History of Art MA

London, Bloomsbury

The History of Art MA at UCL draws on the department's world-leading research and teaching expertise. The programme is designed to enable students to acquire specialised knowledge about the field of art history and to develop independent research skills.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2024/25)
Overseas tuition fees (2024/25)
1 calendar year
2 calendar years
Programme starts
September 2024
Applications accepted
All applicants: 16 Oct 2023 – 15 Jan 2024
Applications close at 5pm UK time

Applications open

Entry requirements

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.

The English language level for this programme is: Level 2

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level.

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

Equivalent qualifications

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. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

About this degree

Students develop skills for engaging with visual materials and also gain historical knowledge, enabling them to interpret artefacts within 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.

Who this course is for

The programme is designed for those with a first degree in history of art or with some experience in the subject, a high level of commitment and an aptitude for academic work.

What this course will give you

UCL History of Art is one of the world's most dynamic centres for the study of art history and visual cultures. In REF 2021, our department's research was ranked 1st in London and 3rd in the UK for Art and Design: History, Practice and Theory. 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 approximately 50 graduate students; simultaneously, you will work in smaller groups and have close contact with tutors in your Special Subject modules.

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.

The foundation of your career

UCL's History of Art graduates have an 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 MA is an excellent starting point for a career in academia, curating, and working in the heritage industry, commercial art galleries and other sectors of the cultural industries.


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 serious engagement with historical and contemporary cultural debates. Students will learn to work collaboratively and independently to develop written and oral communication skills.

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, an MA is a requirement for a PhD. 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.


The Department has a very active research culture, hosting regular events with visiting artists, scholars, and curators worldwide as part of our Research Seminar Series, the Centre for the Study of Contemporary Art, and Past Imperfect. 

Our proximity in central London to a wide range of museums and galleries and ongoing and extensive contact with other London Art History departments offers unrivalled access to a wide range of public events and shared seminars. We also receive career and training opportunities from museums, galleries and exhibitions that we distribute to our students.

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through lectures, seminars, tutorials, and gallery and museum visits.

Assessment is by two essays for each of the taught modules (six essays in all), the Dissertation and a viva.

You are expected to spend approximately 150 hours studying for a 15-credit module and 300 hours for a 30-credit module. These hours include contact time (usually two hours of staff-led time per week), private study and the undertaking of coursework assignments.


Three key components make up the MA in History of Art.

The Compulsory Module is an advanced seminar dealing with contemporary debates and theories on art and visual culture. 
Lecturers will introduce you to various texts, methods, and approaches, which is one of the most distinctive aspects of our programme.

Two Special Subject Modules 
These focused and regularly changing modules are linked directly to the current research of staff in the department. Approximately seven of these modules are offered each year across various periods. We encourage critical thinking across periods and regions, and all our modules, irrespective of their historical frame, are engaged with contemporary concerns; consequently, we encourage you to consider Special Subject modules that are linked thematically rather than solely by period or geography. 

The Dissertation is developed in spring and summer in discussion with a supervisor.
The programme, which can be studied full-time or part-time, is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, and gallery and museum visits. 

The three taught modules run concurrently throughout the year. Special Subject modules usually incorporate a field trip, often abroad. Assessment is by two essays for each of the taught courses (six essays in all), the Dissertation, and a viva. If you are studying full-time, you will take two compulsory modules (including the Dissertation) and two optional modules throughout the year.

If you are studying part-time, you will take one compulsory module and one optional module in Year One, then one compulsory module (the Dissertation) and one optional module in Year Two.

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability are subject to change. Modules that are in use for the current academic year are linked for further information. Where no link is present, further information is not yet available.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded an MA in History of Art.


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble accessable.co.uk. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support and Wellbeing team.

Online - Open day

Graduate Open Events: History of Art MA

UCL History of Art is one of the most dynamic centres for the study of art history and visual cultures in the world. The MA in History of Art is a challenging and versatile degree designed for those with a first degree in history of art, or with some experience of the subject and who have a high level of commitment and an aptitude for academic work.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2024/25) £15,100 £7,550
Tuition fees (2024/25) £31,100 £15,550

The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Where the programme is offered on a flexible/modular basis, fees are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.

Additional costs

Students are expected to pay the entrance fee to any admission-charging exhibition or museum or archive visited by a class; the tutor will usually negotiate a group discount where this is significantly cheaper than the individual student discount.

Students who are facing financial hardships can apply for UCL Financial Assistance Funds.

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Funding your studies

The department awards several bursaries covering a proportion of fees to Master's or Research students. Visit https://www.ucl.ac.uk/art-history/postgraduate/postgraduate-funding for full details.

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

Aziz Foundation Scholarships in Social and Historical Sciences

Value: Full tuition fees (equivalent to 1yr full-time) (1yr)
Criteria Based on financial need
Eligibility: UK

UCL East London Scholarship

Deadline: 20 June 2024
Value: Tuition fees plus £15,700 stipend ()
Criteria Based on financial need
Eligibility: UK

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.

There is an application processing fee for this programme of £90 for online applications and £115 for paper applications. Further information can be found at Application fees.

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 background meets the demands of this challenging programme
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree

Along with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to show how your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme delivers.

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes (or one application for the Law LLM) in any application cycle.

Choose your programme

Please read the Application Guidance before proceeding with your application.

Year of entry: 2024-2025

Got questions? Get in touch

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