History of Art (Certificate of Higher Education)

Year of entry



Central London. Some modules include visits or study trips abroad. 


Fully Approved


Two to four years part-time


One evening a week. Some week-long intensive modules, study visits and Saturday modules. 

If you would like to learn more about the history of art, then this introductory course is ideal. We offer modules covering a range of historical periods and themes. So, whether you are interested in medieval imagery, the Italian Renaissance, the Victorian period or contemporary art installations, you will have a varied choice that changes each year. 

Our modules offer informative and enjoyable introductions to the skills and ideas shaping the study of art history. They are led by experienced and enthusiastic lecturers and teaching is rigorous and engaging. Modules often include visits to galleries or other places of interest, while others also include study trips abroad. Some of our modules are taught as part of our undergraduate degrees, so you can study alongside first-year undergraduates and get a real sense of what it's like to study history of art at university. 

We offer taster events and information evenings for prospective students interested in our history of art programmes throughout the year. 

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  • Arts and humanities courses at Birkbeck are ranked third best in London and 13th in the UK in the Times Higher Education 2016-17 World University Subject Rankings. 
  • The Department of History of Art at Birkbeck has an international reputation for its innovative approaches to the history of art, visual culture and museum studies. Our flexible approach to part-time, day and evening study is ideal for fitting your studies around other commitments.
  • With its RIBA award-winning cinema and the Peltz Gallery, a specially designed small exhibition space, Birkbeck’s School of Arts provides students with a lively cultural hub in central London, in a historic building that was home to key members of the Bloomsbury Group including Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell. 
  • In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), Art and Design at Birkbeck achieved 100% for a research environment supporting world-leading or internationally excellent research.
  • With our location in Bloomsbury in central London, you can explore some of the world's best architecture, galleries and museums, collections and arts spaces - many of which are on our doorstep or a short distance away.
  • The Department has been delighted to receive grant aid from the Royal Female School of Art Foundation to help support students on (or applying to study) the Certificate of Higher Education or BA History of Art programmes who are suffering short-term financial hardship. The deadline for applications is 15 September 2017.

Progression to degrees at Birkbeck

Successful completion of this Certificate of Higher Education allows you to progress directly into the second year of the following undergraduate degrees at Birkbeck:

  • BA Arts and Humanities 
  • BA History of Art 
  • BA History of Art with Curating 
  • BA History of Art with Film.

To progress onto the BA History of Art, you should take Introduction to Modern Art (worth 30 credits) as one of your option modules. 

To progress onto the BA Arts and Humanities, you should take Key Concepts in Cultural Analysis: The Production of the Human (worth 30 credits) as one of your option modules. 

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Course structure

To gain the Certificate of Higher Education, you must successfully complete modules worth 120 credit points.

It is recommended that you start with the core module, Foundation in History of Art (worth 30 credits).

Then you take modules worth a further 90 credits from among the other courses offered as part of the programme. The links below take you to the course pages of the different modules on offer this year, where you can find further information on fees, and course timetables and syllabus.

Read more about modules

All of our modules form part of the Certificate of Higher Education, including modules that are part of the BA programme and which you study alongside undergraduate students.

You may also include modules worth up to 30 credits (excluding core modules) from the Certificates of Higher Education in History and Archaeology and in Philosophy.

Visit the Department of History of Art