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This MA, taught at Kent’s Paris School of Arts and Culture, provides a structured introduction to the postgraduate study of the history and philosophy of art. It is the only History and Philosophy of Art MA offered by a British university in Paris and taught in English.
The programme is intended for graduates in art history, philosophy and related subjects, such as fine art. It gives you the opportunity to pursue your interest in visual art at advanced level and within an interdisciplinary context, to develop a high level of expertise in topics in history and philosophy of art and to prepare for doctoral research in history of art or philosophy of art.
You spend the entire year at Kent’s Paris School of Arts and Culture where you study at the Columbia Global Center (known as Reid Hall), which is located in a historic corner of Montparnasse in the heart of Paris. This allows you to participate in excursions to prominent cultural locations and make use of research resources that are only available in Paris. You have the unique opportunity to study the arts at postgraduate level within the context of a city that has been at the very centre of many crucial artistic and art theoretical developments in the past few centuries.
To find out more about History of Art at Kent, follow our blog, Artistry.
The Paris School of Arts and Culture is a specialist, postgraduate centre located in the heart of Paris. We offer interdisciplinary, flexible programmes, taught in English, which take full advantage of all the cultural resources Paris offers. Study trips to the city’s museums, art exhibitions, archives, cinemas and architectural riches are an integral part of your studies.
The interdisciplinary nature of the School means you can choose modules from outside your subject area, broadening your view of your subject. As part of our international community of students and staff, you can take part in regular seminars and talks, write for the student-run literary magazine or help to organise our annual student conference.
Students interested in taking this MA as a part-time option would take two modules each year (one per term), plus the dissertation in the final year. The programme can also be studied in Canterbury only or with the year shared between Canterbury and Paris.
The History of Art Department within the School of Arts provides opportunities for graduate study with well-established researchers in the fields of art history, philosophy of art and aesthetics. Staff research covers contemporary art and aesthetics, modernism, the history and philosophy of portraiture, the historiography of art and the Cold War, biographical monographs, the photograph (in its historical, contemporary and critical contexts), and the historical interplay of image, theory and institutions from the Renaissance to the present (especially European and North American).
Studying art as a postgraduate at the University of Kent in Paris will give you the opportunity to experience our rich resources of academic expertise and participate in the activities of the multidisciplinary Aesthetics Research Centre and the Art History and Visual Cultures Research Centre. Our research and teaching will engage you in a dialogue with aesthetic, conceptual and historical perspectives.
You are more than your grades
For 2022, in response to the challenges caused by Covid-19 we will consider applicants either holding or projected a 2:2. This response is part of our flexible approach to admissions whereby we consider each student and their personal circumstances. If you have any questions, please get in touch.
A second class honours degree (2.2 or above) in a relevant humanities subject. Applicants without these qualifications will be judged on the basis of a sample of written work, an interview and relevant experience.
Your application should include a sample of your academic writing. Ideally this will be an essay, on a similar or related topic, that you have recently written as part of your undergraduate degree programme. Please upload this to your application portal.
All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, professional qualifications and relevant experience may also be taken into account when considering applications. These cases are assessed individually by the Director of Graduate Studies.
All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, professional qualifications and relevant experience may also be taken into account when considering applications.
Please see our International Student website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information. Due to visa restrictions, students who require a student visa to study cannot study part-time unless undertaking a distance or blended-learning programme with no on-campus provision.
The University requires all non-native speakers of English to reach a minimum standard of proficiency in written and spoken English before beginning a postgraduate degree. Certain subjects require a higher level.
For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages.
Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.
Duration: One year full-time, two years part-time
The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This list is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.
The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This list is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation. Most programmes will require you to study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also have the option to take modules from other programmes so that you may customise your programme and explore other subject areas that interest you.
You take the compulsory modules and then choose from a list of optional modules. In order to allow you to explore other subject areas that interest you, you have the option to take one of the modules from other programmes that are on offer at the Paris campus.
This module will introduce you to key concepts that are central to understand fundamental debates in history and philosophy of art as well as art criticism. Some examples of key concepts are the notion of originality, influence, race, the aesthetic, fiction, beauty, gender and taste. The key concepts discussed in the seminars are subject to change.
The module will focus on Paris as a centre of artistic experimentation. The city served as the launch pad for key artistic movements from the mid-19th century through to the period after the Second World War (Impressionism, Cubism, Surrealism, etc.), and as a magnet for budding and established artists from all around the world. The module will take advantage of the great museum collections that encapsulate such developments (Musées d'Arte Moderne and d’Orsay, Rodin and Picasso Museums, Beaubourg, Quai Branly, etc.) and also of the major exhibitions on show in Paris in any given year.
This module involves a materialist analysis of the dynamics of colonialism, anticolonialism and postcolonialism. It explores places and people shaped by key modern historic processes, such as colonial conquest, dispossession, decolonization, postcolonial independence, partition, and migration. The module also examines connections between war, exclusion, territory and freedom, and it ruminates on processes of contradiction and negotiation, convergence and discord, clash and reconciliation in relation to political and personal conflict.
'Paris: Portfolio' contributes to the MA in Creative Writing in Paris. The objective of ‘Paris: Portfolio’ is to produce work inspired by the cultural, historical and aesthetic location of the city, taking regular writing exercises, field trips and prompts as a starting point. This module aims to enable students to develop their practice of writing through both the study of a range of contemporary examples and practices, and constructive feedback on their own work. Each week, students read a selection of work, in a variety of forms (fiction, non-fiction, poetry, prose poetry, hybrid texts; as well as artworks, TV, film and other media). Students will work on a specific exercise and submit it for workshopping each week, which they will draw upon to produce a portfolio of creative work for the main assessment. They will be encouraged to read as independent writers, to apply appropriate writing techniques to their own practice and to experiment with voice, form and content. The approach to the exemplary texts will be technical as well as historical. At every point in the module, priority will be given to students’ own development as writers. It is an assumption of the module that students will already have a basic competence in the writing of poetry or prose, including a grasp of essential craft and techniques. The purpose of this module will be to stimulate students towards development and honing of their emerging voices and styles through engaging with various literary texts and techniques, and to consider how their work can develop with large chunks of time for independent study, reflection and exploration of a city like Paris.
Among the various paradigms from which diasporic writing should be distinguished is the literature of exile. Exile is often the consequence of political pressure or disaffection with a society rather than the result of the larger and often spatially and chronologically extended migratory movements which led to the emergence of diasporic communities. While both paradigms may intersect, the concerns and motivations of diasporic and exilic literatures usually differ.
A historically and culturally significant geographical, and frequently also imaginary, point of intersection between the diasporic and the exilic paradigms is the metropolis of Paris. In this module, our comparative focus will be on diasporic and exilic literatures and on the significance of the diasporic or exilic space of the French metropolis, both as production context and as informing literary production. Writers to consider include: American expatriates in 1920 (like Gertrude Stein, Ernest Hemingway, Henry Miller, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Djuna Barnes), in the Post World War II era (like Richard Wright and James Baldwin), and other writers who chose exile in Paris (like Heinrich Heine, Oscar Wilde, Rainer Maria Rilke, Samuel Beckett)
'Paris: Psychogeography' contributes to the MA in Creative Writing in Paris. The objective of ‘Paris: Psychogeography’ is to produce work across genres inspired by the practice and theory of psychogeography and associated modes and schools of thought (the Situationist International, Dadaism, ‘Pataphysics, urbanism, etc), and associated practices such as the ‘dérive’ and ‘détournement’, in the place of its birth: Paris. As a part of their seminars students, with their tutors, will take into ‘the field’ regular writing exercises, trips and prompts as a starting point, encouraging play, experiment and both collaborative and individual methods. This module aims to enable students to develop their practice of writing through both the study of a range of twentieth century and contemporary examples and psychogeographic practices, and constructive feedback on their own work. Each week, students read a selection of work, in a variety of forms (fiction, non-fiction, poetry, prose poetry, hybrid texts; as well as artworks, TV, film and other media). Students will work on focused, practical exercises to submit for workshopping each week, which they can draw upon to produce a portfolio of creative work for the main assessment. They will be encouraged to read as independent writers, to apply appropriate writing techniques to their own practice and to experiment with voice, form and content. The approach to the exemplary texts will be technical and practical as well as historical; students will be expected to engage with, and critique the limitations of, the conceptual underpinnings of psychogeography as a theory and practice. At every point in the module, priority will be given to students’ own development as writers. It is an assumption of the module that students will already have a basic competence in the writing of poetry or prose, including a grasp of essential craft and techniques. The purpose of this module will be to stimulate students towards development and honing of their emerging voices and styles through engaging with various literary texts and techniques, and to consider how their work can develop with large chunks of time for independent study, wondering and wandering as well as in exploration and dialogue with place embodied in the City of Paris.
In this module students will focus on generating material, understanding their own writing process through practice and identifying their strengths and interests (literary and otherwise), with an emphasis on workshopping each week. They will work towards a fully realised and developed piece of writing, which may be self-contained or a part of a longer project. They may be continuing to work on an existing project, or starting something new. In seminar/workshops, they will give and receive constructive criticism, and work on editorial exercises to revise and refine their writing. Seminars will focus on reading selected extracts, process- and craft-focused texts, and reflective essays as a basis for class discussion. Seminar leaders will identify recommended reading tailored to individual students' interests and development.
On this module students will develop their skills as an independent writer, critic and thinker, understanding and building their own unique writing practice through readings of exemplary texts, open seminar discussion, writing exercises and creative workshops. Students will learn to identify and apply central concepts like plot, narrative, form and structure, theme, voice and character, in both reading and writing practice, Experimentation, ingenuity, ambition and originality in the student's approach to her/his own writing will be encouraged. Workshops will develop close reading and editorial skills and invite students to offer and receive constructive criticism of their peers’ work.
The module is conceived as open to all Humanities MA students in Paris. It examines the medium of film, considering its specific qualities as an art and industrial form and the particular ways in which it is influenced by and influences other artistic and cultural forms in turn of the 20th century Paris. The emphasis of the course varies from year to year, responding to current research and scholarship, but it maintains as its focus the aesthetic strategies of film in contrast with other arts, technological developments, and historical change, particularly as they are developed in the growth of Paris as a city. The course also addresses the strategies used by the cinema to communicate with its historical audience. The course explores both the historical place of the cinema within the development of twentieth-century urban culture in Paris as well as how this historical definition informs the development of the cinema.
This module examines film history and historiography through case studies. In carrying out this investigation students will be encouraged to work with archive and primary sources held in libraries, museums and archives. This will include, for example, the Cinémathèque Française, the Bibliothèque Nationale, Fondation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé, Forum des Images, and Paris Diderot library. Students will evaluate and contest received histories, which may be based on an aesthetic, technological, economic, and/or social formations. Through this investigation students will be better able to understand the role and value of the contextual study of film, while giving them the opportunity to research and write on an aspect of film history. The choice of case studies will depend upon the expertise of the module convenor.
This module explores the art and culture of the so-called 'Golden Age' of seventeenth-century Holland, and critically examines the appropriateness of this common way of naming the period. Different types of paintings such as portraits, genre painting and still-life will be studied, and their social functions critically evaluated. The life and work of renowned Dutch masters, such as Rembrandt van Rijn, Johannes Vermeer and Frans Hals, as well as a number of lesser known artists such as Judith Leyster, Jan Steen and Willem Claesz Heda, will be closely examined. Special attention is given to the society and context that produced this art including politics, religion, the art market, the position of women, global trading and the slave trade. Lectures and seminars discuss these themes through the use of visual and written resources. In addition, the seminars are devoted to practical applications of relevant art historical and academic skills (visual analysis, interpretation, evaluation, communication, critical thinking). This is reflected in the assessments that develop progressively to ensure learning outcomes.
This module explores the dynamic relationship between the cult of relics and Gothic art. It will begin by retracing the aesthetics of devotion across Western Christendom, culminating in the creation of towering Gothic cathedrals. Throughout history, the design of cult images could reveal sacred presence, testify to miracle-working powers, and explicate the significance of a holy place using visual narratives. Through pilgrimage, gift-giving, and even theft, people acquired relics and 'invented' new cults. The success of a relic cult would benefit from the design of a magnificent reliquary, the depiction of pictorial programmes (in glass, sculpture, and painting), and the placement of the relic within a spectacular architectural setting. Together we will explore the development of Gothic art in light of changing devotional needs. Using a number of diverse case studies, students will acquire a wealth of historical information and develop a variety of intellectual approaches to function and significance of visual culture. Beginning with Paris and its surrounding cathedrals, we will extend our analysis to Gothic Canterbury, London, Castile, Prague, Siena, and Florence. Above all, this course will encourage students to think critically about the influence of art in the religious imagination.
France is the setting and inspiration for many plays first written and performed for London's professional theatres, 1576-1642. Whether in the history cycles that depicted Anglo-French diplomacy and war, or in the comedies and tragedies that revealed the ebb and flow of life in England’s near-neighbour, France as a site and space held a vivid place in the English imagination. This module is oriented around trans-national exchange (of ideas, people, goods, services) in early modern plays by Marlowe, Shakespeare, and other dramatists. France, and Paris in particular, will be read as a site of political unrest and religious fervour and debate, with the plays analysed in parallel to historical studies of the French Wars of Religion and networks of Anglo-French exchange during this period. Analysing the literary and historical contexts to these plays, the module will encourage students to think deeply about the dramatists’ creative engagement with issues such as national and religious identity, trans-national intellectual exchange, and the politics of difference.
The dissertation module gives students the opportunity to write a dissertation of around 12,000-15,000 words on a topic of their choosing relating to history of art or philosophy of art and aesthetics. The process of developing a topic and writing the dissertation is closely supported through classes during terms 2 & 3, and individual meetings with the student's dissertation supervisor. Supervision is usually by staff with direct research expertise in the student's chosen topic.
Assessment is by coursework only.
This programme aims to:
You will gain knowledge and understanding of:
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The 2022/23 UK fees for this course are:
For details of when and how to pay fees and charges, please see our Student Finance Guide.
For students continuing on this programme fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* If you are uncertain about your fee status please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, Arts at Kent was ranked 1st for research power and in the top 20 in the UK for research quality.
An impressive 98% of our research was judged to be of international quality. The School’s environment was judged to be conducive to supporting the development of world-leading research.
The Department has a collective interest in developing interdisciplinary projects, including projects informed by art history, curation and the philosophy of art or aesthetics. Shared areas of research interest include: photography, art theory from the Renaissance onwards; modernism and contemporary art.
The Aesthetics Research Centre coordinates, enables and promotes research in philosophy of art and aesthetics at the University of Kent. Its focus is on the dynamic and growing field of philosophy of art and aesthetics in the analytic tradition, and it is deeply committed to making connections and exploring synergies between that tradition and other approaches to thinking about art and culture, including those from other philosophical traditions, the humanities more broadly, the sciences, and all forms of art making and cultural production. ARC comprises a vibrant community of staff and postgraduate students across the School of Arts and Philosophy, and its activities include an annual programme of research seminars, workshops, symposia and conferences.
The Histories Research Group promotes and co-ordinates research amongst the growing community of staff and PG students active at Kent in the field of Visual and Cultural Histories. The Histories research culture brings together staff and post-graduate students from across the School of Arts whose research involves a cultural historical approach to their field. Whether it is in theatre, film or art history, the Histories group promotes and enables cultural historical research by holding a regular research seminar and supporting student-led initiatives, such as organizing conferences. For the range of world-leading research carried out by members of the Histories research group - from Raphael to Doris Day.
Other Research Centres within the School:
The Performance and Theatre Research Group’s mission is to create a warm and dynamic research community, welcoming everybody from fresher to professor. We are a delightfully broad church, with well-established expertise in a very broad range of subjects, including theatre history, performance and health, theatre and cognition, physical acting, applied theatre, performance and philosophy, performance and politics, European theatre, Greek theatre, Modernist theatre (especially the Bauhaus), theatre and adaptation, audience studies, cultural industries, variety theatre, puppetry, dance theatre, popular performance and stand-up comedy. As well as traditional academic research, we have led the field in creative practice-based research – and continue to do so.
The Group’s main objective is to support and produce cutting-edge research in the areas of film, media and culture. A broad and welcoming church for the manifold approaches to our subject, we specialise in research that is collaborative, of high impact, international and interdisciplinary in scope. We recognise film, media and cultural activity is best understood comprehensively in terms of aesthetic shapes, social roles, discursive formations, cultural meanings, psychological effects and/or economic realities, and best explained through attention to both institutional imperatives and individual agencies. Drawing together scholars from across the University – including Arts, European Culture and Languages, Digital Arts and Engineering, History, English and American Studies, Law, Sociology and beyond – the Group furnishes a lively, member-led research culture that serves as a forum for Kent-based researchers and as a beacon for the international community. Through our journal Film Studies and pioneering research projects and outputs we actively seek to shape the field, open lines of communication with the local community and engage with colleagues worldwide.
Full details of staff research interests can be found on the School's website.
Arts postgraduates have gone on to work in a range of professions, from museum positions and teaching roles to marketing and gallery assistants. Our graduates have found work with Tate Britain, the V&A, Museum of Childhood and other arts, culture and heritage-related organisations.
In Paris you are encouraged to make full use of the city’s cultural resources and to integrate that experience into your studies. The Louvre, Centre Pompidou, Musée d’Orsay, Musée d’Arte Moderne, Grand Palais and other world-class museums and exhibition spaces are on your doorstep. You have access to screenings of modern and classic films and to the research facilities at the National Cinémathèque and Museum of Cinema and at the Forum des Images. You also have access to the libraries of University of Paris III (Sorbonne Nouvelle) and University of Paris VII. Other Paris libraries with extensive relevant holdings include the French National Library, the Centre Georges Pompidou Public Library and the American Library in Paris, to which you are given access and a guided visit.
All postgraduate students are offered research skills training and the opportunity to take part in reading groups and research seminars.
In recent years, several members of the History of Art Department, both full-time and part-time, have been awarded University prizes for excellence in student support, curriculum innovation and research-based teaching – an ethos which we seek to extend to the postgraduate community.
Staff publish regularly and widely in journals, conference proceedings and books. Among others, they have recently contributed to: British Journal of Aesthetics; Art History; History of Photography; Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism; Journal of Visual Arts Practice; and The Philosophical Quarterly.
All students registered for a taught Master's programme are eligible to apply for a place on our Global Skills Award Programme. The programme is designed to broaden your understanding of global issues and current affairs as well as to develop personal skills which will enhance your employability.
Learn more about the applications process or begin your application by clicking on a link below.
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