The MA in Art History draws upon the exciting research and outstanding teaching expertise of the department. Studying art history at postgraduate level will deepen your understanding of art, architecture and visual culture, build your analytical and critical skills, and develop the skills needed for independent study and research. You will start by exploring the core concepts and recent developments that have shaped art history from Renaissance Italy to the contemporary Caribbean, before building on these foundations to expand your understanding of visual and material objects – incorporating architecture, art and design. You will complete the degree by researching and writing a dissertation on an agreed topic of your own devising.
Key features of the course
• Engages critically with key theories and approaches developed to interpret and explain works of art and architecture
• Examines critical debates both within the academic discipline of art history and in the 'real world' contexts of heritage, curating and museums
• Prepares and inspires you to confidently develop and articulate your own standpoint within the discipline
• Concludes with a substantial piece of independent research and a dissertation on a topic of your choice.
To gain this qualification, you need 180 credits as follows:
Compulsory modules Credits
MA Art History part 1 (A843) 60
MA Art History part 2 (A844) 120
Or 180 credits from the discontinued modules A840, A841 and A847 if you started before 2014.
You should note that the University's unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 60 credits from OU modules that have not been counted in any other OU qualification that has previously been awarded to you.
You must hold a UK honours degree (or equivalent) preferably with at least a 2:1 classification. Although your degree does not need to be in Art History or a closely related subject, you will need some knowledge of the subject and an understanding of relevant critical approaches, as the MA in Art History assumes all candidates have the knowledge and skills usually acquired by pursuing the subject at undergraduate level.
If your degree or background is not in art history or a related subject, you could study one of our undergraduate art history modules first, Exploring art history and culture (A226) or Art and its global histories (A344), which provide an introduction to critical debates in art history. Alternatively, we strongly recommend that you familiarise yourself with the current themes and issues in the discipline by reading up on the subject in advance. You'll find suggestions for preparatory reading on the MA in Art History website.
If you're in any doubt about the suitability of your qualifications or previous experience, please contact us before you enrol.
How long it takes
You will be able to complete this masters qualification within two years by studying one module each year.
Post Course Info
An MA in Art History will provide you with a wide range of skills, including visual and textual analysis and critical thinking and writing, which can be successfully transferred to a variety of careers in the professional and educational sectors. The MA in Art History will teach you to think critically about historical and contemporary cultural debates around works of art and will provide you with an awareness of art history's professional contexts. The MA is an excellent starting point for a career in the heritage and cultural sectors, from educator to curator to art critic. If you're interested in an academic career, the MA is an essential step towards embarking on a PhD.