The University of Edinburgh
College of Humanities and Social Science
History of Art and Fine Art
In third and fourth years, History of Art students
What are History of Art and “This course has been perfect
may choose from a very wide range of one-
Fine Art? for me. The combined nature of semester, specialised option courses, including
History of Art centres on the study of works of art. the History of Art and Fine Art Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance and Modern
These range from the traditional arts - painting, programme allows for a stimulating subjects in Europe, the Islamic world and China.
drawing, sculpture, architecture and print-making It is also possible to take some courses from
- to a wide spectrum of other media: photography,
fusion of the academic and the other subject areas. Project work is undertaken,
video art, installation or the poster. History of Art creative. Access to the outstanding including the option of gaining work experience
explores the relationship between art and society. facilities and dynamic staff provides through a Work Placement. In the final year all
This can take many forms. How was a work of students write a dissertation of 10,000 words.
a diverse yet supportive framework,
art made, who was it made for, and why? How
did people understand it originally, and how have encouraging a personal development MA Honours Fine Art
interpretations of the work changed over time? of what I believe is a truly Throughout the five-year Fine Art degree students
How did abstract ideas, social structures, historical spend half their time studying academic subjects
stimulating, well-rounded degree
processes, or religious beliefs cause works of and the other half of their time working in studios.
art to look how they do? These questions apply programme”
as much to a medieval cathedral, an altarpiece Georgina Bolton, Over the first two years, students take introductory
by Raphael, an Impressionist landscape, or a 5th year, Fine Art student courses in the history of art plus some additional
portrait by Warhol. History of Art requires us to elements. By the end of second year they will
think adventurously about creativity and society.
Knowing how to look enormously enhances What do the degrees actually be acquainted with the art of a very wide range
of periods and cultures: from ancient Greece
both our understanding of history and of the involve? and Rome through to the present day, including
contemporary world. At Edinburgh, the Fine Art significant elements of Islamic and Chinese art.
degree enables students to combine history with
MA Honours History of Art
They will also have a grounding in issues of
The History of Art programme at Edinburgh falls
practical art. methodology and theory relevant to the study of
into two parts. Over the first two years, students
the history of art. In the first year, for example,
take introductory courses in the history of art
a student is required to take History of Art 1,
Why study History of Art or and in the history of architecture, plus one or two
covering aspects of the history of art in the post-
freely-chosen outside subjects. By the end of
Fine Art at Edinburgh? second year they will be acquainted with the art
medieval period, and also to take a freely-chosen
Edinburgh, with all the facilities of a capital city outside subject.
and architecture of a very wide range of periods
combined with a spectacular natural and built and cultures: from ancient Greece and Rome
environment, is an excellent place to study art All the courses taken in first and second year will
through to the present day, including significant
and the history of art. In UK terms, the University normally consist of two hours of lectures and a
elements of Islamic and Chinese art. They will
offers a particularly wide range of expertise, not one-hour tutorial each week. In third and fourth
also have a grounding in issues of methodology
just in Western art, but also in Middle Eastern years, students choose four courses from a range
and theory relevant to the study of the history of
and Oriental art. The outstanding international of specialised one-semester topics, including
art. In the first year a student is required to take
holdings of the National Galleries and the Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance and Modern
History of Art 1, Architectural History 1, and a
National Museums of Scotland provide direct subjects in Europe, the Islamic world and China.
freely-chosen outside subject. All the courses
access to major masterpieces of all the periods All students are required to undertake project
taken in first and second year will normally consist
and cultures studied. For the study of Scottish work of different kinds in their third and fourth
of two hours of lectures and a one-hour tutorial
art, the collections of the National Galleries years. In the final (5th) year, all students write a
are unrivalled. Superb book and manuscript dissertation of 10,000 words.
collections are housed in the 400-year old
University Library, and in the National Library of The practical curriculum involves a first,
Scotland. Edinburgh College of Art is one of the introductory year, which includes the study of
best-equipped art colleges in Europe. painting, sculpture, photography and intermedia.
After which the student decides on their
specialism and thereafter concentrates his/
her work on that. Throughout the course great
emphasis is placed on drawing.
Degrees in Humanities and Social Science
MA Honours in: What can I study History of
History of Art
French and History of Art
German and History of Art
A range of joint honours degrees are available.
History of Art and Architectural History History and History of Art
Many of them combine History of Art with a
History of Art and Chinese Studies Italian and History of Art
Russian Studies and History of Art modern language: Arabic, Chinese, French,
History of Art and English or Scottish Literature
Spanish and History of Art German, Italian, Russian, or Spanish. There are
History of Art and History of Music
Arabic and History of Art also degrees with Architectural History, English or
Scottish Literature, History, and History of Music.
The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in Scotland, with registration number SC005336
History of Art and Fine Art
What sorts of teaching and Courses are taught and examined in the language
of the host institution, so applicants for exchange
Museum and Gallery curators: John Leighton,
Director General, National Galleries
assessment methods are used? places must develop their language skills in of Scotland; Homan Potterton, former Director
In History of Art 1 and History of Art 2 (the advance. While abroad students prepare essays of National Gallery of Ireland; Lorne
courses in history of art taken in the first and and begin work on a dissertation in History of Campbell, National Gallery, London; Michael
second years of study), students are taught Art. There are also exchange opportunities for Taylor, Philadelphia Museum of Art.
through lectures (two per week) and tutorials (one study in North American universities. Exchanges • Higher Education: Ian Howard, Principal,
per week). Lectures may be attended by very always take place in the third year of study and Edinburgh College of Art and Treasurer of the
large numbers of students; tutorial classes on the normally need to be arranged in the first semester Royal Scottish Academy; Gavin Robson,
other hand, are made up of small groups. Some of second year. Professor of Fine Art, Newcastle University.
tutorials take place in galleries and museums • Commercial Galleries: Jay Jopling, White
in Edinburgh. Assessment is on the basis of Are there any links with •
Arts administration: Isobel Johnstone, Arts
a combination of course work, attendance /
contribution, and examination. In the specialised industry and commerce? Council; Stuart Macdonald, Head of Scottish
courses taken in the third and fourth years, A work placement (in a gallery, museum, heritage Arts Council.
students are generally taught in small groups with organisation etc.) is one of the options available to
emphasis on discussion and student participation. students in the third year of the History of Art MA.
The work placement requires students to attend How do I find out more?
art-related institutions within the city for one day Are there any bursaries or Enquiries and requests for further information
about our courses are welcomed and should be
per week for the first half of the year, followed
by a period for writing-up a report. Students who scholarships available? addressed to:
choose to present a critical portfolio write a series A substantial award is made to the best male
History of Art
of critical reviews of exhibitions they have seen. and to the best female student in History of
The University of Edinburgh
Most students write dissertations during their Art 1 (at the end of the first year). In following
PDF version available at: www.ed.ac.uk/studying/undergraduate/information-sheets
final year of study, extended pieces of work on years there are several generous scholarships,
20 Chambers Street
topics of their own choice researched under the awarded on merit, including the ‘Baldwin Brown
Edinburgh, EH1 1JZ
guidance of a supervisor with expertise in the Travelling Scholarship’ and the ‘Carnegie Vacation
field. Scholarship’. There is also the Barnson Bequest
Telephone: 0131 650 4124
which supports vacation activities such as courses
of a cultural nature, fieldwork or other studies.
Are there any opportunities to Web: www.ed.ac.uk/schools-departments/
study abroad? What can I do after my degree?
All the joint degrees with History of Art and Students graduating with History of Art and Fine For more information on Edinburgh College
languages involve a period of study abroad in the Art degrees have gone on to occupy distinguished of Art, please visit: www.ed.ac.uk/schools-
appropriate country, usually lasting one year. In and influential positions in many areas of the art departments/edinburgh-college-art
addition, History of Art has a well-established and world, as museum curators and conservators,
highly successful programme of exchanges with research and teaching staff in higher education, For more detailed information on degree
universities in European capital cities, including and as artists and art administrators, in Scotland, structure and content, please see:
Brussels, Dublin, Madrid, Paris, Rome and Britain and beyond. For example: www.ed.ac.uk/schools-departments/student-
Vienna. Exchanges are also possible with Berlin, recruitment/publications-resources/degree-
Montpelier, Bologna and Siena. programmes
Typical degree curriculum: MA Honours in History of Art
1st Year 2nd Year 3rd Year 4th Year
Printed on recycled paper for Student Recruitment and Admissions – www.ed.ac.uk/student-recruitment
History of Art 1 History of Art 2 Two History of Art 3 Honours options Two History of Art 4 Honours
Architectural History 1 Classical Art 2 e.g Sexual Politics and the Image, and options e.g. The
(or alternative outside subject) Architectural History 2B Modern Art in Shanghai (or Renaissance Body, and
History of Music 1 (or alternative (or alternative outside alternative honours options) Art after Photography (or
outside subject) subject) Further courses alternative honours options)
Project work: Either work placement or History of Art Dissertation
Critical Portfolio Further courses
Typical degree curriculum: MA Honours in Fine Art
1st Year 2nd Year 3rd Year 4th Year 5th Year
History of Art 1 History of Art 2 Velazquez in Context and Persian Painting and Dissertation
Architectural History 1 Classical Art 2A Dada and Surrealism Myth and History in Practice based work in
(or alternative outside Practical work in Art: (or alternative honours Scottish Modern and Art leading to
subject) students take specialised options) Contemporary Art exhibition of work in
Practical work in Art: courses in Intermedia Art, Analytical Report (or alternative honours Edinburgh College of
preliminary course of Painting, Photography Practice based work in Art options) Art’s degree show
study in Intermedia Art, and Sculpture Analytical Report
Painting, Photography Practice based work in Art
Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this leaflet at the time of going to press. However, it will not form part of a contract between the
University and a student or applicant and must be read in conjunction with the Terms and Conditions of Admission set out in the Undergraduate Prospectus.