History of Art - MA (Hons)

Our undergraduate programme

At Edinburgh you don’t just study History of Art; you do it!

You will take History of Art combined with other courses in your first two years, then choose from at least 30 option courses in subjects that interest you in years 3 and 4. You will study Classical art, Pictish stones, Medieval manuscripts, Chinese scrolls, Renaissance altarpieces, Scottish Enlightenment portraits, Pre-Raphaelite and French Impressionist paintings, and contemporary art installations. In year 3 you will combine specialist option courses with project work (so that you can try your hand as an art critic or museum curator) or work placement. In your last year you will take further option courses and devise and write a dissertation which is the culmination of your studies.

This course is for you if you are interested in art, photography and culture, and the history and ideas that they embody. You do not need to have studied Art History before but you will be curious to learn about new ideas, places and times that will challenge the way you see the world.

How we teach

You will be taught by leading academics and professors who are active researchers. We combine lectures (three a week) with small group tutorials and gallery visits at years 1 and 2, then seminars, placements and site visits at honours level. In addition to your lecturers and tutors you will be supported by a personal tutor throughout your learning journey.

Studying in Edinburgh

Edinburgh is a very special place to be an Art Historian. We enjoy world-class museum and gallery collections and vibrant contemporary arts scene on our doorstep. As a History of Art student you will be given behind-the-scenes access and could even get work experience in one of the city’s collections. We are part of Edinburgh College of Art so we work closely with practicing artists, designers, architects and musicians.

Where next?

History of Art is an interdisciplinary subject that opens many doors. Our students choose careers in museums or galleries, journalism, auctioneering, teaching, research or the media. Or you can use your new skills and experience to get any number of graduate jobs.

Joint degrees

You can also combine History of Art with a range of other courses, including:

  • Architectural History
  • Chinese Studies
  • English Literature
  • History
  • History of Music
  • Spanish


Dr Jill Burke, Programme Director | View staff profile >

Dr Patricia Allmer | View staff profile >

Dr Claudia Bolgia | View staff profile >

Prof Viccy Coltman | View staff profile >

Prof Neil Cox | View staff profile >

Dr Angela Dimitrakaki | View staff profile >

Dr Frances Fowle | View staff profile >

Dr Allain George | View staff profile >

Dr Claudia Hopkins | View staff profile >

Dr Dana Macfarlane | View staff profile >

Dr Richard McClary | View staff profile >

Dr Catriona Murray | View staff profile >

Dr Luca Palozzi | View staff profile >

Prof Andrew Patrizio | View staff profile >

Dr Heather Pulliam | View staff profile >

Dr Carol Richardson | View staff profile >

Dr Yuthika Sharma | View staff profile >

Dr Kate Sloan | View staff profile >

Dr Igor Stiks | View staff profile >

Prof Richard Thomson | View staff profile >

Dr Tamara Trodd | View staff profile >

Genevieve Warwick | View staff profile >

Dr Christian Weikop | View staff profile >

Prof Richard Williams | View staff profile >

Dr Chia-ling Yang | View staff profile >


Everything you need to know about finding perfect student accommodation.

Resources for History of Art, Art, Architecture and Landscape Architecture students.

An amalgamation of the University's extensive art collection and ECA’s collection of prints, drawings, paintings and sculpture.

A fully operational, entirely student-run 90-seat theatre housed in a neo-gothic church.

Get information, advice and guidance about your career options.

The Centre for Research Collections (CRC) is the main space for anyone using the University of Edinburgh’s historic collections.

Work spaces are available across the University. ECA's computers include software tailored to the disciplines studied here.

At the heart of the Evolution House Learning and Research Zone, the ECA Library provides an innovative environment for learning, teaching and research resources in art and design.

ECAfé provides a full catering service to all staff, students and visitors to Edinburgh College of Art.

Edinburgh Global's mission is to encourage internationalisation, enhance the student experience, create and develop partnerships.

EUSA represent the student voice. They provide services, run events, and facilitate student societies.

Information and guidance on financial matters for all students of the University of Edinburgh.

A Georgian garden that doubles as a venue for performances in the centre of the city.

Including journals, image databases, and local collections.

The primary collection of books, periodicals, manuscripts, and research material.

By day, a café, bar and study space, and by night a club venue. Potterrow’s dome is also home to the Advice Place and the Potter Shop.

The neo-classical Sculpture Court in the ECA Main Building is home to the many pieces from the Edinburgh Cast Collection, and is regularly used for student exhibitions.

Caters to a diverse range of users from occasional exercisers to international athletes.

Offering counselling services for students, workshops, consultation and training for staff.

Supporting students with dyslexia, mental health issues and students on the autistic spectrum, as well as those who have physical and sensory impairments.

Talbot Rice Gallery is the public art Gallery for the University of Edinburgh.

Home to six distinctive bars, Teviot is the oldest purpose built students' union in the world.

265 plaster casts of Antique, Renaissance, and Gothic statues, bas reliefs, and architectural passages.

A hub for the University Societies and setting regular live music, comedy, spoken word and poetry nights.

A bar at the Lauriston Campus which hosts regular events including club nights and gigs.

Scholarships & bursaries

Awarded for an outstanding piece of work by an Honours student (3rd, 4th or 5th year undergraduate).

News & events

Christina Tsima- Madrid_001.jpg

Outside a restaurant in Madrid
Image courtesy of Christina Tsima

Christina went to Universidad Autonoma de Madrid in Spain for her 3rd year of study during the 2016/17 academic year.

Uluru at sunrise.jpg

Uluru at sunrise
Uluru at sunrise
Image: Chloe Phillips

Chloe went to University of Sydney for her 3rd year of study during the 2016/17 academic year.


College of Humanities & Social Science Undergraduate Admissions Office

Email: hssug@ed.ac.uk

Tel: +44 (0)131 650 3565