Art History - BA (Hons)

Overview

Would you like to get involved in curating an art exhibition, researching and writing art reviews or working in an art gallery? Have you ever wondered what makes art great and who decides? At Kent, you gain an understanding of theory, experience of practice, and the confidence to choose your own ‘great art’.

Kent's School of Arts is well-known for its innovative programmes in the visual arts. Our Art History programme combines a comprehensive review of art movements, artists and artistic media with opportunities to put your knowledge into practice.

As an arts student, you become part of an artistic community based within the School of Arts’ Jarman building – a creative hub for students of art history, film, drama and media studies.

Our degree programme

This programme offers a critically engaging and expansive approach to the discipline of art history. It equips you with the key visual, critical and professional skills necessary for a career in the art world and for a range of other employment opportunities.

In your first year, you take an introductory module on the history of art. Further modules are available on the philosophy of art, photography or contemporary art. You can also choose modules from our film or drama degrees, or from other humanities subjects.

Throughout your second and third years, you develop and expand your engagement with the discipline through a range of specialist modules. As well as options that explore Renaissance and Baroque art, modernism, contemporary art, Surrealism, photography and aesthetics, the degree also offers an introduction to work-related skills directly relevant to employment in the visual arts sector, such as visual arts writing and exhibition curation. 

Placement year

To enhance your employability, you have the opportunity to undertake an internship. Spending time on a placement you gain invaluable workplace experience and also have the chance to evaluate a particular career path. We offer all our students support with their CVs and personal statements. See Course structure for more details.

Year abroad

You can also choose to study abroad for a term or a year but certain conditions apply. In the past, students have spent time in countries including Canada and Hong Kong, as well as countries in Europe. See Course structure for more details.

Study options

This programme can also be studied on a part-time basis and as part of a joint honours degree, combined with programmes such as English Literature, History and Archaeology or with a European language.

Study resources

Our first-class resources allow us to offer innovative modules and ways of learning. These include:

  • the Studio 3 Gallery – a high-calibre exhibition space where you can develop professional curatorial and gallery management skills
  • the Kent Print Collection – our collection of works by contemporary artists and Old Masters gives you the chance to get involved in the acquisition of valuable works of art on behalf of the department.

Entry requirements

Home/EU students

The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. Typical requirements are listed below. Students offering alternative qualifications should contact us for further advice. 

Please note that meeting this typical offer/minimum requirement does not guarantee an offer being made.Please also see our general entry requirements.

New GCSE grades

If you’ve taken exams under the new GCSE grading system, please see our conversion table to convert your GCSE grades.

  • Certificate

    A level

    BBC

  • Certificate

    Access to HE Diploma

    The University will not necessarily make conditional offers to all Access candidates but will continue to assess them on an individual basis. 

    If we make you an offer, you will need to obtain/pass the overall Access to Higher Education Diploma and may also be required to obtain a proportion of the total level 3 credits and/or credits in particular subjects at merit grade or above.

  • Certificate

    BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)

    The University will consider applicants holding BTEC National Diploma and Extended National Diploma Qualifications (QCF; NQF; OCR) on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us for further advice on your individual circumstances. A typical offer would be to achieve DMM.

  • Certificate

    International Baccalaureate

    34 points overall or 14 points at HL

International students

The University welcomes applications from international students. Our international recruitment team can guide you on entry requirements. See our International Student website for further information about entry requirements for your country. 

However, please note that international fee-paying students cannot undertake a part-time programme due to visa restrictions.

If you need to increase your level of qualification ready for undergraduate study, we offer a number of International Foundation Programmes.

Meet our staff in your country

For more advice about applying to Kent, you can meet our staff at a range of international events.

English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

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. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme. 

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Course structure

Duration: 3 years full-time (4 with a year abroad/in industry), 6 years part-time (7 with a year abroad/in industry)

The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This listing is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation. 

On most programmes, you study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also be able to take ‘elective’ modules from other programmes so you can customise your programme and explore other subjects that interest you.

Stage 1

You take one compulsory module and then choose 60 credits from a list of optional modules.

Compulsory modules currently include

The module is intended as an introduction to the History of Art, as a body of visual artefacts and as an academic discipline. It is intended to be accessible to those with little or no previous experience, but also stimulating and informative to students with more background knowledge. The approach is chronological, focusing on a sequence of so termed 'canonical' works of art produced within the Western tradition. Such works provide a frame for introducing students to many of the basic analytical concepts and terms routinely deployed by art historians in describing, analysing and interpreting works of art: period, style, iconography, meaning, material/medium, technique, composition, creative process, representation, tradition, social function, patronage, genre etc

Find out more about HA355

Optional modules may include

This course aims to provide students with an introduction to aesthetics and the philosophy of art. The first part of the course focuses on some of the major texts in the history of the philosophy of art in the western tradition (e.g., Plato's Republic, Aristotle’s Poetics, Hume’s Of the Standard of Taste and Kant’s Critique of Judgement). The second part of the course focuses on central contemporary debates in the philosophy of art (e.g., What is Art? Artistic and Aesthetic Evaluation and the problem of forgery, Intention and Interpretation, Ethical criticism of art, Art and Emotion, Art and Feminism.) The student will be encouraged to see connections between the two parts of the module and to understand how contemporary debates (both philosophical and those found in the public opinion and art criticism) can be traced back to or even helpfully illuminated by old and contemporary philosophical debates.

Find out more about HA361

This course aims to provide students with an introduction to aesthetics and the philosophy of art. The first part of the course focuses on some of the major texts in the history of the philosophy of art in the western tradition (e.g., Plato's Republic, Aristotle’s Poetics, Hume’s Of the Standard of Taste and Kant’s Critique of Judgement). The second part of the course focuses on central contemporary debates in the philosophy of art (e.g., What is Art? Artistic and Aesthetic Evaluation and the problem of forgery, Intention and Interpretation, Ethical criticism of art, Art and Emotion, Art and Feminism.) The student will be encouraged to see connections between the two parts of the module and to understand how contemporary debates (both philosophical and those found in the public opinion and art criticism) can be traced back to or even helpfully illuminated by old and contemporary philosophical debates.

Find out more about HA362

This module examines a wide range of contemporary forms of art and artistic practice, and articulates some key distinctions useful for addressing the question of the place of art in culture. These include a discussion of ideas of the avant-garde, of modernity, and postmodernism. It pursues general themes and case studies of particularly controversial art objects, and investigates the different means by which our notions of art and of the artist are 'framed' today.

Find out more about HA314

This module examines a wide range of contemporary forms of art and artistic practice, and articulates some key distinctions useful for addressing the question of the place of art in culture. These include a discussion of ideas of the avant-garde, of modernity, and postmodernism. It pursues general themes and case studies of particularly controversial art objects, and investigates the different means by which our notions of art and of the artist are 'framed' today.

Find out more about HA315

This module provides students with a broad introduction to the history of photography over the first 150 years of its existence, together with some of the prehistory of the medium. It begins by looking at the origins and invention of photography, as well as reactions to, and early uses of, the medium. Following this background, a number of photographic genre are explored along with key contributors to their development. While the genre explored may change from year to year, the genre covered are likely to include portraiture, documentary photography and landscape photography, but the greatest focus will be given to the various styles and movements giving shape to the history of photographic art.

Find out more about HA316

This module provides students with a broad introduction to the history of photography over the first 150 years of its existence, together with some of the prehistory of the medium. It begins by looking at the origins and invention of photography, as well as reactions to, and early uses of, the medium. Following this background, a number of photographic genre are explored along with key contributors to their development. While the genre explored may change from year to year, the genre covered are likely to include portraiture, documentary photography and landscape photography, but the greatest focus will be given to the various styles and movements giving shape to the history of photographic art.

Find out more about HA317

You have the opportunity to select elective modules in this stage.

Stage 2

Optional modules may include

This module will explore the impact of Surrealism on the visual arts. It will focus in detail on a small group of key surrealist artists, such as Man Ray, Max Ernst, and Salvador Dali; while also, in order to understand the scope and definition of Surrealism, considering further artists in some detail who were associated with Surrealism but who denied that they were indeed surrealists, such as Frida Kahlo or Pavel Tchelitchew. In addition the module will survey the work of those artists formally associated with the Surrealist group, and the contribution of Dadaist precursors and contemporary artists who exercised a profound influence on Surrealism. While hardly feminist, Surrealism did provide a supportive forum for a number of innovative female artists, arguably enabling the artistic careers of more women than other avant-garde movements in the first half of the Twentieth Century. The relationship of women artists to Surrealism will, therefore, be a key theme of the course. Surrealism was not, however, principally a phenomenon of the visual arts, or a conventional artistic movement: the surrealists sought to reconnect moral and artistic forces, to achieve liberation through emotional intensification ('a systematic derangement of the senses'), and by this means to revolutionize society. They drew inspiration from Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytical theories to explore the workings of the unconscious and the ‘over-determined’ symbolism of dreams, and also what Gaston Bachelard called the new scientific spirit of the ‘why not’. Characteristic methods included pure psychic automatism, objective chance, the paranoiac-critical method, the double image, dislocation, and collage. Particularly at Level 6, this module will explore the broader implications of these surrealist themes, for example the question of whether myth is an expression of society, or constitutive of it, which was a key concern for the Surrealists. Indeed, André Breton described Surrealism as ‘a method of creating a collective myth’ in 1933. These thematic aspects of the module should make it an interesting wild option for students studying literature, twentieth-century history or cultural history, in addition to history of art students.

Find out more about HA693

This module explores a range of interconnections and tensions between western and non-western art historical and visual traditions. The lectures and seminars identify and consider examples of transcultural 'encounter' between principally western and non-western countries and territories, as well as appropriations from, and differences between, traditions of representational and non-representational art. In examining the influences, appropriations and cross-fertilizations of western and non-western art and culture the course will also place these within broader political and social histories, the rise of nationalism, continental trade relations, the advent of war, tourism, colonialism and imperialism. More broadly, the module will explore the nature and modalities of 'dialogue' from various critical and art historical perspectives, including the terms, elisions and the failures of such between western and non-western traditions. Visual and textual examples will also encompass the exclusions, altercations, violations and marginalization of non-western cultures and their traditions within and across this framework.

Find out more about HA660

The module will involve the study of a single artist of significance for the history of art. Through the in depth study of the works of art of a single artist, the interpretations made of them and the cultural significance of the artist's life and oeuvre, students will be introduced to a wide range of approaches and issues central to the theory and practice of the discipline of Art History. They will also acquire the subject-specific and generic learning skills necessary to progress to part II of their degree programme. The convenorship of the module will rotate among members of History of Art and with it the choice of artist to be studied. Lectures will be delivered by different HA staff members, and where appropriate external speakers, so that students are exposed to a range of different approaches and opinions. It is intended that when this module first runs the artist studied will be Pablo Picasso; an indicative list of other possible artists might include Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, Ingres, Cezanne, Jackson Pollock, Frida Kahlo, Berthe Morisot or Rachel Whiteread. The purpose of the module, however, is not in itself to uphold a canon of established masters, and if the resources are available to deliver the module and the choice supports the learning outcomes, the artist chosen could be contemporary, outside the Western tradition, or working in a non-traditional medium.

Find out more about HA669

This module will look at disability in the arts, covering theatre, film and visual art. The students will engage with the historical representation of disability within the arts and the way in which disability scholars have critically engaged with it. The students will also look at arts institutions (i.e. theatres, cinemas and galleries) and the disabling barriers within those institutions that prevent the full participation of people with impairments in the arts. This will culminate in an 'accessibility review', whereby the students analyse the adjustments made by arts institutions for people with impairments and the extent to which they are effective. Finally, the students will engage with examples of contemporary disabled artists whose impairments informs the aesthetic qualities of their work.

Find out more about ART522

This is a practice-based module exploring the photographic medium and the contexts of its use through the production of photographs in response to a project brief and group-based critical discussion of the work produced. Students investigate how the context in which photographs are made affect how the world is represented, and how in turn these images shape perception. Students choose three practical project briefs that are designed to enable them to explore the medium creatively and through informed and reflective practice. The emphasis of the module is upon this creative practice rather than the acquisition of specific technical skills, and as such students are at liberty to use any photographic production and post-production technologies they wish to experiment with or find appropriate. A camera phone and access to a computer and printer are all that is needed for this module, though students who wish to make use of digital image processing or analogue processes, including use of a darkroom, are encouraged to do so. Each of the practical project briefs will be supported through a series of lectures closely examining various genres, styles and other contexts of photographic production through the work of those who have shaped them. In addition students will present the work they have produced in response to their project briefs, and engage in a broad critical discussion or their own and other's work.

Find out more about ART523

You have the opportunity to select elective modules in this stage.

Year in industry

This programme provides an opportunity to undertake an internship and we offer all our students support with their CVs and personal statements. In this way, the degree offers both a strong grounding in the foundations of art historical study and an expansive approach to developing career skills.

Year abroad

Going abroad as part of your degree is an amazing experience and a chance to develop personally, academically and professionally.  You experience a different culture, gain a new academic perspective, establish international contacts and enhance your employability. 

All students within the Faculty of Humanities can apply to spend a term or a year abroad as part of their degree at one of our partner universities in North America, Asia or Europe. You are expected to adhere to any progression requirements including achieving a merit at Stage 1 and Stage 2 to proceed to the term or year abroad. 

The term or year abroad is assessed on a pass/fail basis and does not count towards your final degree classification. Places and destination are subject to availability, language and degree programme. To find out more, please see Go Abroad.

Stage 3

Optional modules may include

The module gives School of Arts students across a range undergraduate programmes the opportunity to undertake a written independent research project at stage 3.

Students who wish to take the module must approach a permanent academic member of staff with a proposal, typically in advance of module registration, during the Spring term of the previous year. Students pick a research topic of their choice; however, students are only allowed to register for the module with the permission of a staff member who has agreed to supervise the project, and who has the expertise to do so. Potential supervisors must also ensure before they agree to supervise a project that the resources required to complete the project will be available to the student, and that adequate supervisory support will be available to the student throughout their study on the module.

Students will be supported in the preparation and submission of their work by their supervisor, although a central expectation of the module is that students will take increasing responsibility for their learning, consistent with expectations of Level 6 study.

Find out more about ART500

Students will engage in a work-based situation of their choice. The student will be responsible for finding the work-based situation, though support from the School and CES will be available. The internship should bear relevance to their subject of study or a career they expect to pursue upon graduation. The total of 300 hours will be divided as required for purposes of preparation, attendance of work placement and reflection/completion of required assessment.

Find out more about ART501

This interdisciplinary course will examine historical and current theoretical ideas and research on the ways in which art is created and perceived. Artforms that will be considered include visual arts (painting, sculpture, architecture, popular art), performing arts (dance and theater), music, and film. Readings will interface with subdisciplines of psychology such as perception, psychoaesthetics, neurophysiology, social psychology, and studies of emotion. Principal areas of focus will include aesthetics, arts-experimental design, perception of art, meaning in art, the psychology of the creative process, social and cultural issues, and the ramifications of arts-sciences research. The primary focus will be on Western art forms, though other world art traditions and aesthetics will be discussed. Assessment methods will test understanding through a summary and critical reflection on a selected text and the proposal, research, and design and oral presentation of a potential interdisciplinary research project.

Find out more about ART520

The module will involve the study of a single artist of significance for the history of art. Through the in depth study of the works of art of a single artist, the interpretations made of them and the cultural significance of the artist's life and oeuvre, students will be introduced to a wide range of approaches and issues central to the theory and practice of the discipline of Art History. They will also acquire the subject-specific and generic learning skills necessary to progress to part II of their degree programme. The convenorship of the module will rotate among members of History of Art and with it the choice of artist to be studied. Lectures will be delivered by different HA staff members, and where appropriate external speakers, so that students are exposed to a range of different approaches and opinions. It is intended that when this module first runs the artist studied will be Pablo Picasso; an indicative list of other possible artists might include Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, Ingres, Cezanne, Jackson Pollock, Frida Kahlo, Berthe Morisot or Rachel Whiteread. The purpose of the module, however, is not in itself to uphold a canon of established masters, and if the resources are available to deliver the module and the choice supports the learning outcomes, the artist chosen could be contemporary, outside the Western tradition, or working in a non-traditional medium.

Find out more about HA670

The module provides a practice-based approach to art history to complement the academic approach of other modules in the History of Art programmes. By focusing on prints it will aim to provide students with an "apprenticeship" in two practical areas of art history, namely collecting and curating. The module will involve students in the full cycle of these two interrelated processes: from identifying and acquiring a print, to cataloguing and curating it, to making sense of it to a wider public by placing it in the context of a themed exhibition. In the first assessment task each student will submit an “exhibition bid” proposing an idea for an exhibition based on the existing collection and suggesting new acquisitions (and possibly loans) to realise the idea. The concepts for exhibitions could derive from the subject matter or techniques of prints in the collection, or they could involve focussing on a particular artist or period. The best conceived bid will then be adopted by the group who will work collectively to put on the exhibition. At this stage students will visit dealers and auction houses and carry out object-based research in order to secure new acquisitions. A study diary will be kept by each student to record this process and will be submitted at the end of the module as part of the overall assessment. As prints are acquired they will be catalogued to a professional standard format and these entries will form the basis of a catalogue to accompany the exhibition that will be the culmination of the module. Putting on the exhibition will require practical team-work to frame and hang the prints, to write and produce labels and illustrative material, and to staff and publicise the exhibition.

Find out more about HA573

This module explores a range of interconnections and tensions between western and non-western art historical and visual traditions. The lectures and seminars identify and consider examples of transcultural 'encounter' between principally western and non-western countries and territories, as well as appropriations from, and differences between, traditions of representational and non-representational art. In examining the influences, appropriations and cross-fertilizations of western and non-western art and culture the course will also place these within broader political and social histories, the rise of nationalism, continental trade relations, the advent of war, tourism, colonialism and imperialism. More broadly, the module will explore the nature and modalities of 'dialogue' from various critical and art historical perspectives, including the terms, elisions and the failures of such between western and non-western traditions. Visual and textual examples will also encompass the exclusions, altercations, violations and marginalization of non-western cultures and their traditions within and across this framework.

Find out more about HA591

This module will explore the impact of Surrealism on the visual arts. It will focus in detail on a small group of key surrealist artists, such as Man Ray, Max Ernst, and Salvador Dali; while also, in order to understand the scope and definition of Surrealism, considering further artists in some detail who were associated with Surrealism but who denied that they were indeed surrealists, such as Frida Kahlo or Pavel Tchelitchew. In addition the module will survey the work of those artists formally associated with the Surrealist group, and the contribution of Dadaist precursors and contemporary artists who exercised a profound influence on Surrealism. While hardly feminist, Surrealism did provide a supportive forum for a number of innovative female artists, arguably enabling the artistic careers of more women than other avant-garde movements in the first half of the Twentieth Century. The relationship of women artists to Surrealism will, therefore, be a key theme of the course. Surrealism was not, however, principally a phenomenon of the visual arts, or a conventional artistic movement: the surrealists sought to reconnect moral and artistic forces, to achieve liberation through emotional intensification ('a systematic derangement of the senses'), and by this means to revolutionize society. They drew inspiration from Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytical theories to explore the workings of the unconscious and the ‘over-determined’ symbolism of dreams, and also what Gaston Bachelard called the new scientific spirit of the ‘why not’. Characteristic methods included pure psychic automatism, objective chance, the paranoiac-critical method, the double image, dislocation, and collage. Particularly at Level 6, this module will explore the broader implications of these surrealist themes, for example the question of whether myth is an expression of society, or constitutive of it, which was a key concern for the Surrealists. Indeed, André Breton described Surrealism as ‘a method of creating a collective myth’ in 1933. These thematic aspects of the module should make it an interesting wild option for students studying literature, twentieth-century history or cultural history, in addition to history of art students.

Find out more about HA694

You have the opportunity to select elective modules in this stage.

Fees

The 2020/21 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

  • Home/EU full-time £9250
  • International full-time £16200
  • Home/EU part-time £4625
  • International part-time £8100

For details of when and how to pay fees and charges, please see our Student Finance Guide.

Full-time tuition fees for Home and EU undergraduates are £9,250.

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.* 

Your fee status

The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.

Fees for Year in Industry

Full-time tuition fees for Home and EU undergraduates are £1,385.

Fees for Year Abroad

Full-time tuition fees for Home and EU undergraduates are £1,385.

Students studying abroad for less than one academic year will pay full fees according to their fee status. 

Additional costs

The following course-related costs are included in your tuition fees:

  • You can apply for the National Arts Pass which is funded by the University

The following course-related costs are not included in your tuition fees:

  • Any books you wish to purchase (there are no mandatory textbooks)
  • gallery trips (optional) 

General additional costs

Find out more about accommodation and living costs, plus general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.

Funding

University funding

Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. See our funding page for more details. 

Government funding

You may be eligible for government finance to help pay for the costs of studying. See the Government's student finance website.

Scholarships

General scholarships

Scholarships are available for excellence in academic performance, sport and music and are awarded on merit. For further information on the range of awards available and to make an application see our scholarships website.

The Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence

At Kent we recognise, encourage and reward excellence. We have created the Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence. 

The scholarship will be awarded to any applicant who achieves a minimum of AAA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications (including BTEC and IB) as specified on our scholarships pages

The scholarship is also extended to those who achieve AAB at A level (or specified equivalents) where one of the subjects is either mathematics or a modern foreign language. Please review the eligibility criteria.

Teaching and assessment

All modules are assessed by coursework – essays, presentations, image or text analyses and other module-related activities. We do not schedule exams. This approach to assessment helps you to develop an in-depth knowledge of topics within modules that are most interesting and relevant to your study aims, and to acquire a wide range of generic and transferable skills.

Our programmes emphasise a close working relationship with students. The academic adviser system ensures that all of our students have access to a designated tutor for pastoral support and academic guidance throughout their time at Kent.

All modules include weekly lectures and small group seminars, but a distinctive feature is that many modules involve visits to London galleries, overseas visits to museums and other out-of-classroom activities. Helping students to acquire independence of thought and the skills of autonomous study are central to our teaching ethos.

Contact Hours

For a student studying full time, each academic year of the programme will comprise 1200 learning hours which include both direct contact hours and private study hours.  The precise breakdown of hours will be subject dependent and will vary according to modules.  Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.

Methods of assessment will vary according to subject specialism and individual modules.  Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.

Programme aims

Our aims are to provide students with:

  • a broad understanding of the history of art, as well as a critical and analytical approach to interpreting art and the opportunity to study selected areas of art history in depth
  • an informed knowledge of the principles of art history, visual traditions and traditions of art historical writing
  • teaching that is informed by current research and scholarship
  • knowledge to enhance students' awareness of sensitivity to the context of the production and reception of the arts over a range of historical periods
  • the ability to think, and work, independently
  • a distinctive focus on interdisciplinary and practice-based learning
  • the ability to interact with others and develop critical reflexivity in individual and group work
  • opportunities to develop students' personal, communication, research and other key skills.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • particular forms of the visual arts and the way in which they can be interpreted
  • the historical evolution of visual traditions, artistic movements, media and genres of art
  • the works of a range of significant artists, in particular from the Renaissance to the present day
  • the cultural, social and historical contexts in which works of art are produced, and the uses to which they are put
  • the techniques and processes through which artefacts are constructed in the cultures studied
  • modes, formal conventions and styles of representation in the fine arts, photography and related visual media
  • critical tools, theories and concepts that have evolved for interpreting works of art
  • methodologies and approaches to the study of visual arts, including the terminology used in art history
  • substantive areas of current research in history of art.

Intellectual skills

You develop intellectual abilities in the following:

  • engaging critically with major thinkers, intellectual paradigms, scholarly literature and issues and debates within art history
  • understanding the historical emergence of forms of visual culture and the discipline of art history
  • undertaking informed examination of the social and historical context in which art is produced
  • combining empirical and historical information with relevant concepts in articulating your knowledge and understanding of the discpline of art history
  • applying your knowledge and experience to address problems within the subject
  • analysing and interpreting works of art in a manner that demonstrates critical evaluation and contextual understanding
  • critically reflecting upon your own work and your understanding of the subject in an open-minded and receptive manner to unfamiliar artefacts, issues and ideas
  • conducting various forms of research for essays, projects, seminar assignments and dissertations involving independent inquiry
  • formulating appropriate research questions and employing suitable methods and reources for exploring those questions
  • drawing upon and evaluating a range of sources and the conceptual frameworks appropriate to researching in the chosen subject area
  • reflecting upon the underlying cultural and epistemological assumptions that structure the understanding of the chosen subject.

Subject-specific skills

You gain subject-specific skills in the following:

  • analysing and interpreting visual artefacts with an informed knowledge of the conventions of visual traditions
  • critical skills of visual observation, description and analysis
  • the effective deployment of terms and concepts specific to history of art
  • locating and evaluating evidence from a wide range of primary and secondary sources (visual, oral or textual) and interpreting it in relation to relevant issues and inquiries
  • drawing upon and bringing together ideas from different sources of knowledge, not only from the subject area but also from other academic disciplines
  • articulating an understanding of visual media orally and in writing
  • demonstrating the ability to marshal an argument, summarise and defend or critique a particular interpretation or analysis supported by relevant visual, textual or other evidence as appropriate
  • evaluating a range of different methodologies and approaches within the subject.

Transferable skills

You gain transferable skills in the following:

  • organising information clearly, responding to written sources, presenting information orally and adapting your style for different audiences, using images as a communication tool; presenting arguments cogently and effectively in written, spoken or other form
  • IT – producing written documents, undertaking online research, communicate using email and process information using databases
  • exploring your personal strengths and weaknesses, critical and analytical skills, self-discipline and self-direction, independence of thought, time management and develop specialist learning skills, such as foreign languages, seeking and utilising feedback and critically reflecting upon and improving your own performance
  • working with others, in particular define and review the work of others, work co-operatively on group tasks and understand how groups function
  • problem solving – identifying and defining problems, exploring alternative solutions and discriminating between them. Focusing and applying attention to detail and working diligently to fulfil briefs and deadlines and taking responsibility for your own work.

Teaching Excellence Framework

All University of Kent courses are regulated by the Office for Students.

Based on the evidence available, the TEF Panel judged that the University of Kent delivers consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It is of the highest quality found in the UK.

Please see the University of Kent's Statement of Findings for more information.

Independent rankings

History of Art at Kent was ranked 12th overall and 7th for student satisfaction in The Complete University Guide 2021.

In The Guardian University Guide 2020, 93% of final-year History of Art students were satisfied with the overall quality of their course.

Over 92% of final-year History of Art students were satisfied with the quality of teaching on their course in The Guardian University Guide 2020.

Careers

Graduate destinations

Our graduates have a very good record of finding employment in the visual arts. Recent graduates have gone into areas including:

  • art dealing
  • working in galleries
  • arts administration
  • arts therapy
  • craft studio workshop management
  • teaching
  • journalism and the media
  • picture research libraries
  • photography.

A degree in Art History enables you to explore the history, meaning and nature of the visual arts, while also providing the skills for a career in the arts industries and elsewhere.

Help finding a job

Kent School of Arts has an excellent reputation and many links with institutions and individuals working in the field. This network is very useful to students when looking for work.

The University also has a friendly Careers and Employability Service which can give you advice on how to:

  • apply for jobs
  • write a good CV
  • perform well in interviews.

Career-enhancing skills

As well as gaining skills and knowledge in your subject area, you also learn the key transferable skills that are essential for all graduates. These include the ability to:

  • think critically 
  • communicate your ideas and opinions 
  • work independently.

Taking a year abroad demonstrates to employers that you are flexible in your outlook and have an understanding of other cultures. While going on a placement year gives you the relevant experience that many employers look for.

You can also gain extra skills by signing up for one of our Kent Extra activities, such as learning a language or volunteering.

Apply for Art History - BA (Hons)

Full-time study through Clearing

The Start now button below takes you to Kent's short form, which you need to fill in and submit. We'll review your application and let you know if we can offer you a place. If you wish to accept our offer and are already in UCAS, you need to confirm this via UCAS Track. To do so, you'll need the following:

  • Your UCAS Track login details
  • UCAS code V352
  • Institution ID K24
Start now

Part-time study

Apply for part-time study

Contact us

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United Kingdom/EU enquiries

Enquire online for full-time study

Enquire online for part-time study

T: +44 (0)1227 768896

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International student enquiries

Enquire online

T: +44 (0)1227 823254
E: internationalstudent@kent.ac.uk

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