Undergraduate prospectus

  • Start date: September 2017

History of Art BA

UCL is one of the most exciting places to study history of art in the country. This programme aims to develop your knowledge and understanding of the visual arts and material culture, covering a wide range of visual imagery and making use of London’s extensive public collections, libraries, museums and architecture.

Key information

UCAS code
3 years
Application deadline
15 January 2017
Applications per place
6 (2015 entry)*
Total intake
65 (2017 entry)*
* Figures relate to History of Art subject area

Entry requirements

A levels

No specific subjects, though essay-based subjects are an advantage.
English Language at grade B, plus Mathematics at grade C. For UK-based students a foreign language at grade B is required.

IB Diploma

A score of 16-17 points in three higher level subjects, with no score lower than 5. A minimum of grade 4 is required at standard level in a modern language.

UK applicants qualifications

For entry requirements with other UK qualifications accepted by UCL, choose your qualification from the list below:

Equivalent qualification

Edexcel Level 3 Extended Diploma (QCF), or Edexcel Level 3 BTEC National Diploma (NQF) with Distinction, Distinction, Distinction.

Pass in Access to HE Diploma, with 18 credits awarded with distinction in the Level 3 units, the remainder of the Level 3 units with Merit. Or a minimum of 28 credits awarded with Merit in the Level 3 units.

D3,D3,D3 - D3,M1,M1 in three Cambridge Pre-U Principal Subjects.

AAA-ABB at Advanced Highers (or AB at Advanced Higher and BBB at Higher - AA at Advanced Higher and AAA at Higher).

Successful completion of the WBQ Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate plus 2 GCE A-Levels at grades AAA-ABB.

International applications

In addition to A level and International Baccalaureate, UCL considers a wide range of international qualifications for entry to its undergraduate degree programmes.

Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates

The Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates (UPCs) are intensive one-year foundation courses for international students of high academic potential who are aiming to gain access to undergraduate degree programmes at UCL and other top UK universities.

Typical UPC students will be high achievers in a 12-year school system which does not meet the standard required for direct entry to UCL.

For more information see: www.ucl.ac.uk/upc.

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. Information about the evidence required, acceptable qualifications and test providers can be found on our English language requirements page.

The English language level for this programme is: Good

A variety of English language programmes are offered at the UCL Centre for Languages & International Education.

Degree benefits

  • High-quality research undertaken by staff, which is reflected in our research excellence profile, informs the content of our undergraduate courses, keeping our teaching at the forefront of the discipline.
  • We have specialists on all periods from the medieval onwards, with particular strengths in the study of contemporary art, as well as an expert in the technical analysis of works of art.
  • UCL Art Museum houses an important collection of artworks, which is used regularly to support our teaching. These include works by Turner and Rembrandt, as well as important 20th-century prints. The UCL Institute of Making is also used regularly in our teaching.
  • UCL's central location in London is within walking distance of the British Museum and British Library and provides easy access to the National Gallery, the Tate Galleries and the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014

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.

  • 85% 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.


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Degree structure

In each year of your degree you will take a number of individual modules, normally valued at 0.5 or 1.0 credits, adding up to a total of 4.0 credits for the year. Modules are assessed in the academic year in which they are taken. The balance of compulsory and optional modules varies from programme to programme and year to year. A 1.0 credit is considered equivalent to 15 credits in the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS).

The programme begins with introductory modules in History of Art and its Objects and a foundation course in history of art, together with thematic seminars. You will continue with modules set mainly within two chosen periods in the second year, and in the final year you will select special subjects offered within the department.

You will also take modules in a subsidiary subject (anthropology, archaeology, history or philosophy) to help build a solid foundation to comprehend visual culture, both past and present.


An indicative guide to the structure of this programme, year by year.

Compulsory modules

History of Art and its Objects
History of Art Thematic Seminar
History of European Art (1): Classical to Early Renaissance
History of European Art (2): High Renaissance to the Present Day

Students must also take a 0.5 credit module in a modern foreign language, preferably in the first year.

Optional modules

You will select 1.5 credits from a wide range of optional modules, including at least one of the following:

Thematic Seminar (1): Art and Architecture before 1800
Thematic Seminar (2): Art and Architecture after 1800

Further options can be selected from within the UCL History of Art or from fields such as anthropology, archaeology, history or philosophy.

Compulsory modules

Gateway Course I: After Life: Art, Knowledge and Observation in Early Modern Europe
Gateway Course II: Image/Object – Modern and Contemporary Art

(The content of the Gateway Courses changes regularly. These are the offerings for 2014-15.)

Optional modules

You will select 3.0 credits from a wide range of optional modules, including at least one of the following:

The History of the Category "Art"
Methodologies of Art History
Methods and Materials of Artists

Further options can be selected from within History of Art, and from fields such as anthropology, archaeology, history or philosophy.

Compulsory modules

Undergraduate Report in History of Art

Optional modules

You will select 3.0 credits from a wide range of options including at least one Special Subject. Further options can be selected from within History of Art, and from fields such as anthropology, archaeology, history or philosophy.

Your learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars, and may include visits to monuments, film archives and sessions in the Material Studies Laboratory. Seminars may relate to a lecture series and involve travel within the UK or abroad. On a more frequent basis, first-year thematic seminars take place at London's many art collections and exhibitions.


Coursework, essays and written examinations will all be used as means of formal assessment of your work.

Further Information

Detailed course descriptions are available on the department website: History of Art BA.


The programme is broad and rigorous, making graduates fully competitive for jobs both within and outside the area of visual arts. The department takes seriously the need for students to develop presentational and other skills alongside the specific analytical and interpretive skills associated with history of art.

UCL's History of Art graduates have a record of success in careers in museums and galleries, academia, the art trade, the heritage industry, art publishing, art conservation and teaching. The unique combination of visual sensitivity and intellectual rigour has also proved valuable in journalism, publishing and advertising.


First destinations of recent graduates (2012-2014) of this programme include:

  • Junior Translator, Sotheby's
  • Curatorial Assistant, Frieze Art Fair
  • Studio Manager, Oscar Murillo
  • Assistant Curator, Singapore Art Museum
  • Learning Mentor, Haringey Council

*Data 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.

UCL is commited to helping you get the best start after graduation. Read more about how UCL Careers and UCL Innovation and Enterprise can help you find employment or learn about entrepreneurship.

Student view

There is a variety of very interesting modules that are not only taught within UCL but at institutes such as the V&A, British Museum and the Wellcome Gallery. I even had to give a presentation in my first-year medieval class at the V&A! Tommy Bower - History of Art BA (Third Year)

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

The fees indicated are for undergraduate entry in the 2017/18 academic year and are for the first year of the programme only.

UK/EU students
£TBC (2017/18 - see below)
Overseas students
£17,710 (2017/18)

UK/EU undergraduate fees are currently (August 2016) capped at 9,000 and UCL charges fees at the level of that cap. This cap on UK/EU undergraduate fees is currently under review by the UK Government and may be subject to increase for the year commencing 2017 and for each year of study thereafter. Fees for overseas students may be subject to an annual increase in subsequent years of study by up to 5%.

Please see the full details of UCL's fees and possible changes on the UCL Current Students website


Various funding options are available, including student loans, scholarships and bursaries. UK students whose household income falls below a certain level may also be eligible for a non-repayable bursary or for certain scholarships. Please see the Fees and funding pages for more details.

Departmental scholarships

The Scholarships and Funding website lists scholarships and funding schemes available to UCL students. These may be open to all students, or restricted to specific nationalities, regions or academic department.

Application and next steps

Your application

We welcome applicants who have a serious interest in, and enthusiasm for, the study of art history. Entry is highly competitive, but you will not be required to have studied history of art before. However, advanced study in an essay-based subject such as history or English, as well as a language, would be an advantage.

How to apply

Application for admission should be made through UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). Applicants currently at school or college will be provided with advice on the process; however, applicants who have left school or who are based outside the United Kingdom may obtain information directly from UCAS.

Application deadline: 15 January 2017


Applicants will be assessed not only on academic achievement, but on evidence of intellectual curiosity, and of critical appreciation of visual culture.

If we are considering making you an offer you will be asked to complete a short written exercise, and then invited to the department on an open day to meet the teaching staff and learn more about the degree programme.

For further information on UCL's selection process see: Selection of students

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