History of Art

  • UCAS Code: V350 BA/HA
  • Campus Code: 4
  • Duration: 3 years
  • Places per year: 1-2

History of Art is a lively, stimulating and rigorous course which covers a wide spectrum of art and architecture, from the medieval to modern periods. The aim is to foster a wide and deep understanding of art and architecture, and to help you develop visual literacy and awareness, as well as a range of critical and analytical skills. The course places a high priority on first-hand study of works of art and architecture, both within Cambridge and further afield.

History of Art

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Course Overview

Studying Art History doesn’t just mean looking at paintings and sculptures (although we do a lot of that): art historians study anything that was made at least partly to be looked at – anything with an aesthetic side to it. Teapots, churches, jewellery, wallpaper, gardens, adverts, gravestones, spoons, temples, picture frames, coins, graffiti, wall paintings, plates, fans, printed books, clothes, gargoyles, houses, pottery, illuminated manuscripts, palaces, candlesticks, museum design… all of these can be and are studied by an art historian.

We study these objects in their historical and cultural contexts, and ask a lot of questions. The most important question an art historian asks is: why does this object (be it a painting, sculpture, building, or something else) look the way it does and have the impact that it does?

How You Learn

Teaching is provided through lectures, seminars, small-group supervisions and course trips to museums, exhibitions and notable buildings.

In your first year, you’ll usually have up to 6 hours of departmental teaching, on-site visits and one supervision each week.

The way you’re assessed will vary based on the papers you study. Typically you will be assessed through a mixture of coursework assignments, written examinations and visual analysis tests. You will also have a dissertation in your first and third years.

Entry Requirements

Minimum Offer Level

A-Level: A*AA

IB Diploma: 41-42 points, with 776 at Higher Level

Other: See the University’s Entry Requirements page

Subject Requirements

While we don’t ask for any specific subjects to apply to History of Art, and although Art & Design is accepted, Colleges normally require A*/7 in an essay-based subject or language.

We’d also recommend certain subjects for a strong application:

  • History
  • History of Art
  • English (language or literature)
  • Languages (ancient or modern)
  • Classics

Admissions Process

Written Work

None required.

Admissions Assessment

We do not require a written assessment for this subject.


Two interviews of around 25 minutes each.

Last updated: May 2024 for 2025 entry