History of Art


BA History of Art, Materials and Technology

This one-of-a-kind degree provides you with the language and tools to interpret works of art as physical objects.

UCL is one of the most exciting places to study history of art in the country — arguably in the world. This unique degree aims to develop your knowledge and understanding of works of art as physical objects. You will gain comprehensive skills in art history, taking largely the same type of modules as students in our History of Art BA programme, together with a thorough understanding of artists’ techniques, methods of making and questions of materiality and technology, both at the time the a work of art was made, and subsequently as it ages and changes.

You will draw on knowledge derived from material science and the study of technologies, as well as histories and theories of art, media and conservation, including hands-on knowledge of artistic practices.

The degree makes use of, on the one hand, London’s extensive public collections, libraries, museums and architecture, and on the other, the resources of the History of Art Department’s own Material Studies Laboratory and media reference collection. It will equip you with the skills necessary to carry out historical and technical projects, communicate effectively, interpret material analysis, pursue academic research and to work first-hand with works of art or to further specialise in art conservation.

The programme reflects its tutors’ specialisms, ranging across the application of science and analytic techniques in the arts, understanding technologies of vision, the materiality of contemporary art, themes related to film, video and installation, the material lives of performances, digital art, oral histories, and the practices as well as the history and theory of conservatio

Programme Outline

Generally, you will take the same amount of History of Art modules as Single Honours students, with MAT modules taken on top of this.

In the first year:

You will gain a thorough understanding of the fundamentals of both art history and media and technologies. You will study five compulsory modules – 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; Introduction to Media and Technologies; and Introduction to Art and Science. These modules will give you a grounding in art history and critical thought, as well as introduce you to the major issues concerning materials, media and technologies in relation to artists' practices.

You will also take a module in a modern foreign language, and one out of a choice of Thematic Seminars, exploring a topic in a small group-sized class taught in museums, galleries and sites around London.

In the second year:

You will study two core Advanced Lecture Courses. These modules change regularly; the offerings for 2020/21 are Advanced Lecture Course I: Rome; and Advanced Lecture Course II: Action/Re-Action. You will also be given an opportunity to start specialising in your particular research interests and choose from a wide range of optional modules dedicated to specific periods and topics ('Period modules'). In addition, you will select at least two of the following modules: History of the Category ‘Art’; Methodologies of Art History; Methodologies of Making. These courses will hone your analytical skills and help you identify your key areas of research interest. They will also give you a thorough grounding to take forwards into your final year dissertation.

You will also take at least two options with a specific focus on materials and technologies, from a list which may include: Theory and History of Conservation; Methods and Materials of Artistst; and Technologies of Vision (options vary from year to year).

In the third year: 

You will directly build on the skills and interests you have developed in the second year. You will write a research dissertation of 10,000 words on a topic discussed with and supported by your tutors, in order to develop your own critical voice and theoretical rigour. This dissertation may have a technical element, combined with art historical research.

You will also have the opportunity to explore your chosen research interests by taking Special Subject modules. The Art/Work/Space module enables you to gain practical work experience outside the department while writing an independent research project that reflects critically on this experience. Further options can be selected from within History of Art, though it is also possible to select options from fields such as anthropology, archaeology, chemistry, earth sciences, history or philosophy.


We are passionate about doing challenging and rigorous research at the Department of Art History, and we encourage our students to think for themselves, be bold, and learn how to do original and exacting work. Your dissertation will be an opportunity to explore a topic that interests you in-depth in order to hone your critical faculties and clarify your specialisms, be it for potential further study or an expertise required in the professional world.

The next steps

For details on:
-Entry Requirements
-Fees and Funding
-How to Apply
Please visit the UCL Undergraduate Prospectus

Careers and Employability

Our degree programmes offer the potential to go into a wide range of careers. We have a very strong track record of students finding work in major museums and galleries both in the UK and beyond, from the Tate in London to MoMA in New York to the National Gallery in Singapore, amongst many others. Our unique degree programme in the History of Art, Materials and Technology can also prepare students for working in specialist fine art conservation.

However, a degree in History of Art doesn’t only prepare you for working in these sectors, and we have many students who go on to build successful careers in the fields of PR, marketing and advertising, publishing, journalism and translation, or performance and the creative arts. This is because many of the key transferrable skills that our degrees will help you to develop – in critical thinking, research and writing, presentation, and visual analysis – are highly valued by these industries. You can find out more about what you can do with a History of Art degree here

As a student in the Department, you will have access to careers support throughout your degree programme to help you develop your skills and achieve your ambitions. There is a dedicated departmental careers tutor and a wide range of events and opportunities offered by the UCL Careers team, including additional support from the UCL Careers Extra scheme for eligible students. The University also offers opportunities for entrepreneurshipnetworking with alumni, and volunteering, as well as numerous student-run societies that are oriented towards specific sectors and potential future careers for UCL students.  

Support and Wellbeing 

UCL offers a wide range of support both during the application process and once you are enrolled as a student. Please follow the links below to find out more.

  • Fees and Funding: There is lots of advice and information available on funding your studies, as well as a range of bursaries and scholarships that you may be able to apply for.
  • The application process: If you are thinking of applying to UCL and meet certain eligibility criteria, you may be able to benefit from Access UCL, which is an alternative offer scheme for students from groups that are underrepresented at UCL. You may also be able to take advantage of the many events and opportunities offered by the Access team for Year 12 & 13 students. 
  • Support once you’re here: Every student in the Department is assigned a personal tutor, who is there to provide support and encouragement during your studies. In addition, every first year undergraduate is matched to a Transition Mentor, who is a second or third year student from your degree programme, and all students have access to the UCL Writing Lab and the services offered by the Student Support and Wellbeing team. Some students may also benefit from the additional support offered by the teams working in our Equality Areas.  

You can find a list of undergraduate FAQs here.


Cadence Kinsey, Admissions Tutor: undergraduate-admissions@ucl.ac.uk

BA Module Descriptions 2020/21