Taught course

Art History, Curatorship and Renaissance Culture

School of Advanced Study · The Warburg Institute, School of Advanced Study

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Entry requirements

The normal minimum entrance requirement would be a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree from a recognised university in the UK, or an equivalent overseas qualification.

We may still consider applications from those that do not meet the formal academic requirements but offer alternative qualifications and/or relevant experience.

You will need a good knowledge of Art History, especially related to the Renaissance, a reading knowledge of one/ preferably two European modern languages, apart from English. All students whose first language is not English must provide recent evidence that their written and spoken English is adequate for postgraduate study.

Months of entry


Course content

Who is this programme for?

The MA in Art History, Curatorship and Renaissance Culture is offered by the Warburg Institute in collaboration with the National Gallery, London. The purpose of the programme is to provide high level linguistic, archive and research skills for a new generation of academic art historians and museum curators. The art historical and scholarly traditions of the Warburg Institute are linked to the practical experience and skills of the National Gallery to provide an academic programme which will equip students either as academic art historians with serious insight into the behind the scenes working of a great museum or as curators with the research skills necessary for high-level museum work.

What does this programme cover?

This twelve-month, full-time programme provides an introduction to:

  • Museum knowledge, which covers all aspects of curatorship including the technical examination of paintings, connoisseurship, materials and conservation, attribution, provenance and issues relating to display.
  • Art history and Renaissance culture to increase students’ understanding of methods of analysing the subjects of works of art and their knowledge of Renaissance art works and the conditions in which they were commissioned, produced and enjoyed.
  • Current scholarship and professional practice in these areas as well as new and emerging areas of research and scholarship.
  • The programme will be taught through classes and supervision by members of the academic staff of the Warburg Institute and by National Gallery curatorial and archival experts. The teaching staff of the Warburg Institute are leading professors and academics in their field who have published widely and are involved with research related to the topics they teach.

For a complete description of this course, please visit our website...


All students will take three core modules and two optional modules. The core modules include language and paleography classes, which will be selected following an individual language audit for each student, and are spread over two terms. The optional subjects will vary from year to year and students must select at least one in an art historical field.

Core courses:

  • Art History – Iconology – Dr Paul Taylor
  • Language, Paleographical and Archive Skills – Various tutors for language and palaeography classes; Dr Claudia Wedepohl (The Warburg Institute) and Mr Alan Crookham (National Gallery) for archive skills
  • Curatorship in the National Gallery – Curatorial, conservation and scientific staff of the National Gallery, including Dr Ashok Roy, Dr Susanne Avery-Quash, Mr Larry Keith and Ms Rachel Billinge

Optional courses (two to be chosen):

  • Artistic Intentions 1400 to 1700
  • Curating Renaissance Art and Exhibitions
  • The History of the Book in the Renaissance
  • Islamic Authorities and Arabic Elements in the Renaissance
  • Music and the Arts in the Late Middle Ages and the Renaissance
  • Italian Mural Painting and the Making of Visual Cultures
  • Mapping Worlds: Medieval to Modern
  • Renaissance Material Culture
  • Sin and Sanctity in the Reformation

Students will also be encouraged to attend the Director’s weekly seminar on Work in Progress and any of the other regular seminars held in the Institute that may be of interest to them. These at present include History of Art and Maps and Society. The third term and summer will be spent in researching and writing a dissertation, under the guidance of a supervisor from the academic staff of the Warburg Institute or a member of staff from the National Gallery.

For module details and descriptions, please visit our website...

Mode of study

12 months full-time only.

Information for international students

Find out more information for international students.

Fees and funding

UK students
£7,450 (2018/19 fees)
International students
£16,020 (2018/19 fees)

The School of Advanced Study has a range of funding opportunities for home, EU and international applicants. Find out more about funding opportunities here. If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an application deadline.

The American Friends of the Warburg Institute Scholarship is available for citizens of any country in north America and is judged on academic merit at undergraduate level, with an outstanding mark achieved in the final-year project/dissertation. Find out more about the American Friends scholarship.

The Peltz Scholarships are open to students who have applied to study on either of the Warburg Institute’s MA Programmes and who are self-funded and domiciled in the UK or European Union (EU), judged on exceptional quality and academic merit. More information on the Peltz Scholarships.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MA
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

School of Advanced Study Enquiries
+44 (0) 207 862 8835