history.

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Optional Courses

  • Select a further 30 credit points from level 3 courses in History
  • Select a further 30 credit points from level 3 courses in History of Art
Year 4

Year 4

Compulsory Courses

Fieldwork 2 (HA408A) - 30 Credit Points

In Fieldwork 2, you will continue your study of works of art and architecture in situ by undertaking a final fieldtrip. This can be as part of a tutor-led group visit, to Paris for example, or as a planned and agreed independent trip. You will complete your Flog with reflections on summer activities and then begin selecting the material for your Fieldwork ePortfolio. Unlike the Flog, this must be written in an academic style and will give you the opportunity to show how your thoughts and ideas as an art historian have been developing throughout the course. Download Course Guide.

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Optional Courses

Option 1

  • Dissertation in History (HI4516)
  • Select a Special Subject course (listed below)
  • Select a further 30 credit points from level 4 courses in History of Art

Option 2

  • History of Art Dissertation (HA4588)
  • History in Practice II (HI4518)
  • Select a Special Subject course (listed below)
Undergraduate Dissertation in History (HI4516) - 30 Credit Points

The undergraduate dissertation is the final-year major research undertaking, based on primary and secondary material and providing a critical analysis of a specific subject chosen by the student. It is obligatory for Single Honours students, whereas Joint Honours students choose to write their dissertation in either of the two subjects. After initial sessions about the nature of the dissertation and research approaches, students develop a topic with the help of a member of staff, who will also supervise their project throughout. Download Course Guide

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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. Download course guide.

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History in Practice II (HI4518) - 30 Credit Points

History is not simply a dry, academic study of the past; it shapes a host of contemporary political, economic and cultural attitudes and is a central underpinning to the tourist and heritage industries - now one of the largest sectors of employment among mature western economies. This course is designed to give a critical understanding of the theoretical and practical links (as well as clear distinctions) between the practice of 'academic' History and 'public' History. This is done by having students assess how heritage and tourist businesses project a particular version of the past.

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Special Subject: Irish Troubles (HI4001) - 30 Credit Points

This course examines the events known collectively as the “Irish Troubles”. That is, the origins, development and partial conclusion of non-violent and violent opposition to the continuation of Northern Ireland within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the mid-1960s until the present day. Download course guide.

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Special Subject: Enlightenment Compared: Ireland, Scotland, Central Europe (HI4003) - 30 Credit Points

This course examines the emergence and the variations of Enlightenment thinking in Scotland and Central Europe (with particular emphasis on the German and East Central European Enlightenment, to which the Scottish Enlightenment had strong historical links). It emphasises the varieties of the European Enlightenment, against the traditional assumption that the Enlightenment was exclusively 'located' in France. Download course guide.

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Special Subject: French Revolution (HI4006)
Special Subject: Women and Men (HI4007) - 30 Credit Points

This course will address a number of themes, including modern studies of marriage; the western medieval church and marriage law, sexuality and gender in the middle ages; attitudes to love, marriage and the family; and sex roles and gender differences. We will examine the way in which gender and ideology influence the lives of both ordinary and not-so-ordinary people in the middle ages by examining a variety of primary and secondary sources. Download course guide.

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Special Subject: Hitler (HI4008) - 30 Credit Points

Hitler is omnipresent in modern life. He appears everywhere in the media and he is invoked all the time in public and private discourse. Yet Adolf Hitler remains an enigma. While he tends to be reduced to a one-dimensional cardboard cutout villain outside of academia, inside academia there has been a tendency in recent years to diminish Hitler’s importance and to push Hitler to the sidelines. Download course guide.

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Special Subject: the Scottish Wars of Independence, 1286 - 1328 (HI4009) - 30 Credit Points

In 1286 Alexander III of Scotland was found dead at the foot of a cliff and Scotland was engulfed in a period of political instability and eventually war that was to have a profound impact on the future development of the British Isles. The course considers key stages of the ‘wars of independence’ period in chronological sequence until the final triumph of Robert I in 1328. Due consideration will be given to international perspectives in trying to understand the Anglo-Scottish struggle, notably in relation to Ireland, France, Flanders and the Papacy. Download course guide.

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Special Subject: European Constitutional Monarchies in the Long 19th Century (HI4023) - 30 Credit Points

On the eve of the First World War Europe was a continent of monarchies. A long 19th century of revolutions, wars, growing literacy, an expanding public sphere, changes in social, economic, intellectual and technological life and imperial expansion lay behind them, but the continent’s monarchical systems had survived in surprisingly rude health. That monarchies had flourished throughout these profound transformations points to their suppleness and ingenuity. This course offers new perspectives on the political cultures of the states and societies of 19th-century Europe. Download Course Guide

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Course Availability

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 History and History of Art?

Why History

  • Ranked top University in Scotland for the impact of its 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, and with student satisfaction of 95% – way above the national average of 86%.
  • Particular strengths in Irish and Scottish studies, Scandinavia, late medieval/early modern period, and research centres studying global empires, history and philosophy of science, technology and medicine, and Russian and Eastern European history.
  • The inspiration of our beautiful historic campus in Old Aberdeen, where King’s College Chapel, begun in 1495 by University founder Bishop Elphinstone, is a treasure-house of history and religious turbulence.
  • Major international treasures including 7,000 early printed books, the magnificent 12th century Aberdeen Bestiary, large Jacobite collection, works of the Scottish Enlightenment, and fascinating local records dating from the middle ages.
  • A packed campus programme of student and public events, exhibitions, seminars, invited speakers and the annual May Festival which welcomes world-famous authors, broadcasters and personalities including well-known historians to campus every spring.
  • Spectacular, award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library, combining top-class study facilities with state-of-the-art technology, and an online catalogue giving you access to thousands of books and millions of journal articles on the web.

Why History of Art

  • Ranked the leading university in Scotland for the impact of History of Art 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

You will find all the information you require about entry requirements on our dedicated 'Entry Requirements' page. You can also find out about the different types of degrees, offers, advanced entry, and changing your subject.

Qualifications

SQA Highers - AABB
A Levels - BBB
IB - 32points, including 5, 5, 5 at HL
ILC - 5H with 3 at H2 AND 2 at H3 OR AAABB, obtained in a single sitting. (B must be at B2 or above)

Further detailed entry requirements for Arts and Social Sciences degrees.

English Language Requirements

To study for a degree at the University of Aberdeen, it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

Fees and Funding

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

Fee Waiver

For international students (all non-EU students) entering in 2017/18, the 2017/18 tuition fee rate will apply to all years of study; however, most international students will be eligible for a fee waiver in their final year via the International Undergraduate Scholarship.

Most RUK students (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) on a four year honours degree will be eligible for a full-fees waiver in their final year. Scholarships and other sources of funding are also available.

Fee information
Fee category Cost
Home / EU £1,820
All Students
RUK £9,250
Students Admitted in 2018/19 Academic Year
International Students £14,600
Students Admitted in 2018/19 Academic Year

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 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.

Key Information Set (KIS)

Unistats draws together comparable information in areas students have identified as important in making decisions about what and where to study. The core information it contains is called the Key Information Set.

You can compare these and other data for different degree programmes in which you are interested.

Get in Touch

Contact Details

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