Undergraduate Diploma in the History of Art

Course details

Are you looking for a part-time qualification to enrich and extend your knowledge of the History of Art?

Our two-year Diploma is taught at second-year undergraduate level. You study two modules from a choice of four, each of which allows you to immerse yourself in a specific period of art, studying visual and material cultures in their context and engaging with critical debates in the history of art.

The course includes visits to see collections in museums and galleries in Oxford and London. You will be offered a rare chance to gain first-hand experience of the visual arts on a regular basis, an option not always possible elsewhere.

Online open event: Thursday 26 January 2023

Join us on Thursday 26 January 2023, from 7-8pm (UK time) for a virtual open event. This will give you the chance to meet the course team, discover more about the programme and have your questions answered.

Find out more and register

Quick links

Who is this course for?

To enjoy and make a success of this course, you will need enthusiasm for the subject and a high level of commitment to studying it. You must be interested in the critical analysis of art, and be keen to discuss visual experience in an analytical way. We look for: evidence of interest in art history and ideas; openness towards studying a range of historical art forms and grappling with critical debates about meaning; the necessary language skills (see below for English language requirements); a determination to succeed; and sufficient time available to devote to class time and private study.

Taught at second-year undergraduate level (FHEQ Level 5), this course is the next step if you have either completed, or are due to complete, our Undergraduate Certificate in the History of Art, our Undergraduate Certificate of Higher Education (having completed some History of Art courses), or other similar courses at first-year undergraduate level (FHEQ Level 4).

How you will study

This is a part-time, modular course usually taught on Tuesday/Thursday afternoons from 2.00-4.00pm at Ewert House, Ewert Place, Banbury Road, Summertown, Oxford, OX2 7DD. Each module also includes Saturday visits to galleries and museums.

Depending on your choice of module, your weekly class will normally be on a Tuesday or Thursday afternoon. 

The weekly sessions are conducted as seminars, combining lecture presentations with opportunities for group discussion. There will also be group tutorials devoted to primary sources, research methods and essay writing classes.

The Saturday visits are devoted to looking at artworks, design and architecture on site, allowing you to develop skills in close, critical visual analysis through direct individual observation and group discussion led by the tutor. We will explore original artworks and the built environment of Oxford, as well as London’s temporary exhibitions and permanent collections.

Throughout the course you will be expected to undertake the necessary background reading from the lists supplied, using the resources of Oxford University’s reference libraries and online academic journals and to complete essays, an oral presentation and a research project to the required standard.

Teaching delivery

This course is expected to be taught in person at Ewert House, Ewert Place, Summertown, Oxford, OX2 7DD. Should circumstances dictate, the teaching can be moved online (either fully or partly).

The course in detail

Course structure

There are four modules offered in total, with two being available each year on a rotating basis. The modules will focus on four periods, with each syllabus immersing you in a specialist period in the History of Art. You must successfully complete two modules to gain the Undergraduate Diploma.

The modules on offer for 2023-24 are as follows:

  • Module 2: High Renaissance and Baroque
  • Module 4: Modern and Contemporary Art

The modules on offer for 2024-25 are as follows:

  • Module 1: Late Medieval to Early Renaissance
  • Module 3: Revolution to Modernity

In 2023-24

Module 2:

High Renaissance and Baroque is expected to be taught at Ewert House on Tuesday afternoons from 2.00–4.00pm.

The syllabus will centre on these themes:

  • Methodologies and theoretical perspectives used by art historians within the field
  • The relationship of European art and material culture to the social, historical and intellectual developments of the era
  • Global contexts for European art and material culture
  • Traditions and innovations within the visual culture of the era
  • Interrelations between different forms of visual media 

Module 4:

Modern and Contemporary Art is expected to be taught at Ewert House on Thursday afternoons from 2.00–4.00pm.

The syllabus will centre on these themes:

  • Methodologies and theoretical perspectives used by art historians within the field
  • The relationship of European art and material culture to the social, historical and intellectual developments of the era
  • Cultural influences and global contexts for Western art and material culture
  • Traditions and innovations within the visual culture of the era
  • Interrelations between different forms of visual media 
  • Modernism and the postmodern

In 2024-25

Module 1:

Late Middle Ages and Early Renaissance is expected to be taught at Ewert House on Tuesday afternoons from 2.00-4.00pm.

The syllabus will centre on these themes:

  • Methodologies and theoretical perspectives used by art historians within the field
  • The materiality and symbolism of medieval artefacts
  • Religious art and architecture in Europe
  • The relationship of material culture to the social, historical and intellectual developments of the era
  • Global contexts for European art and material culture
  • Significance of contexts for viewing art, past and present

Module 3:

Revolution to Modernity is expected to be taught at Ewert House on Thursday afternoons from 2.00-4.00pm.

The syllabus will centre on these themes:

  • Methodologies and theoretical perspectives used by art historians within the field
  • The relationship of European art and material culture to the social, historical and intellectual developments of the era
  • Cultural influences and global contexts for European art and material culture
  • Traditions and innovations within the visual culture of the era
  • Interrelations between different forms of visual media 
  • Modernism and modernity

Assessment

For each module, students must complete three written assignments (two essays of 3,000 words and a research project of 8,000 words), and an assessed presentation.

IT requirements

To study at this level you are expected to have some IT skills, access to a computer and the internet. Your course requires you to engage with the Virtual Learning Environment for course materials and uses the Department’s online assignment submission system. Students need to have regular access to a computer and the internet, and some level of experience and skill including the use of Microsoft Word or similar word-processing package, email and internet browser such as Firefox or Google Chrome.

The computer you use should meet our recommended minimum computer specification.

Teaching staff

The Course Director is Dr Sean Willcock.  Along with Dr Willcock, the teaching panel includes:

Tutors:

  • Mary Acton
  • Catherine McCormack
  • Jan Cox
  • Patrick Doorly
  • Miriam Gill
  • Bryony Leighton
  • Kristine MacMichael
  • Manya Pagiavla
  • Hubert Pragnell
  • Jessica Varsallona
  • Gillian White

Academic advice and support will be provided by the Course Director, Dr Willcock, and the other tutors on the course. The Department also runs a programme of Study Skills workshops to help you develop and improve the skills needed for effective study. For full details of the Study Skills programme, please contact studyskills@conted.ox.ac.uk 

For advice on educational opportunities, credit transfer, special needs facilities and sources of funding, please contact Student Support on +44 (0)1865 280355 or at studentsupport@conted.ox.ac.uk

Contact information

If you would like an informal discussion on academic matters before applying you may contact the Course Director, Dr Sean Willcock: sean.willcock@conted.ox.ac.uk

Applications and admissions: +44 (0)1865 270312 undergraduate@conted.ox.ac.uk

For general guidance and advice, credit transfer, special needs provision and sources of funding: +44 (0)1865 280355 student.support@conted.ox.ac.uk

For information about Study Skills courses: +44 (0)1865 280892 studyskills@conted.ox.ac.uk

How to apply

Please click on the ‘Apply’ button which will automatically notify us that you want a link to the online application form. We will email you that link together with a code to waive the application fee, and guidance on completing and submitting your application.

All candidates need to upload the following documents as part of their application:

  • a written statement stating why they wish to undertake the course, and including (if relevant) an outline of previous experience of the subject;
  • contact details for one referee
  • proof of English language ability if a non-native English speaker. Further information on English language requirements can be found here. Please note that candidates are required to have the higher-level score.

Continuing Education Certificate in the History of Art students who wish to progress to the Diploma should submit their completed application with a statement of reasons for wanting to apply to the course. No reference is necessary.

Other applicants need to provide contact details for one referee. If possible, your referee should be someone who can comment on your academic ability and background, but where this is not appropriate, please choose a referee who can vouch for your motivation, commitment and potential. A reference from a family member is not acceptable.

If you are a Continuing Education Certificate in the History of Art student, a place on the Diploma will be reserved for you if your application form is received by the first deadline and if there are enough places available. If there are more Continuing Education Certificate in the History of Art students than places available, a selective system will operate. Continuing Education Certificate in the History of Art students who are offered a place on the Diploma will be given a place on their first-choice Diploma module wherever possible. If you are offered a place on the Diploma, but are not given a place on your first-choice module, you will be offered a place on the other module running that year.

Admissions decisions will be based on an assessment of knowledge, relevant experience, academic ability, potential and suitability for a course of study. We welcome applicants without traditional qualifications, including those with relevant career or life skills.

Selection criteria

Even if a course has no specific academic entry requirements then: (a) assessment of an applicant’s academic ability and suitability for the course of study will still take place and (b) since applications for many courses often significantly exceed places available, each application will be judged against the gathered field of applicants for each course each year.

The University is committed to promoting diversity, equality, inclusion, and widening access, including during the admissions process. We fully endorse the Equality Policy and our admissions procedures are kept under regular review to ensure compliance with this policy.

Short-listed applicants will be invited for interview.

The final decision on admission to the course rests with the Department.

Award and credit transfer

An Undergraduate Diploma will be awarded on completion of the course. You will be invited to receive your Diploma at the annual Awards Ceremony of the Department for Continuing Education, held at Oxford’s Sheldonian Theatre.

Students who successfully complete this two-year course will be awarded an Oxford University Undergraduate Diploma in the History of Art. The Diploma carries a Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS) rating of 120 points at FHEQ Level 5. Outstanding performance will qualify for a Distinction. These credit points are widely recognised in terms of credit for transfer to other higher education institutions, including the Open University and modular universities such as Oxford Brookes University. 

Opportunities vary for the transfer of credit, so students who are considering taking this course in order to transfer credit are advised to discuss the possibilities with the Course Administrator on undergraduate@conted.ox.ac.uk or student.support@conted.ox.ac.uk

Learn more about the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS points).

Fees

The fee in 2023-24 is £3,000 (Home, Islands, and Republic of Ireland students) or £5,650 (Overseas students). An option to pay the fee in instalments may be available.

Please be aware that fees will usually increase annually.

Information for applicants from the EU, EEA and Switzerland

If you are an EU national and do not live in the UK then you are likely to be charged Overseas fees. Students with settled and pre-settled status granted under the EU Settlement Scheme and some other categories of students who work in the UK can qualify for Home fee status as long as they meet the residence criteria. For more information about fee status criteria please visit the UK Council for International Students' (UKCISA) website as well as the Oxford and the EU webpage.. 

Information for applicants from the Republic of Ireland

Irish nationals who have been living in the Republic of Ireland or the UK can qualify for Home fees as long as they meet the residence requirements which can be found on the UK Council for International Students' (UKCISA) website.

UK nationals who have been living in the EEA, Switzerland or Gibraltar and are returning to England to study

UK nationals living in the EEA, Switzerland or Gibraltar from December 2020 until the first day of their course and for the three years before the first day of their course will also be charged Home fees subject to the requirements on the UK Council for International Students' (UKCISA) website. Children of UK nationals will also be eligible on the same terms, even if they are not themselves UK nationals, as long as both they and their parent meet the above criteria.

Information on financial support can be found on our website here.

Overseas students

This course is not suitable for overseas students who do not already live in the UK before the course begins. For information, refer to www.gov.uk/browse/visas-immigration.

English language requirements

Please check the information on the specific English language requirements for this course. Applicants are required to have the higher level scores.

Pathways

The Department for Continuing Education offers day and weekend courses, weekly learning programmes and summer schools in the History of Art.

In the undergraduate programme, we offer the Certificate in the History of Art, the Certificate of Higher Education, and the Diploma in the History of Art. At postgraduate level we offer the Postgraduate Certificate in Architectural History, the MSt in the History of Design, the MSt in Literature and Arts, the DPhil in Architectural History and the DPhil in Literature and Arts.

You may also be interested in studying History.

If you are planning on embarking on a new career as a result of your studies, or hope to progress in your current field, you can access help and advice through the University Careers Service.

 

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