Art History - BA (Hons)

Open Days 2022

Join us for an Open Day in 2022. Discover more about our courses, explore our facilities and discover why you belong at Kent.

Study the art you love, develop new skills, and gain valuable experience ready for a career in the art world.

Overview

Join world-leading experts, benefit from proximity to London’s art collections and galleries, and take advantage of all the resources in Kent’s School of Arts including the Studio 3 Gallery and the student-curated, museum-standard Kent Print Collection, which includes works by artists from Dürer to Tracey Emin, and Gilbert & George to Liliane Lijn.

Why study Art History at Kent?

  • Our curriculum is inclusive, with a global reach. You might explore how disability is represented in the arts, find out how art can be made more accessible to everyone, discover how LGBT+ groups are represented (or not) in the arts, or ask what diversity in the media should look like
  • Creativity is at the heart of everything we do. You will have the opportunity to curate your own exhibition, publish a catalogue, take photographs, create a portfolio of drawings, put on a fashion show, and even, like a Surrealist, analyse your dreams.
  • Get career-ready. You’ll graduate with skills such as curating, writing to publication standards, or producing a portfolio that meets a creative brief. Our close links with arts institutions and galleries and our vibrant alumni community will give you access to a professional network from day one.
  • Become an art historian. You won’t just learn about the history of great art; you’ll discover how art is created and perceived, and how ancient debates about art can help us tackle contemporary questions
  • Your degree, your way. Our teaching brings the subject to life and encourages you to think independently. Customise your studies with elective modules, a year abroad or in industry, and a host of extra-curricular courses.

Our multidisciplinary team includes practising artists, art historians, curators and theorists. Located in the southeast of England, we’re at the centre of a thriving arts culture including The Beaney House of Art & Knowledge in Canterbury, Turner Contemporary in Margate, the Folkestone Triennial and Whitstable Biennale, which are all within a short distance.

What our students say:

"My proudest achievement at Kent would definitely be organising and curating a public exhibition. Over the course of a term we got the opportunity to liaise with artists and contact galleries to put together an exhibition of almost 50 art works which was open to the public for two weeks. It was hugely exciting!" - Georgina Rehaag, BA Art History.

History of Art at Kent was ranked 8th in The Guardian University Guide 2023 and 100% of History of Art students at Kent were satisfied with the quality of their course in The Guardian University Guide 2023.

Your course

Art History at Kent looks forward, informed by the way that the arts have developed over hundreds of years. You’ll find modules that range from Plato to contemporary photography, debate cutting-edge issues in digital culture, and consider how the art world might change in the future.

Your first year will give you compulsory and optional modules that give you a broad introduction to the subject.

In your second year, you will be able to tailor your degree and choose from (subject to approval) topics such as:

  • Photography: Contexts of Practice
  • Museum Studies
  • Dialogues: Global Perspectives on Art History
  • Surrealism: Myth and Modernity
  • Print Collecting and Curating
  • The Art of the Nineteenth Century
  • Latin American Art
  • The Dutch Golden Age: Seventeenth-Century Art and Culture
  • The Art and Aesthetics of the Natural Environment.

Your third year courses are likely to include:

  • Study of a Single Artist
  • Arts Criticism
  • Drawing: History and Practice
  • The Art and Architecture of the Renaissance
  • Costume and Fashion
  • Sex, Gender and Digital Culture.

During your course you are likely to be writing essays and giving presentations, but might also find yourself producing creative and digital portfolios, curating exhibitions, creating photographs and drawings, or putting on fashion shows.

An Arts Internship or an Arts Project module will help shape your own independent project, giving you valuable professional skills. You might also choose to take modules from other subject areas, subject to availability, to make your degree your own.

Tailor your course to suit you with Kent Extra, which provides a range of co-curricular activities to enhance your employability and add a new dimension to student life. You can spend a year abroad, work in industry, attend a summer school, volunteer, or take a Study Plus course. You could even add a year in Computing, Data Analytics, Journalism or a Language to your degree.

Do you have a passion for film? BA Art History and Film is also available.

Your future

Your Art History course will provide you with skills and experiences that will equip you for a career in the art world.

In the course of their degree our students participate in curating, cataloguing, purchasing art works, editing, publishing, picture research and copyright, negotiating loans, art handling, interviewing, logistics and planning, fundraising, managing a budget, marketing and publicity, event management, education, and a range of different types of art writing from exhibition proposals to press releases.

This will give you a real experience of what it is like to work in a museum or gallery, and key professional skills that will enhance your employability.

Art History, like other Humanities subjects, also provides valuable transferable skills like research, analysis, and communication. It is particularly important for developing visual literacy, an increasingly important skill in an image-saturated world.

We are proud that School of Arts graduates have taken the skills they developed at Kent into to successful careers in a wide range of arts organisations including national institutions like The Royal Academy and The Art Fund, national and regional museums, and commercial art galleries and auction houses.

To find out more about the Department, our students, staff and alumni, visit our blog, Artistry.

Entry requirements

The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. All applications are assessed on an individual basis but some of our typical requirements are listed below. Students offering qualifications not listed are welcome to contact our Admissions Team for further advice. Please also see our general entry requirements.

  • medal-empty

    A level

    BBC

  • medal-empty Access to HE Diploma

    The University welcomes applications from Access to Higher Education Diploma candidates for consideration. A typical offer may require you to obtain a proportion of Level 3 credits in relevant subjects at merit grade or above.

  • medal-empty BTEC Nationals

    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.

  • medal-empty International Baccalaureate

    30 points overall or 15 points at HL

  • medal-empty International Foundation Programme

    Pass all components of the University of Kent International Foundation Programme with a 60% overall average.

  • medal-empty T level

    The University will consider applicants holding T level qualifications in subjects closely aligned to the course.

If you are an international student, visit our International Student website for further information about entry requirements for your country, including details of the International Foundation Programmes. Please note that international fee-paying students who require a Student visa cannot undertake a part-time programme due to visa restrictions.

Please note that meeting the typical offer/minimum requirement does not guarantee that you will receive an offer.

English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

Please note that if you do not meet our English language requirements, 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.

Fees

The 2023/24 annual tuition fees for this course are:

  • Home full-time £9250
  • EU full-time £13500
  • International full-time £18000
  • Home part-time £4625
  • EU part-time £6750
  • International part-time £9000

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.* 

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

Fees for Home undergraduates are £1,385.

Fees for Year Abroad

Fees for Home 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) 

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

Funding

We have a range of subject-specific awards and scholarships for academic, sporting and musical achievement.

Search scholarships

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

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 A*AA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications (including BTEC and IB) as specified on our scholarships pages.

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 discipline 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 resources 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.

Independent rankings

History of Art at Kent was ranked 5th for student satisfaction in The Complete University Guide 2023.

History of Art at Kent was ranked 8th in The Guardian University Guide 2023.

100% of History of Art students at Kent were satisfied with the quality of their course and 97% were satisfied with the quality of teaching on their course in The Guardian University Guide 2023.

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)

If you are from the UK or Ireland, you must apply for this course through UCAS. If you are not from the UK or Ireland, you can choose to apply through UCAS or directly on our website.

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