BA Art History and History / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course description

This joint honours programme allows you to explore art history and visual culture from the Medieval era to the present. As you progress to Years 2 and 3, you will select pathways of study that suit your individual interests.

The range of staff expertise offers you the opportunity to study a varied and exciting curriculum. We offer a broad choice of subject areas, paired with in-depth study and research. Strengths are in Medieval, Renaissance, Post-Renaissance, Modern, Contemporary and Global art history.

We also benefit from the expertise of staff within the Institute of Cultural Practice and several course units include study of the museum as institution, collecting, practical aspects of curating and making exhibitions, and art writing.

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*. 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 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. 

Extracurricular opportunities

Join student societies including the Manchester Art Group , Arts Emergency  or  Whitworth Young Contemporaries Student Society , who aim to bring together students who have an interest in the arts, culture and creativity. The History Society also 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. 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

We use assessments including essays, exams, presentations, small-scale practical assignments, and learning logs - designed to help you develop a range of skills. Many course units are assessed through a mixture of techniques. In your final year, you will write a dissertation on a subject of your choice.

Throughout, you will benefit from expert support and supervision provided by lecturers and professors who are authorities on their subjects. You will get written and verbal feedback and will be able to meet with your tutors on a one-to-one basis to discuss your progress. 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 content for year 1

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.

Joint honours students take Art History courses from this menu:

The lecture/seminar courses 'Art Works in History' (1 and 2) and 'Art Spaces', which  are designed to familiarise you with a range of materials from the ancient world to the present from around the world.

'Art History Tutorial' seminar courses, which run in both semesters. These courses offer interactive, personalised learning in small groups on a range of topics designed to refine critical and writing skills, and to introduce current issues in Art History.

Cognate course units are available from Historical Studies.

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
From Reconstruction to Reagan: American History, 1877-1988 AMER10002 20 Optional
Constructing Archaic Greek History CAHE10011 20 Optional
From Republic to Empire: Introduction to Roman History, Society & Culture 218-31BC CAHE10022 20 Optional
The Odyssey CAHE10101 20 Optional
The Making of the Mediterranean CAHE10132 20 Optional
Discoveries and Discoverers: Sights and Sites CAHE10282 20 Optional
Virgil's Aeneid CAHE10422 20 Optional
Introduction to the History and Culture of Pharaonic Egypt CAHE10651 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: Empire and the Making of Modern Britain, 1783-1902 HIST10191 20 Optional
An Introduction to the Medieval World HIST10261 20 Optional
Manchester's Migration Story: Race, Ethnicity and Belonging in the Industrial Metropolis HIST10272 20 Optional
Forging a New World: Europe c.1450-1750 HIST10302 20 Optional
States, Nations and Empires. Europe, c.1750-1914 HIST10311 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
Bodies in History: An introduction to the History of Medicine HSTM10772 20 Optional
History and Civilisation of Japan JAPA10111 20 Optional
Empire and Culture in East Asia JAPA13222 20 Optional
The History and Sociopolitics of Palestine/Israel (1882-1967) MEST10042 20 Optional
History and Politics of the Middle East and North Africa MEST10711 20 Optional
Standing on The Shoulders of Giants: Foundations for Study in The Arts SALC10002 20 Optional
Humanities in Public: The Politics and Value(s) of Knowledge SALC10411 10 Optional
Living and Dying in the Ancient World SALC10602 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 33 course units for year 1

Course content for year 2

In the second year, you 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 and visual culture.

You will learn about different historical periods in the optional courses.

Cognate course units are available from Historical Studies.

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
Art in Britain AHCP20221 20 Optional
Art in South Asia AHCP20802 20 Optional
The Neo-Avant-Garde and the Crisis of Medium, 1945-1974 AHCP22812 20 Optional
Surrealism, Gender, Sexuality AHCP23711 20 Optional
Digital Ways of Seeing: Theory and Practice AHCP24232 20 Optional
The Roman Empire 31BC - AD313 Rome's Golden Age CAHE20052 20 Optional
Politics and Society in Classical Greece CAHE20061 20 Optional
The Emergence of Civilisation: Palaces, Peak Sanctuaries, and Politics in Minoan Crete CAHE20221 20 Optional
Roman Women in 22 Objects CAHE20532 20 Optional
Weimar Culture? Art, Film and Politics in Germany, 1918-33 GERM20261 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 HIST20392 20 Optional
Late Imperial China: the Great Wall and Beyond HIST20422 20 Optional
The Cultural History of Modern War HIST20481 20 Optional
Colonial Encounters: Race, Violence, and the Making of the Modern World HIST21121 20 Optional
The Stuff of History: Objects Across Borders, 1500-1800 HIST21151 20 Optional
Histories of the Islamic World HIST21192 20 Optional
Capitalism in Historical Perspective: 1700-1913 HIST21202 20 Optional
A Transnational History of Europe in the Short Twentieth Century, c.1917-1991 HIST21211 20 Optional
Silk Roads: Eurasian Connections from the Mongols to Manilla, 1200-1800 HIST21242 20 Optional
Revolutionary Cities: The Urban World of the Middle Ages HIST21252 20 Optional
From Cholera to COVID-19: A Global History of Epidemics HSTM20031 10 Optional
From Cholera to COVID-19: A Global History of Epidemics HSTM20081 20 Optional
The Crisis of Nature: Issues in Environmental History HSTM20092 10 Optional
In Frankenstein's Footsteps: Science Fiction in Literature and Film. HSTM20301 10 Optional
The Crisis of Nature: Issues in Environmental History HSTM20592 20 Optional
In Frankenstein's Footsteps: Science Fiction in Literature and Film. HSTM20801 20 Optional
Aesthetics and Politics of Italian Fascism ITAL20501 20 Optional
The Italian Renaissance ITAL21012 20 Optional
Core Themes in Animated Film and Visual Culture of Postwar Japan JAPA20132 20 Optional
Themes in the Histories of Arab and Jewish Nationalisms MEST20272 20 Optional
History of Modern Islamic Thought MEST20501 20 Optional
100 Years of Revolution: Russia from Lenin to Putin RUSS20242 20 Optional
The Revolutions of 1989 and their Aftermaths: Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia RUSS20471 20 Optional
History of Latin America SPLA20361 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 38 course units for year 2

Course content for year 3

In the third year you take seminar courses each semester, allowing 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.

Finally, you will also have the opportunity to write a dissertation of 10,000-12,000 words on a topic of your own choosing.

The dissertation, supervised by a member of staff, gives you the chance to research a subject in depth and helps you to refine your research and study skills.

It also gives you the skills necessary to organise a coherent argument over a long piece of writing.

Your option course units will be chosen from a wide array of choices.

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 AHCP30012 20 Optional
We Will Be: Black British Art in the 1980s AHCP30021 20 Optional
Art After Modernism: Approaching Contemporary Art AHCP30561 20 Optional
Picasso AHCP33131 20 Optional
Romanticism AHCP33192 20 Optional
The Art of Medieval Manuscripts AHCP33612 20 Optional
The Visual Culture of US Empire AMER30522 20 Optional
American Hauntings AMER30811 20 Optional
The Roman Army and the North-West Frontiers CAHE30882 20 Optional
Culture and Society in Germany 1871-1918 GERM30722 20 Optional
Empire, Gender and British Heroes, c.1885 - 1985 HIST30622 20 Optional
History Dissertation HIST30970 40 Optional
Gender and Sexuality in Modern Africa HIST31002 20 Optional
Wealth and Welfare: Reconceptualising British Economy and Society between 1832 and 1942 HIST31051 20 Optional
China and the West: the Age of Empire and Beyond HIST31202 20 Optional
Heroes and Holy Men: The Irish Sea World in the Viking Age, c. 780-1100 HIST31362 20 Optional
The Holocaust: History, Historiography, Memory HIST31491 20 Optional
The Comparative and Transnational History of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany HIST31522 20 Optional
John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and U.S. Foreign Policy in the 1960s HIST31552 20 Optional
The Aftermath of War in France, Britain and Germany: Violence and Reconstruction after WW1 and WW2 HIST31671 20 Optional
Ceaseless Revolution: France, 1781-1871 HIST31721 20 Optional
War, Memory and Politics of Commemoration in Eastern Europe HIST31842 20 Optional
Pirates: The Sea, The Empire and The Other HIST31941 20 Optional
The Normans in the Mediterranean World (1000-1200) HIST31991 20 Optional
Curating War and Human Rights: methods in cultural and public history HIST32012 20 Optional
Spatial History: Mapping the Past HIST32112 20 Optional
Black Britain: Power, Neighbourhoods and the Everyday, 1948-1990 HIST32171 20 Optional
Collecting and Exhibiting the Empire in Britain, c.1750-1939 HIST32212 20 Optional
Africa and Development: A Political History of the Social Sciences HIST32221 20 Optional
Cultural Entanglements: Life & Death in Colonial America HIST32242 20 Optional
The Anglo-American Connection & National Identity in the long C19: Race, Reform & National Identity HIST32251 20 Optional
Mixing It Up: A Global Intellectual History of Race and Miscegenation HIST32321 20 Optional
Vanished: Histories of Extinction from the Mammoth to Extinction Rebellion HIST32341 20 Optional
Global China in the Second World War HIST32351 20 Optional
Revolution, Conflict, Democratization: East Central Europe, 1848-1939 HIST32362 20 Optional
Democracy and Authoritarianism in Latin America’s Twentieth Century HIST32372 20 Optional
Islam in China HIST32381 20 Optional
"The Root of all Evil": Capital, Religion, and Empire, 1550-1701 HIST32492 20 Optional
The Nuclear Age: Global Nuclear Threats from Hiroshima to Today HSTM31712 20 Optional
From Sherlock Holmes to CSI: a history of forensic medicine HSTM32511 20 Optional
Climate Change & Society HSTM33501 20 Optional
Madness and Society HSTM40332 20 Optional
Tools and Techniques for Enterprise MCEL30001 10 Optional
Enterprise Feasibility MCEL30052 10 Optional
Culture, Media and Politics in the Soviet Union and post-Soviet Russia RUSS30601 20 Optional
History of the Spanish Atlantic World: Empire, Trade, War SPLA31151 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 47 course units for year 3

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