Course information

Entry requirements

UCAS code


Entry requirements

A-level: BBB
IB: 33 points overall with Three HL subjects at 655


3 years full-time

Course overview

This degree encourages you to develop an independent critical involvement with works of art and visual culture, to examine changing historical conceptions of art and the artist, and to explore the visual arts in their wider cultural and political contexts.

Why study BA History of Art at Goldsmiths

  • You'll investigate modern and contemporary art, art theory and visual culture from around the world, approaching the subject from a fresh perspective which puts an emphasis on key areas of debate rather than chronology.
  • We'll explore visual culture in all forms to broaden your outlook. You’ll not only examine the kinds of artefacts you might see in museums and art galleries, but also those that make up our everyday environment: like architecture, city and landscapes, adverts, TV and film, websites, the body, and street style.
  • Our London location means you can take advantage of the many galleries, art spaces, museums, cultural facilities and specialist libraries the city has to offer.
  • You'll develop key communication and presentation skills, and the ability to think creatively and critically.
  • We encourage you to get involved in student-led activities and personal development projects
  • Many of our recent graduates are now working as curators and exhibition managers with employers including Tate Modern, the V&A Museum and Edinburgh Castle, while others enter creative fields such as journalism and marketing.


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Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Louis Moreno or Astrid Schmetterling.

What you'll study

Year 1 (credit level 4)

On the BA History of Art you will develop an independent critical involvement with works of art and visual culture. Our first-year modules enable you to examine changing conceptions of art and the artist, historically and also in terms of context, ideas, and kinds of practice.

Your first year will introduce you to history of art as a discipline and engage you in discussion of key aspects of contemporary visual culture – including not just artefacts in museums and art galleries, but also architecture, cityscape and landscape, adverts, TV and film, websites, the body, and street style.

Each of our first-year modules is taught by a team of four or five different teachers from the permanent faculty. Our approach to learning, teaching and research is exploratory, innovative and rigorous. In this way, first-year students soon get to know many of the Department’s core academic staff. You will therefore begin your second year with both rich insights from and a comprehensive overview of Department life as a whole.

In the first year, you study the following compulsory modules:

Module title Credits
Modernities 30 credits
Seeing and Showing 30 credits
Space and Time 30 credits
Beyond Boundaries 30 credits

Our second and third-year modules are also thematic in content, and the themes relate to five pathways running through the programme:

  • Art and ideas
  • Space and place
  • The Curatorial
  • Sound and image
  • Embodiment

Individual modules are identified with one or more of these pathways, to help you in defining your special areas of interest as you proceed.

Year 2 (credit level 5)

In your second year, you study the following compulsory module:

Module title Credits
Contemporaneities 30 credits

You then study option Modules to the value of 90 credits from an approved list available annually from the Department of Visual Cultures. This currently includes: 

  • Beckett and Aesthetics
  • Cohabitations/Inhabitations
  • Art and Technologies of the Image
  • The Fact of Blackness
  • Fashion as a Dialectical image
  • Ornamentation and Materiality
  • Museums, Galleries, Exhibitions
  • Popular Modernism
  • Patterns of Perception
  • Postmodernities
  • Radical Imagination & Speculative Voyages

Your fourth option module could be a History of Art module or a Related Study module from another department within Goldsmiths.

Year 3 (credit level 6)

You take two History of Art special subjects and a third module which may be a further History of Art special subject or an option module or a Related Study. You also write an 8,000 – 10,000-word Dissertation on a topic of your own choice supervised by a tutor. Special Subjects include: 

Module title Credits
Animating Architecture 15 credits
Archive and Spectacle 15 credits
Film Fables 15 credits
Documentary Lives 15 credits
Philosophy and... 30 credits
Sexual Poetics 15 credits
The Truth in Painting 30 credits
Counter Forensics 15 credits
Research Architecture 15 credits


Link your studies to one of the many interesting public institutions through our 'Visual Cultures as Public Practice' module. Your research project could be based at the V&A, The Live Art Development Agency, Iniva, Hackney Museum, the Zoo, amongst many others.

Teaching style

This programme is taught through scheduled learning - a mixture of lectures and seminars. You’ll also be expected to undertake a significant amount of independent study. This includes carrying out required and additional reading, preparing topics for discussion, and producing essays or project work.

The following information gives an indication of the typical proportions of learning and teaching for each year of this programme*:

  • Year 1 - 19% scheduled learning, 81% independent learning
  • Year 2 - 16% scheduled learning, 84% independent learning
  • Year 3 - 14% scheduled learning, 93% independent learning

How you’ll be assessed

You’ll be assessed by coursework only. Normally this consists of essays, sometimes accompanied by creative projects, group projects, multi-media projects, presentations, symposia, reviews, and studio work.

The following information gives an indication of how you can typically expect to be assessed on each year of this programme*:

  • Years 1, 2 and 3 - 100% coursework

*Please note that these are averages are based on enrolments for 2019/20. Each student’s time in teaching, learning and assessment activities will differ based on individual module choices. Find out more about how this information is calculated.

Credits and levels of learning

An undergraduate honours degree is made up of 360 credits – 120 at Level 4, 120 at Level 5 and 120 at Level 6. If you are a full-time student, you will usually take Level 4 modules in the first year, Level 5 in the second, and Level 6 modules in your final year. A standard module is worth 30 credits. Some programmes also contain 15-credit half modules or can be made up of higher-value parts, such as a dissertation or a Major Project.

Download the programme specification. If you would like an earlier version of the programme specification, please contact the Quality Office.

Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.

For 2021-22 and 2020–21, we have made some changes to how the teaching and assessment of certain programmes are delivered. To check what changes affect this programme, please visit the programme changes page.

Entry requirements

We accept the following qualifications:

A-level: BBB
International Baccalaureate: 33 points overall with Three HL subjects at 655
Access: Pass with 45 Level 3 credits including 30 Distinctions and a number of merits/passes in subject-specific modules
Scottish qualifications: BBBBC (Higher) or BBC (Advanced Higher)
European Baccalaureate: 75%, you also need to show an interest in and aptitude for Art History
Irish Leaving Certificate: H2 H2 H2 H2

International qualifications

We also accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.

If English isn’t your first language, you will need an IELTS score (or equivalent English language qualification) of 6.0 with a 6.0 in writing and no element lower than 5.5 to study this programme. If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for degree-level study.

Fees & funding

Annual tuition fees

These are the fees for students starting their programme in the 2022/2023 academic year.

From August 2021 EU/EEA/Swiss nationals will no longer be eligible for 'Home' fee status. EU/EEA/Swiss nationals will be classified as 'International' for fee purposes, more information can be found on our fees page.

  • Home - full-time: £9250
  • Home - part-time: £4625
  • International - full-time: £17890

If your fees are not listed here, please check our undergraduate fees guidance or contact the Fees Office, who can also advise you about how to pay your fees.

It’s not currently possible for international students to study part-time under a student visa. If you think you might be eligible to study part-time while being on another visa type, please contact our Admissions Team for more information.

If you are looking to pay your fees please see our guide to making a payment.

Additional costs

In addition to your tuition fees, you'll be responsible for any additional costs associated with your course, such as buying stationery and paying for photocopying. You can find out more about what you need to budget for on our study costs page.

There may also be specific additional costs associated with your programme. This can include things like paying for field trips or specialist materials for your assignments. Please check the programme specification for more information.

Funding opportunities

We offer a wide range of scholarships and bursaries, and our careers service can also offer advice on finding work during your studies. Find out more about funding your studies with us.



Our degrees develop your critical and analytical skills with respect to modern and contemporary art, ideas and visual culture. More generally, they also develop your ability to express ideas clearly and your expertise in gathering insights from a range of subjects.


These skills are all appropriate to careers in museums and galleries as administrators or curators, as artists or art historians/ theoreticians, in journalism and the media, teaching and research and the commercial world. Indeed, many of our alumni are active in the contemporary art world, whether working for major art and cultural institutions, or having set up cultural initiatives of their own. You can read more about the career options open to you on our dedicated Visual Cultures careers page.

Alongside our lecture and seminar programmes, we run a series of events and workshops specifically aimed to help students prepare for their future directions.

Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths