Visual Culture MA


Fact file

MA Visual Culture
1 year full-time | 2 years part-time
Entry requirements
2.1(Upper 2nd class hons degree or international equivalent)
Other requirements
7.0 (no less than 6.0 in any element)

If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses are available
Start date
University Park
Tuition fees
You can find fee information on our fees table.


This course has been designed to foster critical thinking and to develop your analytical skills.
Read full overview

The MA in Visual Culture fosters close analysis of 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 visual culture, and the issues that pertain to the historical study of visual culture as a discipline.

Students complement their studies in art history and visual culture with a module taken in another department, such as History, Geography, and Culture, Film and Media.

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 Visual Culture 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.

Key facts

  • 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 Visual Culture is supported by the Nottingham Institute for Research in Visual Culture.

Course details

The MA Visual Culture course consists of 180 credits. Students undertake one core module (30 credits) and three optional modules (30 credits each). One optional module is taken in a department other than History of Art. The course culminates in a 15,000 word dissertation (60 credits).

The core module provides students with a range of theoretical and methodological tools for the study of art history and visual culture.

Optional Art History 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.

Optional modules in another department will enable students to build inter-disciplinary approaches to their chosen field, through the study of additional approaches and histories. These might, for example, be in History, Geography, or Culture, Film and Media.



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.

Optional Art History modules include:

  • Landscape, Space and Place
  • Image and Identity
  • Visualising Conflict
  • Art and Spectatorship

In addition, students take one module in a department other than Art History, such as History, Geography, or Culture, Film & Media.

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.

For details on our modules, please see the module catalogue.

New: masters-level professional development modules for arts and humanities students

The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. This list is an example of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.




UK/EU Students

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 University also has a funding database which you can search. 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. 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 Visual Culture, you will gain valuable transferable skills, an advanced qualification in the discipline and have 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

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers.*

Consequently - and owing to our reputation for excellence - over 95% of postgraduates from the Faculty of Arts entered employment, voluntary work or further study during the first six months after graduation in 2015. The average starting salary was £20,250 with the highest being £33,000.** 

* The Graduate Market 2013-2016, High Fliers Research. 
**Known destinations of full-time home postgraduates 2014/15. Salaries are calculated based on those in full-time paid employment within the UK. 

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.  
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Claire Croal
Department of History of Art
The University of Nottingham
University Park
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