Art History MA (Hons)
2017 entry

The MA (Hons) in Art History will teach you to critically and perceptively assess images of all kinds, allowing you to become visually and verbally articulate. The main focus of the course is on the major arts of painting, sculpture and architecture, but it also ecompasses the applied arts, graphic arts and photography.

As part of your degree, you will learn to analyse the style, content, meaning, theory and aesthetics behind works of art. You will learn different approaches to art by studying patronage and social significance, and the implicit and explicit ideas behind each work.

Applications for 2017 entry for this course have now closed, see which courses are available for the upcoming academic year.

UCAS code


Course type

Master of Arts (single Honours degree)

Course duration

Four years full time

Entry requirements

SQA Highers AABB
GCE A-Levels AAB
IB points 35

For degrees combining more than one subject, the subject with the higher entry requirements determines the grades you need. You will also need to meet any further subject specific entrance requirements as outlined on their pages.

Find out more about international entry requirements.

Applications for 2017 entry for this course have now closed, see which courses are available for the upcoming academic year.

Do I need to have studied this subject before?

No previous knowledge of Art History is required.

Faculty entry requirements

You must also meet the Faculty of Arts minimum qualifications. These vary depending on which qualifications you hold.  

Other qualifications

Passes in other examinations at equivalent levels and subjects may be accepted by the Dean of the Faculty.

Find out more about Faculty of Arts entry requirements.

Course information

The MA (Hons) in Art History is a four-year course run by the School of Art History. Art History is a well-rounded discipline and embraces aspects of economic, social and political history, languages and literature, philosophy, and psychology to provide you with the relevant context with which to analyse works of art.

In the first two years, you will cover a chronological survey of European art (covering painting, sculpture and architecture) from the 13th century to the present day.   

During your final two years, you may either retain this chronological breadth of study or choose a more in-depth focus of particular periods or topics. Specialist subject areas may include:

  • art of the mediaeval period
  • Gothic architecture
  • Renaissance painting, sculpture and architecture
  • 19th-century art
  • history of photography
  • Orientalism and art
  • Art Nouveau
  • Russian art
  • aspects of Scottish art
  • 20th-century Modernism
  • contemporary art.

Final year students must also complete a 6,000 to 12,000-word dissertation on an Art History topic chosen in consultation with teaching staff.

Graduates in Art History from St Andrews can expect to have a highly developed sense of independent critical thinking and judgement, and will have developed both a broad, and in some areas, a deep knowledge of art and art history.  

Find out more about studying Art History at St Andrews.



In the first two years of your degree (known as sub-honours) you will take the required modules in Art History alongside modules in at least one other subject.

Typically, you will take one to two Art History modules per semester during your first two years, and two modules per semester during your third and fourth year (known as Honours). Find out more about the modular Scottish degree system.

Students will take the following first-year modules:

Students will take both of the following second-year modules:  

If you decide to take Art History in your third and fourth years, you choose from a wide variety of advanced options, including modules in medieval art, Gothic architecture, and history of photography.

Art History Honours modules which have been offered in previous years include:

  • The Age of Klimt, Olbrich and Mucha
  • The Scandinavian Art of Building and Design (1890-1960)
  • Seeing the Sixties
  • Approaches to Modern Sculpture
  • Manuscript Illumination in Western Europe
  • Romanticism and Visuality.

In fourth year, students also undertake a 6,000 to 12,000-word dissertation on a topic of their choice. This independent project enables you to develop key research skills which are desired by both prospective employers and by graduate schools offering postgraduate degrees.

The modules listed here are the compulsory modules that students must take in order to graduate in this subject. However, most students at St Andrews take additional modules, either in their primary subject or from other subjects they are interested in. A full list of all modules currently available can be found in the module catalogue.


Teaching format

Art History sub-honours modules are primarily delivered through formal lectures (130 to 200 students) complimented by small group tutorials (8 to 10 students). Lectures are illustrated by visual presentations, with tutorials providing an opportunity for students to develop and discuss their thinking in a small and friendly environment.

At Honours level, students attend smaller lectures (15 to 25 students) along with seminars (7 to 12 students).  

Regular visits, both at sub-honours and Honours level, are organised to galleries and monuments around Scotland.


Almost all the modules in Art History are assessed by a balanced combination of coursework and written exams. At Honours level, some modules are assessed entirely by coursework, while others include written examinations.

Examinations are held at the end of each semester during a dedicated exam diet with revision time provided beforehand.

The Schools provides feedback on every assessment, with a view to improving your performance in future.



Tuition fees for 2017 entry

Scotland and EU £1,820
Rest of the UK £9,250
Overseas £20,570

For overseas students, tuition fees will be fixed at this level for the duration of your programme.

More information on tuition fees can be found on the undergraduate fees and funding page.

Accommodation Fees

Find out about accommodation fees for University accommodation in 2017.

Funding and scholarships

The University of St Andrews offers a number of scholarships and support packages to undergraduate students each year.

Faculty of Arts scholarships

The Dr Lawrence M Wodehouse Scholarship provides financial assistance for students studying in the Faculty of Arts who are academically gifted but would otherwise struggle with the cost of studying at St Andrews.

Find out more about undergraduate scholarships.

Joint Honours degrees

You can take Art History as part of a joint Honours degree alongside one of the following subjects:

  • Arabic
  • Biblical Studies
  • Classical Studies
  • Comparative Literature
  • English
  • Film Studies
  • French
  • Geography
  • German
  • Greek
  • Hebrew
  • International Relations
  • Italian
  • Management
  • Mathematics
  • Mediaeval History
  • Middle East Studies
  • Modern History
  • Philosophy
  • Psychology
  • Russian
  • Social Anthropology
  • Spanish

Your future


A degree in Art History provides an excellent foundation for a career in museums and galleries, arts administration, the art trade or teaching. As Art History is studied in social, geographical, cultural and psychological contexts, you will develop an understanding of how different societies evolve and how art impacts our lives.

Popular career areas for Art History students include:

  • museums and galleries
  • arts administration
  • public relations
  • advertising
  • journalism
  • publishing
  • TV and radio.

In your degree, you will also gain a number of transferable skills which are highly valued by employers across all sectors. These include the ability to:

  • understand aspects of culture and history in different time periods and geographical locations.
  • produce logical and structure narratives and arguments supported by evidence.
  • effectively communicate ideas by deploying visual material in conjunction with written or oral presentation.
  • work constructively and productively in groups.

The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students as well as a programme of events to assist students to build their employability skills.


Study abroad

The University is delighted to offer undergraduates a number of exciting opportunities to apply to spend a semester or year abroad as part of a St Andrews degree programme. St Andrews is partnered with large and small institutions, ancient and young, across the globe. What unites all of our programmes is the quality of the academic provision, ensuring that participation in a St Andrews Study abroad programme opens the door to a new and valuable academic experience at another world-class institution. Study Abroad for credit is permitted on existing University-approved programmes only.

Student life

From the outset, the University of St Andrews offers an array of events and opportunities which result in a truly unique student experience. Students participate in a range of traditions, notably, the red academic gown and the academic family, where older students adopt first year students as ‘children’ and help guide them in a system of mentoring. These traditions and the choice of over 150 sports clubs and student societies to choose from ensures a community feel amongst students from first year onwards.

Students of Art History may be interested in joining the following student societies:

  • ArtsSoc holds weekly life drawing classes, goes on trips to exhibitions, and organises talks with artists.
  • Art History Society promotes the enjoyment of art through criticism and study.

The School of Art History is located in a handsome terrace of townhouses in the centre of St Andrews next door to the University Library. Students will usually attend lectures, seminars and tutorials at this location. 

The town of St Andrews itself has lots to offer. As the campus is located around town, walking around you encounter ancient and modern buildings and areas of greenery and seaside which provide a rich, beautiful backdrop to learning. If you want a change of scenery, St Andrews' position near surrounding towns and cities such as Anstruther, Dundee and Edinburgh make it ideal for getting to know more about Scotland. Find out more about student life at the University of St Andrews.


School of Art History
University of St Andrews
79 North Street
St Andrews
KY16 9AL

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2399

Art History website