Photography / Art History

BA Photography / Art History Code WV63 Attend an Open Day Attend an Open Day

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You are viewing this course for September start 2024

In studying Photography and Art History at Aberystwyth University you will not simply be studying the history of great art and artists, but will create, curate and exhibit your own photographic artwork. Our School of Art is one of the highest-ranking art departments in the UK, situated in a magnificent Edwardian Grade II listed building overlooking Cardigan Bay, where history meets practice and the traditional meets the contemporary. You will have access to an internationally-renowned collection of art and artefacts, comprising some 20,000 prints, photographs, drawings, paintings and ceramics, all housed within our very own government-accredited art museum with its own galleries. Photography and Art History at Aberystwyth University promotes critical thinking and an expansive approach to the study of art history, while furnishing you with an applied knowledge and practical experience of the techniques of photographic image capture and reproduction, ensuring that you graduate with the skills and attributes you will need to flourish in your chosen field.

Course Overview

Why study Photography and Art History at Aberystwyth University? 

You will have access to the extensive art and artefact collections belonging to the School of Art at Aberystwyth University which will instill in you a practical hands-on knowledge and appreciation of art history.

The School of Art offers the opportunity for primary-source analysis through its fine collection of rare and original photographic prints which you will be able to explore and study at close hand. 

You will be taught by staff, photographers and curators who are very experienced in their respective fields.

You will learn the techniques and contemporary practice for the curation of exhibitions to museum standard and will present an exhibition of your photographic work in the School of Art galleries as part of your degree scheme.

The School of Art at Aberystwyth University is an Accredited Museum. Its collections have benefited greatly from the financial support of MALD (Museum, Archives and Libraries Division, Wales), the V&A Purchase Grant Fund, purchase grants from the Art Fund, the support of the Arts Council of Wales and both the Arts Council and Heritage Lottery Fund who have provided for proper storage and maintenance of the collections in safe and environmentally controlled conditions.

You will also benefit from access to the National Library of Wales (one of the UK’s five copyright libraries), which is adjacent to Penglais campus, and which holds a copy of all works published in the UK and the largest collections of portraits, maps and photographic images in Wales.

Our Staff

Our teaching staff are practicing professionals. As exhibiting artists, publishing researchers and curators, they provide an informed and stimulating learning environment. This ensures that the skills you learn at the School of Art are practice orientated, relevant and applicable.

For further information, visit our individual staff profiles.

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
Exhibition 1: Graduation Show AR30130 30
Photography 5 - Photo Directed Practice AR32130 30


Module Name Module Code Credit Value
Art in Wales AH33720 20
Curating an Exhibition: Researching, Interpreting and Displaying AH32720 20
Dissertation AH32020 20
Drawn to Order: British Illustration since 1800 AH33620 20
Rethinking Impressionism AH30720 20

* Also available partially or entirely through the medium of Welsh


The study of Art History has many practical applications. It promotes critical thinking and provides a sound foundation for careers in heritage, education, publishing, journalism, as well as curating and art administration. In studying Photography and Art History at Aberystwyth University you will acquire a range of skills applicable to numerous career pathways, including: Museum or Gallery assistant, Librarian, Teacher, Information officer, Magazine journalist, Newspaper journalist, Press photographer, Magazine features editor, Media researcher, Film/video editor and Web Designer.

Teaching & Learning

What will I learn?

In the first year you will gain an awareness of the historical, national and socio-political context of art and visual culture through an appreciation of paintings and photography. You will acquire the appropriate visual and verbal vocabulary applicable to the interpretation of artworks, while gaining essential practical photographic skills.

In the second year you will examine Western art practice and theory in the Modern and Post-Modern period and assess the impact of new media in contemporary culture. You will extend your own photographic skillset, while acquiring the critical apparatus to evaluate photographic imagery as an art form.

In the third year you will have the opportunity to specialise in the history of art in Wales, gothic art, abstract art, illustration, sound as art or Impressionism, according to your preferences. You will develop your curatorial skills by preparing an exhibition of your own photographic work in the Graduation Show.

How will I be taught?

This course is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, workshops, demonstrations, and practical sessions.

Your photographic portfolio of prints will be accompanied by your working notebooks detailing your process experiments, image plans, drawings, written and visual material, demonstrating both thematic and technical research and experimentation in technique, format and media. Additional forms of assessment may include essays, presentations and exams.

Typical Entry Requirements

UCAS Tariff 120 - 96

A Levels BBB-CCC and a satisfactory portfolio

GCSE requirements (minimum grade C/4):
English or Welsh

BTEC National Diploma:
DDM-MMM and a satisfactory portfolio

International Baccalaureate:
30-26 and a satisfactory portfolio

European Baccalaureate:
75%-65% overall and a satisfactory portfolio

English Language Requirements:
See our Undergraduate English Language Requirements for this course. Pre-sessional English Programmes are also available for students who do not meet our English Language Requirements.

Country Specific Entry Requirements:
International students whose qualification is not listed on this page, can check our Country Specific Entry Requirements for further information.

The University welcomes undergraduate applications from students studying the Access to Higher Education Diploma or T-level qualifications, provided that relevant subject content and learning outcomes are met. We are not able to accept Access to Higher Education Diplomas or T-levels as a general qualification for every undergraduate degree course.
Our inclusive admissions policy values breadth as well as depth of study. Applicants are selected on their own individual merits and offers can vary. If you would like to check the eligibility of your qualifications before submitting an application, please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for advice and guidance.

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