History of Art


At a glance

  • Learn with staff who curate exhibitions at national institutions including Tate Britain, the National Museum of Wales and the National Portrait Gallery
  • In recent years, our students have undertaken placements at a range of local galleries and cultural organisations
  • 97% of our research was judged as being of international quality in terms of ‘originality, significance and rigour’*

* Research Excellence Framework, 2014.

History of Art

What is History of Art?

History of art combines visual and historical studies, providing you with the critical tools to see and understand the world differently. Our undergraduate courses look at wide-ranging aspects of the visual arts including painting, sculpture, the graphic arts, film, photography, and other visual media, as well as museum history and the relationship between high art and popular visual culture.


How will I study?

Teaching is mainly carried out through lectures and small-group seminars. You will also have the opportunity to gain individual feedback and advice in the weekly consultation sessions offered by all tutors. First-hand study of art and architecture will form an important part of your learning experience. We dedicate one week each semester to local and national museum and gallery visits, with more frequent visits to sites within Nottingham. 


Assessment methods include formal exams, assessed classroom presentations, and written coursework, which varies in length from a 1,000 word case study to a 10,000-word dissertation. In the first year, you need to pass your assessments in order to progress to the second year, but the marks obtained do not count towards the final degree classification. The marks you achieve in second year are given a 33 per cent weighting in the final degree assessment, with final-year examinations and assessments providing the remaining 67 per cent.


School of Humanities work placement module

This optional module focuses on student employability, skills development, and practical experience. In the first semester you will take a series of workshops covering topics such as skills assessment and development; placement application preparation; conduct in the workplace; networking and professional relationship-building; and self-presentation. In the second semester you will undertake a professional placement at a local arts organization for one day per week over eight weeks.

Assessment comprises an online portfolio of materials, including reflective writing and application materials, and a research report situating the function of the placement organisation in context of the wider sector. Throughout the module, you will be encouraged to reflect individually and in groups on your own employability and to plan for your ongoing professional development.



As a Nottingham history of art graduate you will be well prepared for a range of career opportunities. In addition to management jobs in advertising, marketing and the media, history of art graduates find careers in journalism, law and public relations. They are also qualified to pursue more subject-specific work in arts administration, conservation, galleries, heritage management, museums, planning, research and teaching. 

In 2015, 93% of first-degree graduates in the Department of History of Art who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £17,750 with the highest being £22,000.*  

*Known destinations of full-time home and EU first-degree graduates, 2014/15.

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers
(Ranked in the top ten in The Graduate Market in 2013-2017, High Fliers Research).


Study abroad

We offer opportunities to study abroad in Australia, Canada, China, Ireland, Korea, New Zealand, Singapore, and Sweden. Further information can be found on our  study abroad web pages.

Nottingham has the highest number of any UK university on outward mobility under Erasmus.*

* Erasmus student and staff numbers by institution, Erasmus+ 2014.


Application and interview

Applicants are usually assessed on the basis of their UCAS form and invited for an informal interview. The interview should be seen as an opportunity for  the applicant to ask questions and find out more about the department.  

Open days

UCAS visit days for students offered a place are normally held from late January to early April. You are welcome to visit at other times – please contact us or visit our open days pages.  
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Department of History of Art

School of Humanities

The University of Nottingham

University Park



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+44 (0)115 951 5559
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The University of Nottingham
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