BA Art History & Visual Culture and Modern Languages
|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 on a global scale. 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 Modern languages brings together a progressive, emerging field of study with a subject area that has the power to connect the inter-related worlds of art and foreign culture.
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.
The University of Exeter is one of the leading and most respected centres for Modern Languages and came 4th in a recent national survey for overall satisfaction. You can choose from seven major languages; Chinese (Mandarin), French, Spanish, German, Italian, Russian and Portuguese. Over four years, you will learn to read, speak and write to a high level, whilst immersing yourself in another country’s culture. Choose to focus on developing your practical language skills or explore the society in which a language is spoken from history politics, philosophy, literature and cinema, In the third year, you have the opportunity to spend a full academic year abroad on work placement, studying at one of our renowned partner universities or working as a language assistant. This will boost your skills and confidence and make you even more desirable to prospective employers.
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 transferrable skills, with specialist and professional experience that will lead not only to humanities jobs, but a diverse range of careers across multiple industries. Graduating as a trained linguist you will also open doors to fields such as finance, translation, law, journalism, marketing and communications, business, the Civil Service and education.
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 business module, to develop career-related skills or just widen your intellectual horizons.
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.
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.
The third year is spent abroad, either on a work placement, studying at a university, or in a school working as a language assistant.
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 Modern Language topic. Students are only permitted to write one dissertation.
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
Dependent on your chosen language; see below.
Languages and levels for Combined Honours programmes with Modern Languages
Study a new language at Beginners level (excluding programmes with Arabic)
|Available languages||Chinese (Mandarin), French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian or Spanish|
|Language requirements||GCSE grade B/grade 5 (or equivalent) in any modern foreign language|
Study your A level language at Advanced level (including programmes with Arabic)
|Available languages||French, German, Italian, Russian or Spanish|
|Language requirements||A level grade B or IB HL 5 (or equivalent) in the language chosen at advanced level|
Completing your UCAS form
In the section named ‘further details’ on your UCAS application form please indicate in the ‘choices’ field the language and route you wish to study using the abbreviations below, separated by a space:
- 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.
- French, 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. Portuguese and Chinese can normally only be studied from beginner’s level, not from A Level; students of these two languages reach degree level in final year.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.