BA Art History & Visual Culture and History
|Typical offer||AAB–ABB; IB: 34–32; BTEC: DDD–DDM|
We live in a world dominated by visual imagery. From historic paintings, sculptures, prints and architecture to modern day photography, film and installations – visual culture now impacts almost all of everyday life. At the University of Exeter, we believe the best way to understand the present society we live in is to examine the past to uncover the changes in civilisation, conflict, culture, religion, politics and science that led us to where we are today. A combined degree of Art History & Culture and History brings together a progressive and emerging field of study with a well-established subject area to offer students a unique grounding in both traditional fine arts and contemporary visual forms.
This course teaches you 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. Over a three-year period, you will engage in lively debate, collaborative team working, independent research and immerse yourself with visits to museums and art galleries, including an opportunity to spend an intensive one-week study trip in one of Europe’s famous continental cities.
In History, you will look back over centuries of material from the early Medieval period to the 21st century. Subject modules include international, economic, cultural and social history across many geographical areas including the Americas, parts of Asia, Britain and Europe. In history specifically, the University of Exeter is in the top 100 universities worldwide and are 8th in the UK for world leading research. With support from your tutors, many of whom are undertaking cutting-edge research projects, you will learn essential skills like source evaluation and interpretation and historical writing to hone your talents as a historian.
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. We’re proud to say that 95% of our graduates are in employment or further study six months after graduation.
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 History 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 first year gives you a foundational knowledge of art history, visual culture and history theory and concepts. You will also gain important analytical techniques that will be useful across a range of subjects and research tasks.
In the second year you will advance your grasp of art history, visual culture and history knowledge and methods through a set of compulsory modules. Optional modules enable you to develop specialist knowledge on a range of topics.
At stage 2 students take one of four possible pathways depending upon the combination of modules they wish to take. Students planning a History Dissertation at stage 3 MUST take HIH2001 Doing History.
Two optional modules - one each term
Term 1: One optional module
Term 2: HIH2001 Doing History
Term 1: HIH2002 Uses of the Past
Term 2: One optional module
Term 1: HIH2002 Uses of the Past
Term 2: HIH2001 Doing History
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.
The dissertation could be in an Art History & Visual Culture or History topic. Students are only permitted to write one dissertation.
For History, students must take one of two History pathways, A or B. Students may only opt for pathway B if they have taken HIH2001 Doing History in Year 2.
Pathway AHistory Special Subject: Sources Module (30 credits) AND History Special Subject: Context Module (30 credits). These modules must be co-requisites. The Dissertation would therefore be taken in Art History & Visual Culture and the remaining 30 credits taken in Art History & Visual Culture Optional modules.
HIH3005 History Dissertation (30 credits), Comparative Histories module (30 credits) and 60 credits of Art History & Visual Culture Optional modules.
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 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.
For your History modules, you will learn through lectures, tutorials and seminars, with a growing emphasis at each successive level on student-led learning. Modules are designed to encourage you to think about long-term developments and processes of historical change, and to make comparisons between countries and cultures. This helps you progress from the more tightly defined topics studied at A level. Modules are also designed to encourage you to think and write analytically about these broad subjects. They emphasise historical questions that require you to identify patterns across time, or between countries, and to isolate common or competing trends, instead of concentrating on short-term or single explanations.
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.
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.
The College of Humanities has an excellent reputation with graduate recruiters.
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:
- 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.