Study options

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Undergraduate and postgraduate study in Art History and Art Theory at UC offers you access to unique range of subjects in a well-resourced and dynamic department. Our graduates have secured careers as art writers, scholars, curators, and museum and heritage conservation professionals.

Recommended preparation

Our first-year students come from a variety of backgrounds. Although it is an advantage to have studied history of art at high school in Years 12 and 13, this is not a core requirement. More important is your interest, commitment and enthusiasm for the subject – these will serve you well.

100-level courses

Students intending to major in Art History and Theory require at least 30 points at 100-level. Many of our students have benefited from majoring in other subjects alongside Art History and Theory, such as Law and Psychology, and the subject is also required as part of the Bachelor of Fine Arts.

Good companion subjects to take with Art History and Theory are Māori and Indigenous Studies, Classics, History and English.

Students who are planning to advance to postgraduate study in Art History and Art Theory should consider including language courses appropriate to their intended area of study in their degree.

200-level and beyond

Several areas of specialisation are available beyond first year. Possible pathways include modern and contemporary art, East Asian art, Western art, architecture and art theory.

See the full list of Art History and Theory courses by following the link in the box below.

This one-year course is similar to a BA Honours and also consists of four courses: ARTC 401 Practicum, ARTC 402 the Art Museum past and present (aka ARTH 417), ARTC 403 Special Topic (i.e: any other ARTH/ARTT 400 level course), and ARTC 404 Special Project.

Students must pass all four courses. In special circumstances students may substitute an appropriate 400-level course from another programme, with the approval of the subject convenor.

This course of study offers a more applied alternative to the BA Honours in Art History and Theory which will appeal to students intending to work in the museum, art gallery and commercial art sectors.

The Postgraduate Diploma in Art Curatorship does not qualify students for entry to the MA in Art History or Art Theory.

See the full details of the Postgraduate Diploma in Art Curatorship or contact Dr Rosie Ibbotson for more information.

The Honours year consists of three taught courses and the ARTH/ARTT480 research paper. Individual courses examine selected topics in depth, providing students with experience in a range of methodologies, research techniques and modes of presenting material.

Students select three ARTH/ARTT 400-level courses from those offered, or two ARTH/ARTT 400 level courses and one approved course from another programme such as a language, English, History or Maori and Indigenous Studies.

Classes are small and allow students to work closely with the lecturer in that person's particular field of study.

The Honours year is a pre-requisite for entry into a Masters degree, and provides a good introduction to the research experience.

For inquiries regarding the BA Honours and Postgraduate Diploma in Art Curatorship, please contact Dr Rosie Ibbotson.

Writing and submission of the ARTH/ARTT 480 Research Paper

This supervised research project leads to the presentation of a long essay of about 10,000 words. Students undertake original research and organise and analyse material, placing it within a larger art-historical context. The skills demonstrated in ARTH/ARTT 480 are used to determine students' suitability for advancing to the MA thesis. All research papers are marked by internal examiners and moderated by an external examiner.

Topics should be original, practicable and clearly related to the student's past or current studies. They may be either empirically or theoretically inclined, but should take staff specialisations into account.

Past research papers are available for consultation, contact the Honours Co-ordinator for more information.

The Master of Arts degree consists of coursework followed by a thesis. It provides the opportunity to make a contribution to knowledge while also demonstrating understanding of the principles of research.

Entry requirements

Normally the minimum requirement is a three-year bachelor’s degree from a New Zealand university, or a qualification or combination of qualifications considered to be equivalent.

If you gained your qualifications overseas, these will need to be assessed to make sure they are of an equivalent standard.

Master of Arts degree specifications are outlined by the College of Arts.

Contact the Postgraduate Coordinator for more information.

Guidelines for Doctoral study are available from the Dean of Postgraduate Studies. PhD candidates should also familiarise themselves with UC's Doctoral study information.

Contact the Postgraduate Co-ordinator for more information.

Our first-year students come from a variety of backgrounds. Although it is an advantage to have studied history of art at high school, this is not a core requirement. More important is your interest, commitment and enthusiasm for the subject.

More information

See the Course Information website for more details about studying Art History and Theory.

Explore the full list of courses offered in

Art History and Theory