MA Art History and Curating

University of Birmingham, College of Arts and Law

Program Description

MA Art History and Curating

University of Birmingham, College of Arts and Law

The MA in Art History and Curating is one of the few postgraduate programmes in the country that offers you the opportunity to work in a team with academic and museum professionals to curate an art exhibition in a public gallery, the Barber Institute of Fine Arts. This unique programme enables you to develop the knowledge and skills to conduct original research into art objects, to understand at first hand the history, theory and contemporary practice of their curation and to disseminate your findings through a public art exhibition and a 15,000-word dissertation.

The core components of the programme include the 60-credit ‘Curatorial Practices’ module – taught on a weekly basis in the Barber Institute – that provides you with a full range of skills to curate an exhibition, and a 20-credit 'Research Training and Methods' module which will help you to develop essential research skills.

The programme also offers you the flexibility to select a further 40 credits of optional study from a range of complimentary practical, theoretical and historical modules. These include: a 12 week placement with a local gallery, auction house or other commerical arts organisation set up on your behalf; the application of digital technologies in art history; the theory of exhibitions; aesthetics and the philosophy of art. As a result, this unique programme will provide you with the knowledge, experience and employability skills invaluable to museum and academic sectors whilst enabling you to establish professional networks in both.

You will study three core modules:

  • Curatorial Practices – taught by both academics and gallery professionals with leading expertise in the field, you will learn a range of skills related to the organisation of an exhibition including marketing, interpretation and curation
  • Postgraduate Research Training and Methods – covering topics such as referencing systems, writing a research proposal, literature reviews, approaching archives and oral histories, this module will prepare you for writing your dissertation
  • Criticism and Methods in the History of Art and Visual Culture – this module looks at the historiography, methods and theoretical underpinning of contemporary practices of artistic and visual analysis

You will also choose two options from a range of practical, theoretical and historical modules including: Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art; Art History in the Field: Placements; Cultural Analysis; Digital Cultures; and Theorising Exhibitions


The University of Birmingham has been ranked 8th in the UK and 60th in the world for post-qualification employability in the latest global survey of universities commissioned by the International Herald Tribune.

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by the employability skills training offered through the College of Arts and Law Graduate School.

Birmingham's History of Art graduates develop a broad range of transferable skills, including: familiarity with research methods; the ability to manage large quantities of information from diverse sources; the ability to organise information in a logical and coherent manner; the expertise to write clearly and concisely and to tight deadlines; critical and analytical ability; the capacity for argument, debate and speculation; and the ability to base conclusions on detailed research.

Our History of Art postgraduates also have the advantage of gaining hands-on experience at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts: the university's on-campus art gallery which is home to the Department of Art History, Film and Visual Studies.

Over the past five years, 100% of History of Art postgraduates were in work and/or further study six months after graduation. Many graduates enter occupations relating to gallery and museum curatorship, management and research; others pursue careers in academia. Employers that our graduates have gone on to work for include: Barber Institute of Fine Arts; Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery; Bodleian Library; National Portrait Gallery; Royal Birmingham Society of Artists; University of Birmingham; and Victoria and Albert Museum.

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated May 4, 2016
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Sept. 2017
1 - 2 years
Part time
Full time
Start date Sept. 2017
United Kingdom Birmingham, England
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Duration 1 - 2 years
Price Request Info