BA Art History and Spanish / 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 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

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

Societies

The University is home to over 30 international and language-related student societies offering a breadth of cultural activities and experiences.

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

You will split your study time 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.

Spanish

You will take compulsory core units in the modern spoken and written Spanish language (with separate strands for beginners and post-A level students).

You will also be provided with an introduction to the cultural and historical development of the Hispanic world, and develop the skills required to be successful in your further study of Spain and Latin America.

You will take only the language units relevant to your level of language in each year of study.

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
Ice Age to Baroque: Artworks in History SALC10041 20 Mandatory
Rococo to Now: Artworks in History SALC10042 20 Mandatory
Cultures of the Hispanic World SPLA10410 20 Mandatory
Themes in Spanish and Latin American Studies SPLA10420 20 Mandatory
Spanish Language 1 SPLA51011 20 Mandatory
Spanish Language 2 SPLA51022 20 Mandatory
Spanish Language 3 SPLA51030 20 Mandatory
Art Spaces AHCP10051 20 Optional
Art History Tutorial 1 AHCP10381 20 Optional
Art History Tutorial 2 AHCP10382 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. 

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. 

Spanish  

In your second year, you take a compulsory Spanish language course, and options (usually two) across cinema, history, politics and the literature of Spain and Latin America.

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
Spanish Language 4 SPLA51040 20 Mandatory
Spanish Language 5 SPLA51050 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
The Italian Renaissance ITAL21011 20 Optional
Core Themes in Animated Film and Visual Culture of Postwar Japan JAPA20131 20 Optional
Visual Culture in Modern Spain: Film, Painting and Photography SPLA20061 20 Optional
Empire and its Aftermath: The Making of Modern Portugal in Literature, Art and Film SPLA20141 20 Optional
Writing Women in the Spanish Golden Age SPLA20162 20 Optional
History of Latin America SPLA20361 20 Optional
Culture and Cold War in Latin America SPLA20872 20 Optional
Modern Latin American Literature SPLA20881 20 Optional
Catalan Language & Culture 1 SPLA53010 20 Optional
Catalan Language & Culture 2 SPLA53020 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 20 course units for year 2

Course content for year 3

You will spend the third year abroad in approved study and/or work in a Spanish-speaking country.

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. 

Spanish  

Language study in the final year is centred on essay writing, translation and oral work involving discussion of texts, debates and presentations. 

You also choose from a wide range of specialised options building effectively on Year 2 study, including Latin American business and politics, Hispanic cinema and Modern Spanish Music. 

Students can also choose to write a dissertation. You can also explore Catalan language and culture.

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
Spanish Language 6 SPLA51060 20 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
Introduction to Interpreting: Context, Skills and Modes ELAN30242 20 Optional
Travellers' Tales: Italy in the British Imagination ITAL30582 20 Optional
Dissertation in Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies SPLA30000 40 Optional
Social Issues in Portuguese and Spanish Film SPLA30642 20 Optional
The Politics of Business in Latin America SPLA31091 20 Optional
The Supernatural in Latin American Literature and Film SPLA31132 20 Optional
Memory and Culture in Post-Franco Spain SPLA31142 20 Optional
History of the Spanish Atlantic World: Empire, Trade, War SPLA31152 20 Optional
Culture and Empire in the Spanish Golden Age SPLA31161 20 Optional
Portuguese Language 3 SPLA52030 20 Optional
Portuguese Language 5 SPLA52050 20 Optional
Catalan Language & Culture 1 SPLA53010 20 Optional
Catalan Language & Culture 2 SPLA53020 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 21 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