Introduction

History of Art at Aberdeen provides the opportunity to study the art of all periods in Europe and America - architecture, sculpture, drawing, painting, print and decorative and industrial arts. You will study at a university steeped in 500 years of social and artistic development and rated top in Scotland for the impact of the work of its History of Art researchers.

This programme is studied on campus.

History of Art research at Aberdeen was ranked top in Scotland for its impact and second in the UK, in the latest UK Research Excellence Framework.

You will gain extensive specialised knowledge of the evolution of painting, sculpture, buildings and the decorative arts in Europe and North American art from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century.

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.

As a graduate, you will be ideally placed to pursue a career in the art gallery and museum sectors, arts education, auction houses, publishing and journalism, fine art conservation, or postgraduate study. Recent graduates are working for Christie’s London, Sotheby's in Zurich, the Weiss Gallery in London, Aberdeen Art Gallery, the Pier Arts Centre in Orkney and the McManus Gallery in Dundee. You will acquire transferable skills including teamwork, time management, personal initiative and highly developed enquiry, analytical and presentational skills ideally suited to a range of careers.

You will enjoy all the benefits of our friendly and vibrant international community, on our beautiful campus with its own extensive art collections, great facilities for learning, sports and leisure and many opportunities to develop the extra skills to boost your employability, including broadening your horizons through study abroad.

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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
V350

What You'll Study

History of Art at Aberdeen explores the artistic disciplines in Western and Eastern Europe, with the option to study North American art. The programme offers a holistic exploration of the evolution of painting, architecture and sculpture up until the present day. You will develop an in-depth understanding of art movements and will develop advanced analytical skills by studying topics such as Classical Greek art, 19th-century photography in Britain and Scottish painting.

Year 1

Year 1

Compulsory Courses

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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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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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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Optional Courses

  • Select a further 75 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 courses of choice
Year 3

Year 3

Compulsory Courses

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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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.

View detailed information about this course

Optional Courses

  • Select a further 60 credit points from level 3 History of Art courses
  • Select a further 30 credits from courses of choice
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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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.

View detailed information about this course

Optional Courses

  • Select a further 60 credit points from honours level History of Art courses, ensuring at least 30 credits are from level 4

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

In first year, students attend lectures and tutorials and may undertake tutor-led visits. Students take visual-based assessments and write essays for each course.

In second year, students attend lectures and tutorials as well as working in small groups to give group presentations. There are also tutor-led field trips. Students undertake a combination of essay and visual-based assessments.

Honours courses are generally taught in seminars held twice a week. Students are assessed by a combination of essay, online and visual-based assessment. A dedicated fieldwork course includes independent and tutor-led field trips. In addition, all single Honours students submit a dissertation.

Learning Methods

  • Field Trips
  • Group Projects
  • Individual Projects
  • Lectures
  • 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.

Further Information

View detailed learning and assessment information for this programme

How the programme is taught

The typical time spent in scheduled learning activities (lectures, tutorials, seminars, practicals), independent self-study or placement is shown for each year of the programme based on the most popular course choices selected by students.

How the programme is assessed

The typical percentage of assessment methods broken down by written examination, coursework or practical exams is shown for each year of the programme based on the most popular course choices selected by students.

Year 1

Learning Method
scheduled: 27%
independent: 73%
placement: 0%
Assessment
written: 45%
coursework: 54%
practical: 1%

Year 2

Learning Method
scheduled: 11%
independent: 89%
placement: 0%
Assessment
written: 35%
coursework: 60%
practical: 5%

Year 3

Learning Method
scheduled: 4%
independent: 96%
placement: 0%
Assessment
written: 33%
coursework: 64%
practical: 3%

Year 4

Learning Method
scheduled: 1%
independent: 99%
placement: 0%
Assessment
written: 16%
coursework: 81%
practical: 3%

Why Study History of Art?

  • Teaching rated ‘Highly Satisfactory’ in the last national quality assessment.
  • 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.
  • A magnificent art collection, including gifts of paintings, and commissioned artworks adding value to campus ethos and environment.
  • Home to the Buildings of Scotland Project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, the definitive inventory of Scottish architecture for Aberdeenshire, Moray and Aberdeen.
  • The north-east of Scotland’s distinguished architectural heritage from the Middle Ages onwards and 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, Glasgow and London, and a final year week-long visit to a city of artistic and cultural significance – most recently Paris.
  • Spectacular, award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library, with state-of-the-art technology, and an excellent modern collection of art history books covering all periods and particularly strong in 18th and 19th century material, including art theory and criticism, archaeology and travel literature.
  • Historic Collections include important medieval manuscripts and estate papers and the unique George Washington Wilson archive with over 45,000 original glass plate negatives made by this made by this pioneering Victorian photographer.
  • 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

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

SQA Highers - AABB
A Levels - BBB
IB - 32 points, 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

History of Art at Aberdeen explores the artistic disciplines of Western and Eastern Europe. The range of courses on offer will enable you gain an in-depth understanding of artistic movements that particularly interest you. The historical knowledge and analytical skills that you develop will help you meet the requirements of employers. Our previous graduates have gone on to work in museums and galleries, art publishing, the art trade, art tours, conservation of wall paintings and historic buildings, theatre design, libraries and universities.

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.

Research 1st in Scotland, 2nd in UK

In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, the impact of our research was rated first in Scotland and second across universities in the United Kingdom.

Facilities

Aberdeen is the ideal location to study the History of Art. You will have access to the city's many art galleries and museums and you will benefit from being able to experience Aberdeen's unique architectural history first-hand. The department is small and places a strong emphasis on applied learning, which is reflected in the field trips that the programme offers.

Unistats

Unistats draws together comparable information in areas students have identified as important in making decisions about what and where to study. 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