History of Photography (MLitt) 2017 entry
The MLitt in History of Photography offers a range of innovative courses covering the 19th-century origins of photography and the camera to the high-modernist art photography, documentary narratives and technological advances of the 20th century.
Postgraduate; leading to a Master of Letters (MLitt)
One year full time or two years part time
A good 2.1 Honours undergraduate degree. A degree in art history is strongly recommended but is not an essential requirement.
If you studied your first degree outside the UK, see the international entry requirements.
English language proficiency. See English language tests and qualifications.
The qualifications listed are indicative minimum requirements for entry. Some academic Schools will ask applicants to achieve significantly higher marks than the minimum. Obtaining the listed entry requirements will not guarantee you a place, as the University considers all aspects of every application including, where applicable, the writing sample, personal statement, and supporting documents.
UK and EU: £7,500
- personal statement (500 words)
- sample of academic written work (2000 words)
- two original signed academic references
- academic transcripts and degree certificates
- English language requirements certificate.
For more guidance, see supporting documents and references for postgraduate taught programmes.
If you started this programme in 2016, you can find information about 2016 entry on the 2016 History of Photography MLitt page. Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in our archive.
The MLitt in History of Photography offers a unique opportunity to study the history of photography as a specialised field of research.
- This innovative degree is inspired by the important role played by St Andrews in the early history of the most influential visual medium of the modern era.
- Students are introduced to the theoretical and methodological challenges and debates that photography’s multiple functions and contexts have provoked since its invention.
- Classes make full use of the outstanding photographic collections of the University Library and associated archives, such as that held by the National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh.
- Small class sizes prioritise discussion with peers and interaction with the tutor.
The MLitt degree requires two semesters of full-time (or four semesters part-time) coursework, normally equivalent to four modules. Each module has a minimum contact time of 12 hours. The modules are taught as small group discussion seminars, with an average size of four to eight students in each group. Additionally, there may be class trips where relevant to the taught modules.
The assessment for the taught modules is based on coursework including:
- book reviews
- annotated bibliographies
- visual analysis and object analysis essays
- reading journals
- research papers.
The modules in this programme have varying methods of delivery and assessment. For more details of each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the latest module catalogue which is for the 2016–2017 academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2017 entry.
- Issues in Photographic Criticism: semester 1
History of Photography students choose three postgraduate-level course modules, with the option of one of those modules being selected from the undergraduate-level Honours programme. Optional modules are subject to change each year, and some may only allow limited numbers of students (see the University’s position on curriculum development).
- Imperial Lens: Readings in Nineteenth-Century Asian Photography
- Readings in Art History or History of Photography
- Bibliography for Art History or History of Photography
- The ‘New Vision’ in Twentieth Century European Photography
- The Documentary Impulse
- University of St Andrews Photographic Collection
- Histories of Photography, 1835–1905
Students on this course will have the opportunity to take new modules in the academic year 2017-2018. The modules listed here are indicative, and there is no guarantee they will run for 2017 entry.Take a look at the most up-to-date modules in the module catalogue.
The final three months of your course will be focused on writing the final assessment piece, a 15,000-word dissertation. Across the two semesters, students participate in a series of skills workshops designed to help prepare for the dissertation element. Student dissertations will be supervised by members of the teaching staff who will advise on the choice of subject and provide guidance throughout the research process. The completed dissertation must be submitted by a date specified in August.
If students choose not to complete the dissertation requirement for the MLitt, there are exit awards available that allow suitably qualified candidates to receive a Postgraduate Diploma. By choosing an exit award, you will finish your degree at the end of the second semester of study and receive a PGDip instead of a MLitt.
Conferences and events
The School of Art History supports a large, active and diverse postgraduate community. Postgraduate students publish the North Street Review: Arts and Visual Culture journal, an annual journal containing articles on a wide range of topics by students at St Andrews and other universities. The School also organises postgraduate research seminars and occasional symposia. Each year they invite a number of artists and scholars to give lectures.
The School was institutional in establishing the Museums, Galleries and Collections Institute (MGCI) which is a leading centre for training and research in the heritage sector.
After the MLitt
In addition to the MLitt, the School offers a two-year History of Photography Master of Philosophy (MPhil) degree option.
Many of our graduates continue their education by enrolling in PhD programmes at St Andrews or elsewhere.
The Catherine and Alfred Forrest Trust
The trust provides annual bursaries for postgraduate research in art history in European and American Art from the end of the Renaissance onwards.
The Scottish Society for Art History
The SSAH promotes scholarship in Scottish art and art located in Scotland. They offer research support grants from £50 to £300 to assist with research costs and travel expenses.
Recent postgraduates in History of Photography are employed in universities and archives, museums and galleries, auction houses, radio stations, publishing houses and magazines.
The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students on a taught postgraduate course and offers a programme of events to assist students to build their employability skills.
Admission to the University of St Andrews is governed by our Admissions policy.
As a research intensive institution, the University ensures that its teaching references the research interests of its staff, which may change from time to time. As a result, programmes are regularly reviewed with the aim of enhancing students' learning experience. Our approach to course revision is described online. (PDF, 72 KB).
The University will clarify compulsory fees and charges it requires any student to pay at the time of offer. The offer will also clarify conditions for any variation of fees. The University’s approach to fee setting is described online. (PDF, 84 KB).