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History of Art - Course Requirements

Students who wish to apply for history of art course do not require particular subjects at 'A' level or equivalent, however, subjects must be primarily academic. Subjects such as English, history, history of art, modern languages, classics and religious studies are ideal and experimental sciences and mathematics are acceptable when combined by one or two arts 'A' levels. Art/history of art does not essentially confer an advantage.

Students are suggested to check college websites for college specific requirements. They also advised to see entrance requirements for general requirements for entry level, qualifications and offers. The colleges like St. John's consider students with knowledge and 'A' level history of art whereas Hughes Hall considers a reading knowledge of French, German and Italian.


Students are advised to visits exhibitions and museums and take descriptive notes of what they see. They visit buildings such as country houses and churches. They are encouraged to sketch even if they have no artistic talent. This is a very good way of remembering images. When the work of architecture or art excites students, they need to try to analyze it.

Recommended Reading

Students, who wish to apply to study history of art, then they may like to read the books mentioned below.

  • E H Gombrich, The Story of Art
  • D Watkin, A History of Western Architecture
  • H Honour and J Fleming, A World History of Art

Some of the familiarity with Bible and classical mythology are available for the study of the meaning of works of art. Students may obtain a preparatory reading list from the concerned department. Students have an easy access to various books. They also have access to the University Library that has world-class holdings. The department's library covers students' all requirements. Students have an excellent opportunity to access books at the college library as well as the Fitzwilliam museum's library.

During vacation periods, students are encouraged to travel abroad. They will receive college financial support. The University of Cambridge organizes study outings.


A degree course in history of art aims at promoting a wide and thorough understanding of architecture and art. The history of art course helps students to enhance visual awareness and literacy. It also helps students to develop analytical and critical skills. The faculty offers students weekly supervisions that provide them an excellent opportunity to put forward their point of view and receive feedback on their work from experts.

The faculty organizes workshops and seminars. With the help of these programmes, students encounters with works of art throughout Cambridge's colleges and museums. The faculty organizes a number of lectures, which focuses upon the analysis of images and offer coverage of all topics thought.

Some of the topics are given by visiting specialists. Cambridge offers practical training in graphic and photographic skills. This practical training is provided in the part first of the course. The Department of Architecture organizes informal life-drawing classes. The colleges and university offer an extensive spectrum of artistic activities. Students are expected to put efforts in the area they are studying.

The course is split into three one-year parts. Part first, part second 'A' and part second 'B'. Students can join from other Cambridge courses after part first in another subject. Students may study one or two years of history of arts before or after another subject such as English, Philosophy, Classics, Theology and Religious Studies.

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