School of Philosophy and Art History

Undergraduate study

Female on a stepladder adding post-it notes to a large aerial photo of the University

Exploring the art of thought

Our students learn to be attentive to their own experiences and to interrogate them critically and rigorously. You learn to combine logic and reasoning with persistence, clarity and creativity. 

At Essex we teach you how to think, not what to think. Art is everywhere and philosophy never sleeps: our students join a dynamic yet close-knit community that seeks to understand the world through asking the right questions, and by always being alert to the power of hidden truths and unexpected moments of beauty and meaning.

You will be taught by expert staff, dedicated to developing your full academic and personal potential. Our school is a friendly and lively environment, and you will be part of a large and active community of students.

Explore our undergraduate courses
Why choose us?
  • 93% of our art history students expressed overall satisfaction with their course (NSS 2019)
  • Top 20 for art history (The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020)
  • Develop transferable skills relevant to a wide range of professions
Robert Priseman, Alex Seabrook and Sarah Demelo
Donated art collection includes top 20th century British artists

Two collecters have loaned over 100 works to the University, enriching the artistic experience of the University community and offering valuable opportunities for curatorial studies students to learn how to manage, handle, curate and loan works of art.

Read the article

So, what do we have to offer?

A wide choice of courses

We offer three single honours undergraduate degrees in art history, curatorial studies and philosophy. Our BA Art History combines historical and theoretical study of art, visual culture and curating, while our BA Philosophy combines traditions of Anglo-American analytical and European Continental philosophy. Our BA Curatorial Studies is ideal if you are interested in pursuing a career in curating, gallery management and museums.

We also offer a range of joint honours degrees, giving you the option to combine your studies with other subject areas.

Opportunities to study abroad

Our courses can also be taken as a four-year option including a year of study abroad, which offers an exciting opportunity for personal development.  This gives you the chance to really soak up the culture, no matter if your passion is Italian art or German philosophy.

Preparation for life after graduation

Three years of dedicated study teaches you skills that are widely transferable and highly valued by employers across all business sectors. We assist you with professional development and your search for employment or further study. Our graduates leave us ideally prepared for a wide range of roles in the media, advertising, museums and galleries, education, publishing, charities, fashion, government and public relations.

Our Student Services Hub also offer the chance to develop your employability through some fantastic and unique experiences and opportunities.

“I loved the flexibility – you can tailor your course to your own interests and you are encouraged to develop independent interests in relation to the core material. The teaching and administrative staff are very welcoming and so helpful when you arrive, and do everything they can to support your development throughout your time with them (and beyond). Making friends is easy as you get so many opportunities to mingle with fellow students during the wide range of departmental events, and the cosmopolitan and friendly atmosphere makes discussion easy and interesting.”
Christina Brown BA Philosophy and Politics
Get in touch
Get in touch
Philosophy and Art History Undergraduate queries
Interdisciplinary Studies Centre Undergraduate queries