Art History with Fine Art

Key Facts

Code V3W1
  • Typical A-level offer

    BBC with B in Art or appropriate plus satisfactory portfolio

  • Course Length

    3 Years

Further details on entry requirements

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In choosing to study this Art History with Fine Art Degree you will discover the many facets of Art History and Visual Culture. You will examine the significant issues of Art History from a variety of aspects that include methodology, criticism, and theoretical suppositions. You will uncover these issues through a variety teaching and learning methods and you will be able to build upon these skills in your second and third years when you construct your own curriculum from a broad portfolio of modules that includes Art and Society; Contemporary Art; History of Graphic Art; and the Renaissance amongst several others. Upon successful completion of the Art History with Fine Art Degree you will have the skills and capabilities sought by employers and the foundation for a successful career.

Top 5 in the UK for Fine Art subject area (NSS 2016)

School of Art: 100% student satisfaction (NSS 2016)

100% of undergraduates from the School of Art who graduated in 2015 were in employment or further education six months after graduating (DLHE 2015)

  • Overview
  • Modules
  • Employability
  • Teaching & Learning
  • Student Views


This degree scheme allows you to engage with the study of art and visual culture from a range of different perspectives and through close engagement with actual works of art. The modules you take in Fine Art will allow you to create your own original work and to draw links between your theoretical knowledge and your own creative practice. As this is a major/ minor scheme you will spend two-thirds of your time studying Art History and one-third studying Fine Art.

Why study Art History with Fine Art at Aberystwyth?

The teaching of Art at Aberystwyth has a distinguished history that goes back to 1917, when it was one of only a handful of British universities to be concerned with the Art and Crafts Movement. The listed building which houses the School of Art, and which celebrated its centenary in 2007, has been adapted to meet the needs of today’s Fine Art education while retaining many of its original features. It is an elegant symbol of the School’s aim to link the traditional and the contemporary.

The School of Art can offer you excellent facilities for the study of painting, the graphic arts, and photography, with studio facilities for painting, printmaking in intaglio, lithography, screen and relief printing, typography, black and white and colour photography, computer graphics, and most forms of reprographics.

As a student at Aberystwyth you will have access to a superb range of visual arts, including an extensive collection of original artworks. The School of Art is an Accredited Museum that runs its own galleries and houses a collection of some 20,000 prints, photographs, drawings and watercolours, ceramics and decorative art dating from the fifteenth century to the present day. The Ceramics Gallery in the University Arts Centre also houses an important collection of twentieth-century studio pottery.

Our lecturers include practising artists, historians and theorists, who are highly regarded in their respective fields. In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (2014) 100% of research impact by the Department was rated as being internationally excellent, with 75% of publications and exhibitions being of an internationally recognised standard.

These increases reflect our investment in innovative and strategic student-focused employability initiatives which encompass all our academic Institutes and which we firmly believe are likely to improve our employability ratings still further.

In addition to the University library, as an Art student at Aberystwyth you will enjoy unrivalled access to the National Library of Wales. One of only five copyright libraries in the United Kingdom, with over six million books, maps, prints and manuscripts, it is situated within a five-minute walk of the Department. It holds a fine collection of pictures and photographs in original and digital media, ranging from paintings and drawings on paper and canvas to cartoons and book illustrations.

The School of Art runs an exciting programme of guest lectures and workshops from all aspects of the arts, and fieldtrips and excursions offer you the opportunity to enjoy art in a variety of historic and cultural settings. All students at the School of Art have the option to take part in an overseas field trip, currently to New York.

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.


Career prospects

Graduates of this degree scheme are highly qualified for a range of art-related careers, such as museum or art gallery curator or education officer, arts administrator, conservation officer or art therapist. Alternatively, you may choose to become a professional artist, photographer, printmaker, book illustrator, graphic designer, fashion or textile designer. You could choose to go onto further study and pursue a career in lecturing and research, or you could take a PGCE and teach in a school. However, your options are not limited to careers that are directly related to your degree scheme. Other career prospects include public relations, advertising, librarianship, local government and management.

Transferable Skills

Students of Art History with Fine Art develop transferable skills that are attractive to employers in a variety of fields, giving them great flexibility in their choice of career. These skills include:

• the ability to express ideas and communicate information in a clear and structured manner, in both written and oral form

• analytical and creative thinking skills

• decision-making

• the ability to work independently

• time-management and organisational skills, including the ability to meet deadlines

• self-motivation and self-reliance

• team-working, with the ability to discuss concepts in groups, accommodating different ideas and reaching agreement

Year in Employment scheme (YES)

The University operates a Year in Employment Scheme (YES), which offers you a fantastic opportunity to take a year out between your second and third year to work in an organisation in the UK or overseas. YES provides a very rewarding and worthwhile experience, both personally and professionally, and can help you to stand out from the crowd in a very competitive job market. The University’s Career Service will help you to explore your options and secure a suitable work placement. 

GO Wales

GO Wales is administered by the University’s Career Service, working with local businesses to create paid work placements of a few weeks’ duration for students. It gives you the opportunity to gain valuable work experience which will enhance your CV and make you more attractive to potential employers.

Teaching & Learning

What will you learn?

In Art History you will have the freedom to choose the modules that most interest you from topics including eighteenth- and nineteenth-century European art; mid twentieth-century British painting; representations of the body; chapel architecture; graphic art; and photography. In your second year you will take a core module in professional practice that will help you to develop skills in communication, information technology and CV writing that are likely to be relevant to your future career, and also research and writing skills to prepare you for your final-year dissertation and possible postgraduate study. Your dissertation allows you to carry out a substantial piece of independent research on the topic of your choice under supervision from an expert in your field.

On the Fine Art side of your course, in your first year you will study compulsory core modules that will provide a grounding in techniques of drawing, painting, print-making and photography. Your second and third years are much more open and self-directed, allowing you to choose to focus on the media and techniques that most interest you. You can choose to take modules on topics including painting, life drawing, photography, print-making, book illustration, installation and film.

Among many skills you will learn: to demonstrate understanding of the visual culture of several different geographical regions and historical periods; to conduct independent research; to produce relevant arguments supported by evidence; to display critical judgement and awareness of alternative points of view within Art History; to work independently and manage your time effectively; to show understanding of the relationship between current studio practice and its historical background; to display technical competence in a range of media and artistic techniques; to develop an ethos of professionalism in your approach to the study, display and creation of art.

How will you be taught?

Your Art History modules will be taught through inspiring lectures, lively small-group seminars and workshops, and individual tutorials. As well as gaining a theoretical understanding of the history of art you will have frequent opportunities to engage with actual works of art through your use of the School's collections and through visits to relevant exhibitions or buildings. Teaching in Fine Art is delivered through a series of workshops and seminars alongside traditional lectures, with practical work forming a high proportion of your learning experience. Directed group work in the first year gives way to smaller specialised group projects and individual tuition in the second year. In your final year you will devise your own projects and receive one-to-one tuition to support you throughout.

Most Art History modules will be assessed through essays and exams but for some modules you may be asked to carry out another form of assessment such as a visual diary, critical journal, individual project, research test or oral presentation. Although it is not assessed, students who take the module ‘Exploring the School of Art Collections’ will have the opportunity to contribute text to the School of Art's museum website. Those who take the module ‘Staging an Exhibition’ will have the opportunity to curate an exhibition in a public gallery. These modules provide valuable professional experience that will set you apart from other graduates when you embark on your future career. In Fine Art you will create a portfolio of paintings, drawings, sketchbooks and related research materials which will form a large proportion of your continuous assessment.

You will be assigned a personal tutor throughout your degree course, who will help you with any problems or queries, whether these are academic-related or personal issues. You should feel free to contact them at any time for help and advice.

You will also have the opportunity to complete a Personal Development Plan (PDP) at Aberystwyth. This is a structured process of self-appraisal, reflection, and planning, which will enable you to chart your personal, academic and professional development throughout your time at university. By recording your academic performance, and highlighting the skills you already have and those you will need for future employability, the PDP portfolio will equip you with the necessary tools to plan effectively, develop successful approaches to study, and consider your future career options and aspirations.

Student Views

I love that Art History is so many courses rolled in to one. It is not just looking at art. It is about social and political history, social anthropology, studying different cultures and learning about how artists communicate their ideas and thoughts through their own mediums. It has helped me to get a much greater grasp of history in general and to understand how to enjoy looking at art and comprehend its messages. Learning about art history has also taught me a lot about how to research and the importance of maintaining and appreciating our shared cultural heritage. Amy Barson

I'm currently in my second year studying for a BA in Art History. I'm glad I chose to study the subject, as it has been highly interesting and has opened my eyes to the vast history of art, as well as challenging me to consider its growing importance in today's world. I did not previously have a vast knowledge of Art History, but the course has given me a thorough overview of many of the major aspects of the subject. It has also provided me with useful skills in observation, communication and experience with artist's materials. Rebecca Jones

Entry Requirements

A Levels BBC with B in Art or appropriate plus satisfactory portfolio

GCSE requirements (grade C min):
English or Welsh

BTEC National Diploma:
DMM plus satisfactory portfolio

International Students

International Baccalaureate:
30 points overall with Art or appropriate at Higher Level plus satisfactory portfolio

European Baccalaureate:
65% overall with Art or appropriate plus satisfactory portfolio

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