MA in Art History
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The qualification described below is not available to new students. New MA in Art History curriculum will be available to study from October 2014.
This MA course will equip you with critical skills necessary for higher level study of art history and build on your existing knowledge in this field. You begin your studies by using texts and module materials to explore the theoretical and methodological issues in 'old' and 'new' art histories. An extended project then provides you with research training which will enable you to carry out a more substantial piece of independent research on a topic of your choice for the final dissertation module. You need a substantial background in art history at undergraduate level to succeed in obtaining this qualification.
Planning your studies
You must hold an honours degree to study for our MA in Art History course. Your degree need not be in art history but you must have the basic skills expected of a graduate in that area. The foundation module brings you up to date with the latest ideas and approaches but does not offer remedial undergraduate training for those who have an inappropriate bachelors degree or inadequate experience. Before you enter the degree you must be able to:
- write clear, concise, grammatically correct and accurately spelt prose
- read large quantities of text quickly, accurately and critically
- classify evidence precisely and assess its value and reliability
- argue logically, consistently and sceptically
- marshal various sorts of evidence to support a logical argument.
If you are in any doubt about whether you possess these skills, you should consider taking one or two of our higher level undergraduate modules in art history first. If you would like help to assess your preparedness you can try our diagnostic test or contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service for advice.
You must commence your studies towards the MA in Art History with the postgraduate foundation module in art history and your final module must be the art history dissertation.
You must complete this qualification within ten years.
You should note that the University’s unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 60 credits from OU modules that have not been counted in any other OU qualification that has previously been awarded to you.
Career relevance and employability
Studying art history at postgraduate level will deepen your understanding of painting, sculpture and architecture. Through a critical engagement with some of the key theories and approaches developed to interpret and explain works of art from the Renaissance to the present day you will learn to study independently and undertake appropriate research. An MA in Art History will provide you with a range of skills, including visual and textual analysis and critical thinking and writing, which can be successfully transferred to a variety of careers in the professional and educational sectors.
There is more information about how OU study can improve your employability in the OU’s Employability Statement from our Careers Advisory Service. You can also read or download our publication OU study and your career and look at our subject pages to find out about career opportunities.
For this masters degree you require:
180 credits from the following compulsory modules:
The learning outcomes of this qualification are described in four areas:
- Knowledge and understanding
- Cognitive skills
- Practical and professional skills
- Key skills
Read more detailed information about the learning outcomes, and how they are acquired through teaching, learning and assessment methods.
Credit for previous study elsewhere
If you have already completed some successful study at postgraduate level at another institution you may be able to transfer credit for this study and count it towards this Open University qualification. If you wish to apply to transfer credit you must do so as soon as possible as it may affect your choice of OU modules. If you are awarded credit for study completed elsewhere, you may find that you need to study fewer OU modules to complete your qualification with us.
Visit our Credit Transfer site for more information and details of how to apply for credit transfer.
On successful completion of the required modules you can be awarded the Master of Arts in Art History entitling you to use the letters MA (Art Hist) (Open) after your name. You will have the opportunity of being presented at a degree ceremony.
If you leave the programme before you qualify for a degree you can qualify for a Postgraduate Certificate in Humanities (C20) after successfully completing 60 credits including a postgraduate foundation module, or a Postgraduate Diploma in Humanities (D35) with 120 credits including a postgraduate foundation module and a subject (non-dissertation) module.
As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the following regulations:
These regulations are also available on our Essential Documents website.
How to register
If you want to study for this qualification, read the description and check you meet any specific requirements (for example, some of our qualifications, require you to be working in a particular environment, or be sponsored by your employer). Then select the module you wish to study first and ensure it is suitable for you before following the registration procedure for that module. During the registration procedure you will be asked to declare which qualification you are studying towards.
See a full list of modules available for this qualification