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BA Art History and French / Course details
Year of entry: 2023
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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 and we have been recognised as one of the top Art History Departments in the UK thanks to our research community.
On the Modern Languages side of the degree, students will study compulsory French 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 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.
The course unit details listed below are those you may choose to study as part of this programme and are referred to as optional units. These are subject to change and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this programme. Although language units may show here as optional, they are a mandatory part of your modern languages degree and you will take the units relevant to your level of language in each year of study. It is compulsory to study language at all levels of your modern languages degree.
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 via the Worldwide Exchange scheme, in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong or Singapore.
* If overseas travel is affected by restrictions due to public health concerns related to the pandemic, suitable alternative arrangements may be provided.
Join the Manchester Art Group , Arts Emergency or the Whitworth Young Contemporaries Student Society to collaborate with other students with an interest in arts, culture and creativity and be part of a new generation of thinkers.
The University is also home to over 30 international and language-related student societies offering a breadth of cultural activities and experiences.
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
Your time will be divided equally between your two subjects.
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.
In Year 1, you follow 2 weekly hours of grammar classes (post-A-level) or 4-5 weekly hours (ab initio), complemented by oral classes for conversation and fluency.
Regular independent practice is paramount in order to progress well and fast.
A compulsory module on 'Modern French Identity' introduces you to 300 years of French history, politics and culture, alongside extracts of literature, cinema and other art forms.
You will take only the language units relevant to your level of language in each year of study.
Course units for year 1
|Ice Age to Baroque: Artworks in History||SALC10041||20||Mandatory|
|Rococo to Now: Artworks in History||SALC10042||20||Mandatory|
|Art History Tutorial 1||AHCP10381||20||Optional|
|Art History Tutorial 2||AHCP10382||20||Optional|
|French Cultural Studies||FREN10070||20||Optional|
|Identity in Modern France||FREN10150||20||Optional|
|French Language 1||FREN51011||20||Optional|
|French Language 2||FREN51022||20||Optional|
|French Language 3||FREN51030||20||Optional|
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.
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.
Build on the grounding established in Year 1, while getting prepared for the challenges of the year abroad (dedicated sessions on writing CVs and cover letters, and mock interviews for jobs in French).
Other course units are optional and broadly falling under three categories: literature, history and popular culture, or linguistics and translation.
Topics include French literature (17th century to the present), colonisation and exoticism, Francophone cinema, theatre, philosophy and contemporary popular culture.
Course units for year 2
|Art in Theory||AHCP20432||20||Mandatory|
|European Art History Fieldtrip||AHCP20701||20||Mandatory|
|Art in Britain||AHCP20221||20||Optional|
|Art in South Asia||AHCP20801||20||Optional|
|Renaissance and Baroque Architecture 1450-1750||AHCP22121||20||Optional|
|The Neo-Avant-Garde and the Crisis of Medium, 1945-1974||AHCP22812||20||Optional|
|Digital Ways of Seeing: Theory and Practice||AHCP24232||20||Optional|
|Art in France||FREN20271||20||Optional|
|Temptations of the Tragic: Love and Death in French Literature||FREN20682||20||Optional|
|Gender and Sexuality in French Cinema||FREN21331||20||Optional|
|Displaying 10 of 16 course units for year 2|
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Course content for year 3
You will spend the third year abroad in approved study or work in a Francophone country or countries.
Work opportunities include teaching as an English language assistant.
Course units for year 3
|French Language 6||FREN51060||20||Mandatory|
|History of Art Dissertation||AHCP30000||40||Optional|
|The English Baroque: Architecture and Society 1660-1730||AHCP30012||20||Optional|
|Art and Ecologies||AHCP30052||20||Optional|
|Art After Modernism: Approaching Contemporary Art||AHCP30561||20||Optional|
|Women and Art in Italy 1280-1530||AHCP31031||20||Optional|
|The Art of Medieval Manuscripts||AHCP33612||20||Optional|
|Producing Digital Projects||AHCP33922||20||Optional|
|Introduction to Interpreting: Context, Skills and Modes||ELAN30241||20||Optional|
|Displaying 10 of 14 course units for year 3|
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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.
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.
Continue with your core language course for increased accuracy and sophistication, with regular practice in essay writing, translation, oral debate and presentations.
You also choose additional cultural units that build on Year 2 study and relate to the research interests of staff members (representation of race and conflict, performance, gender, national identity, linguistic creativity across theatre, literature, cinema, poetry, popular music).
You can also write a dissertation on an approved topic of your choice.
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.