The History of Art MA at UCL draws on the world-leading research and teaching expertise within the department, and is designed to enable students to acquire specialised knowledge pertaining to the field of art history and to develop independent research skills.
Modes and duration
Tuition fees (2017/18)
- £9,840 (FT) £4,970 (PT)
- £20,540 (FT) £10,430 (PT)
Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Current Students website.
A minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree in a relevant discipline from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.
English language requirements
If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.
The English language level for this programme is: Good
Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.
Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.
International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.
Select your country:
About this degree
Students develop skills for engaging with visual materials and gain historical knowledge, enabling them to interpret artefacts in relation to their social and cultural contexts. They are introduced to current methodological debates in the field and encouraged to define their own position through reasoned historical and theoretical arguments.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of a core module (30 credits), two optional modules (60 credits) and a research dissertation (90 credits).
- Methods, Debates and Sources in History of Art
Options may include the following:
- Human and Non-Human in Medieval Art
- Cannibalism and the Early Modern Image
- Vision, Tourism, Imperialism: Art and Travel in the British Empire, 1760-1870
- American Media: Publicity and the Logics of Surveillance
- Politics of the Image: Germany 1890-1945
- Art as Theory: The Writing of Art
- Art and Technology in Nineteenth-Century France
- Photographic Cultures: Photography's Publics and the Production of Politics
- On Sex and Violence
- Race/Place: Exotic/Erotic
- Tracing the Body: Technologies of Representation in 18th and 19th-Century France
All MA students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of approximately 13,000 words.
Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, as well as gallery and museum visits. Assessment is by two essays for each of the taught courses (six essays in all), the dissertation and a viva.
The department awards several bursaries covering a proportion of fees to Master's or Research students.
For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.
UCL's History of Art graduates have a excellent record of success in entering PhD programmes, careers in museums and galleries, the art trade, the heritage industry, art publishing, and art conservation. The unique combination of visual analysis and intellectual rigour offered by the MA has also proven valuable in diverse careers including journalism, publishing, and advertising. For those aspiring to an academic career, the MA is a requirement for a PhD, and many former MA students have successfully received funding for research degrees, and subsequently obtained academic positions, at prestigious institutions in the UK, North America, and elsewhere.
Top career destinations for this degree
- Artist Assistant, Ai Weiwei
- Head of Client Service, Bonhams 1793
- Collections Assistant, The Barber Institute of Fine Arts
- PhD History of Art, University College London (UCL)
- Museum Intern, Peggy Guggenheim Collection
Our History of Art MA provides focused training in the history of art and its methodologies. It encourages students to develop original critical thinking on all aspects of visual culture, and promotes a serious engagement with historical and contemporary cultural debates. You will learn how to work collaboratively as well as independently to develop your skills in written and oral communications. The MA is an excellent starting point for a career in academia, curating, for working in the heritage industry, commercial art galleries, and other sectors of the cultural industries.
Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2012–2014 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.
Why study this degree at UCL?
History of Art at UCL is one of the most dynamic centres for the study of art history and visual cultures in the world. The department is top-rated for research; and all staff are active researchers in a range of specialist fields. Our teaching and research move beyond traditional forms of art history to address visual and material cultures more broadly, and we are committed to a wide range of critical and historiographical enquiry.
The MA in History of Art is a challenging and versatile degree; you will study in a community of c. 40 graduate students; at the same time you will work in smaller groups and in close contact with tutors in your special subject courses.
The department is located in Bloomsbury, close to the Warburg Institute, the British Library, and the British Museum. The National Gallery, Tate Galleries, and the Victoria and Albert Museum are also within easy reach. UCL's own Art Museum holds many rare and important works.
Department: History of Art
Student / staff numbers
› 17 staff
including 1 postdocs
› 47 taught students
› 38 research students
Staff/student numbers information correct as of 1 August 2017.
Research Excellence Framework (REF)
The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.
The following REF score was awarded to the department: History of Art
64% rated 4* (world-leading) or 3* (internationally excellent)
Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.
What our students and staff say
"The UCL History of Art Department appealed to me because of its long-standing commitment to critical theory, a willingness to embrace interdisciplinary approaches and a research culture in which period isn’t the chief organising factor."
Dr Robert MillsHistory of Art MA, History of Art PhD, Medieval and Renaissance Studies MA
Reader in Medieval Art
"I have really enjoyed the freedom to explore both major and minor elements of the subjects covered by the taught courses. My primary interest in Old Masters has been developed by one of my taught courses and by my choice of dissertation topic was in turn influenced by a seemingly unrelated course on nineteenth-century technology. It is the predominant focus on the visual (and indeed sometimes not-visual) in conjunction with a strong theoreticall framework that develops the students of the History of Art MA into strong well-rounded critical thinkers."
James BaskervilleHistory of Art MA
Application and next steps
Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.
Who can apply?
The programme is designed for those with a first degree in the History of Art, or with some experience of the subject, who have a high level of commitment and an aptitude for academic work.
- All applicants
- 28 July 2017
For more information see our Applications page.Apply now
What are we looking for?
When we assess your application we would like to learn:
- why you want to study History of Art at graduate level
- why you want to study History of Art at UCL
- what particularly attracts you to this programme
- how your academic and/or professional background meets the demands of this challenging programme
- where you would like to go professionally with your degree
Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to elaborate on your reasons for applying to this programme and how your interests match what the programme will deliver. It is essential to study the departmental website carefully in order to write a meaningful statement.