Year of entry2018
Start dateOctober 2018
Four years part-time
Two to three evenings a week
Other entry years for this course2017
The past, and the visual art it has bequeathed to us, continues to fascinate. This is richly evident in media productions, the thriving heritage sector, and record visitor numbers to galleries and museums. This wide ranging BA in History of Art and History will take you from the ancient world through to the present day.
You will explore social, cultural, intellectual and political histories, and develop your understanding of visual culture within those contexts. You will acquire the analytical skills and critical approaches that enable you to investigate both texts and images for yourself, and to develop your competence in visual perception and historical interpretation.
This course is also available forand .
We offer information evenings for prospective students interested in our History of Art programmes throughout the year.
- 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 or internationally excellent research.
- See students and staff talking about this programme, and our home in Gordon Square
- You will benefit from small, highly interactive classes, alongside students of different ages and from various walks of life. You can take advantage of fieldtrips, including an annual visit to a European city, which takes place in the Easter vacation.
- As a student here, you'll be invited to a dynamic range of events, many of which are organised through our research centres, including the History and Theory of Photography Research Centre; Architecture, Space and Society Network; Vasari Research Centre for Art and Technology; the Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism; the Raphael Samuel History Centre; the Institute of Historical Research; and the Institute of Classical Studies. These give you access to some of the foremost figures in the discipline, and insight into the most recent and up-to-date research.
This BA programme is a modular degree involving a combination of compulsory and option modules. Each module is worth 30 credits and you take 12 modules over four years, to a total of 360 credits. You take modules in both History and History of Art, which provide you with key study and research skills in those disciplines. Option modules allow you to select areas of specialism and to learn about certain topics and periods in depth. In your final year, you will submit a dissertation on a topic of your choosing.
In Year 1, you take two compulsory History of Art modules at Level 4 and choose one option module in History at Level 4.
In Year 2, you take one compulsory module in History of Art at Level 4, choose one option module in History of Art at Level 5 and choose one option module in History at Level 5.
In Year 3, you choose one compulsory research skills for dissertations module (in either History or History of Art, depending on which subject you wish your dissertation to focus on), choose one option module in History at Level 5 and choose one option module in History of Art at Level 6.
In Year 4, the pattern of study depends on whether you choose to complete the dissertation in History of Art or History. The History of Art dissertation at Level 6 is a single module of 30 credits and is studied alongside two History option modules at Level 6. The History dissertation at Level 6 is a double module of 60 credits and is studied alongside one History of Art or History option module at Level 6.
Year 1 compulsory modules
Year 2 compulsory module
Year 3 compulsory modules (choose one)
Indicative Level 4 History option modules
- Discovering Archaeology: From Field to Finds Room
- The Ancient World
- The Archaeology of Greece and Rome
- The Contemporary World
- The Early Modern World, 1500-1750
- The Medieval World: From Constantine to the Khans
- The Modern World
Level 5 History of Art option modules (choose one)
- Art and Architecture in Europe 1250-1400
- Art and Architecture in Europe 1400-1550
- Art and Society in the Nineteenth Century
- Art and Society in the Twentieth Century
Indicative Level 5 History option modules
- Beginnings: The Archaeology of Prehistory (level 5)
- Between God and Rome: the Byzantine Empire 307-1453 (level 5)
- Contested Nation: Germany, 1871-1918 (level 5)
- Cultural Interaction in the Archaic Greek World (level 5)
- From Ancient to Medieval Societies, Third to Eleventh Centuries
- Journeys to the Underworld in Classical Literature and Culture
- Popular Culture in American History, 1870 to the Present (level 5)
- The Ottoman Empire (level 5)
- Under the Volcano - the First and Last Days of Pompeii (level 5)
- Work and Play in Early Modern Britain (level 5)
Indicative Level 6 History of Art option modules
- Art and Architecture in Rome c 1500 - 1527
- Art and Design in Victorian Britain
- Art and Identity
- Art and Nationalism in Europe 1860-1914
- Art and Patronage in Papal Rome c. 1534-1590
- Art and Scandal in the Modern Period
- Art and the Sacred in the Middle Ages
- Art and War: 1914 to the Present
- Art in Baroque Rome
- Art in Renaissance Venice c 1475-1530
- Art of the British Empire
- Concrete and Flesh: Modern Architecture and the Body
- Eighteenth-Century Britain: The Arts in a Polite and Commercial Society
- Fin De Siecle and the Avant Garde in Europe 1880-1900
- Fin De Siecle Vienna
- Icon to the Avant-Garde: Russian Art Under the Romanovs
- Medici Patronage in Florence c.1420-1534
- Narrative Art in the Age of Giotto
- Nationalism and Internationalism in Art 1860-1918
- Paris Moderne: Art Design and Modernity 1889-1939
- Photography and its Representations
- Portraiture in England in the Long Eighteenth Century
- Post-War Art and the Politics of Memory, From the 1960s to the Present
- Seventeenth-Century Painting in the Netherlands
- Spaces of Modernity: City, Suburb and Countryside in the Nineteenth Century
- Strategies of Display: Avant-Garde Exhibitions, The White Cube and Beyond
- The Golden Age of Painting and Sculpture in Spain (1600-1700)
- The Gothic Cathedral
Indicative Level 6 History option modules
- Body Politics: Health, Illness and Death in Britain
- Crime, Poverty and Popular Protest in England, 1500-1800
- Family, Society and Culture in Britain 1832-1918
- Later Medieval London 1450-1560: Community Politics and Religion
- Literature, Culture and Society 1914-1945
- Sexuality, Society and the State in Britain, 1914-2000
- The Athenian Empire
- The Colonial Gaze: Western Perceptions of Asia, Africa and the Middle East, 1600-1960
- The Empire of Letters: Correspondence in the Roman World
- The Third Reich
BA History of Art with History Dissertation (choose one)
You may also select options from another programme at Birkbeck, or taken on an intercollegiate basis at another College of the University of London. Programme Director approval is required in order to take such modules.
We welcome a wide range of qualifications, from the UK and abroad, and we will also consider your non-academic achievements.
We welcome applicants without traditional entry qualifications, as we base decisions on our own assessment of qualifications, knowledge and previous work experience. We may waive formal entry requirements based on judgement of academic potential.
Certificates of Higher Education
Students who successfully complete Birkbeck's Certificate of Higher Education in History of Art are guaranteed a place on this BA, with the possibility of exemption from the first-year modules. Applicants in this position do not need to complete an admissions exercise.
International entry requirements
If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, the requirement for this programme is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 7.0, with not less than 6.5 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.
We are committed to doing everything we can to help you finance your studies.
Fees (2017/8)Part-time home/EU students: £ 6935 pa
Part-time overseas students: £ 9750 pa
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.
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
While some of our students have studied art history and/or history at school or have completed short courses, most haven’t studied these subjects in any depth prior to starting this course. The first-year modules are therefore intended to provide you with academic skills and a good grounding in the disciplines. As you progress through the course, you will have opportunities to explore different historical periods, themes and topics and different types of visual culture in more detail - from buildings to installations, sculpture to digital media, paintings to photography.
We use a variety of formal and informal teaching methods, including lectures, seminars, workshops, gallery visits, group and individual tutorials, and field-trips.
Gallery and museum visits, attached to particular modules, mostly take place during weekends, in term time. Some of these are self-guided, while others are tutor led. There is also an annual History of Art study trip abroad (this has been to Rome, Paris and Berlin in recent years) during the Easter break.
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.
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 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.
Methods of assessment on this course
Our assessment methods are equally varied, ranging from essays and examinations to research portfolios and oral presentations, so as to develop a range of subject-specific and transferable skills. The programme culminates in a 10,000-word dissertation on a chosen topic.
All our classes are held in the evening, to enable you to continue your career or gain valuable intern or work experience during the day.
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
Our students develop the ability to think critically and creatively, and to articulate their ideas persuasively. Intellectual rigor, visual sensitivity and informed debate are fundamental to the discipline of history of art, as well as being transferable skills relevant to a range of careers. Graduates can pursue jobs in arts management, conservation and policy; in education, marketing and publishing; in the museums and heritage sectors; and in research and academia.
Find out more about the destinations of graduates in this subject.
Jobs gained by some of our BA and MA graduates include:
- Head of Learning, Design Museum
- Curator, Schools Programmes, Tate Modern
- Curatorial Assistant, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
- Curatorial Officer, National Army Museum
- Head of Campaign Management, Science Museum
- Curator, Handel House Museum
- Head Curator, National Maritime Museum
- Director, Foundling Museum
- Curator, British Art 1850-1915, Tate Britain
- Courses and Events Programmer, National Gallery.
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.
Average salary six months after the course: £29000
Data from 15 students.
55% of those surveyed responded
Source: Destinations of leavers from HE record
Go on to work and/or study:
Data from 55 students.
83% of those surveyed responded
Source: Destinations of leavers from HE record
- Go on to work and/or study
- Now working: 54%
- Doing further study: 18%
- Studying and working: 10%
- Unemployed: 2%
- Other: 16%
Read more of the statistics for this course on the Unistats website.
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 link. You will also be asked to complete a supplementary application form. Please note that online application will open in October 2017.
Birkbeck offers a range of free face-to-face advice and support to help you make a successful 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.
The Department of History of Art typically has some bursary funding available from its annual application to the Royal Female School of Art Foundation, which supports undergraduate students who are experiencing short-term financial hardship.
Bursaries are available through the Murray Bequest to help students fund their place on the annual History of Art study trip abroad (this has been to Rome, Paris and Berlin in recent years) during the Easter break.
Application deadlines and interviews
We accept part-time applications throughout the year, but recommend that you apply as early as possible. Interviews are mostly held for part-time applicants, and are usually scheduled on one day every month.
- History of Art (BA): 3-year, full-time
- History of Art (BA): 4-year, part-time
- History of Art (BA): 6-year, part-time
- History of Art and History (BA): 3-year, full-time
- History of Art and History (BA): 6-year, part-time
- History of Art with Curating (BA): 3-year, full-time
- History of Art with Curating (BA): 4-year, part-time
- History of Art with Curating (BA): 6-year, part-time
- History of Art with Film (BA): 3-year, full-time
- History of Art with Film (BA): 4-year, part-time
- History of Art with Film (BA): 6-year, part-time
Life at Birkbeck
Birkbeck offers a unique combination of evening study and a matchless central London location, right in the geographic and academic centre of the city, giving you exceptional opportunities.
Accommodation and living costs
Most of our students live in private accommodation, but we also offer student accommodation and access to the professional services of the University of London Housing Services.
The Birkbeck experience
Birkbeck is different: our classes are held in the evening, so your days are free - to study, work, volunteer or just do your own thing.
Birkbeck is committed to doing everything we can to help you finance your studies. Find out about what is available, how to apply and the advice and support we provide.
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. We can give you the advice and support you need.
Discover more about our comprehensive range of student services, which offer all the support and assistance you need.
Boost your career
Discover how Birkbeck's unique evening teaching, coupled with our comprehensive careers and employability services, can help you get ahead in a highly competitive job market.
Fees and payment
With government loans for undergraduate and postgraduate study, fantastic financial support packages and flexible payment options, there’s never been a better time to study at Birkbeck.
There are lots of ways to come and visit us and meet our staff and former students, including Open Evenings, Open Days and guided campus tours. Discover more here.
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