BA (Hons) History of Art

Search for:

BA (Hons) History of Art



BA (Hons) History of Art

Why History of Art?

Art History is a dynamic and lively subject. It combines the rigour of a history degree with visual skills and the ability to look at and interpret works of art. It will help you develop critical skills in how to look, to think and to present your ideas succinctly and persuasively that are essential in today’s job market.

Why The Courtauld?

As an institute dedicated to Art History, Conservation and Curating, with one of the major art collections in the UK at its heart, The Courtauld brings together all aspects of the visual world in one centre. We have the largest faculty of art historians in the country, who are working on an increasingly global scale, from the Americas to Europe, from North Africa and the Middle East to Iran to China.

We study, research and teach about art in all forms and all media, from the smallest, most personal painting or object to the design and evolution of whole cities; from medieval cathedrals, mosques and temples, to contemporary fashion, photography and performance art.

Girl looking through a book, surrounded by shelves, in the book library

Key Facts

Course Overview

The History of Art degree at The Courtauld introduces students to a wide range of visual art from Byzantium up to the present day. Through a mixture of lectures, seminars, discussion groups and study trips, you will have the opportunity to experience an exciting range of approaches to art from around the world. Our objects of study include buildings, paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, performance and installation art, fashion history, design and more. Alongside specialist courses taught by world-leading experts in the field, the degree also introduces you to theoretical and critical approaches to works of art throughout the three years.

We also make the most out of London’s art and architecture, as well as The Courtauld’s own world-leading art collection (which will reopen in 2021 after a major redevelopment of Somerset House). A hallmark of The Courtauld degree is the small size of our classes, and friendly, informal environment where everyone is studying either the History of Art, curating, or the conservation of the work of art. You’ll also have the opportunity to study a language, and apply for dedicated funds to travel and see works of art you are studying.

Courtauld students come from all kinds of backgrounds, and most are studying the History of Art for the first time. History of Art is a broad, exciting humanities degree that prepares students for many, diverse career routes, and our students have gone on to a range of careers both within the cultural and heritage industries, the art world and beyond.

Entry Requirements

You do not need any background in art history to apply; only an interest in art and its histories and a willingness to work hard.

We warmly encourage students of all backgrounds to apply to the Institute. If you are applying as a candidate from groups that are under-represented in Higher Education, we are able to vary our offer in response to your circumstances

A-levels: Grades AAA-ABB (excluding General Studies).

There are no required subjects, although if you are completing 2 A-levels in practical art subjects, a forth A-level is preferred.

International A-levels: Applicants sitting International A and AS Levels can generally expect their grades to be accepted as comparable, grade for grade, to UK AS and A level grades.

GCSE: A grade A-C in a language is desirable but not required.

Scottish Highers: AAAAB or AAABB, (usually supplemented by two or more Advanced Highers).

If you are studying the Advanced Higher subjects, you are likely to be set AA for two subjects, and AAB for three subjects.

Welsh Baccalaureate: Advanced Diploma with two A grades at A-Level alongside the Core Certificate at Level 3.

International Baccalaureate (IB): a minimum 35 points overall, with a score of 16 in three higher level subjects with no score lower than a 5.

European Baccalaureate: 80% overall.

Cambridge Pre-U: D3, D3, M2 in three Cambridge Pre-U Principal Subjects.


Access: Access to Humanities Diploma at Level 3 with 39 Level 3 credits from units awarded at Distinction, with the remaining credits at Merit.

International applicants

Entry requirements for many EU and International qualifications can be found here.

English Language proficiency: You will be expected to have an effective knowledge of English, both spoken and written in order to apply. If your first language is not English, we will require proof of English proficiency – for details, please see the English Language Requirements page.

Mature Students

We welcome applications from mature candidates, defined as those at least 21 years old at the time of application. If you are a mature applicant, please forward a copy of your CV and any transcripts of results from recent study to our admissions team via email, in addition to completing the UCAS application form.

For further advice on entrance requirements, please contact Student and Academic Services

Structure & Modules

The Art History degree at The Courtauld builds over the course of the three years to give you a broad knowledge of the history of art, as well as detailed, in-depth teaching as you specialise more towards the end of the degree. There are opportunities to develop your own particular research interests as well.

Year 1:

The first year will give you a groundwork for the study of art history

The Foundations course gives you a broad historical introduction to the study of art history from antiquity to the present day in many different global contexts. You will also take two Topic courses which focus on direct encounters with art at first hand in the museums and galleries of London. In addition, you take a Language Course, delivered by the Language school at the London School of Economics (LSE).

Indicative modules:

  • Sensory Encounters with Dress and Textiles.
  • Beyond Black: Contemporary Art in Britain Now.
  • Avant-Gardes and Neo-Avant-Gardes.
  • Contemporary Art in London
  • Chinese Art in London Collections
  • Seventeenth-Century Prints and Drawings in London Collections
  • Looking at the Overlooked: An Introduction to Early Modern Still Life.
  • Hogarth in London.
  • Taking Shape: Italian Renaissance Altarpieces in London Collections.
  • The Arts of Spanish Iberia, 1330–1550.
  • The Pursuit of Leisure in the Middle Ages.


Year 2

The second year will give you a deeper and more sophisticated understanding of the history of art. You take two courses that look in greater depth at a particular period, theme or place to understand the art in its context, and you take the Frameworks course that introduces you to the theories and conceptual approaches that have been developed to understand and interpret art. You also begin as an independent researcher, writing an essay on a topic you develop with a supervisor.

Indicative modules:

  • Mapping Contemporary Asian Art
  • The Modern Interior
  • Competing Ventures, Contested Visions: Constructing European Empires in the Early Modern World
  • Questioning the Italian Renaissance: Art in Italy from 1470 to 1527
  • From Shiraz to Beijing: Persian Arts in the Global Fifteenth Century
  • Image Making and the Medieval Imagination: Gothic Art in Northern Europe, c.1200–1500


Year 3:

The final year is centred around two Special Options in which you focus on two new aspects of art history, and engage with the latest ideas and debates in the subject. These are driven by cutting-edge research. You also take a course that looks at the study of particular objects, buildings and works of art, and asks you to develop a pair of lectures yourself around a work that you choose. The final year essay gives you the opportunity to show your own research and writing skills.

Indicative modules:

Mapping Contemporary Asian Art: Space, Time, and Place

  • Fashion and Photography: Viewing and Reviewing Global Images of Dress.
  • Art and Subjecthood: Sculpture in American 1960-1970
  • Beyond Painting and Sculpture: Happenings and Performance through the Twentieth Century.
  • Reassembling Modernism: Artists’ Networks in Europe 1909–1960.
  • English Baroque Architecture.
  • Inventing Michelangelo: Disegno, Painting, Sculpture and the Myth of the Artist.
  • Body and Gender in Byzantium
  • East and West at the Time of the Crusades.
Teaching & Assessment

The BA course is taught through a combination of lectures, seminar and discussion classes, site visits and one-to-one tutorial meetings.

Seminar classes are held in classes of up to 10 students to facilitate an intimate environment in which to study and engage with subjects in depth with your teacher and your classmates.

Lectures are delivered and taught to the full student cohort, and are supported by discussion classes in which you are divided into smaller groups of up to 20 students. The discussion classes enable you to discuss and develop your understanding of topics covered in lectures in a setting where you are invited to actively participate in debates and discussion.

In addition, you have timetabled meetings with your personal tutor at least once per term and you can always request further meetings with your personal tutor should you wish.

Throughout your degree, you will be taught by a mixture of professors, senior lecturers, lecturers and doctoral researchers, who bring a rich diversity of knowledge and experience to the class-room. Our faculty come from many different backgrounds across the world and are among the leading experts in their field. They have published important works about their areas of expertise, and will introduce you to the excitement and dynamism of their cutting-edge research.


The course involves a variety of methods of assessment:



In addition, each year you will give presentations in class and write a number of informal essays or other exercises on which you get feedback to help develop your speaking and writing skills. These are compulsory but do not count towards your degree marks.

Year 1: 50% examinations; 42.5% coursework; 7.5% oral examination (language). These marks do not count towards your final degree, but you must pass in order to progress into your second year.

Year 2: 67% examinations; 33% coursework. The Second year represents 25% of your final degree mark

Year 3: 50% exams; 50% coursework. This represents 75% of your final degree mark

Fees & Funding

Tuition fees:

Home/ EU fee Overseas fee
Per annum £9,250 £19,500

Undergraduate Student loans:

Please visit the Student Finance England website for further information and to apply online.


The Courtauld is committed to making its degree accessible to all suitably qualified Home students. We offer financial support on a sliding scale for Home undergraduate students who meet set criteria. More information can be found here.


Where possible, we encourage and support travel to see artworks at first hand.

For individual projects, you can apply to the John Hayes Travel Fund, which awards about £13,000 each year to students to travel to see art at first hand for themselves.

In addition, many final year special options include short group trips with the lecturer to see the art they are studying. These trips are subsidised:

  • UK trip: £150
  • European trip: £350
  • Non-European International trip: £550.

Trips are planned with the subsidies in mind, in order to minimise any additional costs for students. However, it is possible that subsidies will not cover all costs. Students are encouraged to speak to Student and Academic Services, should they need further support.

Careers & Employability

The BA programme is designed to produce graduates with highly transferable skills, which will prepare you for a wide range of employment opportunities, or further academic study. Our graduates are not only equipped with a detailed knowledge and understanding of the History of Art, but also learn how to:

  • Analyse visual imagery and articulate sophisticated arguments in formal writing and in oral presentations.
  • Read critically and economically.
  • Assimilate complex material.
  • Formulate and express a broad range of different ideas.
  • Present research to a varied audience.
  • Develop independent research skills.
  • Experience collaborative work in groups.

With these skills, Courtauld graduates go on to further study and to jobs across the economy including:

Curators, Conservators, Art Dealers, Auction House experts, Lawyers, Entrepreneurs, Publishers, Media professionals, Teachers, Banking and Finance, Journalists, Business / Marketing & Communications, Fashion buyers, Civil servants

All students can access bespoke, one-to-one careers guidance throughout their studies. The Courtauld Careers Service offers advice and support on exploring career and further study options, finding internships, enhancing employability, understanding and navigating the jobs and self-employment market, and making successful applications. This service is available to all graduates for up to two years after graduation.


To support you through the degree, we offer:

Wellbeing: We have a dedicated Wellbeing team, with counsellors and advisors.

Academic Skills: The academic skills tutor offers group and one-to-one help to develop the skills and confidence you need to succeed on the degree. We also have two Royal Literary Fund fellows who will help you with your writing skills – concentrating on how to structure and improve your writing.

Personal tutor: led by the Associate Dean for Students, you are given an academic personal tutor who will guide you on academic matters throughout your degree.

View / Request a Prospectus

Share This

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Close