Undergraduate Course

BA Art History

(Including Foundation Year)

BA Art History

Overview

The details
Art History (Including Foundation Year)
V350
October 2024
Full-time
4 years
Colchester Campus
Essex Pathways

On our four-year BA Art History (including foundation year), we work with you to develop your subject-specific knowledge, and to improve your academic skills. You receive a thorough grounding in these areas during your foundation year (known as Year Zero) to prepare you for a further three years of undergraduate study at Essex. The five-year version of our degree allows you to spend the fourth year studying abroad, while otherwise remaining identical to the four-year course.

After successful completion of Year Zero in our Essex Pathways Department, you progress to complete your course with our School of Philosophical, Historical and Interdisciplinary Studies.

At Essex, you will acquire a broad foundation in the history of visual culture: both by learning about canonical forms of art and architecture and by discovering what has been overlooked or marginalised, such as medical photography, tattoos or objects from political protests. You will also develop the skills you need to make exciting new connections between the forms of visual culture you study, developments in other disciplines, and broader social and political forces.

You will develop the skills you need to transform your excitement about art, architecture and visual culture into the ability to uncover new insights about the material you study. You will also develop a solid grounding in the history of art and other forms of visual culture, including the ideas and forces that shaped their production, distribution and reception.

For students with a particular interest in pursuing careers in curating and museumship, we also provide modules every year that explore the histories, theories and practices of museums, exhibitions and galleries, as well as more nuts-and-bolts issues, such as installing and marketing artwork.

One of the major reasons for choosing Essex is the quality of the education you will receive. We are 3rd in the UK for research outputs in art history (Grade Point Average, REF2021). You will be taught by our expert staff in your very first year, a rarity in UK art history courses. We also house a collection of over 750 pieces of art from Latin America, ESCALA.

Why we're great.
  • We equip you with the necessary knowledge and skills to succeed at Essex and beyond.
  • Guarantee your place on your chosen course if you successfully complete your foundation year at Essex.
  • Small class sizes allow you to work closely with your teachers and classmates.

Study abroad

Our BA Art History programme offers you a variety of study abroad options. The five-year version of our degree allows you to spend the fourth year studying abroad, while otherwise remaining identical to the four-year course.

Studying abroad allows you to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable and organised. We have established partnerships across Europe, the United States, Latin America and Asia, including with world-renowned institutions such as:

  • École du Louvre in France
  • University of Freiburg in Germany
  • University of Bologna in Italy

Many of our partnerships are subject to language requirements and are recommended for students on joint degrees with languages, but there are also plenty of Anglophone destinations if you don't want to pursue a second language.

If you spend a full year abroad you'll only pay 15% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year. You won't pay any tuition fees to your host university

Our expert staff

We are a dynamic group of art historians who investigate the production and reception of images and built environment, across cultures and media, from the late medieval period to the present day.

Our staff's research interests include activist art, modernist art and totalitarianism, the relationship between art and science, the artistic status of body modification, art and the environment, critical heritage, and the visual culture of social problems. We also have significant experience in curation and public engagement. Recent projects include:

  • Paola Di Giuseppantonio Di Franco's UKRI Future Leaders-funded research project, REPLACE
  • Matt Lodder's Painted People: Humanity in 21 Tattoos (HarperCollins, 2022)
  • Diana Bullen Presciutti's Saints, Miracles, and Social Problems in Italian Renaissance Art (Cambridge, 2023)
  • Specialist facilities

    By studying in our Essex Pathways Department for your foundation year, you will have access to all of the facilities and services that the University of Essex has to offer, as well as those provided by our Department designed to support you, including

    • Teaching delivered in small-group settings
    • Subject-specific pathways taught by specialists
    • Enhanced support for the transition to university study
    • A subject specific skills-based module, which equips you with the academic skills necessary for undergraduate study
    • Academic coaches to support you to identify your strengths and areas of development
    • A dedicated Essex Pathways Department social space which includes board games

    Our School of Philosophical, Historical and Interdisciplinary Studies also offers excellent on-campus facilities:

    • Our Essex Collection of Art from Latin America (ESCALA) is the most comprehensive Latin American art research resource in the UK and has a state-of-the-art teaching and research space. Many of our students gain work and research experience through our collection
    • Our onsite gallery Art Exchange runs an ongoing programme of contemporary art exhibitions, talks by curators and artists, and exhibitions organised by our curatorial students
    • Enjoy regular visits to London galleries, including Tate Modern, Tate Britain, the National Gallery and the Royal Academy of Arts, as well as many independent and alternative spaces
    • Access our lively common room and departmental film collection
    • Colchester's iconic Firstsite gallery runs an exciting programme of art exhibitions, film screenings and talks

    Your future

    The visual arts and culture industries have become an increasingly significant part of the national and international economy, and our art history graduates leave Essex with the skills to take advantage of this growing opportunity.

    Some of the sectors with jobs well suited for our graduates include: museums and galleries, auction houses, education (e.g., in schools, universities and cultural institutions), marketing and advertising, and new media. Our degree also prepares students to run their own galleries, to work as specialist arts lawyers and PR agents, and for positions in charities, fashion and publishing.

    To help our students acquire the particular skills they need to gain employment in the museum and gallery sector – arguably the single-most important area in which our students seek jobs – we offer several modules every year dedicated to the histories, theories and practices of museums, exhibitions and galleries. We also give our students the opportunity to think creatively and proactively about life after university in our curatorial employability module.

    Our recent graduates have gone on to work for a wide range of high-profile companies including:

    • National Portrait Gallery
    • Victoria and Albert Museum
    • Sotheby's New York
    • Momart Ltd
    • John Lewis

    We also work with the university's Student Development Team to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

    Entry requirements

    UK entry requirements

    UK and EU applicants:

    All applications for degree courses with a foundation year (Year Zero) will be considered individually, whether you:

    • think you might not have the grades to enter the first year of a degree course;
    • have non-traditional qualifications or experience (e.g. you haven’t studied A-levels or a BTEC);
    • are returning to university after some time away from education; or
    • are looking for more support during the transition into university study.

    Standard offer: Our standard offer is 72 UCAS tariff points from at least two full A-levels, or equivalent.

    Examples of the above tariff may include:

    • A-levels: DDD
    • BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma: MMP
    • T-levels: Pass with E in core

    If you are unsure whether you meet the entry criteria, please get in touch for advice.

    Mature applicants and non-traditional academic backgrounds:

    We welcome applications from mature students (over 21) and students with non-traditional academic backgrounds (might not have gone on from school to take level 3 qualifications). We will consider your educational and employment history, along with your personal statement and reference, to gain a rounded view of your suitability for the course.

    International applicants:

    Essex Pathways Department is unable to accept applications from international students. Foundation pathways for international students are available at the University of Essex International College and are delivered and awarded by Kaplan, in partnership with the University of Essex. Successful completion will enable you to progress to the relevant degree course at the University of Essex.

    International & EU entry requirements

    We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.

    Sorry, the entry requirements for the country that you have selected are not available here. Please select your country page where you'll find this information.

    English language requirements

    English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 5.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each component, or specified score in another equivalent test that we accept.

    Details of English language requirements, including component scores, and the tests we accept for applicants who require a Student visa (excluding Nationals of Majority English Speaking Countries) can be found here

    If we accept the English component of an international qualification it will be included in the academic levels listed above for the relevant countries.

    English language shelf-life

    Most English language qualifications have a validity period of 5 years. The validity period of Pearson Test of English, TOEFL and CBSE or CISCE English is 2 years.

    If you require a Student visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.

    Pre-sessional English courses

    If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

    Pending English language qualifications

    You don’t need to achieve the required level before making your application, but it will be one of the conditions of your offer.

    If you cannot find the qualification that you have achieved or are pending, then please email ugquery@essex.ac.uk.

    Additional Notes

    If you’re an international student, but do not meet the English language or academic requirements for direct admission to this degree, you could prepare and gain entry through a pathway course. Find out more about opportunities available to you at the University of Essex International College

    Structure

    Course structure

    We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of core/compulsory modules, and optional modules chosen from lists.

    Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore all modules listed are subject to change. Your course structure could differ based on the modules you choose. To view the compulsory modules and full list of optional modules currently on offer, please view the programme specification via the link below.

    We understand that deciding where and what to study is a very important decision for you. We’ll make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the courses, services and facilities as described on our website. However, if we need to make material changes, for example due to significant disruption, or in response to COVID-19, we’ll let our applicants and students know as soon as possible.

    Components and modules explained

    Components

    Components are the blocks of study that make up your course. A component may have a set module which you must study, or a number of modules from which you can choose.

    Each component has a status and carries a certain number of credits towards your qualification.

    Status What this means
    Core
    You must take the set module for this component and you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
    Core with Options
    You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component but you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
    Compulsory
    You must take the set module for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
    Compulsory with Options
    You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
    Optional
    You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.

    The modules that are available for you to choose for each component will depend on several factors, including which modules you have chosen for other components, which modules you have completed in previous years of your course, and which term the module is taught in.

    Modules

    Modules are the individual units of study for your course. Each module has its own set of learning outcomes and assessment criteria and also carries a certain number of credits.

    In most cases you will study one module per component, but in some cases you may need to study more than one module. For example, a 30-credit component may comprise of either one 30-credit module, or two 15-credit modules, depending on the options available.

    Modules may be taught at different times of the year and by a different department or school to the one your course is primarily based in. You can find this information from the module code. For example, the module code HR100-4-FY means:

    HR 100  4  FY

    The department or school the module will be taught by.

    In this example, the module would be taught by the Department of History.

    The module number. 

    The UK academic level of the module.

    A standard undergraduate course will comprise of level 4, 5 and 6 modules - increasing as you progress through the course.

    A standard postgraduate taught course will comprise of level 7 modules.

    A postgraduate research degree is a level 8 qualification.

    The term the module will be taught in.

    • AU: Autumn term
    • SP: Spring term
    • SU: Summer term
    • FY: Full year 
    • AP: Autumn and Spring terms
    • PS: Spring and Summer terms
    • AS: Autumn and Summer terms

    COMPONENT 01: CORE

    Introduction to the History of Art in Western Europe: From Classical Greece to Impressionist France
    (30 CREDITS)

    This module aims to introduce you to the history of painting, sculpture and architecture in Western Europe. We hope that through following the course you will become familiar with the way people interpret and write about art, and that you will develop your own style of discussing art. The module focuses on certain key concepts. We start by looking at Greek Civilisation and its influence, and end with the artistic revolutions in France which changed the way we look at art today.

    View Introduction to the History of Art in Western Europe: From Classical Greece to Impressionist France on our Module Directory

    COMPONENT 02: CORE

    Research and Academic Development Skills
    (30 CREDITS)

    This blended-learning module is designed to support students in their academic subject disciplines and to strengthen their confidence in key skills areas such as: academic writing, research, academic integrity, collaborative and reflective practices. The students are supported through the use of subject-specific materials tailored to their chosen degrees with alignment of assessments between academic subject modules and the skills module.

    View Research and Academic Development Skills on our Module Directory

    COMPONENT 03: CORE WITH OPTIONS

    IA108-3-FY or IA111-3-FY or IA118-3-FY or IA121-3-FY
    (30 CREDITS)

    COMPONENT 04: CORE WITH OPTIONS

    IA108-3-FY or IA111-3-FY or IA118-3-FY or IA121-3-FY
    (30 CREDITS)

    COMPONENT 01: COMPULSORY

    AR122-4-AU
    (15 CREDITS)

    COMPONENT 02: COMPULSORY

    Art and Ideas: I
    (15 CREDITS)

    This module tackles some of the biggest questions surrounding the history of art. You will explore some key issues of philosophical aesthetics, such as the nature of representation, by engaging critically with seminal texts, artworks, and architecture. In this module, you will develop your analytical and interpretive skills, and leave with a solid foundation for the study of the history of art.

    View Art and Ideas: I on our Module Directory

    COMPONENT 03: COMPULSORY

    Ways of Seeing
    (15 CREDITS)

    From sculptures of ancient Roman politicians to virtuoso feats of Baroque illusionism, we will focus on `why` and `how` art and society interrelate. This module examines the relationship between visual culture and social life through case studies spanning more than two millennia of history. It focuses on a select number of major developments in a range of media and cultures, emphasising the ways that works of art function both as aesthetic and material objects and as cultural artefacts and forces.

    View Ways of Seeing on our Module Directory

    COMPONENT 04: OPTIONAL

    Art History option(s) from list
    (45 CREDITS)

    COMPONENT 05: OPTIONAL

    Art History option(s) from list or outside option(s)
    (30 CREDITS)

    COMPONENT 01: COMPULSORY

    AR220-5-AU
    (15 CREDITS)

    COMPONENT 02: COMPULSORY WITH OPTIONS

    Art History option
    (15 CREDITS)

    COMPONENT 03: OPTIONAL

    Art History option(s)
    (30 CREDITS)

    COMPONENT 04: OPTIONAL

    Art History option(s) or outside option(s)
    (30 CREDITS)

    COMPONENT 05: OPTIONAL

    Art History option
    (15 CREDITS)

    COMPONENT 06: OPTIONAL

    CS200-5-AU or (CS712-5-FY and option from list)
    (15 CREDITS)

    COMPONENT 01: OPTIONAL

    Art History option(s)
    (30 CREDITS)

    COMPONENT 02: OPTIONAL

    Art History option(s)
    (30 CREDITS)

    COMPONENT 03: COMPULSORY

    Final Year Dissertation Project
    (15 CREDITS)

    In this module you will produce a 4,000-word dissertation. The finished dissertation should show an all-round grasp of your subject and the ability to present your material clearly, succinctly and in the most appropriate sequence. It should also demonstrate evidence of a serious engagement with your topic, a mastery of the information currently available, and the inclusion of your own reasoned, critical judgements. A supervisor will help guide you as you begin to develop a research question, start researching the topic and write the dissertation. This is a capstone module, available to final-year art history students.

    View Final Year Dissertation Project on our Module Directory

    COMPONENT 04: OPTIONAL

    Art History option(s)
    (30 CREDITS)

    COMPONENT 05: COMPULSORY

    Art and Ideas III
    (15 CREDITS)

    This third art and ideas module deepens your existing thematic and historiographical knowledge building on Art and Ideas 2. We’ll be looking back at ‘the history of art history’ before the twentieth century. We’ll also look forward, to new cutting-edge theoretical approaches to arts, visual and material cultures.

    View Art and Ideas III on our Module Directory

    Year abroad

    On your year abroad, you have the opportunity to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised.

    Teaching

    • Your teaching mainly takes the form of lectures and classes, the latter involving about 20 students
    • A typical timetable includes a one-hour lecture and a one-hour class for each of your four modules every week
    • Close examination of texts written by artists, critics, art historians and philosophers
    • Subsidised gallery visits to work ‘in situ’ for each course
    • Gain practical experience in curating, such as handling and installing artworks
    • Any language classes involve language laboratory sessions
    • Our classes are run in small groups, so you receive a lot of individual attention

    Assessment

    • Your assessed coursework will generally consist of essays, reports, in-class tests, individual or group oral presentations, and small scale research projects

    Fees and funding

    Home/UK fee

    £9,250 per year

    International fee

    £19,500 per year

    Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

    Home/UK fees and funding information

    International fees and funding information

    What's next

    Open Days

    Our events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex. We run a number of Open Days throughout the year which enable you to discover what our campus has to offer. You have the chance to:

    • tour our campus and accommodation
    • find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
    • meet our students and staff

    Check out our Visit Us pages to find out more information about booking onto one of our events. And if the dates aren’t suitable for you, feel free to book a campus tour here.

    2024 Open Days (Colchester Campus)

    • Wednesday, April 3, 2024

    Applying

    Applications for our full-time undergraduate courses should be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Full details on how to apply can be found on the filling in your UCAS undergraduate application web page.

    Our UK students, and some of our EU students, who are still at school or college, can apply through their school. Your school will be able to check and then submit your completed application to UCAS. Independent applicants in the UK or EU can also apply online through UCAS Apply.

    The UCAS code for our University of Essex is ESSEX E70. The individual campus codes for our Loughton and Southend Campuses are 'L' and 'S' respectively.

    You can find further information on how to apply, including information on transferring from another university, applying if you are not currently at a school or college, and applying for readmission on our How to apply and entry requirements page.

    Please note that this course is not open to international applicants

    Offer Holder Days

    If you receive an undergraduate offer to study with us in October 2024 and live in the UK, you will receive an email invitation to book onto one of our Offer Holder Days. Our Colchester Campus Offer Holder Days run from February to May 2024 on various Wednesdays and Saturdays, and our Southend Campus events run in April and May. These events provide the opportunity to meet your department, tour our campus and accommodation, and chat to current students. To support your attendance, we are offering a travel bursary, allowing you to claim up to £150 as reimbursement for travel expenses. For further information about Offer Holder Days, including terms and conditions and eligibility criteria for our travel bursary, please visit our webpage.

    If you are an overseas offer-holder, you will be invited to attend one of our virtual events. However, you are more than welcome to join us at one of our in-person Offer Holder Days if you are able to - we will let you know in your invite email how you can do this.

    A sunny day with banners flying on Colchester Campus Square 4.

    Visit Colchester Campus

    Set within 200 acres of award-winning parkland - Wivenhoe Park and located two miles from the historic city centre of Colchester – England's oldest recorded development. Our Colchester Campus is also easily reached from London and Stansted Airport in under one hour.


    View from Square 2 outside the Rab Butler Building looking towards Square 3

    Virtual tours

    If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tours allows you to explore our University from the comfort of your home. Check out our Colchester virtual tour and Southend virtual tour to see accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.

    At Essex we pride ourselves on being a welcoming and inclusive student community. We offer a wide range of support to individuals and groups of student members who may have specific requirements, interests or responsibilities.

    Find out more

    The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include, but are not limited to: strikes, other industrial action, staff illness, severe weather, fire, civil commotion, riot, invasion, terrorist attack or threat of terrorist attack (whether declared or not), natural disaster, restrictions imposed by government or public authorities, epidemic or pandemic disease, failure of public utilities or transport systems or the withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications. The University would inform and engage with you if your course was to be discontinued, and would provide you with options, where appropriate, in line with our Compensation and Refund Policy.

    The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.

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