MA History of Art

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Postgraduate Taught Courses

MA History of Art
courtauld students
courtauld students

The hallmark of the MA History of Art at The Courtauld is its intensive and specialised nature.  Studying for the MA History of Art at The Courtauld is a rewarding experience and an excellent gateway to working in the art sector or undertaking further study in the discipline.

The Courtauld’s strength lies in it being a small, single-subject academic institution, providing students with an intimate environment in which to participate, develop their knowledge and gain skills for employment in the Arts sector and beyond.

The MA History of Art programme is designed around the study of specific Special Options and is taught by leading academics. The programme frequently incorporates new Special Options, with recent additions ranging from medieval architecture to early modern Persianate painting to contemporary Chinese art.

Key facts

Status Full-time
Duration 9 months
Language skills English
Fees 2016/17 TBC 2015/6 Fees (for reference):
Home/EU fee: £6,600
Overseas fee: £16,000

The online versions of our prospectuses contain all of the information from our printed prospectuses. You can download a pdf version below or order a print prospectus.

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At its core is the Special Option, which gives students the opportunity to immerse themselves in one particular area of the discipline under the guidance of a leading expert in that field. This specialist focus is supplemented by a core methodology seminar which explores the intellectual foundations of our subject. These taught components lead to an independent research project, which is closely supervised by the Special Option tutor.

Each MA Special Option group consists of no more than ten students, whose shared commitment to an in-depth investigation of the topic adds immeasurably to the learning experience. Every year, The Courtauld welcomes approximately 140 -170 students from all over the world on to the MA History of Art programme.

Students follow one Special Option during their MA year. When applying, you are asked to select three from the range of twenty or more Options that are offered annually, stating your order of preference. We hope that most students whom we accept are able to follow one of their preferred Options, but as many are oversubscribed this may not be possible.

Detailed information about the aims and objectives of the course can be found in the programme specification below:

 MA History of Art Programme Specification

The MA History of Art is assessed on the following:

  • Two 4000 word essays on aspects of special option (one each in terms 1 & 2)
  • A virtual exhibition (term 2)
  • A dissertation of approximately 10000 words (completed in term 3)

The virtual exhibition complements the other elements of the coursework and involves the selection and presentation of works of art that you would include in an exhibition addressing a particular theme.

The dissertation is researched and written over a period of approximately three months with full supervision from a member of staff. It forms a complete induction into primary research methods and all aspects of the presentation of research. The topic generally arises from the previous two terms’ study, and the supervisor is usually the member of staff who taught the special option.

Bachelor’s Degree – Students will normally have achieved a good 2.1, considered to be an overall average 65% or above.

We accept overseas qualifications equivalent to a 2.1 in a UK first degree (e.g. US applicants should have a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or above).

If you hold a qualification from outside of the UK, please feel free to contact the Academic Registry; however, please be aware that our staff are unable to confirm whether you will be invited to interview, as candidates are judged on the strength of their applications as a whole.


All applicants are expected to have an effective knowledge of English, both spoken and written. For applicants whose first language is not English, we require proof of English proficiency – for details, please see the English Language Requirements page.

Fees 2016/7 TBC

Fees 2015/16 (for reference):

Home/ EU fee £6,600

Overseas fee £16,000

Fees are subject to change each academic year. Fee info, including what qualifies as home, EU, and overseas fees, can be found here.

Financial support for your studies

Find information about loans, grants, and bursaries to support you during your  studies at The Courtauld here.

Apply for this course

Apply for this course or download a prospectus for more information.

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