Undergraduate prospectus

  • Start date: September 2016

History of Art with Material Studies BA

This degree provides a unique focus on works of art as physical objects. You will gain comprehensive skills in art history, together with a thorough understanding of artists' techniques and questions of materiality, both at the time a work of art was made, and subsequently as it ages and deteriorates.

Key Information

Degree Programme
History of Art with Material Studies BA
UCAS code
3 years
Application deadline
15 January 2016
Subject area
History of Art
Total intake (by subject area)
65 (2016 entry)
Applications per place (by subject area)
8 (2014 entry)
Research Excellence Framework
85% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)

Entry requirements

A Levels

No specific subjects, though essay-based subjects are an advantage.
AS Levels
For UK-based students a pass in a further subject at AS level or equivalent is required.
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).

Between successful completion of the WBQ Advanced Diploma Core with grade A plus 2 GCE A-levels at grades AA and successful completion of the WBQ Advanced Diploma core with grade B plus 2 GCE A-levels at grades AA-AB.

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

UCL offers intensive one-year foundation courses to prepare international students for a variety of degree programmes at UCL.

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

For more information see our website: UCL Undergraduate Preparatory Certificate.

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

  • The programme will develop your knowledge and understanding of the visual cultures encompassed by the term 'western art', making use where possible of artworks in London.
  • The department includes well-known specialists on all periods from the medieval onwards. We have particular strengths in the study of contemporary art, material science, and conservation and preservation.
  • The department houses the Material Studies Laboratory, consisting of two spaces, one dedicated to teaching and handling materials and artefacts, with the second focusing on the instrumental analysis of heritage materials.
  • 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.

Degree structure

In each year of your degree you will take a number of individual courses, normally valued at 0.5 or 1.0 credits, adding up to a total of 4.0 credits for the year. Courses are assessed in the academic year in which they are taken. The balance of compulsory and optional courses 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 courses in History of Art and its Objects and a foundation course in history of art, together with thematic seminars. You will also take a basic science course for non-scientists and a Methods and Materials of Artists course, which will introduce you to the major classes of materials found within museum collections, and address their application as artists' materials.

Courses in the second year delve deeper into the technical aspects of art. These may include History, Theory, and Practice of Conservation; Methods and Materials II; and The Development and Application of Textiles in Works of Art and Artefacts.

In the final year, all students write a research project dissertation of approximately 10,000 words. This must have a technical element, combined with art historical research. The Art/Work/Spaces course enables you to gain practical work experience outside the department while writing an independent research project reflecting critically on this experience.

You may also take courses from outside History of Art in departments such as Anthropology, Archaeology, Architecture, Chemistry, Geology, or History, with the agreement of the department concerned and your course tutors.

Year One

Compulsory courses

History of Art and its Objects
History of European Art (1): Classical to Early Renaissance
History of European Art (2): High Renaissance to the Present Day
Methods and Materials of Artists
Science for Art Historians

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

Optional courses

You will select 0.5 credits from a wide range of optional courses, which normally include 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 UCL History of Art, or from fields such as anthropology, archaeology, history or philosophy.

Year Two

Compulsory courses

Methodologies of Making
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 courses

You will select 2.5 credits from a wide range of optional courses including at least one of the following:

Methodologies of Art History
The History of the Category "Art"

and at least one of the following:

History, Theory and Practice of Conservation
Methods and Materials II

Further optional courses can be selected from within History of Art.

Final Year

Compulsory courses

History of Art and Material Studies Dissertation

Optional courses

You will select 3.0 credits from a wide range of optional courses including Art/Work/Spaces, and 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 with Material Studies BA.


You will gain the skills necessary to carry out historical and technical projects, communicate effectively, interpret material analysis, and to pursue academic research or take up responsible employment in a variety of contexts.

This BA provides an excellent basis for any career dealing at first hand with works of art, such as museum and gallery curators and registrars, art dealers, valuers and auctioneers. It is also a good foundation for those wishing to take up further training in any discipline within art conservation.

Any profession dealing with art would benefit from the expertise gained from this degree.


First destinations of recent graduates (2010-2013) of this programme include:

  • Researcher, Sotheby's (2013)
  • Assistant Manager, The National Gallery (2012)
  • Full-time student, MA in History of Art at UCL (2012)
  • Assistant Press Officer, Tate Britain (2011)
  • Fundraising Assistant, Jozef Pilsudski Institute (2011)

*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 2010-2013 graduating cohorts six months after graduation and, where necessary, department records.

UCL is commited to helping you get the best start after graduation. Read more about how UCL Careers, UCL Advances and other entrepreneur societies here: Careers and skills.

Fees and funding


UK & EU fee
£9,000 (2016/17)
Overseas fee
£21,320 (2016/17)


Details about financial support are available at: www.ucl.ac.uk/study/ug-finance


The Scholarships and Funding website has a comprehensive list of scholarships and funding schemes available for UCL students. These can be available for specific nationalities, regions, departments or open to all students.

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 2016


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