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History of Art - Course Outline

First Year


Students need to take following four elements

  • Core Course: Antiquity after Antiquity
  • Core Course: Introduction to the History of Art
  • Core Course: European Art 1400-1800: Interpretation and Meaning
  • Supervised extended essay on a building, image or object in Oxford


First University exams
Three written papers and one extended essay

Second and Third Year


Seven elements are taken

  • Core Course: Approaches to the History of Art
  • Further subject in Art History (choices presently include: The Carolingian Renaissance, Anglo-Saxon Archaeology, Northern European Portraiture 1400-1800, Culture and Society in Early Renaissance Italy, Court Culture and Art in Early Modern Europe, Intellect and Culture in Victorian Britain)
  • Option in Classical, Non-Western Art or Pre-Modern (choices currently include: The Formation of the Islamic World, Greek Art and Archaeology, Egyptian Art and Architecture, Byzantine Art: Art under the Roman Empire, the Transition from Antiquity to the Middle Ages, Gothic Art through Medieval Eyes, Material Cultural Studies, Art in China Since 1911)
  • Option in Modern Art (choices presently include: German Expressionism in Literature and Visual Arts, Literature and the Visual Arts in France, Modernism and After, European Cinema, The Experience of Modernity: Visual Culture, 1880-1925 Art in China Since 1911, Material Cultural Studies)
  • An extended Essay in Art History and 'Special' Subject (choices presently include: Art, Politics and Culture in Renaissance Venice and Florence, Royal Art and Architecture of Norman Sicily, English Architecture, Painting and Culture in Ming China, Art and Its Public in France, 1815-67)
  • Undergraduate Thesis: individual research project supervised one-on-one by specialist tutors


Final University exams
Four or five written papers, one or two extended essay and one thesis
Entrance Requirements

  • A-levels: AAA
  • Advanced Highers: AA/AAB
  • IB: 38 - 40 comprising core points
  • Or any other equivalent

Candidates applying for this course need to have taken an essay-based subject to A-level, Higher Level, Advanced Higher in the IB or any academic equivalent. English, the History of Art, a Language or Art may be helpful to students for pursing this course. However, these subjects are not required for admission.

Application Procedure

Candidates applying for this course must follow the admission procedure as mentioned in how to apply. The following information provides particular details to candidates apply for History of Arts course.

Written Work

Candidates will be asked to submit written work of two pieces of by the prescribed date. The first written work is a marked-essay from an A-level or equivalent course. This examines ability to construct a sustained written argument. The second written work is a response, which is written in no more than 750 words to a piece of design or art. Candidates ought to have easy access to their selected object of which if possible they must encompass a photocopy or photograph. Candidates may focus on the design, material or the subject of their image. Nevertheless, no particular research or preparation is required. The word assignment shall demonstrate meticulously, clearly and sensitively in response to the chosen visual culture and object. Candidates do not need to take any written test while applying for this course.

Candidates must show evidence of vigorous engagement with culture both historical and contemporary. It must be noted that prior knowledge of the history of art is not required. Some of the successful candidates have never studied the subject before university. Generally, tutors look for candidates is a keen and critical observation of art and of the material environment. In the interview, candidates are invited to show their interest in discussion and debate about visual issues.

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