BA History of Art - The Courtauld Institute of Art

BA History of Art

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BA History of Art (Draft)


The Courtauld offers one undergraduate degree programme, the BA (Hons) History of Art. This seeks to attract students of the highest calibre, who are driven by an insatiable curiosity to learn about the visual arts and their histories.

The education we offer equips our students with a critical understanding of art from antiquity to the present, thus giving them an ideal foundation for further academic study. Our BA also inculcates a broad range of transferable skills that qualify our graduates to pursue a wide variety of careers. Taught mainly in small groups, and as often as possible directly in front of original works of art and architecture, our undergraduates learn to think for themselves, and how to communicate their thoughts to others in a lucid, disciplined and professional manner.

The undergraduate student who comes to The Courtauld becomes part of a vibrant intellectual community united by the same passion for knowledge about visual culture.  Like all of our degree programmes, the BA aims to give our students access to the best available research-led teaching, and to world-class learning resources, starting with our own specialist libraries and the treasures of The Courtauld Gallery, and encompassing the full and rich panoply of relevant materials that are on offer in London. Most students will also experience at least one study trip abroad during the course of their degree.

Key Facts

Status Full time
Duration 3 Years
UCAS code V350
Intake 75
Language Skills English
2018/9 Fees: Home/EU fee: £9,250
Overseas fee: £18,180
Application Deadline 15 January 2018

We welcome applicants who have a serious interest in, and enthusiasm for, the study of art history. Entry is competitive; however, The Courtauld is committed to admitting students with the best ability and potential regardless of their educational background or financial resources. We aim to allow applicants to show themselves to their best advantage, so while the following describes the standard entry requirements, please note that these are flexible (offers are sometimes modified to meet individual circumstances). You will not be required to have studied history of art previously, however, advanced study in the humanities is recommended.

UK / Common Academic Requirements

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

Admissions tutors are flexible on subjects studied, however where a student is completing two A-Levels in practical art subjects, a fourth A-Level is preferred to accommodate for overlap of course content.

International A-levels are typically accepted on a grade-per-grade basis.

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

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

Offers made to candidates on the basis of the Advanced Higher subjects are likely to be set at 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, including a score of at least 6 in Group 1 (Language A1), Group 3 (Individuals and Societies) and Group 6 (Arts).

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 Students and Equivalent Entry Requirements

The Courtauld has a long tradition of welcoming international students. International applicants are required to apply through UCAS, and a transcript of final secondary school results should be sent to the Academic Registry if they are not reported to UCAS.

A list of equivalent entry requirements for EU and International Countries can be found here.

For further advice on entrance requirements, including international equivalencies not include on the Guidance page, or students holding a combination of qualifications, contact Academic Registry at

Each year you will complete a number of essays and formal exams, which are designed to measure your level of achievement and understanding of the subject matter:

First Year
You will submit two essays in each of the autumn and spring terms, and take two formal examinations at the end of the academic year.

Second Year
You will take three formal examinations relating to Frameworks for Interpretation and each of your Constellation courses at the end of the academic year and submit one 4,000-word essay which should address interests arising directly from your courses.

Third Year
Assessment is based on four formal examinations at the end of the academic year relating to the Special Option Courses and one 5,000-word essay on a topic of particular interest.

In addition to formal assessments, you will be assessed informally on an ongoing basis, which may include:

  • Contribution to class discussion
  • Class presentations
  • Written work

At the end of each course, you will have a tutorial session with your personal tutor to discuss your progress and performance.

The BA programme is designed to produce graduates with highly transferable skills, which prepare them 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 they also learn how to:

  • Analyse visual imagery and articulate sophisticated arguments in formal writing
  • 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.

Fees 2018/9

Home / EU fee £9,250

Overseas fee £18,180


Fees are subject to change each academic year. You can find out what qualifies as home, EU, and overseas fees here.

Financial support for your studies

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

Course Structure

The undergraduate degree at The Courtauld Institute of Art is a course unit degree, that is to say, a degree which aims to be responsive to the particular choices of individual students without losing its identity as a qualification in the study of the history of art. Your Personal Tutor will guide you in a structured and progressive set of choices through each successive year of the degree, and to advise on the assessment procedures.

The first-year art history courses are designed to offer you a broad coverage of the periods, regions, materials and approaches to art and architecture from antiquity to the present.  A course of lectures called Foundations runs throughout autumn and spring terms and into the early part of the summer term. This is supported by weekly discussion classes.  In each of the autumn and spring terms you will also take one Topic Course of focused study which will introduce you to some of the monuments, collections and art institutions of London.

Autumn Topic Courses [this will be an accordion]

  • Graphic Expressions: Printmaking in Germany 1880-1937
  • The Art of the Renaissance Courts in London Collections
  • Sensory Encounters with Dress and Textiles
  • Beyond Black: Contemporary Art in Britain Now
  • Rubens in Paint and on Paper
  • Hogarth in London
  • The Pursuit of Leisure in the Middle Ages
  • Early Italian Art in London Collections
  • Northern European Art in London Collections
  • The Possibilities of Portraiture – Lectures
  • Representing the Body in Victorian art – Lectures

Spring Topic Courses [this will be an accordion]

Foundation Lecture Series [this will be an accordion]

As art history is an international discipline, ability in a foreign language is essential (as well as being useful in your future life), and so you are expected to develop and improve your language skills in the first year.  You will therefore follow a weekly Language Course throughout the first year, starting in November. Language Teaching is provided by the Language Centre of the London School of Economics. You may choose any language provided by LSE; however, only certain courses will be tailored to our students. If you have a post-GCSE qualification in a language then you should choose a different one with the approval of your Personal Tutor.  You must complete the language examination at the end of the year.  Traditionally our students have done French, German or Italian.

By the end of the first year, you will have been taught through lectures and related discussion classes within the Foundations Course, and through group visits to buildings, galleries or museums to study objects at first hand.  You will also have submitted essays for individual feedback, some assessed as part of the course.  The objective of the year is the acquisition of a basic knowledge of objects and materials across a wide period.  The emphasis is on knowledge and the tools necessary to think and write critically about this knowledge and its acquisition.

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