History of Art and English BA


Fact file - 2019 entry

BA Jt Hons History of Art and English
UCAS code
3 years full-time (available part-time)
A level offer
Required subjects
A in English at A level
IB score
34 (6 in English at Higher Level) 
Course location
University Park Campus 
Course places

History of Art



This wide-ranging and varied course combines the study of visual arts in Europe and America with the opportunity to study English language, literature and drama from Old English to the present day.
Read full overview

By studying these two subjects alongside one another you will explore how visual and textual material interact across a range of historical periods, enriching your understanding of both art and literature.

Year one 

In year one, you will gain familiarity with the practices of working at degree level in both subjects. In English, you have a choice of three core modules from the areas of English Language and Applied Linguistics, Modern English Literature, Medieval Studies, and Drama and Performance. In history of art, you will be introduced to key issues and methods relating to the study of art history through core introductory modules. You will also take two specialist modules of your choice. 

Year two

In English, you have a choice of options to develop your interests in at least two areas of the discipline: English Literature, 1500 to present, Language and Linguistics, Medieval Languages and Literatures, and Drama and Performance. In history of art you will take three optional modules, choosing from topics covering the early modern, modern, and contemporary periods.. 

Year three

The final year of the degree (also referred to as Part II) is weighted at 67% of the overall assessment. At the end of year three, you are expected to demonstrate an efficient use of scholarly apparatus, to take initiative in your work and have some independence of judgement. You will have the opportunity to take a dissertation in history of art or English and choose from a wide range of optional modules, specialising in key areas of each subject.

More information

See also the School of English.

Entry requirements

A levels: AAB, including A in English at A level

English language requirements 

IELTS 7.0 (no less than 6.0 in any element)

If you require additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you may be able to attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education, which is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK.

Students who successfully complete the presessional course to the required level can progress onto their chosen degree course without retaking IELTS or equivalent.

Alternative qualifications

For details please see alternative qualifications page

Flexible admissions policy

In recognition of our applicants’ varied experience and educational pathways, the University of Nottingham employs a flexible admissions policy. We may make some applicants an offer lower than advertised, depending on their personal and educational circumstances. Please see the University’s admissions policies and procedures for more information.  


The following is a sample of the typical modules that we offer as at the date of publication but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Due to the passage of time between commencement of the course and subsequent years of the course, modules may change due to developments in the curriculum and the module information in this prospectus is provided for indicative purposes only.

Typical year one modules


History of Art

Introduction to Art History I

History of art is a broad discipline that encompasses many different approaches. This module takes as its basic premise that there is no one true history, but rather that there are various ways of approaching the past. With this in mind, you will examine key terms that have shaped the discipline of art history, in order to consider some key issues and debates that shape writing about art. The module is designed to get you thinking about how and why histories are written. Over the course of the module, you will consider broad questions, such as:

  • What counts as art and what should be included in history of art?
  • Should a history of art be a history of artists?
  • What about patrons, viewers, critics, historians, and museums?
  • How important is artist intention in defining the meaning of art? How useful are “-isms” in writing history of art?
  • How should we understand art in relation to social, political, and economic contexts?
  • How and why does art change?
  • How have chronological, geographical, and gender biases affected histories of art?
  • What makes “good” art and should we care?

The module also includes weekly workshops, designed to help you develop the academic skills required to study History of Art at undergraduate level.

Introduction to Art History II

This module builds on the foundation laid in Introduction to Art History I. It examines the study and interpretation of objects by considering different forms of writing on art. Each lecture will focus on a single work of art, examining a variety of ways in which it has been analysed. The artworks studied will cover the historical breadth of teaching in the Department of History of Art, from the Renaissance to the present day. The aim is to highlight diverse methodological approaches to art history, and different perspectives in dialogue across periods, geographies, and backgrounds. Integrated weekly workshops will allow you to develop and refine the academic skills acquired in Introduction to Art History I.


For English, you will need to choose three out of four modules

Beginnings of English


This module introduces you to the varied languages, literatures and cultures of medieval England (c.500-1500). You will read a variety of medieval texts which were originally written in Old English, Middle English and Old Norse. We study some texts in translation, but we also introduce you to aspects of Old and Middle English language to enable you to enjoy the nuance and texture of English literary language in its earliest forms. 

We will read texts in a variety of genres, from epic and elegy, to saga, romance and fable. We will discuss ideas of Englishness and identity, and learn about the production and transmission of texts in the pre-modern period.

Learning objectives:

  • To introduce you to linguistic vocabulary and terminology.
  • To enable you to become proficient in reading Old English and Middle English.
  • To give you an understanding of the complexities of English grammar, past and present.
  • To give you an understanding of the origins of English, and its development over the medieval period.
  • To familiarise you with the themes and genre of medieval English literature.

English Language and Applied Linguistics

This module teaches you about the nature of language, as well as how to analyse it for a broad range of purposes, preparing you for studies across all sections of the School.

During the weekly workshops you will learn about levels of language analysis and description, from the sounds and structure of language, through to meaning and discourse. These can be applied to all areas of English study, and will prepare you for future modules. Weekly lectures and seminars provide the Context part of the module. In the lectures you will see how the staff here in the School of English put these skills of analysis and description to use in their own research. This covers the study of language in relation to the mind, literature, culture, society, and more. The seminars will then give you a chance to think about and discuss these topics further.

Learning objectives:

  • To provide you with methods of language analysis and description for each linguistic level (phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, discourse)
  • To prepare you for conducting your own language research across your degree
  • To introduce you to the areas of research and study within the School, with particular focus on psycholinguistics, literary linguistics, and sociolinguistics
Studying Literature

This module introduces you to some of the core skills for literary studies, including skills in reading, writing, researching and presentation. The module addresses topics including close reading, constructing an argument, and handling critical material, as well as introducing you to key critical questions about literary form, production and reception. These elements are linked to readings of specific literary texts, focused on poetry and prose selected from the full range of the modern literary period (1500 to the present).

Across the year you will learn about different interpretive approaches and concepts, and will examine literary-historical movements and transitions.

Learning objectives:

  • To introduce you to selected literary texts, to deepen your imaginative engagement and analytic response.
  • To provide you with a basis of knowledge, working methods and appropriate terminology for subsequent work at university level.
  • To provide you with knowledge and understanding of the literary, cultural and historical contexts for literature from the period 1500 to the present, and the relationship between period and genre.
Drama and Performance


This module explores the extraordinary variety of drama in the Western dramatic tradition. You will examine dramatic texts in relation to their historical context, moving from the theatre of ancient Greece, English medieval drama, the theatre of Shakespeare and his contemporaries, the Restoration stage, to nineteenth-century naturalism. In addition to texts produced by writers from Sophocles to Ibsen, you will also consider a variety of extra-textual features of drama, including the performance styles of actors, the significance of performance space and place, and the composition of various audiences. You will study selected plays in workshops, seminars and lectures, during which we will explore adaptation and interpretation of the texts through different media resources. You will also have the opportunity to engage in practical theatre-making, exploring extracts from the selected play-texts in short, student-directed scenes in response to key questions about performance.

Learning objectives:

  • To provide you with an understanding of drama as a performance medium, in which real people and objects are presented to other people in real, shared space.
  • To introduce you to a range of historical performance conventions, including Ancient Greek tragedy and nineteenth century naturalism.
  • To enable you to recognise and analyse the varied elements which constitute performance.
  • To provide you with knowledge and understanding of the social, historical and cultural contexts of various play-texts.


Art and Power: Paris 1937

This module focuses on the International Exhibition held in Paris in 1937, which provides a survey of art in the service of politics in the years immediately preceding World War II. Participating countries – including the USSR, Germany, Italy, and Spain – were represented by national pavilions, combining art and architecture to articulate national values and ambitions. The cultural battles between contrasting styles of state-sponsored art – Soviet Socialist Realism, German Neoclassicism, Spanish Modernism – will be examined in light of political and military conflicts at a time when Europe was divided by the ongoing civil war in Spain. The module will consider important individual works, such as Picasso’s Guernica, as well as the pavilions as integrated artworks, combining visual arts and architecture.

Arts, Politics and Protest in y America

This module examines the ways in which artists responded to and engaged with domestic and foreign politics in America from the 1950s to the 1980s. It considers the ways in which artists used a range of artistic practices as a means of protest in an era of capitalist consumerism, the Cold War and the America Vietnam War, the rise of identity and sexual politics, the civil rights movement, and censorship and the US “culture wars”. In particular, this module will examine the work of historically marginalised constituencies, including African American artists, Mexican-American and Chicano artists, and women artists. 

Art in America 1945-80

This module introduces and examines some of the major themes and movements to emerge in American art after 1945, including Abstract Expressionism, Neo-Dada, Pop Art, and Conceptual Art. You will consider the historical and cultural contexts of art in a range of media, including painting, sculpture, installation and performance. You will look at some of the key critical responses to American modern art, and investigate the extent to which post-1945 practices were radically new or whether they were informed by awareness of pre-war and/or European avant-garde practices. 


Italian Renaissance Courts and Their Art, 1450-1520

This module examines painting, architecture and sculpture at the courts of Ferrara, Mantua, Naples, Urbino and Milan in the period 1420-1520 and suggests that the small princely courts of Italy played an important role in shaping ‘the Renaissance’. Princes at courts competed for the services of the 'best' artists, and Leonardo da Vinci, Pisanello, Piero della Francesca and Andrea Mantegna are just some of the masters who worked for these Courts. This module draws both on established literature, but also seeks to incorporate more recent research questions regarding gender, material culture etc. As such, this module introduces you to questions that will be developed further in modules in years two and three.  

Inventing French Art: From the Renaissance to Louis XIV

This module will provide a broad survey of French art from the later 16th century to the end of the   17th century, focusing on the era of Louis XIV. You will consider the role of architecture and different types of patronage; the creation and structure of the palace of Versailles; the origins of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture, and its use of theory and art education. We will focus on the careers of Charles Lebrun, and two of the Best-known French painters based in Rome (Nicolas Poussin and Claude Lorrain). You will also explore the remarkable provincial artists Georges de la Tour and the three Le Nain brothers. The module examines the functions of art and architecture within society and politics, and the invention of a national artistic tradition.

Italian Art in the Age of Caravaggio

This module looks at Italian art in early 17th century Rome through a focus on one of the best known painters active during that period, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. Caravaggio was a colourful character with a biography as delicious as his paintings, but the very notoriety of the artist during his lifetime can make looking at his merits as an artist quite difficult. Here, you look at Caravaggio and his contemporaries to get a better understanding of the artistic context of Rome in the late 1500s, a period often labelled as the Counter Reformation. The module will focus on the following themes:

  • the importance of imagery as a vehicle of propaganda
  • the importance of display and collecting to elite Roman patrons
  • the relationship between political centres; self-fashioning
  • the importance of women as patrons and as subjects of art, but also as artists themselves
Plural Art Histories

In this module, you will be examining selected pieces of art, architecture, and drama from classical Greece, China, Europe, colonial and postcolonial Americas, with some reference to contemporary examples, in order to explore some fundamental questions about art, such as: What is the relationship between creators and the world in which they live? How are the arts made, used, and regarded? In each case, the production and reception of the arts is studied through a contextual approach, paying attention to political, economic, religious, and cultural factors.

Typical year two modules

 History of Art


Art and Reform in Renaissance Germany

The module will investigate the role of art as a vehicle for the transmission of religious and political propaganda in the period c.1470-1530 in Germany. Various forms of art will be examined with reference to the widespread calls for religious reform. In turn, these reforms led to changes in patterns of art production and consumption, and led to the destruction of imagery. Other concerns include: the impact of the Reformation on the working practices of artists such as Durer, Holbein, Cranach and Riemenschneider; witchcraft and images; art as political propaganda; the development of new genres of art; and gender and reformation.

Art at the Tudor Courts, 1485-1603

This course will provide an introduction to visual art at the Tudor courts, from the accession of Henry VII in 1485 to the death of Elizabeth I in 1603. In doing so, it takes account of a wide range of art forms, from portraiture to pageantry, jewellery to the book. Key issues dealt with in lectures and seminars include contemporary theories of visuality and monarchy, the particular context of court culture, and the use of visual material in the service of self-fashioning. It considers the impact of major historical developments including the Reformation and the advent of print. As such, the relationship of the arts to politics is a key theme. Through exploring the highly sophisticated uses of visual art at the Tudor courts, the course seeks to re-evaluate the common idea that English art at the time was isolationist and inferior to that of continental Europe. 

European Avant-Garde Film

This module examines avant-garde cinema in early 20th century Europe. It will begin by exploring what is meant by the term ‘avant-garde’ and considering the development of experimental filmmaking in the context of artistic movements such as Futurism, Cubism, Dada, Surrealism and Constructivism. You will focus on developments in Germany, France and the Soviet Union during the 1920s and 1930s, and consider key trends from abstract animation to cinema pur. The module will highlight some key concerns of non-mainstream cinema such as narrative, abstraction, reflexivity, spectatorship, movement, time and space. You will also examine the engagement of experimental film with modernity, considering both aesthetic and political strategies of the European avant-gardes. 


From the Bastille to the Eiffel Tower: A Cultural and Architectural History of Paris 1789–1889

This module provides an overview of the development of Paris from the French Revolution to the Third Republic.

Themes covered include:

  • the evolving structure of the city
  • the evolution of building types
  • representations of the city the symbolic geography of Paris
  • the Parisian art world (artists’ studios, the art market, exhibitions)
  • major monuments and sites (e.g. the Panthéon and the Opéra Garnier)

This module explores the Italian Futurist movement as a pioneering project in multimedia experimentation, which included painting, sculpture, architecture, design, photography, film, performance, typography, literature, and music. It will investigate the movement’s apparent rejection of Italy’s cultural heritage and celebration of modern technology, from the speed of the motorcar to the violence of modern warfare. The political objectives of the Futurists will be considered, including the movement’s complex relationship with Fascism. The publicity strategies of the group, such as the extensive use of manifestoes and provocative public interventions, will also be examined. The module will cover the period from Futurism’s headline-grabbing conception in 1909 through to the end of its second manifestation in the 1940s. 

Los Angeles Arts and Architecture: 1945-85

In this module, you will be introduced to a number of artistic and architectural practices that emerged in Southern California after 1945. You will also explore the cultural and historical context of a number of artistic practices, as well as the role of Los Angeles in the development of post-1945 American art and architecture, including mid-century modernism, Pop Art, Conceptual Art and Light & Space Art. A central question in this module will be whether all art made in Los Angeles can be classified as ‘Los Angeles Art’. 


The Politics of Display

This module examines the history of museums, galleries, collecting and the history and politics of the display of art objects. The emphasis is on the last two hundred years. Discussion will focus on such issues as: the establishment of national institutions such as the Louvre and the National Gallery, London; the role of cultural imperialism; exhibitions and their history; and the modern art museum.


Realism and Impressionism, 1840-1890

This module examines two of the most influential movements in Western art, Realism and Impressionism. You will consider the major figures and critical debates in the history of modern art. Among the artists to be studied are Courbet, Bonheur, Millet, Manet, Morisot, Degas, Cassatt, and Renoir. This module includes the study of different critical approaches to the study of art works and visual culture. 

Visualising the Body

This module examines the visual representation of the human body from antiquity the 21st century. It will entail close study and analysis of visual images, combined with critical readings in the histories and theory of art, society, film and visual culture.

 Key themes usually include:

  • health and the politics of ‘normality’
  • the sexual body; the modified body
  • ideal and grotesque bodies
  • the ‘foreign’ body

 The particular concerns of the module are: visualising social differences of gender, class and race; the cultural formations of ‘difference’; and the ways these are negotiated and secured in images of the body. 

English options 

You must choose three modules in English covering at least two of the following areas:

Literature 1500 to the Present

From Talking Horses to Romantic Revolutionaries: Literature 1700-1830
This module introduces you to a range of literature written between 1700-1830. This was a dramatic and turbulent period in literary history where anything was possible and many roles were reversed. Writers produced texts about contemporary issues such as class, poverty, sexuality, slavery, and the city, but also had their eyes firmly on the past. They took every available opportunity to promote their own agendas and to savage and ridicule those of their political and literary opponents. You’ll examine a wide-range of literature considering the political, social and cultural contexts of the period.

Literature and Popular Culture
This module will give you an understanding of the relationship between literature and popular culture, as you explore works from across a range of genres and mediums such as prose fiction, poetry, comics, graphic novels, music, television and film. In addition to exploring topics such as aesthetics and adaptation, material will be situated within cultural, political and historical contexts allowing for the distinction between the literary and the popular.

Modern and Contemporary Literature
This module will familiarise you with relevant aesthetic, generic, and literary-historical strategies for tracing formal and thematic transformations in 20th and 21st century literature. Moving between genres, the module will unfold chronologically from modernism, through the inter-war years, and into the ‘contemporary scene’ up to the present day.

Shakespeare and Contemporaries on the Page
This module focuses on material written between 1580 and 1630 to provide you with an introduction to methods of reading early modern texts. Shakespeare’s poetry will be among the core texts; other canonical writers will include Christopher Marlowe, Edmund Spenser, Philip Sidney and John Donne. You’ll explore the practice of historicised readings of early modern texts and you’ll consider the related challenges and limitations. 

Victorian and Fin de Siècle Literature: 1830-1910
You will explore a wide variety of Victorian and fin-de-siècle literature, with examples from fiction, critical writing, poetry and drama. It will examine changes in literary forms and genres over this period, as well as looking at the contested transition between Victorianism and Modernism. The module is organised around a number of interrelated themes, to include empire and race, class and crime, identity and social mobility, gender and sexuality, and literature and consumerism. 

Texts Across Time
This module will consider key issues in the study of English language and world literature, locate language and literature in time and place, and extend your knowledge of the intellectual, political, historical, and cultural developments in language and literature.

English Languages and Applied Linguistics

Language in Society
This module provides a broad introduction to sociolinguistic theory. You will investigate:

  • the role that language has to play in constructing and reflecting cultural identities
  • theories of language variation across and within communities
  • the role of the English language in the world
  • the specific role of Standard English within British contexts

You will be introduced to both qualitative and quantitative approaches to the study of sociolinguistics, combining theoretical linguistics and practical methodological investigation.

Language Development
You’ll explore how English is learnt from making sounds as an infant through to adulthood. Topics relating to early speech development include: the biological foundations of language development, the stages of language acquisition and the influence of environment on development. Further topics which take into account later stages of development include humour and joke telling abilities, story-telling and conversational skills and bilingualism.

Literary Linguistics
Bridging the study of literature and language, this module offers training in the discipline of literary linguistics, also known as ‘stylistics’. There is a focus on the analysis of linguistic and narratological aspects of literary texts in order to show their linguistic patterns. You’ll also consider the effects of texts on the reader, including their significance, meaning and value. The module offers an opportunity for specialisation in preparation for year three modules in modern English language, particularly in the areas of stylistics, cognitive poetics and narratology. 

The Psychology of Bilingualism and Language Learning
This module will introduce you to theories and practice of second language learning, enabling you to develop an in-depth understanding of the process in various settings. Topics that are covered include: zone of proximal development, classroom interaction, collaborative learning, learning styles, and classroom methodology.

English Through Time
This module focuses on the development of the English language from before the arrival of Anglo-Saxon settlers in the 5th century to the present day. It offers students a thorough grounding in the changes that the language has undergone over this time. We will look at topics such as the development of writing, language contact and standardisation. An important theme running through the module is the relationship between the historical record and the political power of those who produced and preserved that record. 

Texts Across Time
This module will consider key issues in the study of English language and world literature, locate language and literature in time and place, and extend your knowledge of the intellectual, political, historical, and cultural developments in language and literature.

Medieval Languages and Literatures

Chaucer and his Contemporaries: c.1380-c.1420
In this module you’ll be introduced to the exceptionally rich period of writing in English at the end of the 14th and turn of the 15th century. It will focus on the so-called ‘Ricardian’ poets, Chaucer (selected Canterbury Tales, Parliament of Fowls, Legend of Good Women), Langland (excerpts from Piers Plowman), Gower (excerpts from Confessio Amantis) and the Gawain-poet (Patience). You’ll also discuss Thomas Hoccleve’s early poems, and the prose works of the female mystics Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe.

Ice and Fire: Myths and Heroes of the North
In this module you will study and analyse the key texts of old Norse myth and legend from which popular stories come, along with pictorial versions in wood and stone from throughout the Viking world. You’ll explore the development of Norse myth and legend from the Viking Age, through medieval Christian Iceland, and into more recent times.

Old English: Reflection and Lament
This module explores the tradition that the poetry and prose of Old English often focuses on warfare and heroic action. You will study and analyse poems from the Exeter Book 'elegies' and also passages from Beowulf to explore this rich and rewarding genre.

English Through Time
This module focuses on the development of the English language from before the arrival of Anglo-Saxon settlers in the 5th century to the present day. It offers students a thorough grounding in the changes that the language has undergone over this time. We will look at topics such as the development of writing, language contact and standardisation. An important theme running through the module is the relationship between the historical record and the political power of those who produced and preserved that record.

Name and Identities
What can given names, surnames and nicknames tell us about people in the past? What determines the choice of a name for a child? Where does our hereditary surname system come from? How have place, class and gender impacted upon naming through time? This module will help you answer all these questions and more. Interactive lectures and seminars, and a project based on primary material tailored to each participant, will introduce you to the many and varied, fascinating and extraordinary types of personal name and their origins.

Drama and Performance

Shakespeare and Contemporaries on the Stage
This module offers an in-depth exploration of the historical and theatrical contexts of early modern drama. This module invites students to explore the stagecraft of innovative and provocative works by Shakespeare and key contemporaries, such as Middleton, Johnson, and Ford (amongst others). You will explore how practical performance elements such as staging, props, costume and music shape meaning.

Stanislavski to Stelarc: Performance Practice and Theory
This module helps you develop your understanding of the theory and practice of theatre and performance from the beginnings of the 20th century through to the present day. Building on the work encountered in Introduction to Drama, you will move forward from naturalism to consider the work of influential theorists and practitioners such as Stanislavski, Brecht, Meyerhold, Barba, Schechner, Boal, Artaud, Berkoff, Grotowski, Jarry and the futurists, whose work has had a major impact on theatre and performance in the 20th and early 21st centuries.

Twentieth Century Plays
This module aims to provide you with an overview of key plays and performances from the 1890s to the present, placing those texts in their original political, social, and cultural contexts and considering their subsequent reception and afterlife. You’ll focus on the textual and performance effects created in those key texts, by writers such as Samuel Beckett and Edward Albee, and will be encouraged to situate those texts alongside the work of relevant theorists and practitioners.

Typical year three modules


History of Art

Dissertation in History of Art

This module involves the in-depth study of an art historical topic over one or two semesters. You will chose the topic in consultation with a tutor, subject to the approval of the department, and will be allocated a dissertation supervisor appropriate to the chosen topic. Teaching for this module takes the form of individual tutorials with your dissertation supervisor, as well as group workshops focusing on research, writing, and presentation skills. It provides you with the opportunity to undertake a substantial piece of writing on a topic of particular personal interest.

Renaissance Luxuries: Art and Good Living in Italy 1400 - 1600

This module seeks to engage with the Renaissance as a period of conspicuous consumption of a range of luxury goods, and examines the social, cultural and economic factors which characterised the period 1400-1600.  Amongst the issues raised in lectures and seminars will be the importance of objects as signifiers of status, magnificence, the diversification of objects and the attendant rise in specialised living arrangements, and women as consumers of art. 

American Visual Cultures

The module examines the visual culture of America from the late 19th century to the present day. The module explores how visual culture – art, advertising, architecture, cinema, television, cartography, video, the internet and images of science – has transformed and shaped the image of the United States. The module looks closely at a series of themes: urban and rural landscapes, icons and iconography, art and photography, race and gender in the US, high and low culture, sex and sexuality. The module also introduces various visual and critical theories which help us better understand the visual cultures of the United States. 

Fascism, Spectacle and Display

This module will examine cultural production during Italy’s fascist regime. There will be an emphasis on the experience of visual culture in public settings such as the exhibition space, the cinema, and the built environment. A wide range of cultural artefacts will be examined, paying attention to material as well as visual aspects. Visual material will be situated in the social, cultural and political circumstances of the period.

Topics will include:

  • Fascism’s use of spectacle
  • fascist conceptions of utopia
  • the regime’s use of the past
  • the relationship between Fascism and modernism
  • Fascism as a political religion
  • the cult of Mussolini
  • urban-rural relations
  • empire building

The module will also consider the afterlife of fascist visual culture and the question of ‘difficult’ heritage.


Mobility and the Making of Modern Art, 1850-1920

New technologies of mobility have long been a defining condition of modernity. It is from this perspective that you will examine modern art while highlighting the interrelated components of movement and speed – mechanized motion, temporality and their political connotations (e.g., social, ideological, artistic trends). This module includes a range of works, mainly paintings, from the mid-nineteenth century to the early twentieth century. You will also consider photography and other pre-cinematic forms of moving images such as optical devices, peepshows, and panoramas that added different motion and time to representation. A key question is the role of artists in naturalizing the equation between mobility, modernity, and the West. To this end, your consideration will involve non-Western representations to explore the ideological and economic implications of mobility. 


Performance Art

This module traces the development of performance art from the 1950s to the 1980s. It considers the work of a number of artists in America and Europe in terms of their focus on the body of the artist, the dematerialization of the art object, and the changing role of the audience or viewer. You will engage with a range of theories of identity, gender and selfhood; phenomenology and participation; duration, temporality and impermanence pain, endurance and abjection. Exploring performance art’s relationship with other visual art forms, including dance, experimental music, film and television, this module considers and evaluates the art historical genealogies of performance art and body art and examines the ways in which performance art has shifted the terms of art history. In addition, it will consider the issues at stake in constructing a history of performance art, and in documenting, exhibiting, and writing about ephemeral, invisible, or indeterminate practices. 

Photographing America

This module examines the development of photography in America from roughly 1945 onwards. The module breaks the period down into themes and considers: the transformation of ‘documentary’ photography; the emergence and importance of colour photography; experimental, conceptual and post-conceptual photography; issues of serialism and seriality; landscape photography; the photobook; and analogue/digital photography. The module will draw on the work of a diverse range of photographers, including Walker Evans, Robert Frank, Harry Callahan, Aaron Siskind, Ed Ruscha, Lewis Baltz, Robert Adams, Robert Heinecken, Stephen Shore, Todd Hido, William Eggleston. and Doug Rickard. 

Photography in the 19th Century

The module will review the origins of photography; early commentaries and debates on the new medium’s status; the identity of those who became photographers; the dominant genres employed in photographic imagery; the developing culture of reproduction, exhibition, and photography criticism. The module will explore the connections and conflicts between 19th-century photography and art. It will also consider the relationship between 19th-century photography and travel, science, and problems of social ideology. 


English options

Literature 1500 to the Present

Depending on your module choices in your first and second year, you will choose three modules in your final year in English that cover at least two areas of study.

  • The Self and the World: Writing in the Long Eighteenth Century
  • Contemporary Fiction
  • Making Something Happen: Twentieth Century Poetry and Politics
  • Single Author Study
  • Dark Futures, Tainted Pasts: Dystopian and Gothic Fictions
  • Reformation and Revolution: Early Modern literature and drama 1588-1688
  • Island and Empire
  • Henry James and Oscar Wilde
English Language and Applied Linguistics
Depending on your module choices in your first and second year, you will choose three modules in your final year in English that cover at least two areas of study.
  • Language and the Mind
  • Advanced Stylistics
  • Discourses of Health and Work
  • Language and Feminism
  • Teaching English as a Foreign Language
Medieval Languages and Literatures

Depending on your module choices in your first and second year, you will choose three modules in your final year in English that cover at least two areas of study.

  • English Place-Names
  • The Literature of the Anglo-Saxons
  • Dreaming the Middle Ages: Visionary Poetry in Scotland and England
  • The Viking Mind
Drama and Performance

Depending on your module choices in your first and second year, you will choose three modules in your final year in English that cover at least two areas of study.

  • Theatre Making
  • Changing Stages: Theatre Industry and Theatre Art
  • Modern Irish Literature and Drama
  • Performing the Nation: British Theatre since 1980
  • Reformation and Revolution: Early Modern literature and drama 1588-1688
  • Writing for Performance


On graduation, you will be able to demonstrate an efficient use of scholarly apparatus and take initiative in your work, and you will have some independence of judgement. You will have acquired a basic knowledge of modern English linguistic and literary studies, including an understanding of either the area of drama or Old English, and will have knowledge of the linguistic, literary, cultural and historical contexts in which literature is written and read. You will also have knowledge and understanding of the role of the visual in past and contemporary societies and cultures.

The degree trains students in visual and critical analysis, historical and theoretical study, object-based research, academic research and advanced writing. Our teaching and assessment methods require students to work collaboratively and independently, and to develop the writing, presentation, and communication skills that are highly valued in competitive work environments.

In addition to these skills, you will also have the opportunity to develop your employability profile further through the Professional Placement Module in History of Art or involvement in the University's Nottingham Advantage Award.

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2016, 93.2% of undergraduates in the School of Humanities who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £20,205 with the highest being £38,000*

In 2016, 93.2% of undergraduates in the School of English who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £19,061 with the highest being £28,000*

Known destinations of full-time home undergraduates 2015/16. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Careers support and advice

Studying for a degree at the University of Nottingham will provide you with the type of skills and experiences that will prove invaluable in any career, whichever direction you decide to take. Throughout your time with us, our Careers and Employability Service can work with you to improve your employability skills even further; assisting with job or course applications, searching for appropriate work experience placements and hosting events to bring you closer to a wide range of prospective employers.

Have a look at our Careers page for an overview of all the employability support and opportunities that we provide to current students.  


Fees and funding

Scholarships and bursaries

The University of Nottingham offers a wide range of bursaries and scholarships. These funds can provide you with an additional source of non-repayable financial help. For up to date information regarding tuition fees, visit our fees and finance pages.

Home students*

Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £2,000 a year. Full details can be found on our financial support pages.

* A 'home' student is one who meets certain UK residence criteria. These are the same criteria as apply to eligibility for home funding from Student Finance.

International/EU students

Our International Baccalaureate Diploma Excellence Scholarship is available for select students paying overseas fees who achieve 38 points or above in the International Baccalaureate Diploma. We also offer a range of High Achiever Prizes for students from selected countries, schools and colleges to help with the cost of tuition fees. Find out more about scholarships, fees and finance for international students.


Key Information Sets (KIS)

KIS is an initiative that the government has introduced to allow you to compare different courses and universities.


This course includes one or more pieces of formative assessment. 

How to use the data

This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.


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Department of History of Art
The University of Nottingham
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Student Recruitment Enquiries Centre

The University of Nottingham
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Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

t: +44 (0) 115 951 5559
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Make an enquiry

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