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BA in History of Art

BA degree; UCAS code: V350 BA/HArt

Why History of Art? | History of Art at Warwick | The Course | Learning Environment | International | Recognition and Ranking | After University 

Why History of Art?

There are many reasons why you might be thinking about studying Art History. Perhaps you enjoy looking at art, or you feel that your own creative work would benefit from a deeper knowledge of great artists and architects of the past. The study of art history contributes more generally to our understanding of the many non-verbal ways in which people have made sense of their surroundings. Because of this, the visually trained art historian has a particular role to play in today’s society. We are living in a world that is saturated with images to an unprecedented degree. We need visually literate people, able to engage with the pictorial rhetoric that underlines the proliferation of images, from attention-grabbing advertisements to the sensational presentation of news items. To engage effectively with such an environment requires a knowledge of past and present visual creations and art history is the pre-eminent discipline to provide this.

History of Art at Warwick

At Warwick we believe that the study of works of art, both historical and contemporary, is intrinsically fulfilling. It is our conviction that art works are best appreciated in front of the original and so the Department places a strong emphasis on organising field trips to a variety of places of interest across England and Wales, and beyond. These study trips include the entire term that second-year students spend with us in Venice.

Each lecturer in the Department brings his or her own distinctive approach to the subject, but our common philosophy is that art history involves the study of the history of visuality in general, and so our courses often cover a range of visual creations from famous art works to caricatures, from shop window displays to exhibition designs. The subject matter that we deal with is very diverse, but we ensure that rigorous critical thinking and high academic standards are central to whatever we do.

The teaching we offer provides the opportunity to learn intensively with short-option courses, and to gain in-depth knowledge of particular periods and issues with long-option courses of several months.

We also recognise that practical artistic training can complement academic training in the history of art and so there is a practical art course available as an option.

The Course

Find a description of our course on the University Admissions guidance pages for History of Art or see our own Course Breakdown page with links to examples of modules.

Learning Environment

The Department is based in Millburn House, the creative hub of the University. Here, on the first floor, you will find the offices of lecturers and administrators, a convenient computer area, and purpose-designed seminar rooms; all located around our informal shared space with comfortable seating (and a changing display of original artwork).

In the autumn term of the second year you will be based at premises in Venice, which provide a focus for our teaching and research activities in the city.

The University Library is extremely well-stocked in material relating to art history, and subscribes to leading international periodicals covering both contemporary art and areas of historical study, many of which are accessible to Warwick students online. In Venice you will have privileged access to the historical libraries of the city.

The Library also subscribes to ARTSTOR, the most comprehensive image resource available for educational and scholarly use, with many rare and important collections available nowhere else.

Many social events take place in the Department giving students the opportunity to meet with other undergradutes, postgraduates, research students, academic staff, alumni, and visiting speakers.


The Department benefits from having many students from overseas, and our participation in the ERASMUS programme is a means of also developing connections with leading continental universities. Students from cities such as Pisa and Berlin often spend a year studying with home students on our modules. Similarly, Warwick students are able to spend part of their degree at a partner university elsewhere in Europe.

Recognition and Ranking

The Department has been teaching undergraduate and postgraduate courses in the History of Art for over 40 years and during this time has become one of the most highly regarded in Britain.

  • Scholars of international standing: second in the UK for the percentage of Art History research publications achieving the highest classification in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), with 46% of these publications assessed as ‘world leading’;
  • Many of our graduates are now highly-regarded academics in their own right.

After University

Graduates with a degree in the History of Art are well equipped to enter a range of careers which require an ability to think analytically, to present ideas with clarity, and to communicate with others easily and convincingly. Many of our graduates have gone on to careers connected in some way with the arts, such as arts administrators, publishers, picture researchers, archaeologists and curators. Most, however, enter the job market open to graduates in the Humanities more generally, and are able to compete successfully for posts in business, administration and the professions.

Meet Us

Please contact us to arrange a visit:

History of Art Department
Millburn House
University of Warwick
United Kingdom

+44 (0)24 7652 3005

Admissions Advice

Jenny Alexander

Admissions Tutor

Dr Jenny Alexander (jennifer dot s dot alexander at warwick dot ac dot uk)