Art History

Teaching and research interests in Art History at the University of St Andrews extend from the mediaeval to the modern periods, focusing on the major arts of painting, scupture and architecture, but also encompassing applied arts, graphic arts and photography.

Courses in Art History aim to provide a context in which students gain intellectual breadth and learn to become verbally and visually articulate. Students learn to assess images of all kinds critically and perceptively. A wide range of factors are considered: the analysis of style, content and meaning; patronage and social significance; the implicit and explicit ideas behind works; broad questions of theory and aesthetics.



Art History MA (Hons)

Joint degree options

You can take Art History MA (Hons) with another subject as part of a joint degree.



Art History MLitt
History of Photography MLitt
Museum and Gallery Studies MLitt


Please contact a supervisor in your research area to enquire about PhD opportunities.

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Art History research areas

The principal strengths of research in Art History at St Andrews lie in the areas of mediaeval and Renaissance art, European and American modernism, the history of photography, and in museum and gallery studies.

Staff and students of Art History participate in University-wide research centres such as the St Andrews Institute of Mediaeval Studies and the Scottish Studies Network.

The School of Art History is also a partner in Visual Arts Research Institute (VARIE) based at the University of Edinburgh, and collaborates on research projects with museums, galleries and other institutions in Britain and around the world.

Current research projects undertaken in Art History include:

Art History research institute

There is one research centre at St Andrews related to Art History:

The Institute was established for research, education and training in cultural heritage, with a particular focus on museums, art galleries and historic houses, and their collections.

Visit MGCI

Careers for graduates in Art History

A degree in Art History from St Andrews will provide an excellent foundation for a career in a wide range of fields, including:

  • museums and galleries
  • arts administration
  • the art trade
  • teaching
  • publishing and media
  • PR and marketing
  • law
  • business and finance
  • retail, catering and hospitality.

A number of graduates also go on to take postgraduate courses.

Recent graduates in Art History 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.

Find out more about careers in Art History.

Funding opportunities

There is a range of funding opportunities available to prospective undergraduates, postgraduates and PhD students.


There is a range of undergraduate funding opportunities offered by the University of St Andrews.

Undergraduate scholarships


The School of Art History offers the Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust Museum and Gallery Studies Award worth £5000 for students applying for the full-time Museum and Gallery Studies MLitt.

Postgraduate taught scholarships

PhD students  

Find out more about funding for postgraduate research. 

Funding for PhD students


REF 2014

The School of Art History was rated top in Scotland and fourth in the UK for research excellence in the UK Research Excellence Framework 2014.

University league tables

The School of Art History was ranked top in Scotland and third in the UK by the Guardian University Guide 2017, and sixth in the UK by the Complete Univeristy Guide 2017, for student satisfaction, research quality and graduate prospects.


School of Art History
University of St Andrews
Old Union Building
79 North Street
St Andrews
KY16 9AJ

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2399

Art History website Art History research portal