BA Art History and Chinese / Course details

Year of entry: 2023

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 Chinese 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 Chinese 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 requirements and provision.

Special features

Your year abroad will offer the opportunity to gain first-hand experience of life in a Chinese-speaking country, and further develop your language skills.

Societies

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.

Teaching and learning

Teaching takes place in a variety of formats, including lectures, small seminar groups, workshops, gallery visits, and one-to-one tutorials. Our aim throughout is to support your interests and to help you to improve your skills and become confident independent learners.

Seminars are normally very interactive they are an opportunity for you to discuss readings and ideas in a supportive environment and to build your skills and confidence. Some course units feature group projects culminating in online content development or a physical exhibition/display.

Your learning will be supported by material on our virtual learning environment, Blackboard, including access to core texts and recorded lectures.

Where possible 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.

We offer several travel bursaries through the Lady Chorley Fund to assist final-year students with their dissertation research.

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

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. 

Chinese  

All Year 1 students take the core module `Introduction to Chinese Studies', plus study up to 7 hours a week of `ab initio' Chinese language through dedicated classes aiming to build your linguistic confidence.

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
Introduction to Chinese Studies CHIN10050 20 Mandatory
Chinese Language 1 CHIN51011 20 Mandatory
Chinese Language 2 CHIN51022 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
Visual Cultures in China and East Asia CHIN12522 20 Optional
Chinese Language 3 CHIN51031 20 Optional
Chinese Language 4 CHIN51042 20 Optional
Chinese Language 5 CHIN51050 20 Optional
Modern China: from the Opium Wars to the Olympic Games HIST10151 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 13 course units for year 1

Course content for year 2

In Year 2 you can weigh you 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. 

Chinese  

In addition to continuing your study in Chinese language, you will develop your knowledge of China via a choice of courses in areas across the Humanities faculty such as literature, film, history, religion, society, culture, economics, anthropology and business, as well as begin to prepare for residence abroad.

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
Art in Theory AHCP20432 20 Mandatory
European Art History Fieldtrip AHCP20701 20 Mandatory
Chinese Language 3 CHIN51031 20 Mandatory
Chinese Language 4 CHIN51042 20 Mandatory
Chinese Language 5 CHIN51050 20 Mandatory
Chinese Language 6 CHIN51060 20 Mandatory
Art in Britain AHCP20221 20 Optional
Art in South Asia AHCP20802 20 Optional
Renaissance and Baroque Architecture 1450-1750 AHCP22121 20 Optional
The Neo-Avant-Garde and the Crisis of Medium, 1945-1974 AHCP22811 20 Optional
Art in Vienna 1880-1938 AHCP24102 20 Optional
Digital Ways of Seeing: Theory and Practice AHCP24232 20 Optional
China's Borderlands: Culture, Ethnicity and History CHIN20061 20 Optional
The Environment in Chinese Literature & Film CHIN20241 20 Optional
Introduction to Classical Chinese CHIN28572 20 Optional
The Italian Renaissance ITAL21011 20 Optional
Core Themes in Animated Film and Visual Culture of Postwar Japan JAPA20131 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 17 course units for year 2

Course content for year 3

Your third year of study is spent abroad in China, Hong Kong or Taiwan under approved conditions. 

For more information on the period of residence abroad please consult Residence Abroad .

Course content for year 4

In Year 4 you can balance your credits 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. 

Chinese  

The language teaching programme continues to develop skills such as reading and writing Chinese and includes work on interpreting and on translation as practical skills. 

Cultural options include Chinese Politics, Pop Culture and Print Media today.

Course units for year 4

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
Chinese Language 6 CHIN51060 20 Mandatory
Languages-Based Project 1 CHIN51071 10 Mandatory
Language-Based Project 2 CHIN51072 10 Mandatory
History of Art Dissertation AHCP30000 40 Optional
The English Baroque: Architecture and Society 1660-1730 AHCP30011 20 Optional
Art and Ecologies AHCP30052 20 Optional
The Global Renaissance AHCP30551 20 Optional
Art After Modernism: Approaching Contemporary Art AHCP30561 20 Optional
Picasso AHCP33132 20 Optional
Producing Digital Projects AHCP33922 20 Optional
Dissertation in Chinese Studies CHIN30000 40 Optional
Ideas and Ideologies in Chinese Civilisation CHIN30401 20 Optional
Socialism in China CHIN32012 20 Optional
Business Chinese CHIN38682 20 Optional
Chinese Language 5 CHIN51050 20 Optional
Travellers' Tales: Italy in the British Imagination ITAL30582 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 16 course units for year 4

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 (the John Rylands Library) on Deansgate which contains an internationally important 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 providing a pleasant and quiet working environment for students.

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