BA Art History & Visual Culture
|Typical offer||AAB–ABB; IB: 34–32; BTEC: DDD–DDM|
|Discipline||Art History and Visual Culture|
We live in a world dominated by visual imagery. Today, more photos are taken every minute than ever existed in total around 150 years ago. This rapidly changing environment is what makes a degree in Art History & Visual Culture so exciting. Since its inception, humanity has documented its history through art and combining these two disciplines enables us to understand not only past societies, but the contemporary culture of today.
The BA Art History & Visual Culture at Exeter teaches you to navigate history to learn about changes in society, culture, politics, religion and apply them to current theories and practices. On this course you learn how to interpret works of art, architecture, design, images, objects and practices to uncover the role and significance of visual culture movements that changed the world. Explore revolutionary France, Victorian visions, New York’s Avant-garde and iconic representations of the face throughout history up to the present day. Building on a solid foundation of traditional fine art, this course forms an innovative dialogue between an established field of study and one that is still in formation.
Choosing to study at the University of Exeter will challenge you to think differently. Over a three-year period, you will engage in lively debate, collaborative team working, independent research and immerse yourself in art, architecture and visual culture with visits to museums and art galleries. In the second year of study, you get the exclusive opportunity to spend an intensive one-week study trip in one of Europe’s famous continental cities. Supported by lecturers leading cutting edge research in the field, you will begin to see beyond an exhibition and comprehend the complex technology of ordering and classifying material to create forms of knowledge.
As a student at one of the top universities in the world you will gain access to an internationally recognised fine art, heritage and film collection. We have one of Britain’s largest public collections of books, prints and artefacts, the unique Bill Douglas Cinema Museum on campus and the award winning Royal Albert Memorial Museum in the centre of Exeter. This degree course is designed to equip you with a broad range of transferable skills, with specialist and professional experience that will lead not only to humanities jobs, but a diverse range of careers across multiple industries.
- BA Art History and Visual Culture with Study Abroad
- BA Art History and Visual Culture with Employment Experience / Employment Experience Abroad
The course has been extremely varied, with the visual culture side particularly thought provoking and offering chances to explore interesting contemporary subject matter. The local attractions and resources have been particularly helpful and we have made use of them, particularly the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in town and the Bill Douglas Museum on campus. The field trip to Florence was a particular highlight and fantastic opportunity, we were so lucky as this was funded by the university! I had hoped for the course to be quite a “fresh” take on traditional art history, and it definitely has been. The tutors in particular have been so supportive, and their passion for the subject has made the course more inspiring.
Sophie Kinnear .
The modules we outline here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.
The Art History & Visual Culture degree programme is made up of compulsory (core) and optional modules, which are worth 15 or 30 credits each. Full-time undergraduate students need to complete modules worth a total of 120 credits each year.
Depending on your programme you can take up to 30 credits each year in another subject, for instance a language or business module, to develop career-related skills or just widen your intellectual horizons.
In the first year, four core modules will introduce you to the breadth of both art history and visual culture; exploring the historical contexts and analytical methods, whilst also encouraging you to think about how these methodologies and contexts change the way we think about art and visual artefacts. You will also learn important analytical techniques that will be useful across a range of subjects and research tasks.
In your second year there is an experiential study trip abroad to immerse yourself in the art, architecture and visual culture of a specific location in Europe. Our students find this trip hugely rewarding and is often one of the highlights of their degree programme. You will also have the opportunity to develop expertise in curation through placements with The University’s Bill Douglas Cinema Museum and other local galleries such as the Royal Albert Memorial Museum.
In your final year you will have the opportunity to focus your studies and hone your specialist interests. You will also produce a dedicated dissertation in the areas of art history and/or visual culture giving you a chance to study your favourite subject in real depth.
Full module descriptions
For full module descriptions from previous years, please visit our student website.
Entry requirements 2020
AAB–ABB; IB: 34–32; BTEC: DDD–DDM
Additional selection criteria
We are looking for well-qualified students with a genuine interest in and enthusiasm for the subject.
In addition to the specific requirements listed above, we look for excellent A level* results/predictions and we may also take into account results up to and including GCSEs* and AS Levels* as part of our holistic assessment of an application.
*Equivalent qualifications will be considered. For more information about our equivalencies for specific qualifications please contact our Admissions Office.
International students should check details of our English language requirements
If your academic qualifications or English language skills do not meet our entry requirements our INTO University of Exeter centre offers a range of courses to help you reach the required language and academic standards.
International Foundation programmes
Preparation for entry to Year 1 of an undergraduate degree:
Please read the important information about our Typical offer.
For full and up-to-date information on applying to Exeter and entry requirements, including requirements for other types of qualification, please see the Applying section.
Learning and teaching
You will be taught by internationally respected staff who are leading researchers in their specialisms. We use a wide variety of techniques and approaches including seminars, lectures, study groups and web-based learning, as well as valuable field study. We integrate the latest approaches with traditional learning and teaching to give you a varied and challenging programme. As you study the compulsory modules, you will learn through individual practical and project work, team work and a research project, all of which are designed to help you develop key skills for success throughout your degree and into your future career.
In the first year, four core modules will introduce you to the breadth of both Art History & Visual Culture; exploring the historical contexts and analytical methods, whilst also encouraging you to think about how these methodologies and contexts change the way we think about art and visual artefacts. In addition, you can choose from a range of modules offered within the College of Humanities, according to your particular interests. In your second year, you will study three further core modules (including the European field trip) and build on the skills and knowledge you have acquired in the previous year through a range of optional modules choice from Humanities or Social Sciences. In the final year of your degree you will have the opportunity to focus your studies and hone your specialist interests. You will also produce a dedicated dissertation in the areas of Art History and/or Visual Culture, giving you a chance to study a favourite subject in real depth.
In your first year, you will receive a minimum of 10 hours of contact with academic staff per week. You will also be expected to attend other activities such as study groups, workshop activities and film screenings. Your total workload should average about 40 hours per week during term time. The exact amount of time spent working independently varies from module to module.
Teaching that is inspired by research ensures lectures are up-to-date and relevant: you will benefit from access to the latest thinking, equipment and resources. All options are taught by staff with expertise including art history, architecture, film, photography, visual media, art and technology, curation and exhibition, mixed and virtual realities, performance art and visual culture in the UK and abroad.
All students have access to a personal tutor who is available for advice and support throughout your studies. There are also a number of services on campus where you can get advice and information, including the Students’ Guild Advice Unit.
You will be assessed in a variety of ways but primarily through exams and coursework. Coursework includes essays, a dissertation and presentation work. The ratio of formal exams to coursework is on average 40 : 60 (depending on your choice of modules). Your first year doesn’t count towards your final degree classification, but you do have to pass it in order to progress. In order to be eligible for ‘with Study Abroad’ programmes, you will need to attain an average of 60 per cent or more in your first year. The assessments in the second year, year abroad (if applicable) and final year will contribute to your final degree classification.
Students visited Florence, Italy for their most recent field trip.
Museums, galleries, and field trips
It is important for you to gain first-hand exposure to works of art and other visual artefacts. You will benefit from engaging with museums and galleries in the region, in addition to field trips to collections in London and elsewhere. In the second year there is an intensive study trip abroad to immerse yourself in the art, architecture, and visual culture of a specific location in Europe.
You will also have the opportunity to develop expertise in curation through placements with the University’s Bill Douglas Cinema Museum and other local galleries such as the Royal Albert Memorial Museum.
The College of Humanities has an excellent reputation with graduate recruiters.
Studying Art History & Visual Culture equips students with a broad range of highly desirable transferable skills in analysis, critique, research and theoretical and practical creativity. These will prepare you to enter a wide variety of professions. You will also develop specialist knowledge of everything from traditional art forms such as architecture and sculpture, to today’s visual practices such as film, video, performance and digital art. You will benefit from productive engagement with collections, institutions and art groups in the area, in tandem with the wider arts community in the South West and beyond. The Art History & Visual Culture programme also prepares its graduates to undertake postgraduate study or training in areas such as education, arts management and journalism, amongst others. Art History and Visual Culture graduates will be able to succeed in a range of sectors, including:
- Arts Administration
- Market Research
- Civil Service
- Public Relations (PR)
Every year a high proportion of Humanities graduates choose to progress to further study or professional training. The Art History and Visual Culture programme presents its graduates with opportunity to undertake further study or training in areas such as education, arts management and journalism, amongst others.
The services offered by the Humanities careers and employability team are complementary to the services offered by our central Career Zone, where you can participate in practical sessions to develop your skills; access paid internships and volunteering opportunities; explore postgraduate study options; meet prospective employers; get one-to-one advice and learn how to secure the right job for you.