Art History

Key Facts

Course Code V393
  • Qualification


  • Typical Course Length

    1 Year

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The Aberystwyth MA in Art History is a full-time, modular degree designed for students who wish to study the history of art through the personal research and excellent tutorage.  This course is designed to help you develop your understanding of art history by engaging with it as an intellectual pursuit and a professional discipline; one which requires training, skill and practice as well as individual creativity.  This course aims to extend your knowledge and experience in art history, train you in research methodologies and stimulate vigorous intellectual inquiry in the subject.

Aberystwyth University’s MA in Art History features a number of modules which will encourage you to direct your studies into areas of art which particularly fascinate you.  This course of study is designed to enable you to delve deeply into your chosen specialism, whether that focuses on specific materials, styles, time periods or locations.  The School of Art at Aberystwyth provides supervision and specialist knowledge in a huge range of subjects including British art, ceramics, contemporary painting, graphic arts (including book illustration and much more), Nineteenth Century European Art, museum and gallery studies, the visual culture of religion, Wales and art, and women’s art, crafts and design.

In addition to teaching, the School holds registered museum status from the Museums and Galleries Commission of Great Britain, and houses a teaching and research collection of over 16,000 items, including original paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, ceramics and decorative art.   The School of Art also administers the Catherine Lewis Trust Fund, which continues to acquire important works of art for the University.

  • Key Facts
  • Overview
  • Modules
  • Employability

Key Facts


One year full-time. The academic year is divided into three semesters, but this course is administered in two parts: Part One runs from October to May; Part Two runs from June to September.

Contact Time:

Approximately 10-14 hours a week in the first two semesters.  During semester three you will arrange your level of contact time with your assigned supervisor.


The taught part of the course (Part 1) is delivered and assessed through lectures, student seminars, practical exercises and exhibitions. Successful completion of your exhibition (Part 2) leads to the award of an MA.

Entry Requirements:

Good Undergraduate degree 2.2 (UK) (or above) equating to a mark of 56.5 or above in a related subject. European and International applicants can find their grade equivalence on our comparability page. Applicants are also required to provide a copy of an undergraduate dissertation, extended essay or a published article, together with a statement of the specific area(s) of interest in art history. Those who are not graduates must satisfy the University that they are of the required academic standard to pursue postgraduate study.

English Language Requirements:

If you have a Bachelor’s degree from a UK University, you do not need to take an English proficiency test.

Non-native English speakers who do not meet this requirement must take a University-recognised test of academic English language proficiency. For further information please see our English Language requirements page.

Course Fees:

Please see the tuition fee pages for current tuition fees. Please note that all fees are subject to an annual increase.


Funding opportunites may be available, please check our funding calculator for details.


The Aberystwyth MA in Art History provide you with an excellent opportunity to develop your artistic understanding of your chosen art specialism.  In every area of this course, you will be encouraged to contribute to the School’s academic knowledge of art and art history through your own research. Here at the School of Art, 100% of our research impact was assessed as world-leading and internationally excellent in the most recent Research Excellence Framework assessment (2014). You will also be able to participate in ‘Forum’ seminars to communicate orally and critically about your work.  You will also have the opportunity to submit articles for publication to develop your engagement with critical and public opinion.

The majority of staff members at the School of Art are practising artists and art historians in their own right, who have exhibited and published widely in their field.  Postgraduate teaching at Aberystwyth springs from staff research interests in both Fine Art and Art History.  Under their guidance, you will make full use of the School’s spacious painting studios, print workshops, darkrooms, art galleries, reference rooms  and specially designated postgraduate studios.

The course is a full-time programme, taught over one year, and is divided into two parts over three semesters. (Part time study is conducted over two years.)  In part one, you will study a number of core modules, together worth a total of 120 credits, whilst directing your own study in part two where you will research your chosen specialism.  This Master’s dissertation project is worth 60 credits and the descriptions relating to all the study modules can be found on the "course content" tab.

Throughout the course, you will undertake a thorough examination of the interface between art practice, art theory and the concept of visual culture while considering its implication for the study of art history. You will improve your capacity for critical reading, discussion, presentation and writing, as well as developing an awareness of art practice in relation to art history and theory.  You will also be offered additional tutorial meetings to develop your reading and writing in art theory.

Upon graduation from the MA in Art History, you will have demonstrated academic excellence, personal rigor and critical engagement with contemporary art and art history at the high Masters level.

Our Staff

Through their active involvement with the practice, history and curation of art, staff members of the School of Art seek to provide a rich learning environment for the student. Their experience as exhibiting artists, publishing art historians and practising curators actively informs the teaching.


Please note: The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery during the next academic year and may be subject to change. They are included here to give an indication of how the course is structured.


Qualification: MA in Art History

This degree will suit you:

  • If you wish to extend your knowledge and experience in art history;
  • If you wish to be stimulated by vigorous intellectual inquiry in the subject;
  • If you aim to pursue a career in Art in public and critical arenas;
  • If you wish to explore this fascinating subject through applied research and vocational training.


Every aspect of the Aberystwyth Master’s in Art History programme is designed to enhance your employability.  Successful completion of this degree is in itself certain to do so by strengthening your CV; but more significant is the hugely enhanced array of knowledge, abilities and skills with which you will graduate. 

Your pursuit of personal development as an art academic, coupled with increased critical faculties, will make you a strong candidate for any post where people and opinions meet.  Likewise, the study skills and technical knowledge of hands-on artistic processes will give you a tremendous advantage in employment within the Arts. 

For example, the module entitled Research Project, will expect you to develop and demonstrate an array of professional qualities and skills.  Having undertaken a piece of applied art historical research, you will make your research accessible through a variety of art historical applications, including a small exhibition with published catalogue, a multi-media database, computer book, or study pack for students.  In doing so, you will become secure in highly employable skills and technologies, including Information and Communication technologies, liaison skills and the technology of print production. 

Similarly, other modules will provide opportunities to gain experiences and transferrable skills.  By managing the practicalities of exhibition preparation, installation, and curation, you also gain direct experience in every aspect of events and venue management.  Though the conditions may be subject-specific, the skills you will learn in the process are highly marketable.

Whether your chosen career path involves curating, exhibiting, criticism, collecting, art journalism or any of countless other routes, your Masters Degree in Art History from Aberystwyth University will signal to prospective employers your commitment to personal excellence, professional rigour and high academic quality.