History of Art BA

Year of entry

2024 course information

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UCAS code
Start date
September 2023
Delivery type
On campus
3 years full time
Work placement
Study abroad
Typical A-level offer
Typical Access to Leeds offer
BBC at A Level and pass Access to Leeds
Full entry requirements

Course overview

Student looking at the collections in the University gallery

This History of Art course will allow you to explore how art and material culture has been produced and received by different communities across time and in different places. You’ll be able to focus on the social and historical context of human creativity and use art and material culture to understand the social histories that led to its making.

You’ll discover how the history of art is often associated with understanding visual forms of representation, the physical form of concepts and ideas and the contexts of their display. You’ll also gain an understanding of the creative and cultural economy that is growing around the globe as the interface between culture, economics and technology develops.

On this course, you’ll gain an education appreciation of a world that is increasingly dominated by images, sounds, symbols, and ideas that create new jobs, wealth, and culture. It will provide you with the critical and creative knowledge essential to understand and create meaning in this world.

Additional programme highlights

History of Art at the University of Leeds is taught as part of the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies.

It is the only degree in a Russell Group University where art historians study alongside fine artists. It is the second oldest art history course in the United Kingdom known for pioneering work in the social history of art, feminist art history and global art histories.

Studies in art history are complimented by our commitment to studying and understanding cultures of display and exhibition. Areas of specialism include:

  • Modernism in the 20th Century
  • African Art History
  • Cultures of the Anglo-Saxon and Medieval worlds
  • The materiality of Renaissance art
  • Contemporary art and environment
  • Cultures of Display

Modernism in the 20th Century is taught as a global issue, from Scandinavia through Paris and New York. The School is one of only two departments in the country where the history of African art, both contemporary and classical, is taught.

The Global reach of the School includes Japanese and Asian art studies. The University of Leeds is a global centre for research and study in the Anglo-Saxon and medieval periods. This is reflected by leading scholarship within the School - it has a close relationship with major country house and museum collections in Yorkshire and Northern England. Members of staff have worked with and taught on these great collections.

Specialist facilities

In addition to the wide range of museums and galleries in the city and beyond, the University campus features:

Course details

You'll study compulsory and optional modules throughout your degree. You'll build upon your knowledge and develop as an informed, articulate, independent and intellectually astute thinker, able to process, analyse and critique art and texts from around the world.

Year 1

You'll gain the fundamental skills and knowledge for art historical analysis.

Compulsory and optional modules will introduce key themes and interpretive methods. You'll consider the intentions and identities of artists and examine the production and analysis of art in different historical, geographical and cultural contexts.

A choice of optional modules will allow you to study topics like cultural or media history or country house, or museum studies.

Year 2

You'll build on this knowledge and further pursue your individual interests. Compulsory modules will deepen your understanding of the complex relationship between art and society and encourage you to think critically and analytically about works of art.

You'll choose from a wide range of optional modules, which cover art historical topics from African art to the New York School as well as museum studies, critical theory and the contemporary art

Year 3

By your final year, you'll be able to apply your research and critical skills to an independently researched dissertation on a topic of your choice.

To complement and support your research, you'll select additional modules from the options on offer. You can take one fewer optional module and go into greater depth on an extended dissertation if you choose.

View example dissertation titles.

Course structure

The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.

For more information and a full list of typical modules available on this course, please read History of Art BA in the course catalogue

Year 1 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Elements of Visual Culture I 20
Elements of Visual Culture II 20
A Story of Art? 1 20
A Story of Art? 2 20

Year 1 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

A selection of typical options shown below:

Module Name Credits
Cultural History 20
The English Country House: Making and Meaning 20
Introduction to Museum and Art Gallery Studies 20

Year 2 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Art History and Art Historiography 20
Keywords 20

Year 2 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Selection of typical options shown below:

Module Name Credits
The New York School 20
Cinema and Culture 20
Seeing in Asia 20
Showing Asia 20
Variant Modernism 20
The Grand Tour: travels, excavations, collections 20
The Art Market: Moments, Methodologies, Meanings 20
African Art I: Context Representation Signification 20
Art, Power and Portraiture 20
Bodies of Difference: Gender, Power and the Visual Arts 20
The Avant Gardes 20
Renaissance / Anti-Renaissance: Critical Approaches to Early Modern Art in Europe 20

Year 3 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Selection of typical options shown below:

Module Name Credits
From Trauma to Cultural Memory: The Unfinished Business of Representation and the Holocaust 20
Cultural Diversity in Museum and Material Culture - Case Study 20
Anthropology, Art and Representation 20
Unmaking Things: Materials and Ideas in the European Renaissance 20
Critical approaches to photography 20
Postcolonial Feminisms 20
Humanity, Animality and Globality 20
Antique Dealers: The Market for 'Decorative Art' from Curiosities to Retro 20
Africa and the Atlantic World: History, Historiography and the Visual Arts 20
Movies, Migrants and Diasporas 20

Discovery modules

Throughout your degree you will benefit from a range of opportunities to expand your intellectual horizons outside or within your subject area.

This course gives you the opportunity to choose from a range of discovery modules. They’re a great way to tailor your study around your interests or career aspirations and help you stand out from the crowd when you graduate. Find out more about discovery modules on our Broadening webpages.

Learning and teaching

We use a range of teaching and learning methods to help you benefit from the expertise of your tutors. These will include lectures, seminars, screenings, tutorials, workshops and field trips. You’ll also be able to attend talks by visiting artists and speakers, as well as workshops, conferences, exhibitions both on and off-campus.

Independent study is also crucial to the degree, allowing you to develop important critical and research skills and form your own ideas. We encourage you to carry out small research projects independently or in groups. The final year dissertation enables you to undertake substantial independent research on a topic of particular interest to you.

You’ll be taught by our expert academics on this course, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.

On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.


Assessment is made through a number of different means. A range of essays, presentations and visual examinations are used on each module.

Entry requirements

A-level: ABB

Other course specific tests:

Where an applicant is undertaking an Extended Project Qualification (EPQ), the School may make an alternative offer of BBB including A in the EPQ.

NB: An EPQ is optional and not a requirement of application.

Alternative qualification

Access to HE Diploma

Pass diploma with 60 credits overall, including at least 45 credits at level 3, of which 30 credits must be at Distinction and 15 credits at Merit or higher.



Cambridge Pre-U

M1, M1, M2

International Baccalaureate

34 points overall including 16 at Higher Level with 4 in English.

Irish Leaving Certificate (higher Level)

H2, H2, H2, H3, H3, H3

Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

BB in Advanced Highers and AABBB in Highers OR B in Advanced Highers and AAABB in Highers OR AABBBB in Highers

Welsh Baccalaureate

The Welsh Baccalaureate is not typically included in the academic conditions of an offer made to you for this course.

Other Qualifications

European Baccalaureate: 75%

Read more about UK and Republic of Ireland accepted qualifications or contact the School’s Undergraduate Admissions Team.

Alternative entry

We’re committed to identifying the best possible applicants, regardless of personal circumstances or background.

Access to Leeds is an alternative admissions scheme which accepts applications from individuals who might be from low income households, in the first generation of their immediate family to apply to higher education, or have had their studies disrupted.

Find out more about Access to Leeds and alternative admissions.

Typical Access to Leeds offer: BBC at A Level and pass Access to Leeds.

Arts and Humanities with Foundation Year

If you would like to study arts, humanities, and cultures at university, but don't currently meet the typical entry requirements for direct entry to a degree, you might be eligible to apply for the Arts and Humanities with Foundation Year course.


We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. Contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for more information.

International Foundation Year

International students who do not meet the academic requirements for undergraduate study may be able to study the University of Leeds International Foundation Year. This gives you the opportunity to study on campus, be taught by University of Leeds academics and progress onto a wide range of Leeds undergraduate courses. Find out more about International Foundation Year programmes.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.0 overall, with no less than 5.5 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English
If you're an international student and you don't meet the English language requirements for this programme, you may be able to study our undergraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.


UK: £9,250 (per year)

International: £22,250 (per year)

Tuition fees for UK undergraduate students starting in 2023/24 and 2024/25
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students are set by the UK Government and will remain capped at £9,250 for 2023/24 and 2024/25. The fee may increase in future years of your course in line with inflation only as a consequence of future changes in Government legislation and as permitted by law.

Tuition fees for international undergraduate students starting in 2023/24 and 2024/25
Tuition fees for international students for 2023/24 and 2024/25 are available on individual course pages.

Tuition fees for a study abroad or work placement year
If you take a study abroad or work placement year, you’ll pay a reduced tuition fee during this period. For more information, see Study abroad and work placement tuition fees and loans.

Read more about paying fees and charges.

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more about additional costs.

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There is help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government. Find out more in our Undergraduate funding overview.


Apply to this course through UCAS. Check the deadline for applications on the UCAS website.

Read our guidance about applying.

International students apply through UCAS in the same way as UK students. Our network of international representatives can help you with your application. If you’re unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Next steps

Due to the ongoing situation with the Covid-19 pandemic, our usual admissions procedures are currently under review and subject to changes which will make them Covid secure. Information on the revised selection procedures will be issued shortly. If you have any concerns or question in the meantime, please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office by email finadm@leeds.ac.uk.

Admissions policy

University of Leeds Taught Admissions Policy 2024

This course is taught by

School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies

Contact us

School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies Undergraduate Admissions

Email: finadm@leeds.ac.uk

Career opportunities

The History of Art provides training in critical thinking about imagery. These are crucial skills in the modern world. Graduates of History of Art at the University of Leeds go on to enjoy a wide range of career choices.

These include employment within the national and international heritage, art gallery and museum sectors, public relations, advertising, public service administration, commercial art galleries, broadcasting and postgraduate study. Some have completed PhDs and are teaching in higher education institutions around the world.

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

Leeds for Life is our unique approach to helping you make the most of University by supporting your academic and personal development. Find out more at the Leeds for Life website.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more about Careers support.

Study abroad and work placements

Study abroad

On this course you have the opportunity to apply to spend time abroad, usually as an extra academic year. We have over 300 University partners worldwide and popular destinations for our students include Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa and Latin America. 

Find out more at the Study Abroad website.

Work placements

Practical work experience can help you decide on your career and improve your employability. On this course you have the option to apply to take a placement year module with organisations across the public, private and voluntary sectors in the UK, or overseas.

Find out more about work experience on the Careers website.

You are encouraged to gain work experience with suitable external partners. We have successfully partnered with several commercial galleries, public sector and not for profit NGOs and other businesses. Examples of these include Disney broadcasting, Chanel fashion and WWP advertising.

Student profile: Layla Hillsden

As History of Art students we are given a lot of creative freedom, which has really helped me to develop my research interests and outlook ― at the same time, the education we get is rigorous.
Find out more about Layla Hillsden's time at Leeds