Art History (MLitt) 2024 entry

The information on this page is for 2024 entry. If you are considering applying for 2025 entry or later, some of these details may differ and we advise you to check the page again before you apply. To receive a notification of when applications open for 2025 entry, please register your interest.

The MLitt in Art History offers a diverse range of subject areas, from medieval art and architecture to contemporary performance art. Modules address major themes and concepts that connect different periods of art history.  

Start date
September 2024
End date
September 2025
One year full time
School of Art History

Application deadline

Thursday 8 August 2024

Applicants should apply as early as possible to be eligible for certain scholarships and for international visa purposes.

“The independence of studying as a postgraduate student has been simultaneously a challenge and a highlight. There are bright minds everywhere you turn, which yields incredibly fecund soil for your own intellectual growth. I know that I can tackle whatever comes up in the future because of the people, knowledge, and experiences St Andrews has brought me.”
- North Carolina, USA

Entry requirements

The qualifications listed are indicative minimum requirements for entry. Some academic Schools will ask applicants to achieve significantly higher marks than the minimum. Obtaining the listed entry requirements will not guarantee you a place, as the University considers all aspects of every application including, where applicable, the writing sample, personal statement, and supporting documents.

Application requirements

  • CV or résumé. This should include your personal details with a history of your education and employment to date. 
  • personal statement (500 words) 
  • sample of your own, single-authored academic written work (2,000 words)
  • two original signed academic references 
  • academic transcripts and degree certificates

For more guidance, see supporting documents and references for postgraduate taught programmes.

English language proficiency

If English is not your first language, you may need to provide an English language test score to evidence your English language ability.  See approved English language tests and scores for this course.

Course details

The MLitt in Art History is designed to: 

  • develop and enhance core research and writing skills 
  • introduce and deepen knowledge of the theoretical and methodological foundations of art history 
  • enable students to explore current critical debates, art media and contextual questions. 


  • The choice of modules allows wide-ranging study of thematic or methodological issues, as well as focused research pathways. 
  • Small class sizes prioritise discussion with peers and interaction with the tutor. 
  • Students often have the opportunity to attend class trips, and there is a research seminar with guest lecturers for all staff and students regularly during the teaching semester. Students may also apply to take part in exchange programmes at our partner institutions
  • Students have access to extensive library holdings including a major visual resources collection with over 150,000 images and a comprehensive database of past MLitt dissertations


The modules published below are examples of what has been taught in previous academic years and may be subject to change before you start your programme. For more details of each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the module catalogue.

  • Themes in Art History: introduces students to a selection of key issues, concepts and writings in the field. 

Art History students choose three postgraduate-level course modules, with the option to choose one of those modules from the undergraduate-level Honours programme. 

Here is a sample of optional modules that may be offered:

  • Art and Technology 
  • Issues in Photographic Criticism 
  • Object Lessons in Photography 
  • Representation and the Body
  • The 'New Vision' in Twentieth-Century European Photography 
  • The Book as Object and Idea 
  • The Classical Tradition 
  • The Documentary Impulse 
  • The Image of the Artist 
  • Writing on the Visual.  

The modules listed here are indicative, and there is no guarantee they will run for 2024 entry.  Take a look at the most up-to-date modules in the module catalogue

The final three months of your course will be focused on writing the major assessment piece, a 15,000-word dissertation. Across the two semesters, students participate in a series of skills workshops designed to help prepare for the dissertation element. Student dissertations will be supervised by members of the teaching staff who will advise on the choice of subject and provide guidance throughout the research process. The completed dissertation must be submitted by a date specified in August. 

If students choose not to complete the dissertation requirement for the MLitt, there are exit awards available that allow suitably qualified candidates to receive a Postgraduate Diploma. By choosing an exit award, you will finish your degree at the end of the second semester of study and, assuming you have attained appropriate grades, receive a PGDip instead of an MLitt. 


The MLitt degree requires two semesters of full-time (or four semesters part-time) coursework, normally equivalent to four modules.

Each module has a minimum contact time of 16 hours.

Optional modules are taught as small group discussion seminars, with an average size of five to ten students in each group.

Additionally, there may be class trips where relevant to the taught modules. 

The assessment for the taught modules is based on coursework including: 

  • book reviews 
  • critical bibliographies 
  • visual analysis and object analysis essays 
  • reading journals 
  • research papers. 


The School of Art History supports a large, active and diverse postgraduate community. Postgraduate students publish the peer-reviewed North Street Review journal containing articles on a wide range of topics by students at St Andrews and other universities. 

The School also organises postgraduate research seminars and occasional symposia. Each year they invite a number of artists and scholars to give lectures. 

The School was instrumental in establishing the Museums, Galleries and Collections Institute (MGCI) which is a leading centre for training and research in the heritage sector. 




Application fee

Before we can begin processing your application, a payment of an application fee of £50 is required. In some instances, you may be eligible for an application fee waiver. Details of this, along with information on our tuition fees, can be found on the postgraduate fees and funding page.

Funding and scholarships

The University of St Andrews is committed to attracting the very best students, regardless of financial circumstances.

15% Recent Graduate Discount

If you have graduated from the University within the last three academic years, you may be eligible for a 15% discount on postgraduate taught tuition fees. Terms and conditions apply.

Taught postgraduate scholarships    Postgraduate loans

After your degree


Recent postgraduates in Art History are employed in: 

  • universities 
  • archives 
  • museums 
  • galleries 
  • auction houses 
  • web design
  • publishing houses and magazines.  

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

Further study

In addition to the MLitt, the School offers a two-year Art History Master of Philosophy (MPhil) degree option. 

Many graduates continue their education by enrolling in PhD programmes at St Andrews or elsewhere. 

Postgraduate research

What to do next

Online information events

Join us for one of our information events where you can find out about different levels of study and specific courses we run. There are also sessions available for parents and college counsellors.

Postgraduate online visiting days

We encourage all students who are thinking of applying to the University to attend one of our online visiting days.

Contact us

+44 (0)1334 46 2399
School of Art History
79 North Street
St Andrews
KY16 9AL

School of Art History website