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History of Art and Visual Studies (MA) (2023 Entry)

This image shows a female art student showcasing a piece of art

Explore our History of Art and Visual Studies taught Master's degree.

Develop your research skills on our History of Art and Visual Studies MA. Warwick's History of Art department, ranked in the top 10 in all major UK league tables (Complete University Guide 2021, The Guardian University Guide 2021, The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021), allows you to explore the broader issues in the discipline today, such as global art history, display and performance, aesthetics and perception, and architecture and urbanism.

Course overview

Our MA is designed to prepare students for specialised postgraduate research in the fields of Art History and Visual Studies. You will have the option of spending the autumn term in Venice or can study for the full year on the Warwick campus.

The course enables you to develop your research skills by studying different periods and media in the history of art, and by taking an active part in research, exploring some of the broader issues in Art History today such as cross-cultural interaction and the arts, the spatial contexts of art, architecture and urbanism, and the arts within a global society.

General entry requirements

Minimum requirements

2:i undergraduate degree (or equivalent) in History of Art or a related subject.

English language requirements

You can find out more about our English language requirementsLink opens in a new window. This course requires the following:

  • Band B
  • IELTS overall score of 7.0, minimum component scores of two at 6.0/6.5 and the rest at 7.0 or above.

International qualifications

We welcome applications from students with other internationally recognised qualifications.

For more information, please visit the international entry requirements pageLink opens in a new window.

Additional requirements

In addition, all applicants to the MA programme must submit:

  • a sample of written work of 2,000 - 4,000 words on an art-historical or related topic (for example, historical, cultural-historical, literary, etc.) with their application - this should preferably be work submitted for your undergraduate degree.
  • an undergraduate degree transcript.

Core modules

Art History and its Methods

You will become acquainted with the major approaches that have shaped the history of art as an historical discipline. To this end, this module will examine several theories of the history of art that either construct art as something with its own (internal) history, or understand it as something determined by wider social and political contexts. The module may also engage with some of the more pertinent methodological and interdisciplinary issues on the boundaries of Art History, for example Material Culture Studies.


The Dissertation is an extended piece of writing of 15,000 words in length about a topic that you select, with the support of your supervisor. It allows you to demonstrate your research skills and formulate an independent perspective on your topic. You will be supported in your research and writing not only by your supervisor but through the Academic Preparation for History of Art module, and a series of planning workshops during the spring term.

Academic Preparation for History of Art

This module (which is not taken for credit) will help you to develop the academic skills you need for graduate study in History of Art. It will facilitate the transition from undergraduate to postgraduate study, as well as helping you to engage with History of Art as a new discipline.

Optional modules

Optional modules can vary from year to year. Example optional modules may include:

  • Research in Medieval and/or early Modern Art/Architectural History (taught in Venice)
  • Research in Modern and/or Contemporary Art and Architecture (taught in Venice)
  • East meets West: The Visual Arts in Colonial and Post-colonial India
  • Leonardo: Art and Science
  • Latin American Art: 20th Century Objects, 21st Century Exhibitions
  • Visual Art and Poetry
  • Reality after Film
  • Giotto and Assisi
  • Deconstructing Medieval and Early Modern Buildings


Optional modules taught in small groups allow you to create your own pathway to the dissertation. The dissertation (15,000 words) enables you to work closely with your supervisor on a one-to-one basis to research and write on a topic of your choice.

Class sizes

Class sizes will naturally vary, however seminar normally involve 8 to 14 students.

Typical contact hours

You will have between four and eight hours on average per week of classes, with some seminars taken out of the classroom and artworks studied on site.


Modules are assessed by a 5000-word essay.

Additional course costs

Students who elect to study in Venice in the autumn term will need to purchase their return travel to Venice. Students might expect to pay £50-100 pcm more on accommodation in Venice than they would do in Warwickshire.

Reading lists

Most departments have reading lists available through Warwick Library. Explore our Warwick Library web pages.

Your timetable

Your personalised timetable will be complete when you are registered for all modules, compulsory and optional, and you have been allocated to your lectures, seminars and other small group classes. Your compulsory modules will be registered for you and you will be able to choose your optional modules when you join us.

Your career

Graduates from these courses have gone on to work for a range of sectors, including Arts Management, PR, Teaching, Galleries and Auction Houses. Many others have undertaken further study at PhD level.

Our department has a dedicated professionally qualified Senior Careers Consultant offering impartial advice and guidance together with workshops and events throughout the year. Previous examples of workshops and events include:

  • Careers History of Art Alumni workshop
  • Discovering Careers in the Creative Industries
  • Warwick careers fairs throughout the year
  • History of Art – Securing Internships
  • Career planning and making applications

History of Art at Warwick

Take the perspective that brings you closer

Art history is about getting closer to art, immersing yourself in art, seeing art from the perspective of the artist. But it is also about bringing your own perspective – your knowledge and experience – to bear. Art is where you and the artist meet.

Get to know us better by exploring our departmental website.

Our courses

Tuition fees

Tuition fees are payable for each year of your course at the start of the academic year, or at the start of your course, if later. Academic fees cover the cost of tuition, examinations and registration and some student amenities.

Taught course fees  Research course fees

Fee Status Guidance

The University carries out an initial fee status assessment based on information provided in the application and according to the guidance published by UKCISA. Students are classified as either Home or Overseas Fee status and this can determine the tuition fee and eligibility of certain scholarships and financial support.

If you receive an offer, your fee status will be stated with the tuition fee information, however we are awaiting guidance from the UK government regarding fee status for EU, other EEA and Swiss nationals and their family members living in the UK for academic year 2021/22 onwards. We are not able to confirm the fee status for these students until the relevant eligibility criteria have been confirmed. Once we have received further information from the UK government, we will provide you with an update on your fee status and let you know if any additional information is required. If you believe your fee status has been incorrectly classified you can complete a fee status assessment questionnaire (follow the instructions in your offer) and provide the required documentation for this to be reassessed.

The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) provides guidance to UK universities on fees status criteria, you can find the latest guidance on the impact of Brexit on fees and student support on the UKCISA website.

Additional course costs

Please contact your academic department for information about department specific costs, which should be considered in conjunction with the more general costs below, such as:

  • Core text books
  • Printer credits
  • Dissertation binding
  • Robe hire for your degree ceremony

Scholarships and bursaries

Scholarships and financial support

Find out about the different funding routes available, including; postgraduate loans, scholarships, fee awards and academic department bursaries.

Living costs

Find out more about the cost of living as a postgraduate student at the University of Warwick.

Find out how to apply to us, ask your questions, and find out more.

Taught course applications

Here is our checklist on how to apply for taught postgraduate courses at Warwick.

Research course applications

Here is our checklist on how to apply for research postgraduate degrees at the University of Warwick.

After you’ve applied

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Admissions statement

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Postgraduate fairs

Throughout the year we attend exhibitions and fairs online and in the UK. These events give you the chance to learn about our Master's and PhD study routes, and the wider context of postgraduate study.

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Departmental events

Some academic departments hold events for specific postgraduate programmes, these are fantastic opportunities to learn more about Warwick and your chosen department and course.

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