Art History

You are viewing this course for September start 2024

The School of Art at Aberystwyth University is a place where art is created and debated, exhibited and experienced. More than gaining knowledge in art history, you will be studying alongside practising artists, curators and published historians. As a student on the MA Art History course, you will also have access to studios, print workshops, photographic and digital equipment.

Whether your chosen career path involves curating, exhibiting, criticism, collecting, art journalism or any other route, by undertaking this course you will develop essential skills, expertise and experience. By studying the history of art through personal research and excellent tutorage you will engage in vigorous intellectual inquiry in the subject and delve deeply into your chosen specialism.

Typical Entry Requirements

Entry Requirements 2:1 Bachelors (Honours) degree in a relevant subject area or equivalent. Non-graduates will be considered individually based on relevant work experience.

English Language Requirements IELTS 6.5 with minimum 5.5 in each component, or equivalent

Other Requirements Applicants are encouraged to submit an up-to-date CV as part of their application.

Back to the top

Course Overview

Our MA in Art History course is skills-orientated and career-building, combining applied research with vocational training. It also equips you with essential research and writing skills, to which you are introduced as part of our core module, Artworld.

Studying independently or as part of a team, you will be encouraged to develop critical and interdisciplinary thinking, communicate your ideas in seminar discussions and presentations, as well as publicly share your research.

The School of Art is one of only two UK art schools to have achieved government-accredited museum status. Our renowned collection of fine art and objects of material culture provides opportunities for original, tutor-negotiated research projects. It not only enables you to examine artefacts at close hand, study their techniques and discover their pasts, but also to catalogue and curate our collections under the guidance of our museum professionals.

About this course


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.

Modules September start - 2024

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.


Module Name Module Code Credit Value
Artworld: Contemporary Practice in Context (for Students of Art History) AHM0940 40
Dissertation AHM0460 60
Research Project AHM0260 60
Vocational Practice ARM0120 20

* Also available partially or entirely through the medium of Welsh


The study of Art History has many practical applications. As well as establish themselves as professional art historians, our postgraduates pursue careers in education, publishing and advertising, and in curating, conservation and arts administration. Their employers include the Arts Council, Royal Academy of Arts, Tate, Victoria and Albert Museum, Ashmolean Museum, and the Royal Collections Trust. There is opportunity as well to continue your studies by enrolling on research degrees (PhD) at Aberystwyth University or elsewhere.


Throughout this course you will develop a wide array of skills that will not only market you as a professional artist, but also as a mature individual with attractive skills and qualities for potential employers. This course will encourage you to:

  • Develop and sustain a self-initiated programme of work
  • Play an active, learning based role in the operation of the School's galleries
  • Hold up your work against scrutiny from tutors, peers, critics, and the public
  • Improve your capacity for conducting a critical review of yours and others' work through discussion, forum seminars, presentation and writing
  • 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
  • Contribute to the School's academic knowledge of art and art history through your own research
  • Increase your critical faculties
  • Engage critically with contemporary art and art history 
  • Undertake art historical research involving applied skills such as gallery education, cataloguing and database work, archive and oral history projects, or the curation of exhibitions
  • Develop study and research skills. 

Teaching & Learning

How will I learn?

The course can be studied either one year full-time or two years part-time. The taught part of the course is delivered through lectures, seminars, and practical exercises. During semester three (June-September), you will arrange your level of contact time with your assigned dissertation supervisor.

What will I learn?

In the first two semesters (September to May), you will study a number of modules, together worth a total of 120 credits. This includes a 60 credit research project, taught over the two semesters, research training modules to prepare you in research methodologies, and a module on Art & Visual Culture, where you examine art and art criticism within the broader context of contemporary visual culture. In the final semester (June to September), you will undertake a 60 credit MA dissertation.

How will I be assessed?

In the first two semesters, students are assessed via a mix of exhibitions, portfolios, essays, presentations, web-design production, and teaching experience projects. Successful completion of the dissertation leads to the award of an MA.