History of Art BA

London, Bloomsbury

With an emphasis on object-based learning, interdisciplinary study and rigorous critical thought, our History of Art BA encourages you to see the world differently. This degree will develop your knowledge and understanding of 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.

UK students International students
Study mode
3 academic years
UK tuition fees (2024/25)
Overseas tuition fees (2024/25)
Programme starts
September 2024
Application deadline
31 Jan 2024
UCAS course code

Entry requirements

No specific subjects, though essay-based subjects are an advantage. At least two A level subjects should be taken from UCL's list of preferred A level subjects.
English Language and Mathematics at grade C or 5.

Contextual offer information

BCC more about contextual offers
B in essay-based subject
English Language and Mathematics at grade C or 5.
A total of 17 points in three higher level subjects, with no higher level score below 5.

Contextual offer

30 more about contextual offers
A total of 15 points in three higher level subjects, with no higher level score below 5.

UK applicants qualifications

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

Equivalent qualification

Pass in Access to HE Diploma with a minimum of 30 credits at Distinction and 15 credits at Merit, all from Level 3 units.

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (QCF) or BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma (RQF - teaching from 2016) with Distinction, Distinction, Distinction.

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

AAB at Advanced Highers (or AA at Advanced Higher and BBB at Higher).

Not acceptable for entrance to this programme.

Not acceptable for entrance to this programme.

Successful completion of the WBQ Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate plus 2 GCE A levels at grades AAB

International applications

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

*Should you experience any issues with the drop-down below, try de-selecting the country and re-selecting it. If this doesn't work, then you may refer to this page which may help you find the same equivalencies - check the A level grades and subject requirements in the A levels tab beforehand. Please note the table is indicative only, revisiting when the dropdown is working to confirm is recommended.

Access and widening participation

UCL is committed to widening access to higher education. If you are eligible for Access UCL you do not need to do anything in addition to the standard UCAS application. Your application will be automatically flagged when we receive it.

Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates

The Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates (UPC) prepare international students for a UCL undergraduate degree who don’t have the qualifications to enter directly. These intensive one-year foundation courses are taught on our central London campus.

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: ucl.ac.uk/upc.

English language requirements

The English language level for this programme is: Level 2

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

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

Course overview

Our teaching ranges from the medieval to the contemporary, across an increasingly broad geography, with particular strengths in European art, the Americas, Africa and South Asia. In addition to offering a broad and inclusive foundation in the history of art, the programme allows students to focus on their specific interests both within and around the discipline, drawing from fields including anthropology, archaeology, history and philosophy.

You may be interested in the new History of Art, Materials and Technology (MAT) route, which aims to develop your knowledge and understanding of works of art as physical objects. You will gain a thorough understanding of artists’ techniques, methods of making and questions of materiality and technology. Students following this route will be well prepared for careers that involve dealing with works of art first hand, such as art dealers, art conservators, museum and gallery professionals. Students interested in following this route should apply to the BA History of Art programme in the first instance.

First year compulsory modules are focused on providing a foundation in the fundamentals of art history, its topics and methodologies. These modules explore the significance of art within different cultural and historical contexts. You will also select a Thematic Seminar module, which explores a particular topic through small-group teaching in museums, galleries and sites around London.

Students following the MAT route will take modules focused on materials, media and technologies and their application as artists’ materials. 

Second year includes two Advanced Lecture modules which provide an in-depth study of a significant art history theme, such as medicine and death in late medieval art. You will also select from a wide range of optional modules dedicated to specific periods and topics (‘Period Modules’), and study departmental modules that will develop your analytical skills.

If you are following the MAT route, you will take modules that delve deeper into the technical aspects of art.

In final year you will complete a 10,000 word dissertation, on a topic discussed with and supported by your tutors. You will also explore your chosen research interests by taking Special Subject modules. These modules change regularly, but recent examples include: Art and Visual Culture in Early Modern England; South African Photography; Art and Visual Culture in Modern South Asia; The Social Life of Artworks. You can also take one module from other disciplines across UCL.

If you are following the MAT route, you can take the Art/Work/Space module that enables you to gain practical work experience while writing an independent research project reflecting critically on this experience.

Visit the department webpages to find out more.

What this course will give you

The high-quality research undertaken by staff informs the content of our degrees and keeps 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 modern and contemporary art, as well as experts in the history of materials and technologies.

UCL's central London location provides easy access to important collections including the British Museum, British Library, the National Gallery, the Tate Galleries and the Victoria and Albert Museum. Students will also benefit from access to art facilities and resources on campus, including the UCL Art Museum which houses an important collection of artworks. These include works by Turner and Rembrandt, as well as important 20th-century prints. These resources are regularly used to support our teaching.

Teaching and learning

In each year of your degree you will take a number of individual modules, normally valued at 15 or 30 credits, adding up to a total of 120 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 30-credit module is considered equivalent to 15 credits in the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS).

Upon successful completion of 360 credits, you will be awarded a BA (Hons) in History of Art. If you choose the Materials and Technology route and successfully complete 360 credits, you will be awarded a BA (Hons) in History of Art, Materials and Technology.


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 is 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.

Year 1
Compulsory module in ‘History of Art and its Objects’, and two survey modules focused on key monuments and central issues in art history. You will select a thematic seminar taught mainly in galleries, museums and sites in London. 

Year 2
You will study Advanced Lectures focused on specific periods and topics, and can choose from a range of optional modules from within and outside of the department. 

Year 3
All students write a dissertation of 10,000 words, involving individual research, and choose from a range of optional modules from within and outside of the department. 

Students who have selected the History of Art, Materials and Technology (MAT) route will take modules focused on understanding artists’ techniques, methods of making, the technical aspects of art and questions of materiality and technology. The MAT route also offers a final year module Art/Work/Space that enables you to gain practical work experience while writing an independent research project.

Your learning

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

Contact hours vary according to the modules you are taking. An average week may provide 8-10 contact hours. As well as time spent in lectures and seminars, you are expected to spend +/-30 hours a week studying independently. 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.


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


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

The foundation of your career

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. Visit our Careers webpage to learn more.


The programme is broad and rigorous, making graduates competitive for jobs both within and outside the area of visual arts. Alongside the specific analytical and interpretive skills associated with history of art, students will develop valuable transferable skills including presentation ability, an ability to form coherent arguments; communication skills.  

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time
Tuition fees (2024/25) £9,250
Tuition fees (2024/25) £28,100

The fees indicated are for undergraduate entry in the 2024/25 academic year. The UK fees shown are for the first year of the programme at UCL only. Fees for future years may be subject to an inflationary increase. The Overseas fees shown are the fees that will be charged to 2024/25 entrants for each year of study on the programme, unless otherwise indicated below.

Full details of UCL's tuition fees, tuition fee policy and potential increases to fees can be found on the UCL Students website.

Additional costs

Students are expected to pay the entrance fee to any admission-charging exhibition or museum visited by a class; the tutor will usually negotiate a group discount where this is significantly cheaper than the individual student discount. Students can purchase an annual Student Art Pass for £5, which provides free or reduced-priced entry to many museums and major exhibitions.

A guide including rough estimates for these and other living expenses is included on the UCL Fees and funding pages. If you are concerned by potential additional costs for books, equipment, etc., please get in touch with the relevant departmental contact (details given on this page).

Funding your studies

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.


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.

Next steps

Your application

Your Personal Statement should detail which aspects of art history you’re interested in and demonstrate independent engagement with the subject. We will be looking for evidence of: an ability to read extensively and analytically; communication skills; an ability to form coherent arguments. An interest in viewing art is beneficial, however no priority is given to students who have travelled extensively to do so over those whose experience is closer to home.

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.


For further information on UCL's selection process see: How we assess your application.

Got questions? Get in touch

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