BA Art History and History / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

Course description

BA Art History and History brings together expertise from two subject areas to give you a wider breadth of study. 

Art history provides grounding in European and North American art and architecture; from the Ancient Greek world to the present day, as well as subjects in global art history.  

You can also choose pathways of study in history to suit your interests, from Ancient, Medieval, Modern History, Economic and Social History, to History of Science, Technology and Medicine.  

The emphasis is on flexibility and choice within this joint-degree, which also offers opportunities for field trips and museum and gallery visits.

In addition, our curriculum includes a pathway devoted to curating and gallery studies. 

Topics covered include the museum as institution, collecting, practical aspects of curating and making exhibitions, and art writing. 

A work placement module in Year 3 allows you to gain credits towards your degree whilst getting hands-on gallery experience at the Whitworth or other cultural institutions in the city.

Special features

Placement year option

Apply your subject-specific knowledge in a real-world context through a placement year in your third year of study, enabling you to enhance your employment prospects, clarify your career goals and build your external networks.

Overseas opportunities

We offer two unique summer internships at the world-famous Venice Peggy Guggenheim Collection. In your second year you'll go on a five-day field trip to a European city, such as Paris, Rome, Barcelona or Berlin. The trip combines guided tours and talks with independent research and culminates in an extended essay on your return to the UK.

You may also apply to spend one semester studying abroad during the second year of your degree. Exchange partners are offered in Europe, through the Erasmus Exchange scheme, or via the Worldwide Exchange scheme, in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong or Singapore.

Extracurricular opportunities

Join student societies including the Manchester Art Group, which curates events, talks, exhibitions and trips, and Arts Emergency, which aims to encourage the production of a new generation of thinkers by highlighting the reversal of decades of social and educational access to arts and humanities.

The Whitworth Young Contemporaries Student Society brings together students who have an interest in the arts, culture and creativity to make the Whitworth part of students' academic, cultural and social life, while the History Society organises trips (in the UK and on the continent), hosts social events, and coordinates the student magazine,  The Manchester Historian .

Teaching and learning

Teaching takes place in a variety of formats, including lectures, small seminar groups, workshops, gallery visits, and one-to-one tutorials.

Seminars are normally very interactive - you may be given reading in advance that will form the basis of a class discussion and you will be expected to contribute occasional oral presentations, building your skills and confidence in presentation techniques.

Some course units feature group projects culminating in online content development or a physical exhibition/display.

Classroom time is frequently supplemented by new media, such as the virtual learning environment, Blackboard. You will also have access to other digital resources to support your learning.

Many of our courses include fieldwork visits to galleries or special exhibitions throughout the UK. This means regular classes in Manchester at places like HOME, the City Art Gallery and the University's own Whitworth Art Gallery.

You'll also have the opportunity to experience credited placement opportunities as part of your learning. We offer a number of travel bursaries through the Lady Chorley Fund to assist final-year students with their dissertation research.

You will spend approximately 12 hours a week in formal study sessions. For every hour spent at University, you will be expected to complete a further two to three hours of independent study. You will also need to study during the holiday periods.

The individual study component could be spent reading, producing written work, or revising for examinations.

Coursework and assessment

You will be assessed in various ways, including:

  • written and oral examinations;
  • coursework essays;
  • research reports;
  • practical tests;
  • learning logs;
  • web contributions;
  • seminar presentations and participation.

Many course units are assessed through a mixture of techniques.

In your final year, you can write a dissertation.

Written feedback is provided in the form of essay and exam cover sheets and, in the case of orally delivered seminar papers, a verbal report from the tutor. We provide feedback on both the content of your writing and the construction and clarity of the argument posed.

As a student here you'll gain both academic writing skills and insight into the development of arts-specific composition, such as catalogue entries, gallery interpretation, exhibition reviews and journalistic articles.

Course tutors are available without appointment in their office hours twice a week outside scheduled teaching hours, allowing you to gain advice and feedback on your work.

Course content for year 1

Course units for year 1

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
History in Practice HIST10101 20 Mandatory
Ice Age to Baroque: Artworks in History SALC10041 20 Mandatory
Rococo to Now: Artworks in History SALC10042 20 Mandatory
Art Spaces AHCP10051 20 Optional
Art History Tutorial 1 AHCP10381 20 Optional
Art History Tutorial 2 AHCP10382 20 Optional
Constructing Archaic Greek History CAHE10011 20 Optional
From Republic to Empire: Introduction to Roman History, Society & Culture 218-31BC CAHE10022 20 Optional
Introduction to Mediterranean & Classical Archaeology CAHE10122 20 Optional
Living and Dying in the Ancient World CAHE10602 20 Optional
The Odyssey CLAH10101 20 Optional
Modern China: from the Opium Wars to the Olympic Games HIST10151 20 Optional
Histories of the Islamic World HIST10172 20 Optional
Capitalism in Historical Perspective: 1700-1913 HIST10182 20 Optional
Imperial Nation: The Making of Modern Britain, 1783-1902 HIST10191 20 Optional
Forging a New World: Europe c.1450-1750 HIST10301 20 Optional
States, Nations and Empires. Europe, c.1750-1914 HIST10312 20 Optional
Science & the Modern World HSTM10221 10 Optional
Bodies in History: An introduction to the History of Medicine HSTM10272 10 Optional
Science and the Modern World (20 Credits) HSTM10721 20 Optional
Exploring Enterprise MCEL10001 10 Optional
Entrepreneurial Skills MCEL10002 10 Optional
Religion in Modern South Asian History RELT10222 20 Optional
Standing on The Shoulders of Giants: Foundations for Study in The Arts SALC10002 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 24 course units for year 1

Course content for year 2

Course units for year 2

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
European Art History Fieldtrip AHCP20701 20 Mandatory
Collecting, Museums, Display: The Afterlife of Objects AHCP20112 20 Optional
Art in Theory AHCP20431 20 Optional
Van Eyck, Bosch, Bruegel: The Arts of Northern Renaissance Europe AHCP20991 20 Optional
Before the Black Death: The Golden Age of Siena AHCP21102 20 Optional
The Neo-Avant-Garde and the Crisis of Medium, 1945-1974 AHCP22812 20 Optional
Art in Eighteenth Century Britain AHCP22912 20 Optional
Surrealism, Gender, Sexuality AHCP23711 20 Optional
Globalisation, Art & The Political AHCP23912 20 Optional
From Jamestown to James Brown: African-American History and Culture AMER20141 20 Optional
The Conquering Hero: The Life, Times and Legacy of Alexander The Great CAHE20042 20 Optional
The Roman Empire 31BC - AD235: Rome's Golden Age CAHE20052 20 Optional
Politics and Society in Classical Greece CAHE20061 20 Optional
Roman Women in 22 Objects CAHE20531 20 Optional
Introduction to the History and Culture of Pharaonic Egypt CAHE21442 20 Optional
Weimar Culture? Art, Film and Politics in Germany, 1918-33 GERM20262 20 Optional
Making of the Modern Mind: European Intellectual History in a Global Context HIST20181 20 Optional
Winds of Change: Politics, Society and Culture in Britain, 1899 -1990 HIST20251 20 Optional
Independent Research Project HIST20390 20 Optional
Late Imperial China: From the Jesuits to the East India Company HIST20422 20 Optional
The Cultural History of Modern War HIST20482 20 Optional
Crisis and Prosperity in Twentieth-Century Europe HIST21112 20 Optional
Colonial Encounters: Race, Violence, and the Making of the Modern World HIST21121 20 Optional
From Catastrophe to Crusade: Europe in the Aftermath of the Vikings HIST21141 20 Optional
The Stuff of History: Objects Across Borders, 1500-1800 HIST21152 20 Optional
From Cholera to Aids: A Global History of Epidemics HSTM20031 10 Optional
From Cholera to Aids: A Global History of Epidemics HSTM20081 20 Optional
The Crisis of Nature: Issues in Environmental History HSTM20092 10 Optional
The Information Age HSTM20282 10 Optional
The Crisis of Nature: Issues in Environmental History HSTM20592 20 Optional
The Information Age HSTM20782 20 Optional
Aesthetics and Politics of Italian Fascism ITAL20501 20 Optional
Science and Civilisation in East Asia JAPA23002 20 Optional
History of Modern Islamic Thought MEST20501 20 Optional
Religion, Culture and Gender RELT20121 20 Optional
Goddesses, Demons and Stories in South Asian History: From Early Epics to the Present Day RELT21222 20 Optional
100 Years of Revolution: Russia from Lenin to Putin RUSS20242 20 Optional
The Making of Modern Russia RUSS20251 20 Optional
The 1989 Revolutions and their Aftermaths RUSS20471 20 Optional
Beginner's Statistics and Computing in Humanities SALC21002 20 Optional
All about Eve: Encountering the First Woman from Antiquity to Today SALC21132 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 41 course units for year 2

Course content for year 3

Course units for year 3

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
History of Art Dissertation AHCP30000 40 Optional
The English Baroque: Architecture and Society 1660-1730 AHCP30011 20 Optional
Art and Fiction Since the 60s AHCP30532 20 Optional
The Global Renaissance AHCP30552 20 Optional
Art After Modernism: Approaching Contemporary Art AHCP30562 20 Optional
Like Water in Water AHCP30581 20 Optional
Women and Art in Italy 1280-1530 AHCP31031 20 Optional
Connoisseurship:The Theory and Practice of Attribution AHCP32201 20 Optional
Fairy Tales and Other Utopias in Modern Art AHCP32402 20 Optional
Picasso AHCP33132 20 Optional
Romanticism AHCP33192 20 Optional
Exhibitions that Changed the (Art) World AHCP33212 20 Optional
Image and Identity in the Weimar Republic AHCP33231 20 Optional
How to be a Curator: Art Collections and Collection Management AHCP33301 20 Optional
Keywords in the Art of 20th Century China AHCP33412 20 Optional
The Art of Architecture in Early Modern Italy, 1450¿1670 AHCP33531 20 Optional
The Art of Medieval Manuscripts AHCP33611 20 Optional
The Visual Culture of US Empire AMER30522 20 Optional
American Hauntings AMER30811 20 Optional
Athens and Attica CAHE30052 20 Optional
The Roman Army and the North-West Frontiers CAHE30882 20 Optional
Egypt in the Graeco-Roman Worl CAHE31401 20 Optional
Screening the Holocaust GERM30481 20 Optional
Culture and Society in Germany 1871-1918 GERM30721 20 Optional
London and Modernity 1880-1960 HIST30102 20 Optional
'A Nation In The Making': India, 1800-1947 HIST30291 20 Optional
Empire, Gender and British Heroes, c.1885 - 2000 HIST30621 20 Optional
Thesis (40 credits) HIST30970 40 Optional
Gender and Sexuality in Modern Africa HIST31001 20 Optional
China & the West: From the Opium War to the Olympic Games HIST31201 20 Optional
Contesting the Supernatural in the Early Modern British Isles, c. 1600-1800 HIST31292 20 Optional
Sex, Drugs and Shopping: Readdressing Inter-war Britain HIST31341 20 Optional
'First Modern Economy' and 'First Industrial Nation': The Netherlands, England, c.1600-1850 HIST31382 20 Optional
The Great Irish Famine and Its Impact, 1845-1900 HIST31451 20 Optional
The Comparative and Transnational History of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany HIST31521 20 Optional
John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and U.S. Foreign Policy in the 1960s HIST31551 20 Optional
Defining the Deviant: Crime and British Society, 1888-2000 HIST31591 20 Optional
Christ's Knights: Hospitallers and Templars in the Latin East and Beyond HIST31621 20 Optional
The Aftermath of War in France, Britain and Germany: Violence and Reconstruction after WW1 and WW2 HIST31671 20 Optional
Capital and Commodities in Victorian Britain: an Economic and Social History HIST31701 20 Optional
Fire, Famine and Flood: An Environmental History of England, 1500-1800 HIST31712 20 Optional
The Black Freedom Movement, 1955-1975 HIST31751 20 Optional
Savagery and Civilisation: Early European Encounters with the New World, c. 1492-1628 HIST31782 20 Optional
War, Memory and Politics of Commemoration in Eastern Europe HIST31842 20 Optional
Seaborne State? Venice and the East 1150-1550 HIST31861 20 Optional
Culture in Ottoman Society, ca. 1300-1800 HIST31871 20 Optional
Material Encounters in the Early Modern World, 1400-1800 HIST31881 20 Optional
'Brains and Numbers': Intellectual Life in Victorian Britain HIST31891 20 Optional
Caste Politics in Twentieth Century India HIST31911 20 Optional
From Imperial Encounters to Soviet Frontiers: Migration, Displacement and Diaspora in the Caucasus HIST31922 20 Optional
Becoming Christian in The Early Middle Ages HIST31952 20 Optional
The Normans between Islam and Byzantium: multicultural encounters in the Mediterranean World HIST31991 20 Optional
Establishing Empire: The English Atlantic World, 1585-1655 HIST32002 20 Optional
Curating War and Human Rights: methods in cultural and public history HIST32011 20 Optional
Responses to Globalisation, 1450-1650 HIST32021 20 Optional
Madness and Society HSTM30832 10 Optional
The Nuclear Age HSTM31212 10 Optional
The Nuclear Age HSTM31712 20 Optional
From Sherlock Holmes to CSI: a history of forensic medicine HSTM32011 10 Optional
From Sherlock Holmes to CSI: a history of forensic medicine HSTM32511 20 Optional
Climate Change & Society HSTM33201 10 Optional
Climate Change & Society HSTM33501 20 Optional
Madness and Society HSTM40332 20 Optional
Beyond the Text: The Book and its Body ITAL30432 20 Optional
Bodies, Sex and Gender in Japan JAPA33071 20 Optional
Tools and Techniques for Enterprise MCEL30001 10 Optional
Tools & Techniques for Enterprise MCEL30002 10 Optional
Enterprise Feasibility MCEL30052 10 Optional
Historical controversies in the Study of Israel/Palestine MEST30722 20 Optional
Russian Popular Culture RUSS30801 20 Optional
Making Art Public SALC30062 20 Optional
The Politics of Business in Latin America SPLA31092 20 Optional
History of the Spanish Atlantic World: Empire, Trade, War SPLA31151 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 73 course units for year 3

Facilities

The University of Manchester owns the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester Museum and Tabley House, giving you unique access to outstanding cultural and historical resources.

The rich cultural heritage and attractions of Manchester and the north-west are within easy reach.

The Manchester Museum and the Whitworth Art Gallery offer unique access to the environment of the working museum and art gallery, as well as to important works of art. The Whitworth is a major resource, and its outstanding collections of paintings, prints, textiles and wallpapers are used extensively in our teaching.

You can also explore original art in the city's famous galleries, such as the Lowry, Manchester Art Gallery and the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art.

Within Art History, there is a very large and well-organised slide, video and computer-based image collection, which is an essential learning and teaching resource.

The main library provision is the University Library, one of the UK's top university libraries with arguably the best access to electronic resources of any library in Europe. This is one of the largest academic libraries in Britain and houses a Special Collections Department on Deansgate which contains a superb and diverse collection of manuscripts, illustrated books and other material relevant to Art History. 

Art History also shares a disciplinary library with Archaeology in the same building as our department. It provides a pleasant and quiet working environment for students, with access to the most commonly used publications.  In a convenient and well-ordered work environment, it also houses a very large, well-organised slide, video and computer-based image collection.

Learn more on the Facilities page.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: dass@manchester.ac.uk