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Entry requirements

A second-class honours degree (2:2) or above in a relevant subject or equivalent (for example, professional experience).

For students with a degree in a subject other than history of art, the one-year part-time Graduate Certificate in History of Art and Architecture can be used as a conversion course. Students who successfully complete the graduate certificate with merit will normally be guaranteed a place on this programme.

Applications are reviewed on their individual merits and your professional qualifications and/or relevant work experience will be taken into consideration positively. We actively support and encourage applications from mature learners.

Months of entry

October

Course content

History of art is a rich and dynamic discipline, combining the rigorous investigation of the visual arts with the creative exploration of their connections to culture, politics and society. Postgraduate study in this area trains you at a high level in looking at, thinking about and researching art and its histories.

Our MA History of Art exposes you to key art historical approaches and allows you to focus in depth on areas and periods of particular interest to you, in early and modern (including contemporary) periods, through taught options (see an indicative list of modules under 'Course structure' below) and independent research. It develops your visual acuity and your understanding of art's histories, while stimulating critical debate and stretching your research skills.

This degree offers you the opportunity to study with internationally recognised experts. Our teaching staff are defining the field, conducting ground-breaking research in periods from medieval to contemporary, focusing on painting, sculpture, print culture, architecture, photography, digital art and museology. You will work closely with our staff while also benefiting from our diverse and vibrant student body of all ages and backgrounds.

The teaching programme is enriched by museum and site visits, visiting speakers, screenings and opportunities to get involved as volunteers in research and community outreach activities.

The Postgraduate Diploma is structured in exactly the same way as our MA History of Art, but without a dissertation. The Postgraduate Certificate comprises two of the modules from the MA programme. Both programmes are ideal if you are interested in studying history of art at postgraduate level for personal or professional reasons, but you don't want to commit to a full MA. These flexible part-time evening study programmes allow you to explore your passion for the history of art and you can go on to complete our MA History of Art, if you wish.

Highlights
  • In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF), Art and Design at Birkbeck achieved 100% for a research environment supporting world-leading and internationally excellent research.
  • The School of Arts offers a number of bursaries for postgraduate students. Funds are also available to support MA coursework research expenses.
  • You can attend a wide range of events, including the Postgraduate Research Seminar, which brings art historians from all over the UK and beyond to speak at Birkbeck, the biennial Murray Lecture, the Murray Seminar on Medieval and Renaissance Art, the exhibitions and displays at the Peltz Gallery (the School of Arts' purpose-built exhibition space) and other seminars and events across the School and at the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities. Find out more about our staff and student activities on the Birkbeck History of Art blog or join us at one of our information evenings, held throughout the year.
  • You will have access to an incredible range of resources, including the Birkbeck Library and our in-house resources centre, the British Library, specialist libraries at the University of London, Courtauld Institute of Art, Royal Institute of British Architects and V&A, as well as the visual resources of the British Museum, National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Tate Britain, Tate Modern, V&A, Barbican Gallery, Institute of Contemporary Arts, Hayward Gallery and Royal Academy, and many commercial galleries and salesrooms.
  • We encourage you to become involved in the lively research culture of the Department through the History and Theory of Photography Research Centre, the Architecture, Space and Society Centre and the Vasari Research Centre, which has pioneered the field of digital art history.
  • You will have the opportunity to take up a work placement with London museums, galleries and archives, and the option to join our study trips, offered each spring. Cities visited in the last few years include Florence, Paris, Venice, Vienna, Rome, Berlin and Moscow.
  • The School of Arts is an official partner of the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in London. Opportunities for students have included a year’s free membership of the ICA, private views, discounts on all talks and events, free members' screenings and £3 cinema tickets on Tuesdays, up to 25% off ICA Artists' Editions and a monthly e-newsletter.

Information for international students

If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.

If you don't meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses and foundation programmes to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MA
    part time
    24 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
  • PGDip
    part time
    24 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
  • PGCert
    part time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Name
Student Advice Service
Email
studentadvice@bbk.ac.uk
Phone
+44 (0)20 3907 0700