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History of Art (MA)

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  • Objectives
    In this degree we aim to increase your historiographical awareness, to stimulate critical debate and to develop your research skills. It will help to widen your understanding of debates and traditions in art history and visual culture, and develop your ability to explore historical and critical issues independently. In addition to developing critical skills with written and visual texts, you have the opportunity to practise your oral presentation skills. Graduates will have a thorough grasp of art-historical methodologies and will be capable of independent research. Many graduates undertake further postgraduate work or progress to careers in arts-related fields.
  • Entry requirements
    Entry requirements BA honours degree – which ideally includes a substantial component of art history, visual culture or related study – or relevant professional experience.
  • Academic Title
    History of Art (MA)
  • Course description
    Content
    The MA programme consists of a combination of a core course, a choice of option modules, a research project, and a dissertation. More detailed information about the programme is available on the website.

    The core course is designed to explore methodologies and issues involved in the current study of the discipline (around such topics as exhibition, reception and interdisciplinarity), as well as research skills and methods.

    Option modules allow you to pursue specific interests and areas of research in selected topics from the Italian Renaissance to the present.

    The research project offers you the chance to undertake independent research and to reflect on the process of research.

    You will complete the programme with a 10,000-word dissertation.

    Teaching
    Lectures, seminars, guest speakers and student presentations.

    Assessment
    Three coursework essays of 5000 words each, a research project report of 6000 words and a 10,000-word dissertation.

    When to apply
    -Interviews from March onwards.
    -Early application recommended.

    Study resources
    As a student, you will have access to the Birkbeck Library and an in-house slide library and self-access centre. In addition, our location in Bloomsbury offers excellent access to specialist libraries in the University of London. These include the University of London Library, the Institute for Historical Research, the Warburg Institute, the School of Oriental and African Studies, together with the major national resource of the British Library.

    As a postgraduate student with the School, you will also have easy access to specialist art libraries not far from Birkbeck. These include the library of the Courtauld Institute of Art, the British Architectural Library and the National Art Library at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A). The great visual resources of the British Museum, the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery, Tate Gallery and the V&A, commercial galleries and salesrooms, and temporary exhibition galleries like the Barbican Gallery, the Institute of Contemporary Arts, the Hayward Gallery and the Royal Academy also make London a particularly good place in which to undertake research.

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