Description of MA Programme

1.  The Core Course

The required Core Course is the most distinctive part of our MA programme and provides a common element for all MA students. The core course must be taken in the first year by part-time students. It provides an introduction to contemporary debates and theories pertaining to art and visual culture. The course is a text-based seminar discussion; two members of staff direct the course throughout the year while other members of staff contribute to individual classes. It provides an intellectual forum, which enables the MA students to develop their own work as well as to form a community.

The Core Course is always taught on Thursday afternoons from 2-5 pm.

2. and 3.  Special Subjects

In addition to the Core Course, students are required to take two Special Subject courses. Students normally select Special Subjects from within the same or related historical area(s).

NB: Applicants are required to specify their 2 preferred Special subjects at the time of application; please refer to the list below.


4.  The Dissertation

  • The student develops a topic under the supervision with a member of staff.
  • The dissertation is 13,000-14,000 words.


  • Assessment is by two essays (3,000-3,500 words each) for each of the taught courses, six essays in all.
  • A viva is held at the end of June. Students are normally expected to be in residence until the end of the Summer Term.
  • The dissertation is submitted in mid-September.

Part-time Study

  • Part-time study is usually completed within two years.  Because of the new points based immigration system, part-time study is not feasible for overseas students. 
  • Part-time students will take the Core Course and ONE Special Subject during the first year and a second Special Subject and the dissertation in the second year.
  • Students should expect to be available for at least two days a week.