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 or 4-6 years part-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

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:

Year 1 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 core 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/Inhbitations
  • 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 30 credits
  Archive and Spectacle 15 credits
  Film Fables 15 credits
  Documentary Lives 15 credits
  Philosophy and... 30 credits
  Sexual Poetics 30 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 - 13% scheduled learning, 87% independent learning
  • Year 3 - 11% scheduled learning, 89% 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 2017/18. 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, for the 2018-19 intake. 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.

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

Find out about our undergraduate tuition fees and funding opportunities.

Additional costs

Reading material is available digitally, however printed copies are available to purchase from the department at less than cost price.

We encourage you to make the most of the exhibitions and events in London and some modules include compulsory trips to free exhibitions as part of your studies. Sometimes we might suggest you also attend paid exhibitions or events, however these are optional and we encourage you to apply for funding from the Students' Union Academic Communities Fund.

As a joint honours student, access to, and support using, the Fine Art studio spaces and art practice areas is covered by your tuition fees. Some materials are available to purchase in the art practice areas, however you may also choose to purchase your own materials.



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

What our students say

Yat Lun Yo

"The intellectual and artistic experiences have nurtured me into a richer and more thoughtful art worker."

"The degree equipped me with the appropriate knowledge and skills to share history of art and ways of creating art with the others. The programme has widened my horizon of arts and enhanced the development of my own thinking. The intellectual and artistic experiences have nurtured me into a richer and more thoughtful art worker. 

I'm now Adjunct Lecturer at HKU SPACE, and a part-time Lecturer at the School of Continuing and Professional Studies at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. I share drawing, painting, combined media and theories of the history of art."

Julia Alvarez

"Goldsmiths helped me to develop the skills required to operate both in the contemporary art world and work with local government and other businesses to build art into the fabric of society."

"I'm responsible for the overall running of BEARSPACE Gallery from selecting and promoting artists to managing staff. BEARSPACE regularly shows as part of art fairs and larger international projects and I am ultimately responsible for the success and development of the business. The South London Art map was started as a promotional tool for galleries in Deptford and now represents over 150 galleries and studios in Deptford, running tours and SLAM Fridays events to lobbying government for the needs of art organisations.

Goldsmiths helped me to develop the skills required to operate both in the contemporary art world and work with local government and other businesses to build art into the fabric of society. Whilst at Goldsmiths I also worked as an intern for other local galleries which gave me practical experience of the day to day running of a gallery. I am still in contact with my peers some of whom are artists, gallerists or academics in the arts. I have also been asked to return to Goldsmiths to give talks on professional development, and work on joint projects with academic departments."


"After graduation I worked for a gallery and at ArtBO, Bogotá’s art fair. I met many gallery owners and artists."

"It has been seven years since I graduated from the BA. I actually wanted to continue with an MA after I finished the BA; I was completely taken with my chosen career but sometimes things don’t quite work out as you plan them so in the end, I couldn’t accept the offers that I had for MAs and instead had to get a full time job. I ended up working in the area of fundraising for five years, more specifically donor data management, and although I enjoyed it and learned a lot, I always knew that I had to continue with the plan that I left behind.

Two years ago, I moved to Colombia with the view of embarking on an MA in Latin American Art, as it kind of made sense studying a ‘topic’ in ‘context’. Here I worked for an important gallery and was able to work at ArtBO, Bogotá’s art fair, which is pretty new in the circuit but it already features as one of the most poignant. Without me realising, the fair ended up being an excellent networking place and I had the opportunity to meet various people, mostly gallery owners and artists from around the continent. Although Colombia’s contemporary art scene is up and coming, there are not a lot of options to pursue an academic career; hence I have decided to do my MA in Buenos Aires.

Argentina seems to have a much older and prestigious academic tradition in the field of the arts and humanities so the offer there is pretty interesting, and most of the universities are public, therefore higher education is actually extremely affordable. I will be applying to both the MA in Cultural Criticism at (IUNA) National University Institute for the Arts and the MA in Curating Visual Arts (UNTREF) Universidad Nacional del Tres de Febrero. Whilst I am there, I will be working in an art gallery, and hopefully developing my practice working collaboratively in art related projects. My main interest remains linked to a course in the BA, called Practising Theory given by Dr Gavin Butt, and the writings of Peggy Phelan, Jane Blocker, Amelia Jones and Judith Butler."

See more profiles for this programme