History of Art and Architecture (Graduate Certificate)

Year of entry

2018

Start date

October 2018

Location

Central London

Status

Fully Approved

Duration

One year part-time

Attendance

One to two evenings a week

This intensive one-year course offers you the opportunity to develop your understanding of the history of art and architecture. You will learn to critically analyse and interpret art objects and buildings, and will engage with the concepts, values and debates that inform the study and practice of the history of art.

On this course, you will get the chance to study with internationally recognised experts. Our teaching staff are defining the field, conducting ground-breaking research in periods from medieval to contemporary, focusing on painting, sculpture, print culture, architecture, photography, digital art and museology. You will work closely with our staff while also benefiting from our diverse and vibrant student body of all ages and backgrounds. The teaching programme is enriched by museum and site visits, visiting speakers, screenings and opportunities to get involved as volunteers in research and community outreach activities.

If you want to study history of art, or a similar course, at Master's level but have a first degree in another subject, then this programme can be used as a conversion course. You will acquire and develop skills and knowledge of the discipline up to final-year undergraduate level. And, by studying this course, you will be able to apply to Birkbeck's MA History of Art, MA Museum Cultures and other Master's programmes offered by the School of Arts. If you don't want to progress to a Master's degree, this course will help you continue your exploration of the history of art and architecture at a higher level.

Find out more about our staff and student activities on the Birkbeck History of Art blog or join us at one of our information evenings, held throughout the year.

 

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Highlights

  • 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. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), Art and Design at Birkbeck achieved 100% for a research environment supporting world-leading and internationally excellent research.
  • The School of Arts offers a number of bursaries for postgraduate students.
  • You have the option to join our study trips, offered each spring. Cities visited in the last few years include: Florence, Paris, Venice, Vienna, Rome, Berlin and Moscow.
  • As a student at Birkbeck, you will be able to attend a wide range of events, including:
    • the postgraduate Research Seminar, which brings art historians from all over the UK and beyond to speak at Birkbeck
    • the biennial Murray Lecture
    • the Murray Seminar on Medieval and Renaissance Art
    • the programme of exhibitions and displays at the Peltz Gallery, the School of Arts' purpose-built exhibition space.
    • other seminars and events across the School of Arts and at the Birkbeck Institute for Humanities.
  • You can also get access to an incredible range of resources, including:
    • the Birkbeck Library and our inhouse resources centre
    • specialist libraries in the University of London: University of London Library, Institute of Historical Research, Warburg Institute and School of Oriental and African Studies
    • the major national resource of the British Library
    • specialist art libraries not far from Birkbeck, including the library of the Courtauld Institute of Art, the Royal Institute of British Architects library and the National Art Library at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A)
      the great visual resources of the British Museum, National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Tate Britain, Tate Modern and V&A
    • temporary exhibition galleries like the Barbican Gallery, Institute of Contemporary Arts, Hayward Gallery and Royal Academy
    • commercial galleries and salesrooms.
  • We encourage you to become involved in the lively research culture of the Department through the History and Theory of Photography Research Centre, the Architecture, Space and Society Centre and the Vasari Research Centre, which has pioneered the field of digital art history.
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Course structure

You take the Graduate Certificate core course, History of Art and Architecture: Skills and Approaches. This is taught, one evening a week, over five weeks in the autumn term and five weeks in the spring term. The course introduces you to the core skills of analysing images, objects and buildings and some of the different theoretical approaches that are used in this subject area.

You also take a BA History of Art option module, alongside third- and fourth-year BA students. This runs over the autumn and spring terms, one evening a week. You will have a choice of different art historical subject areas to focus on from a range of courses available; those listed below are indicative of the areas covered but the specific topics are not guaranteed.

Over the summer term you have an opportunity to consolidate your learning in the form of an extended essay. This is based on research into an art work or building of your own choosing. The essay will be supported by research workshops.

Read more about modules
  • Entry Requirements We welcome a wide range of qualifications, from the UK and abroad, and we will also consider your non-academic achievements.

    Entry requirements

    Good first degree or equivalent.

    If you do not already hold a first degree, but believe that you are a suitable candidate for the Graduate Certificate through other experience and educational achievements, please contact the admissions tutor.

    International entry requirements

    If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.

    If you don't meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses, foundation programmes and language support services to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.

    Visit the International section of our website to find out more about our English language entry requirements and relevant requirements by country.

    Credits and Accredited Prior Learning (APL)

    If you have studied at university previously, you may have accumulated credits through the modules you studied. It may be possible to transfer these credits from your previous study to Birkbeck or another institution. You should discuss this with the Programme Director when you are making your application.

    Find out more about credits and Accredited Prior Learning (APL).

  • Fees We offer advice on all the options for financing your studies. You can pay your fees interest-free by direct debit and postgraduate loans are available for eligible Master’s students.

    Fees (2017/8)

    Part-time home/EU students: £ 2650 pa
    Part-time overseas students: £ 4825 pa

    Additional costs

    As well as fees, you should expect to pay other study-related expenses, for travel to and from College, books, stationery, etc. Birkbeck provides advice and financial support for students who experience hardship in meeting the travel costs of essential fieldwork or study visits.

    On this programme, you will also have to pay for the following additional costs:

    An optional field trip is available as part of this programme, for which the Department does not charge a fee for attendance. Students are, however, responsible for paying all other costs, including travel, accommodation, food and drink and other subsistence costs, gallery fees, etc. The Murray Bequest offers a limited number of bursaries every year to students who would not otherwise be able to take the field trip. Details on how to apply are usually circulated to students in December or January.

  • Teaching and assessment Our innovative, engaging teaching is designed to support students who are juggling evening study with work and other daytime commitments.

    Teaching

    At Birkbeck, almost all of our courses are taught in the evening and our teaching is designed to support students who are juggling evening study with work and other daytime commitments. We actively encourage innovative and engaging ways of teaching, to ensure our students have the best learning experience. In the 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), the government’s system for rating university teaching, Birkbeck was allocated a Silver award.

    Teaching may include formal lectures, seminars, and practical classes and tutorials. Formal lectures are used in most degree programmes to give an overview of a particular field of study. They aim to provide the stimulus and the starting point for deeper exploration of the subject during your own personal reading.

    Seminars give you the chance to explore a specific aspect of your subject in depth and to discuss and exchange ideas with fellow students. They typically require preparatory study.

    In addition, you will have timetabled meetings with your Personal Tutor.

    Methods of teaching on this course

    Teaching is based around a mixture of lecture-hall learning and classroom seminar-style teaching in small groups (max 21). Classroom teaching is varied and may include interactive lectures, class discussion, set readings, group work and class visits to galleries or museums.

    Staff teaching on this programme

    Timetables

    Timetables are usually available from September onwards and you can access your personalised timetable via your My Birkbeck Profile online (if you have been invited to enrol).

    Indicative class size

    Class sizes vary, depending on your course, the module you are undertaking, and the method of teaching. For example, lectures are presented to large groups, with 30 to 100+ students in attendance, whereas seminars usually consist of small, interactive groups of 10 to 30 students, led by an academic.

    Academic support

    Birkbeck offers study and learning support to undergraduate and postgraduate students to help them succeed. Our Learning Development Service can help you in the following areas:

    • academic skills (including planning your workload, research, writing, exam preparation and writing a dissertation)
    • written English (including structure, punctuation and grammar)
    • numerical skills (basic mathematics and statistics).

    Our Disability and Dyslexia Service can support you if you have additional learning needs resulting from a disability or from dyslexia.

    Our Counselling Service can support you if you are struggling with emotional or psychological difficulties during your studies.

    Our Mental Health Advisory Service can support you if you are experiencing short– or long-term mental health difficulties during your studies.

    Assessment

    Assessment is an integral part of your university studies and usually consists of a combination of coursework and examinations. You will be given time to complete coursework and prepare for exams.

    Unseen written examinations are usually taken in the Summer term, during May to June, and, in most cases, are held during the day on a weekday – if you have daytime commitments, you will need to make arrangements for daytime attendance. Exam timetables are published online in March each year.

    Find out more about assessment at Birkbeck, including guidance on assessment, feedback and our assessment offences policy.

    Methods of assessment on this course

    Assessment is based entirely around coursework (no examinations). It develops incrementally from a 2000-word essay, on to two 2500-word essays and a 2500-word visual research exercise. It culminates in a 5000-word extended essay based on your own research. At each stage of the programme you receive written feedback on your coursework, so you can use the feedback to improve the next piece of work.

    Feedback

    As well as a mark for your coursework and exams, you will also receive feedback from your marker(s) to help you learn, improve and succeed. We encourage you to discuss feedback with your module tutor.

    Feedback can come in different forms: notes via Moodle (our online learning environment); a paper copy of a completed feedback form; or in-class or face-to-face feedback. The College Policy on Feedback on Assessment sets out what you can expect from your feedback.

    Your department will usually provide you with your marked coursework within four weeks of submission. Your initial mark is provisional until the relevant Board of Examiners has confirmed it.

    Your official coursework and exam results will be made available to you via your My Birkbeck Profile online.

  • Careers and employability To help you get ahead in your career, we offer free advice and training and our recruitment consultancy, Birkbeck Talent, can connect you with employers.

    Careers and employability

    Graduates can pursue careers in the creative arts, media and education. Possible professions include higher education lecturer, museum/gallery curator, or advertising account executive. This degree may also be useful in becoming a community arts worker, multimedia specialist, or higher education lecturer.

    Read how undertaking our MA History of Art helped one student secure her dream job at Tate Britain.

    Find out more about these professions.

    We offer a comprehensive Careers and Employability Service to help you advance your career, while our in-house, professional recruitment consultancy, Birkbeck Talent, works with London’s top employers to help you gain work experience that fits in with your evening studies.

  • How to apply Once you've found the course that's right for you, here's what to do next to get your place at Birkbeck.

    How to apply

    You apply directly to Birkbeck for this course, using the online application.

    Birkbeck can give you all of the information and help you need to complete your application form, including our online personal statement tool, which will guide you through every step of writing your personal statement.

    Application deadlines and interviews

    We suggest you apply as early as possible.

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