Art History

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Key Facts

Code V350
  • Typical A-level offer

    BBC with B in any subject

  • Course Length

    3 Years

Further details on entry requirements

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Art History at Aberystwyth University provides the rare opportunity to study the history of art within a magnificent listed building where art is also made, curated and exhibited. Your training will be enriched, challenged and expanded by your growing understanding of historical and cultural contexts, exposure to the work of staff and student art practitioners, and access to our internationally renowned museum collections of fine and decorative art.

In choosing our Art History degree, you will join one of the best art departments in the UK and the only provider of Art History degrees in Wales. On completion of this scheme, you will emerge with real world capabilities, enabling you to pursue careers as art historians, arts administrators, curators and/or educators.

School of Art: 97% student satisfaction (NSS 2017)

100% of our graduates were in work or further study within 6 months, 7% more than Creative Arts and Design graduates nationally, (DLHE 2017)

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


Why study Art History at Aberystwyth?

  • Benefit from the disciplined acquisition of research, interpretive, theoretical and curatorial skills.
  • Develop and apply a critical intelligence in order to interrogate and understand historical and contemporary artworks and visual culture.
  • Make a valued contribution to a close community of students and staff within a well-respected School of Art that was established in 1917.
  • Gain access to excellent teaching facilities that include seminar rooms, lecture theatre, galleries and a museum all housed in a magnificent Grade II* listed building.
  • Explore our internationally significant collection of fine and decorative art. As an Accredited Museum, the School runs its own galleries with some 20,000 paintings, drawings, prints and photographs dating from the fifteenth century to the present day.
  • Learn from experienced staff who are internationally renowned art historians and curators.
  • Enjoy our close association with the university Arts Centre that is one of the largest in the UK and a major venue for exhibitions by contemporary artists and designers.
  • Benefit from unrivalled access to the nearby National Library of Wales, one of only five copyright libraries in the United Kingdom, with over six million books, maps, prints and manuscripts, and a fine collection of paintings and works on paper.
  • Become part of a vibrant arts community to network with fellow students, staff and the community at regular private views.
  • Participate in our study visits within the UK or abroad (destinations have included Madrid, Paris, Rome, Amsterdam, New York, Vienna, Barcelona, Venice, Moscow, St Petersburg, Florence, Budapest and Lisbon).
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.



What career opportunities are there for me on completion of this degree?

As well as establishing careers as professional art historians, with significant publishing and exhibition-curation profiles, our graduates have become employees of:

  • Design Council
  • Arts Council
  • The Tate
  • Victoria and Albert Museum
  • Royal Academy of Arts
  • Carlton Television
  • The Observer
  • The Saachi Gallery
  • BBC
  • The Royal Collections Trust

Some of our graduates are, for example, currently:

  • University Professors
  • Secondary School teachers
  • Art gallery managers
  • Museum or Exhibition curators
  • Arts journalists and researchers
  • Art directors in publishing
  • Easel painting and works on paper conservators

Each year a significant number of our graduates enrol on a Master of Arts degree scheme. Postgraduate study can lead to further career options in teaching and lecturing. 

Transferable Skills 

Apart from being intellectually stimulating and personally rewarding, the study of Art History at Aberystwyth has many practical benefits. It fosters a hands-on approach to the challenges of everyday life, encourages creative problem solving, improves the ability to adapt in a changing world, and enhances interpersonal liaison skills. These assets, sought after in today’s job market as transferable skills, are actively promoted during your course at the School of Art. These include the ability to: 

  • conceive creative solutions for specific problems
  • research, evaluate and organise information
  • clearly communicate ideas and information, both orally and in writing
  • work independently and with others
  • effectively organise your time and deploy your skills
  • be self-motivated and self-disciplined. 

What work experience opportunities exist whilst studying? 

Click here to find out about the various opportunities that our Aberystwyth University Careers team offer.

Enhance your employability prospects with GO Wales and YES (Year in Employment Scheme) managed by our Careers department. 

Teaching & Learning

What will I learn? 

The breakdown below will provide you with an illustration of what you may study during the three year degree scheme.

The scheme will enable you to develop critical and interpretive skills, as well as historical knowledge, under the tutelage of publishing art historians and practicing exhibition curators. In a recent UK-wide assessment, our art history staff research impact was deemed to be 100% ‘world leading’ and ‘internationally excellent’. Staff research experience actively informs our teaching, providing a rich learning environment for the student.

In your first year, through the disciplined acquisition of fundamental knowledge, interpretation and writing skills in Art History, you will explore:

  • Fundamentals of researching and responding to works of art as well as develop critical understandings of art and visual culture
  • European and American art organized by historical themes and styles (for example, representations of the body and ways of looking into landscape)
  • Professional writing skills in art history
  • Explore art of eighteenth and nineteenth century Europe within its historical and cultural contexts
  • Select from optional, specialised modules according to your interests and ambitions
  • School of Art Museum collections as a resource for research, enlightenment, inspiration and enjoyment

In your second year you will:

  • Through core modules, investigate the practices and theories of twentieth century art in Europe and America
  • Construct your own curriculum from our portfolio of optional specialized art history modules
  • Deepen your understanding of ideas and demonstrate stylistic proficiency when writing about Art History
  • Develop a personal voice as an art historian
  • Grow a self-critical and professional approach to your thinking and writing about Art History
  • Consider your career ambitions and position yourself within contemporary contexts and the demands of the profession
  • Build upon your academic writing and study skills in preparation for your dissertation

In your third year you will be expected to:

  • Consolidate subject knowledge, your research and writing skills, and critical and interpretive understanding of Art History acquired over three years
  • Select from our portfolio of Art History modules that engage with specialised, interdisciplinary and/or curatorial aspects of the subject
  • Develop a professional profile or identity as an art historian
  • Produce a body of essays and a dissertation that demonstrate stylistic and conceptual coherence
  • Demonstrate knowledge of historical, contemporary and emerging practices relevant to your field of study
  • Work for a sustained period undertaking original research towards an Art History dissertation
  • Generate ideas independently or collaboratively in response to set assignments or self-initiated research
  • Develop a personal, individual and imaginative response your chosen specialisms
  • Explore further historical and current issues in our understanding of art history and visual culture

How will I be taught?

Our programme is delivered through lectures, seminars, workshops, tutorials and field trips. You will receive one-to-one tuition to support you throughout.

Assessment in Art History is by coursework, essays, exams, presentations, projects, dissertation, and a curated exhibition from the museum collection.

You will be assigned a personal tutor to whom you may turn for guidance and help, academic-related or pastoral. You should feel free to contact them at any time for help and advice. 

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

Typical Entry Requirements

A Levels BBC with B in any subject

GCSE requirements (grade C min):
English or Welsh

BTEC National Diploma:

International Students

International Baccalaureate:
30 points overall

European Baccalaureate:
65% overall

Applicants are considered on their individual merits and offers can vary. For further information, please contact

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