2020 applicants
Undergraduate Course

BA Art History and History

Now In Clearing
BA Art History and History

Overview

The details
Art History and History
VV31
October 2020
Full-time
3 years
Colchester Campus

Our course promotes awareness of the interactions and differences between history and the visual arts in history and investigates the ways in which the two disciplines can be integrated. ‘Histories’ are a challenge and we encourage you to look beyond superficial ideas which offer works of art as merely a way of documenting a kind of ‘truth’.

You can learn to understand the ways in which history, ideas and ideologies are manifested in images, and challenge the definitions and perceptions of what documentation and evidence might be. You study the disciplines of history and art history together in order to appreciate the relationships between them with a degree of critical awareness. In so doing, you are offered a unique approach to develop skills which are now vital in a society dominated by the visual image and visual forms of communication.

We are ranked 6th among art history departments in the UK for research excellence (REF 2014, mainstream universities, THE 2014). You will be taught by our expert staff in your very first year and 93% of our art history students expressed overall satisfaction with their course (NSS 2019).

Meanwhile our department of history is known for it's expertise in social history and 92% of our students expressed overall satisfaction with their course (NSS 2019).

Why we're great.
  • 93% of our students expressed overall satisfaction with their course (NSS 2019).
  • Our structured programme of study trips at home and abroad covers both the exotic and the local.
  • We house the most comprehensive Latin American art research resource in the UK, ESCALA, which comprises unique original artworks and key books on the subject.
THE Awards 2018 - Winner University of the Year

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 four-year version of our degree allows you to spend the third year abroad or employed on a placement abroad, while otherwise remaining identical to the three-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.

For students who commence their course in 2020, if you spend a full year abroad you’ll pay no tuition fees to Essex for that year. You won't pay any tuition fees to your host university either.

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 early modern period to the present day.

Our art history staff’s research interests include activist art, modernist art and totalitarianism, the relationship of art and science, the artistic status of body modification, expressions of societal anxiety in art, as well as architecture and urbanism.

Our history staff are among world leaders in their field, and our enthusiasm for our subject is infectious. Our flexible course is combined with a supportive structure which helps you to pursue the modules best-suited to your interests - we welcome you into our scholarly community, and value your views.

Our teaching and research concentrates on the period from 1500 to the present and covers a wide geographical area that includes British and European history, as well as Latin America, the USA, China, Russia and Africa.

Specialist 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
  • We have several Special Collections in history, including the Essex Society for Archaeology and History Library, the Harsnett Collection, the Hervey Benham Oral History Sound Archive, the Bensusan Collection, and the Colchester Medical Society Library
  • Access a variety of textbooks and journals in our Albert Sloman Library which houses materials on Latin America, Russia and the US that are of national significance

Your future

Our BA Art History and History gives you many transferable skills so you can enter a wide variety of professions. By studying ‘histories’ you improve your ability to understand new ideas and gain skills in information gathering and critical analysis.

Our graduates are ideally prepared for roles in the media, advertising, museums and galleries, education, publishing, charities, fashion and public relations as well as more specialised roles such as conservators, auctioneers, antiques specialists and arts lawyers.

Our recent graduates have gone onto work for a wide range of organisations including:

  • Momart Ltd
  • National Portrait Gallery
  • Victoria and Albert Museum

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

Clearing entry requirements

Specific entry requirements for this course in Clearing are not published here but for most of our degree courses you will need to hold a Level 3 qualification. If you are interested in applying and have already received your results, use our Clearing application form to apply for 2020 entry and find out if you are eligible. You will be asked to provide details of your qualifications and grades.

English language requirements

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall. Different requirements apply for second year entry, and specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK.

Other English language qualifications may be acceptable so please contact us for further details. If we accept the English component of an international qualification then it will be included in the information given about the academic levels listed above. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications

If you are an international student requiring a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.

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.

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 here.

Structure

Example structure

We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of compulsory and optional modules chosen from lists. Below is just one example structure from the current academic year of a combination of modules you could take. Your course structure could differ based on the modules you choose.

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. To view the compulsory modules and full list of optional modules currently on offer, please view the programme specification via the link below.

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

This module offers an introduction to the history of museums and galleries. It combines a historical and theoretical investigation of the subject with some hands-on curatorial assignments. 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 (optional) on our Module Directory

Art and Ideas: I

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. Through debates and essays, 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

Skills for University Studies

Making the transition from school to University studies can be challenging. This module will introduce you to University life and enable you to acquire the study skills to make a success of your degree. It also orients you to work, volunteering and extra-curricular activities so that you can acquire additional skills and experience while you study.

View Skills for University Studies on our Module Directory

Art Revolutions (optional)

Realism and Impressionism. Meet the rule-breakers. What is it that motivates an artist to break the mould? Focussing on Realism and Impressionism in France, this module identifies not only how the political, social and economic changes during the nineteenth century affected art and creative thinking, but how this vibrant and multi-faceted group of artists, who refused to follow the crowd, influenced their world. Through analysis of primary and secondary sources, you’ll explore their historical reputation, as well as their relevance today.

View Art Revolutions (optional) on our Module Directory

Modern Revolutions in Science, Politics, and Culture (optional)

Certain ideas shape the way we see ourselves and the world around us - ideas like democracy, free speech, individualism, free markets, and human rights. These ideas took their definitive modern form during a politically and intellectually revolutionary stretch of history known as the Enlightenment (ca. 1650-1800). This interdisciplinary module examines this period and thus serves as an essential prerequisite for students who want to understand the intellectual currents that run through the world they live in. Graduating students often rank it among the most useful modules they have taken.

View Modern Revolutions in Science, Politics, and Culture (optional) on our Module Directory

The Making of the Modern World since 1750 (optional)

Gain a deep insight into the origins of today’s world. This module presents a chronological overview of the key events in western history from the last 200 years. Look at how ideas, cultures, and economies of different peoples intersected, and changed, through the conflicts brought on by capitalism, imperialism, war, and revolution. You develop a solid foundation to study modern history.

View The Making of the Modern World since 1750 (optional) on our Module Directory

Art, Sex and Death (optional)

FROM THE SUN KING TO THE FIRST EMPIRE: Scandal. Executions. Diamonds. Lust. Sex and death were constant themes of the art in France from the middle of the seventeenth century to the first quarter of the nineteenth. We will look at the opulence and decadence of the court of Louis XIV at Versailles, move towards the violent post-revolutionary world of the Terror, and end with the ambitious First Empire of Napoleon.

View Art, Sex and Death (optional) on our Module Directory

Art and Ideas II: More Art, More Ideas - Critique and Historiography in the History of Art

New, exciting, and unconventional practices call for new, exciting and unconventional theories. This module will look at how art history has developed in the twentieth century, expanding the discipline to include visual culture, cultural studies of mass culture, performance, material culture, design history and digital culture. These new ways of seeing are often driven by a critical impetus, and allow us to look in new ways at social and political issues of activism and social change, sex, technology, memes, police violence, migration, austerity and crisis, state surveillance, and our relation to animals and the environment.

View Art and Ideas II: More Art, More Ideas - Critique and Historiography in the History of Art on our Module Directory

Approaches to History

This module will illuminate everything you study in history. It encourages you to think about the many and diverse ways in which historians approach the writing of history. You’ll be introduced to important historical concepts that have shaped recent historical writing, such as microhistory, class, gender and race, or to an important historical theme, such as consumption, literary history and global history.

View Approaches to History on our Module Directory

After Impressionism: European Art From Van Gogh to Klimt (optional)

How did artists working at the end of the nineteenth century respond to the legacy of Impressionism as the quintessential art of modern life? We will attempt to discover what it really meant to be 'modern' in turn-of-the century Europe and how artists responded to the dramatic political, social and technological changes that we call modernisation.

View After Impressionism: European Art From Van Gogh to Klimt (optional) on our Module Directory

The Internet and Politics (optional)

How does the internet influence democratic politics? Does it facilitate collective action and even undermine authoritarian regimes? Which means and strategies do governments use to control and regulate the internet and its use by citizens? This class introduces academic debates about these and other questions. It discusses the internet's role in democratic politics, the online information environment, political engagement, democratization, government efforts to control internet use, and data protection.

View The Internet and Politics (optional) on our Module Directory

The Social and Cultural History of the First World War (optional)

The First World War was one of the most significant thresholds in modern history. It changed European politics and societies profoundly, and had social and cultural repercussions on a global scale. This module looks beyond the traditional foci of 1914-1918, because the war was not only fought on the Western front, but also in Eastern Europe where it fomented civil wars and wars between newly established nation states. There, fighting came to an end only in the early 1920s and often gave birth to Fascism and Totalitarianism. Since the First World War was the first "industrial" or "total" war, the module will go beyond traditional military and political factors, rather addressing the new culture of war and politics and emphasising questions of social, economic, and cultural change.

View The Social and Cultural History of the First World War (optional) on our Module Directory

Supernatural and Natural Worlds in Early Modern Europe (optional)

In this module you’ll explore the shifting meanings of the natural and supernatural worlds during a period that encompassed three major shifts in intellectual outlook during the early modern period in Europe: the Reformation, Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment. You’ll look at the way in which early modern people understood the boundaries between human and animal, body and soul, life and death, science and religion, and reality and imagination.

View Supernatural and Natural Worlds in Early Modern Europe (optional) on our Module Directory

Contemporary Art: 1980 to the Present (optional)

Thai curry for gallery-goers, and the aftermath of a monster attack – just two examples of how contemporary artists are pushing techniques, processes and media to the limit. Explore how the attitudes and approaches to art have evolved over the last 30 years, and the crucial precursors who influenced them, whilst always considering how the context in which art is made and received – be it geographical, sociological, political, or philosophical – affects its production, reception, and interpretation.

View Contemporary Art: 1980 to the Present (optional) on our Module Directory

Photography in History (optional)

From mementos on the walls of our homes to perfume ads in glossy magazines to selfies on your mobile – photographs are everywhere. In this module, explore how the birth of the camera changed the way people saw themselves and their world, and how it continues to do so. Learn about the history of photography, interpreting and analysing both photographs and texts, and see how the photograph’s status shifted over time from document to artwork.

View Photography in History (optional) on our Module Directory

Curatorial Project (optional)

In this module you will produce a 4,000-word curatorial project proposal. As part of the proposal, you will develop a virtual exhibition on a subject of your choosing. The final proposal could include a checklist of objects, catalogue entries and a catalogue essay. You will work in collaboration with a supervisor. This is a capstone module, available to final-year curatorial studies students.

View Curatorial Project (optional) on our Module Directory

Art, the Law and the Market (optional)

When artworks or artefacts have been looted, should finders really be keepers? What causes an artwork to fetch £100 million at auction? And when is it (il)legal to reproduce another artist’s work and claim it as one’s own? Study how issues of property rights, valuation, market transparency and digitisation have shaped -- and continue to reshape -- the field of art across different media.

View Art, the Law and the Market (optional) on our Module Directory

Inventing the Future: Early Contemporary 1945-1980 (optional)

The period from 1945 to 1980 marked one of the most explosive and dynamic moments in the history of art. Discover how the specter of the Holocaust and the ideological divisions of the Cold War shaped the production and reception of art in the two decades following World War II. Also learn how major political developments of the 1960s and 1970s, such as Stonewall, student protests and the feminist movement, transformed the practice, theory and history of art, ultimately providing a hyper-politicised foundation for the emergence of postmodernism.

View Inventing the Future: Early Contemporary 1945-1980 (optional) on our Module Directory

Final Year Dissertation Project (optional)

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 (optional) on our Module Directory

London 1500-1700: Reformation, Wealth and Destruction (optional)

London is more than just a normal city: its scale, diversity, cultural and economic might put it on a different scale to anywhere else in Britain. This module focuses on the story of London's cultural, economic and political growth, and its relationship with the rest of Britain, and Europe. We explore London's status as a 'free' city, its relationship with the church and Reformation, the life of migrants and marginal communities, theatre and trade.

View London 1500-1700: Reformation, Wealth and Destruction (optional) on our Module Directory

Fictions of Empire (optional)

Our visions of the world, our very sensibilities, have been fashioned to some degree by the imperial world, and yet we are often unaware of this. By considering five works of fiction, you’ll explore key aspects of the imperial experience. You’ll study colonial attitudes and policies, and investigate the experience of colonisers and colonised, mainly in the British Empire. You’ll develop a sense of the complexity of imperialism and its cultural legacy.

View Fictions of Empire (optional) on our Module Directory

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 three-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.

Teaching

  • 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
  • Teaching takes the form of lectures and seminar sessions or discussion classes

Assessment

  • Assessment methods include coursework, for example essays, analysis of source material, exhibition reviews and virtual portfolios, coursework reports, oral presentations
  • Written examinations are also taken for the majority of modules at the end of each academic year

Fees and funding

Home/EU fee

£9,250

International fee

£16,050

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

Home and EU fee information

International fee 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.

2020 Open Days (Colchester Campus)

  • Saturday, September 19, 2020
  • Saturday, October 24, 2020

How to apply during Clearing

Once you’ve checked that we have the right course for you, applying couldn’t be simpler. Fill in our quick and easy Clearing application form with as much detail as you can. We’ll then take a look and get back to you with a decision. There’s no need to call us to apply; just do it all online.

Find out more about Clearing

Interviews

We don’t interview all applicants during Clearing, however, we will only make offers for the following course after a successful interview:

  • BA Multimedia Journalism
  • BSc Nursing (Adult)
  • BSc Nursing (Mental Health)
  • BA Social Work

The interview allows our academics to find out more about you, and in turn you’ll be able to ask us any questions you might have. Further details will be emailed to you if you are shortlisted for interview.


Apply now
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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.

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