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History of Art

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Undergraduate FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

This information is relevant to candidates applying to the following programmes:

  • BA History of Art
  • BA History of Art, Materials and Technology

Students applying for a place on the BA Combined Honours programmes can also contact the host Departments: Philosophy for the BA History of Art and Philosophy and SELCS for the BA Modern Languages Plus.

A. Before I decide to apply:

1. What ‘A’ levels (and equivalent qualifications) do we seek?

There is no specific subject requirement, though essay-based subjects are an advantage. If you are interested in our subject, the fact that you have not done either Art & Design or History of Art at 18+ is not a barrier in considering your application. Our preferred essay-based subjects include, but are not limited to, English, History, History of Art, Philosophy, Sociology, Classics, Economics, Theology, Languages, Politics, Religious Studies, Anthropology, Archaeology, Film Studies, Media Studies, Critical and Contextual Studies, Cultural Studies, Psychology and Law. At degree level History of Art is a subject in which students have to read both extensively and intensively in texts that are rich in information and often demanding in their theoretical complexity; so we are interested in evidence that you can meet such demands.

2. What is the HoA Modern Foreign Language requirement?

For UK-based students, a grade C or 5 or equivalent in a foreign language (other than Ancient Greek, Biblical Hebrew or Latin) is required. However, your application is not at a disadvantage if you do not meet this requirement. UCL provides opportunities to meet the foreign language requirement following enrolment, further details at: www.ucl.ac.uk/ug-requirements. All History of Art students study a language module in their first year.

3. What do we look for in the school reference?

We like school references which are as specific as possible about your academic strengths and which give us a clear picture of you as a person. The reference is also helpful in providing contextual information about an application, e.g. an explanation if exam performance has been inconsistent. If you are doing a Foundation course, a current tutor might also be a suitable referee.

4. What do we look for in the personal statement?

Your main objective in writing the statement should be to give the admissions officers a clear impression of what you are like, how you think, and why you want to study History of Art. Write in a vigorous, direct style. Don’t try to be overly clever, but be confident, clear and honest. Make sure the statement is well written and grammatically correct. History of Art is a text-heavy discipline, so evidence of reading in or around the subject is a plus. An interest in viewing art is also considered positively, although no priority is given to students who have travelled extensively to do so over those whose experience of art is closer to home. This is the only part of the form over which you have complete control, so it is important to use it well.

5. I want to take a gap year: Can I apply for a deferred entry place?

Yes, certainly. We consider deferred entry applications without prejudice.

6. Can mature students apply?

Yes.  A student is considered mature when they are over 21 at the point of entry. Rather than asking for specific qualifications, we ask mature students for evidence of recent, successful study. This is usually in the form of an Access course which should be taken at an OCN (Open College Network approved) institute of Further Education. Both your previously achieved qualifications and current qualification are taken into consideration.

7. Do you accept transfers from other Universities?

The UCL History of Art undergraduate single honours degree programmes are not currently accepting transfers from other universities. This is because our programmes are full and we want to ensure a high quality experience for all our students. Also, we see the degree as a coherent whole and require all students complete three years of study at UCL.

8. Can I study History of Art as a part time student?

The Department does not admit students who wish to study part-time to our BA programmes.

9. How many students do you accept each year?

About 68 in total, including both UK/EU students and Overseas students, plus another 20–25 doing combined honours programmes of various sorts.

10. Can I visit the History of Art department?

UCL is an open campus. Anyone can wander round its public areas; and you should feel free to do so. The Department of History of Art does not normally arrange visits or consultations for individuals who want to look at the department. However, if we make you an offer we will invite you to attend an Offer Holder Open Day at the Department. This will give you an opportunity to ask more detailed questions in person about the degree, to meet the Faculty and learn more about the degree programme and our approach to teaching.

11. Do you have Open Days?

UCL has pre-application Open Days in late June or early July and early September. The University of London has an Open Day in mid-September. On all of these days the admissions tutor is normally present to introduce the Department and/or answer your queries. As stated above, if we make you an offer this will include an invitation to an Offer Holder Open Day in the Department. This will give you an opportunity to ask more detailed questions in person about the degree, to meet other members of staff, and to learn more about the degree programme and our approach to teaching.

For more information about Open Days see: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/open-days/

12. Can I spend time at an overseas University as part of my degree?

The structure of our three-year degrees V350 History of Art and V3F2 History of Art, Materials and Technology make it impossible to take time away from UCL. Students who wish to spend a year abroad while studying history of art should apply through the Modern Languages Plus Combined Honours programme (RY00)

13. Do we accept Late Applications?

This is dependent on whether we have any places left following the receipt of on-time applications. The information about accepting late applications and vacancies is available on the UCL website and UCAS after 15th Jan.

 

B. About my application:

14. Do you hold interviews?

No. This is not possible given the vast number of applications we receive. If we are considering making you an offer, based on your UCAS application, you will be contacted via email and asked to complete a short written exercise and piece of visual analysis. These exercises will be carefully assessed in terms of displaying evidence of intellectual curiosity, analytical and critical thinking and a lively engagement with visual and material culture. If successful you will then be invited to an Offer Holder Open Day at the Department. This will give you an opportunity to ask more detailed questions in person about the degree, to meet the Faculty and learn more about the degree programme and our approach to teaching.

15. Do I have to attend the offer day if invited?

Attendance at the Offer Holder Open Day is not mandatory. However, it does provide an opportunity to meet with teaching staff; find out more about the degree; talk to current undergraduate students and to fellow applicants; and tour UCL. This day is particularly designed for you to find out more about the Department, the degree and modules and how it will feel to become a UCL Student. It is also an exciting opportunity to explore the area around Bloomsbury and the benefits that UCL’s central London location has to offer. We understand that parents are an integral part when you are making an important decision of selecting a university. We therefore welcome parents to attend a drop-in Q&A session tailored specifically for them on the day.

UCL also offers different ways for parents to visit UCL, you can find more information about the activities on our website:

 https://www.ucl.ac.uk/widening-participation/parents

You are also welcome to visit UCL on any weekday between 10am-4pm and follow our self-guided tour. More information is available here:

 https://www.ucl.ac.uk/widening-participation/learners/open-days-visits-and-tours

16. How do we communicate with applicants?

All communication will be by email or direct through UCAS.

17. When can I expect to receive a decision on my application?

Candidates who apply by the UCAS January deadline can expect to receive a decision via UCAS by the dates given in the UCAS guides for applicants. Late applicants can expect to receive a decision by mid to late July.

 

C. Life at UCL and your degree programme:

18. How can I find out about accommodation and other aspects of student life?

UCL accommodation provides a comfortable space to study and halls of residence are based around the main campus. First-year undergraduate students are guaranteed accommodation (subject to conditions). You can find more information on accommodation, types of accommodation, fees and how to apply on our website:

http://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/undergraduate/london/accommodation

Central London is a buzzing place with something to do for everyone. From learning to literature or just having fun days, you will find all the exciting information about student life, leisure activities, sports venues on our website:

http://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/undergraduate/london/leisure

19. How will I be assessed?

By a combination of (written) examination, coursework, projects based on individual research (including a final-year dissertation) and oral participation. All modules are assessed during and at the end of each academic year, not just at the end of your degree. You can find out more by exploring the ‘current students’ sections of the website.

20. How many teaching hours are there a week?

This varies according to the modules you are taking. An average week may probably provide 8-10 contact hours. You are expected to spend +/-30 hours a week studying, in addition to time spent in lectures and seminars. Students usually spend a lot of their time studying in the UCL library and the nearby Senate House and British Library, as well as doing close looking in London’s museums and galleries. In addition, all academic staff and personal tutors have regular office hours, which you are encouraged to attend.

21. How can I find out more about the degree programmes?

Browse through the History of Art current students web-pages, and for an official and technical description, look at the ‘programme specifications’ for the BA History of Art and BA History of Art, Materials and Technology programmes.