BA Art History & Visual Culture and Modern Languages

UCAS codeVR39
Duration4 Years
Typical offerAAA-AAB; IB: 36-34
  • Art History and Visual Culture
  • Modern Languages
Location Streatham (Exeter)


Art History & Visual Culture can be studied with Modern Languages, combining these two popular subjects to give you unique insight into the inter-related worlds of art and foreign culture, as well as much sought-after language skills.

The programme enables you to divide your time equally between the two related subject areas. As an integral part of the programme, you will normally spend your third year at one of our partner institutions (as part of a four year degree).

Art History & Visual Culture provides an excellent grounding in both traditional fine arts and contemporary visual forms. Through the flexible structure of the degree, you can study painting, sculpture, and illustration and follow your own personal interests through a wide range of optional modules.

In Modern Languages, you can choose to study French, Spanish, German, Italian and Russian. All programmes are taught by language specialists including native speakers and academic staff at the cutting edge of research in their particular discipline. You will develop a high level of proficiency in reading, writing, understanding and speaking your selected language, providing you with valued language skills of potential use for future careers. There is a great choice of modules enabling you to focus more towards language skills or to learn about the society in which a language is spoken. These society-based modules cover topics as broad as history, politics, philosophy, literature and cinema.

Programme structure

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 and Modern Languages 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.

The third year is spent abroad.

Year 1

The first year gives you a foundational knowledge of art history and visual culture theory and concepts, plus essential language training. You will also gain important analytical techniques that will be useful across a range of subjects and research tasks.

Year 2

In the second year you will advance your grasp of art history and visual culture knowledge and methods through a set of compulsory modules and continue your language training. Optional modules enable you to develop specialist knowledge on a range of topics.

Year 3

The third year is spent abroad, either on a work placement, studying at a university, or in a school working as a language assistant.

Year 4

The centre-point of the final year is the dissertation. This provides you with the opportunity to explore an area of interest and to demonstrate what you have learned over the previous years of your degree. You will also take up to three other specialist modules to create a programme of work fully reflecting your interests.

You will take a dissertation in Art History or and a module in your chosen language.

Full module descriptions

For full module descriptions please visit the Art History and Visual Culture website and Modern Languages website.

Entry requirements 2017

Typical offer

AAA-AAB; IB: 36-34

Required subjects

Dependent on your chosen language; see table below.

Selecting your chosen language when applying

When applying to a Combined Honours degree with Modern Languages you will need to indicate under ‘further details’ in the ‘choices’ section of the application the language you wish to study using the codes below. Please note you may choose only one language. For further information on completing your UCAS form, please visit the UCAS website.

CodeSubjectRequired subjects
Fren French GCE AL French grade B; IB French HL5
Chin Chinese GCE AL in a modern foreign language (French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian or Spanish)  grade B; IB modern foreign language (French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian or Spanish)  HL5
Germ German
Ital Italian
Port Portuguese
Russ Russian
Span Spanish

Language requirements

  • Grade B at A level is required in any language you intend to study from A level.
  • You may only choose one language.
  • Students wishing to pursue language study on the basis of a GCSE are normally classed as beginners.
  • German, Italian, Russian, and Spanish can be studied either from A level or beginner’s level, with both cohorts reaching degree level in the final year. Chinese and Portuguese can normally only be studied from beginner’s level with students attaining degree level in the final year. French can only be studied from A level, not beginner’s level, to degree level, though it is possible to study French from beginner’s level to a lesser level of proficiency than degree level in the Foreign Language Centre, subject to demand.

Additional selection criteria

We are looking for well-qualified students with a genuine interest in and enthusiasm for the subject.

We receive a large number of applications from well-qualified applicants and may not be able to make offers to all those applicants who have achieved or are predicted to achieve grades in line with the typical offer shown above.

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

International students should check details of our English language requirements and may be interested in our Foundation programmes.

Further information

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 research-active staff. We use a wide variety of techniques and approaches to help you learn and get the most out of your degree. Our teaching methods make full use of seminars, lectures, study groups and web-based learning, along with relevant work ‘in the field’ at galleries and museums, and through our art galleries and collections on site. We integrate the latest approaches with traditional learning and teaching to give you a varied and challenging programme. During core modules you will learn through individual practical and curatorial work, project work, team work and a research project, all of which are designed to help you develop key skills for success through your degree and into your future career.

You’ll receive ten contact hours per week with staff, both in teaching time and with your personal tutor You’re also expected to invest a lot of time in independent study; this involves individual study and contact with your study-group (for example, in preparation for seminars). The exact amount of time spent working independently varies from module to module.

You will develop expertise in curation through one of Britain’s largest public collections of books, prints, artefacts and ephemera relating to the history and prehistory of cinema and the versatile facilities provided by the Forum – our brand new development at the heart of Streatham Campus which combines student services with catering and retail outlets – along with works of art and flexible multimedia spaces.

Our teaching in Modern Languages aims not just to improve your production and comprehension of the language but also to help you develop your language-learning skills. These will enable you to take responsibility for your language learning, to continue learning the language(s) after graduation and to pick up new languages in the future.

Written language is taught through weekly classes of about 18 students with teams of tutors who contribute to a programme aimed at grammar improvement and the development of advanced writing skills. You’ll also have weekly oral practice in classes of about eight with native speakers of the language(s) that you are studying. You’ll be expected to prepare written work or presentations for seminars, in which you’ll have the opportunity to express your own point of view and to discuss other people’s ideas.

All language students have access to the language-learning facilities provided by the Foreign Language Centre, which include satellite television channels in each of our languages and audio, computer and multi-media language-learning packages.

Each language has its own student society which brings together students to share in experiences and to give advice on choices of location for the year abroad, as well as module choices. The societies build upon the family atmosphere that is central to the ethos of the department and they arrange talks, films, drama and social activities.

Research-inspired teaching

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 staff teach third year options which are linked to a broad range of their own interests.

Academic support

All students have a Personal Tutor who is available for advice and support throughout their studies.


Assessment methods vary between modules, but generally include coursework, project work, written exams and various forms of presentation. Please see the individual module descriptions for further details.

You must pass your first year assessment in order to progress to the second year, but the results do not count towards your degree classification. For three-year programmes, the assessments in the second and third years contribute to your final degree classification. For four-year programmes the assessments in the second, third and fourth years all contribute to your final degree classification.

Study abroad

For programmes with a modern language, your third year will normally be spent studying abroad, developing your language skills.

Your year abroad could be spent in the country of language you are studying either:

  • On a work placement
  • Studying at a university
  • In a school working as a language assistant

You can find out more on our Study Abroad web pages.

If you register for the four-year Art History and Modern Languages programme but are subsequently unable to meet the requirements for study abroad by Year 2, you may apply to transfer to a three-year version of this programme. 


The College of Humanities has an excellent reputation with graduate recruiters. Six months after graduation 96%* of Humanities graduates are employed or in further study.

Art History and Visual Culture at the University of Exeter is a bold interdisciplinary programme which will enable you to stand out in the job market. This programme will give you 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 develop a broad range of highly desirable skills in analysis, critique, research and theoretical and practical creativity. Art History and Visual Culture graduates will be able to succeed in a range of sectors, including:

  • Heritage
  • Arts Administration
  • Consultancy
  • Market Research
  • Civil Service
  • Education
  • Journalism
  • Publishing
  • Charities
  • Advertising
  • Public Relations (PR)

Further Study

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.

Career Zone

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.  

*First–degree University of Exeter graduates across the College of Humanities. HESA Performance Indicator sourced from the DLHE survey 2013/14.

Find out more about careers in Art History and Visual Culture and Modern Languages

Contact us


Phone: +44 (0)1392 724202

Website: Visit the Art History and Visual Culture website