The MA Art History fosters close analysis of art and visual culture across a broad chronological period from the Renaissance to the present day and from a range of theoretical and historical approaches. Students are encouraged to develop a rigorous critical approach that engages with the issues and debates that surround the production, display, and reception of art and its historical and social context.
Postgraduate teaching draws directly on the current research of staff in the department and reflects an engagement with the latest art historical scholarship. Students are encouraged to develop independent research and critical thinking skills in order to produce original work on topics in their chosen field.
MA students are part of the lively research community in the Department of History of Art. The MA Art History is supported by the Nottingham Institute for Research in Visual Culture (NIRVC). The institute is concerned with all aspects of contemporary visual culture, as well as its histories, including fine art, public art and architecture; film, video and photography; digital multi- and mass media. In addition to their timetabled classes, students attend regular seminars and symposia hosted by NIRVC. They also take advantage of events and exhibitions at local art museums and galleries.
- This course has been designed to foster critical thinking and to develop your analytical skills – this is achieved by addressing a broad range of material.
- You will be offered sessions devoted to research and presentation skills; these sessions are designed to offer you practical support as a postgraduate student.
- When appropriate, seminars are held in the Djanogly Art Gallery, in the Castle Museum and Art Gallery in Nottingham or Nottingham Contemporary.
- The MA Art History is supported by the Nottingham Institute for Research in Visual Culture.
The MA Art History course consists of 180 credits. Students undertake two core modules (30 credits each) and two optional modules (30 credits each). The course culminates in a 15,000 word dissertation (60 credits).
Core modules provide students with a range of theoretical and methodological tools for the study of art history and visual culture, and encourage students to examine the production, display, reception and criticism of art as well as its historical and social context.
Optional modules adopt a broad thematic approach across a range of periods, locations, and types of cultural production. Students are encouraged to apply ideas to specific case studies in order to situate art and visual cultural production within a broader historical and theoretical context.
Critical Approaches to Art History and Visual Culture (Autumn semester) explores a range of theoretical issues relating to the study of art history and visual culture. The module helps prepare students for the philosophical questions we need to address in order to undertake a historical analysis of images.
Criticism and Display (Spring semester) examines key issues relating to both curatorial and critical practices in the visual arts. In addition to classes examining the history of criticism and display, students have the opportunity to develop exhibition ideas and critical writing skills in response to gallery visits and sessions led by curators.
Optional modules include:
- Landscape, Space and Place
- Image and Identity
- Visualising Conflict
- Art and Spectatorship
In preparation for researching and writing a 15,000-word dissertation, students undertake a series of focused workshops to support their project throughout its development, from defining a research topic through to planning and writing the dissertation. Each student will be assigned an academic supervisor who will advise on the development of their project in a series of individual tutorials.
New: masters-level professional development modules for arts and humanities students
For more details on our modules, please see the module catalogue.
The majority of postgraduate students in the UK fund their own studies, often from a package made up of personal savings, parental loans or contributions, bank loans and support from a trust or charity.
However, financial support and competitive scholarships are available and we encourage applicants to explore all funding opportunities at least a year in advance of the start date. Get information about:
The information on these pages provides basic details about funding available from the University of Nottingham and external sources. The Graduate School also has a list of funding opportunities. If you have any questions, please contact us.
International and EU students
The University of Nottingham offers a range of masters scholarships for international and EU students from a wide variety of countries and areas of study.
Applicants must receive an offer of study before applying for our scholarships. Applications for 2016 entry scholarships will open in late 2015. Please note the closing dates of any scholarships you are interested in and make sure you submit your masters course application in good time so that you have the opportunity to apply for them.
The International Office also provides information and advice for international and EU students on financing your degree, living costs, external sources of funding and working during your studies.
Find out more on our scholarships, fees and finance webpages for international applicants.
By studying art history, you will gain valuable transferable skills, an advanced qualification in the discipline and a rigorous foundation for further research and progression to PhD research, all of which will leave you ideally equipped for a range of careers.
Typically, our students are in great demand for their extensive knowledge of the subject and go on to employment within art galleries and museums.
Average starting salary and career progression
According to independent research, Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers* and over 2,000 employers approach the University every year with a view to recruiting our students. Consequently – and owing to our reputation for excellence – more than 94% of postgraduates from the Faculty of Arts enter employment, voluntary work or further study during the first six months after graduation**.
* The Graduate Market in 2013, 2014 and 2015, High Fliers Research.
** Data is taken from known destinations of the 2013/14 leaving cohort of Nottingham home/EU postgraduates who studied full-time.
Career Prospects and Employability
The acquisition of a masters degree demonstrates a high level of knowledge in a specific field. Whether you are using it to enhance your employability, as preparation for further academic research or as a means of vocational training, you may benefit from careers advice as to how you can use your new found skills to their full potential. Our Careers and Employability Service will help you do this, working with you to explore your options and inviting you to attend recruitment events where you can meet potential employers, as well as suggesting further development opportunities, such as relevant work experience placements and skills workshops.