Undergraduate Course

BA Curating with History

(Including Foundation Year)

BA Curating with History

Overview

The details
Curating with History (Including Foundation Year)
V310
October 2024
Full-time
4 years
Colchester Campus
Essex Pathways

Our four-year BA Curating with History (including foundation year), will be suitable for you if your academic qualifications do not yet meet our entrance requirements for the three-year version of this course and you want a programme that increases your subject knowledge as well as improves your academic skills in order to support your academic performance. Our five-year version of this course enables you to study abroad during your fourth year of study.

This course includes a foundation year (Year Zero), followed by a further three years of study, or a further four years if you choose the five year course, including a study abroad year. During your Year Zero, you study three academic subjects relevant to your chosen course as well as a compulsory academic skills module, with additional English language for non-English speakers.

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.

BA Curating with History offers a multidisciplinary foundation in the histories and theories of art history, curating, heritage studies and public history. You will learn the intellectual and practical skills necessary to realise your career ambitions, combining classroom-based learning with hands-on experience in museums and galleries. You will also learn about the history and theory of exhibition design, with a particular emphasis on how curatorial choices shape our experiences while viewing artworks and the other objects on display in museums and galleries.

You will study topics including:

  • History of the museum
  • Curatorial ethics
  • Public history
  • Art in Latin America
  • Digital heritage and museums

To study on our course, you don't need an A-Level in Art or Art History. In fact, we believe that the best students of visual culture are those who bring fresh eyes and new perspectives to their objects of enquiry.

Why we're great.
  • We house a collection of over 750 artworks from Latin America, ESCALA, and over 100 works of British art, so you can study art ‘in the flesh’ on campus
  • Our academics are actively engaged in curating exhibitions and digital platforms, often about urgent political issues
  • Our structured programme of study trips at home and abroad takes you far afield and explores local settings

Study abroad

Your education extends beyond the university campus. We support you in expanding your education through offering the opportunity to spend a year or a term studying abroad at one of our partner universities. The five-year version of our degree allows you to spend the fourth year 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.

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.

Placement year

When you arrive at Essex, you can decide whether you would like to combine your course with a placement year. You will be responsible for finding your placement, but with support and guidance provided by both your department and the placements team.

If you complete a year you’ll only pay 20% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year.

Our expert staff

We have some of the best teachers across the University in our Essex Pathways Department, all of whom have strong subject backgrounds and are highly skilled in their areas.

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

    At Essex, you have the best of both worlds: on the one hand, you are part of a tight-knit, campus community with close ties to several small but excellent museums in the nearby town of Colchester; on the other hand, you can travel from campus to London in an hour, which puts the world's best museums and galleries at your fingertips.

    By studying within our Essex Pathways Department for your foundation year, you will have access to all of the facilities that the University of Essex has to offer, as well as those provided by our department to support you:

    • We provide computer labs for internet research; classrooms with access to PowerPoint facilities for student presentations; AV facilities for teaching and access to web-based learning materials.
    • Our Student Services Hub will support you and provide information for all your needs as a student
    • Our social space is stocked with hot magazines and newspapers, and provides an informal setting to meet with your lecturers, tutors and friends.

    Our facilities enable you to gain curatorial experience and engage in object-based learning, a cornerstone of our approach when teaching the history of art and its modes of display:

    • Our Essex Collection of Art from Latin America (ESCALA) is one of the most comprehensive 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 and talks by curators and artists, as well as exhibitions organised by our postgraduate curatorial students
    • Colchester's iconic Firstsite gallery features an exciting programme of contemporary art exhibitions, film screenings and talks, and exhibitions organised by our curatorial students
    • Our Centre for Curatorial Studies is home to staff who specialise in the history and theory of exhibition design and curate high profile exhibitions.

    Your future

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

    The sectors with jobs best suited for students with a BA in Curating include museums, galleries and auction houses. Within these sectors, you can pursue a career in curation, cultural policy, museum education, programming, events and marketing. Our degree also equips you with foundational skills to run your own gallery, to work as a PR agent, or to work in the wider arts and cultural industries, in design, fashion, publishing or events management.

    To help our students acquire the particular skills they need to gain employment in the museum and gallery sector – the single-most important area in which our students will seek jobs – we offer numerous modules dedicated to the histories, theories and practices of museums, exhibitions and galleries. Additionally, we give you the chance to think creatively and proactively about life after university through our curatorial employability module.

    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

    Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field. The following modules are based on the current course structure and may change in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.

    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

    The United Kingdom During the Reign of Queen Elizabeth II (1952 – 2022)
    (30 CREDITS)

    Britain has experienced unprecedented changes in the last 100 years. What has brought about these changes and how have they affected the Britain of today? This course will outline political, economic, social and cultural change in the UK during the Twentieth Century and beyond and offer an insight into Britain’s place in the modern world.

    View The United Kingdom During the Reign of Queen Elizabeth II (1952 – 2022) on our Module Directory

    COMPONENT 04: CORE WITH OPTIONS

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

    COMPONENT 01: COMPULSORY

    Rebellious Pasts: Challenging and Creating Histories
    (30 CREDITS)

    The past is never dead. It’s not even past’. In a world of conspiracy theories, toppling statues, and ‘culture wars’, the novelist William Faulkner’s most famous line resonates more than ever. Across the globe, History is co-opted to multiple causes and used to justify contradictory positions. Such uses of History often rely on myths, stereotypes, and misunderstandings. How can we separate political belief, personal opinion, and false information about the past from historical knowledge and understanding? Rebellious Pasts looks at the creation, consolidation, and operation of historical myths and stereotypes – and at how we, as historians, can use the tools of our trade to identify and challenge misleading representations of the past, replacing them with richer forms of understanding. The module helps you to develop the critical mindset needed to analyse historical arguments wherever you find them, but also the constructive skills essential to researching and writing your own histories. It combines lectures and seminars exploring how history “works” in different contexts with archive visits and library workshops that expose you to the raw materials of History. On Rebellious Pasts, you will undertake self-directed research drawing upon digitized collections, archives, and heritage sector institutions, and translate your findings into accessible public history artefacts. At its heart, History is the refusal to accept easy assumptions and the insistence on negotiating with evidence, no matter how tricky that is. By the end of the module, you will understand why History is a rebellious discipline – and how to harness its unruly powers.

    View Rebellious Pasts: Challenging and Creating Histories on our Module Directory

    COMPONENT 02: COMPULSORY

    AR122-4-AU
    (15 CREDITS)

    COMPONENT 03: 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 04: COMPULSORY

    Collect, Curate, Display: A Short History of the Museum
    (15 CREDITS)

    This module offers an introduction to the history of museums and galleries. We will consider the basic human instinct to collect and the creation of the first museums. We will examine ideas about taxonomy, ordering the world and the first museum spaces of display, asking questions about privilege and power. How have museums and galleries shaped history and science? What ethical issues are there today around these spaces? Should tobacco, oil and arms companies sponsor museums? Can museums be tools of ‘urban regeneration’? Do online archives and 3D scanning make museums themselves obsolete institutions?

    View Collect, Curate, Display: A Short History of the Museum on our Module Directory

    COMPONENT 05: COMPULSORY

    AR123-4-SP
    (15 CREDITS)

    COMPONENT 06: OPTIONAL

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

    COMPONENT 01: COMPULSORY

    AR220-5-AU
    (15 CREDITS)

    COMPONENT 02: COMPULSORY

    AR229-5-AU
    (15 CREDITS)

    COMPONENT 03: COMPULSORY

    AR219-5-SP
    (15 CREDITS)

    COMPONENT 04: OPTIONAL

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

    COMPONENT 05: OPTIONAL

    History option(s) from list
    (30 CREDITS)

    COMPONENT 06: OPTIONAL

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

    COMPONENT 01: 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

    COMPONENT 02: 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 03: OPTIONAL

    History option(s) from list
    (30 CREDITS)

    COMPONENT 04: OPTIONAL

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

    COMPONENT 05: OPTIONAL

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

    Placement

    On a placement year you gain relevant work experience within an external business or organisation, giving you a competitive edge in the graduate job market and providing you with key contacts within the industry. The rest of your course remains identical to the four-year degree.

    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. The rest of your course remains identical to the four-year degree.

    Teaching

    Undergraduate students in the School of Philosophical, Historical and Interdisciplinary Studies typically attend a one-hour lecture and a one-hour seminar for each module every week.

    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 and international 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. Our other international applicants (EU or worldwide) or independent applicants in the UK 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.

    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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