Coronavirus information for applicants and offer-holders

We understand that prospective students and offer-holders may have concerns about the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. The University is following the advice from Universities UK, Public Health England and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Read our latest coronavirus information

BA Art History and Italian / Course details

Year of entry: 2021

Course description

Art History is known for its strong interdisciplinary character. Students explore subjects, objects and texts from different cultures and different historical periods. Students benefit from our strengths in Renaissance Studies, Romanticism, modern and contemporary art, as well the intersections of art and science. Teaching takes place in a variety of formats, and many course units benefit from unrivalled access to The John Rylands Library and The Whitworth, which contain world-famous works by Bacon, Blake, Gauguin, Munch, Picasso, Rembrandt, Turner, Van Gogh and other major artists. Teaching is supported by cutting-edge research: REF (2014) placed us in the top three Art History Departments in the UK.

On the Modern Languages side of the degree students will study compulsory language units (the number of credits will depend on whether students are ab-initio or post-A-Level and whether they are studying European or non-European languages) and the study of the culture and history of a specific region. Teaching within Modern Languages in these latter areas is characterised particularly by the historically and politically contextualised study of culture and cultural practices, including in literature, visual culture and music, with thematic focus on such issues as the environment, popular culture, gender, immigration and transnationalisms, and religion. Crucial here is the understanding of language skills being informed by intercultural awareness and cultural knowledge being mediated by linguistic skills.

In the first, second and final year students will follow core compulsory and optional introductory modules on both sides of the degree. In their final year students will also have the option of taking a dissertation on either side of the degree alongside their core language units and other optional units. Students will be allocated a dissertation supervisor according to existing procedures for the respective subject areas. Students will also be able to take one free-choice unit at levels 2 and 3, though they will not be required to do so.

In the third year of the degree students will undertake a period of residence abroad according to the School's established residence abroad requirements and provision. It is likely that many students on this degree combination will want to undertake work placements with relevant organisations where possible; but students will also be able to take up the offer of a study placement at one of the existing partner universities in the region of study, or work as a British Council English-language assistant.

Special features

Extracurricular opportunities

Join our student society, the Manchester Art Group, which curates events, talks, exhibitions and trips, and aims to link up with contemporary art practice in Manchester and across the North West.

You could also join 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, or the Whitworth Young Contemporaries Student Society , which 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.

Course content for year 1

Your time will be divided equally between the two sides of your degree. 

Art History

This is a foundation year that introduces key art historical concepts and methods of analysis and interpretation as well as skills in academic writing. It includes a substantial amount of gallery-based teaching.

Italian   

In Year 1 Italian language instruction is divided between 'ab initio' and post-A-level groups (with the majority of students being beginners). 'Ab initio' students have¿5 contact hours per week with their nominated mother-tongue teacher as part of a course specifically designed to build confidence in comprehension, writing, speaking and listening skills. Post-A-level students have 3 hours consolidating and building competency on specific language points.  

The Italian culture units offer a range of courses from the filmic and literary to the historic and linguistic. Year 1 is specifically designed to begin furnishing candidates with the tools to enable them to read cultural products with confidence, be they texts, pictures, buildings or linguistic constructions.

Course content for year 2

In Year 2 you can weigh your credits differently and do a maximum of two-thirds in one subject, and one-third in the other.

Art History

Take a mix of core and optional course units. The objective is to provide you with a deeper understanding of theories and approaches in the study of art history, and a broad-based knowledge of both pre-modern and modern art, architecture and visual culture.

Italian   

In years 2 and 4, the language component of the course includes three contact hours per week in addition to working on set assignments and undertaking private study. Options are available that range from medieval and Renaissance culture and literature, including Dante and Machiavelli, to Italian Fascism and Modernism and units on sociolinguistics and Italian dialects.  

Most culture units involve three contact hours per week and are augmented by materials and content placed in the unit's Blackboard virtual learning environment. The units are mostly assessed using a variety of forms from coursework to essays, commentaries and book reviews to class presentations. 

Course content for year 3

You will¿spend the third year  abroad  in approved study and/or work in Italy.

Course content for year 4

In Year 4 you can balance your credits so as to do a maximum of two-thirds in one subject area, and one-third in the other.

Art History

Take seminar courses that allow you in-depth contact with a wide range of subjects (many of which are the specialist areas of the members of teaching staff). These `Option' courses are focused on an area of study defined by genre, artistic identity, medium or approach. They are taught in small groups and encourage participation and active learning.

Italian   

Weekly Italian language classes continue with an emphasis on reading authentic texts, translation and oral debate and presentation.  You will choose cultural units from a range of options. There is also the opportunity to study undertake a research-orientated dissertation (often using the primary sources held in the Rylands Library, which has outstanding Italian holdings) and participate in the Italian department's mentoring and outreach work. 

Facilities

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.

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 students also enjoy a discipline-specific library 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.  A convenient and comfortable study 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