At Edinburgh, History of Art is a window to the world…

You will take History of Art combined with courses from other subject areas (such as Architectural History, Anthropology or Psychology) in your first two years, then choose from around 30 option courses within History of Art in years 3 and 4. The breadth of courses on offer at Edinburgh is unrivalled: you may choose to study Medieval manuscripts, Chinese scrolls, Japanese Buddhist relics, medieval Islamic spaces and visual culture, Renaissance altarpieces, Scottish Enlightenment portraits and artefacts of eighteenth-century material culture, Pre-Raphaelite and French Impressionist paintings, problems in Modernist painting and sculpture, Landscape art and radical eco-aesthetics, Feminist art and activism, as well as a range of Contemporary art practices. In year 3 you will combine specialist option courses with project work focusing in detail on your choice of either art objects, exhibitions, or texts of art theory, so that you develop core skills in writing and researching art history. You may also choose a work placement in a local museum or gallery. In your final year you will take more specialist option courses and will devise and write an original, independently researched dissertation which is the culmination of your studies.

This degree programme is for you if you are interested in art and visual culture and the histories 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 who are all active researchers and in some cases, curators. We combine lectures (three a week) with small group tutorials and gallery visits at years 1 and 2, then seminars, placements and site visits in years 3 and 4. In addition to the academic guidance of your lecturers and tutors you will be supported by a Personal Tutor throughout your learning journey.

Studying in Edinburgh

Edinburgh is a culturally rich and active international city. We enjoy world-class museum and gallery collections and a busy contemporary arts scene on our doorstep. As a History of Art student you will have the chance to make the most of the art and culture that is on offer, and if you choose a work placement in your third year, you may experience life behind the scenes in one of the city’s collections. Within the University, History of Art is part of Edinburgh College of Art so you will study alongside practicing artists, designers, architects and musicians.

Joint degrees

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

You can also study History of Art combined with a practical art element with our five-year MA (Hons) Fine Art degree.


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.

How to apply and entrance requirements

If you'd like to study on an undergraduate programme at Edinburgh College of Art, you must apply through UCAS, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service. You can find out how to do this on the University of Edinburgh website, where you'll also be able to

  • see the structure of the programme and what you will study each year
  • see detailed entrance requirements for each programme on the Degree Finder
  • get information on what to expect after you apply
  • find out about fees
  • find out where to go for further advice and guidance

Take me to the University of Edinburgh website on how to apply for undergraduate study 

If you have any questions about the application process, our Undergraduate Admissions Office will be happy to help you.

Email the Undergraduate Admissions Office: futurestudents@ed.ac.uk


Prof Andrew Patrizio

Professor of Scottish Visual Culture

Programme Director, Undergraduate History of Art

Email: a.patrizio@ed.ac.uk

Tel: +44 (0) 131 651 1782

Facilities and resources

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

Students at the University of Edinburgh have access to a range of library resources across the campus and online.

The public art gallery for the University of Edinburgh, comprising three distinct exhibition spaces.


College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences Undergraduate Admissions Office

Email: futurestudents@ed.ac.uk
Tel: +44 (0)131 650 3565