The Graduate Diploma is a concentrated form of the undergraduate degree and gives graduates of other disciplines the opportunity to transfer their skills to the study of history of art.
The core programme is built round lectures that provide a grounding in the history of art from late Antiquity to the present day. The lectures also explore approaches and methods used in art history and students can explore these further in the other elements of the programme.
On graduating, students will be:
- exposed to and understand a wide range of specialisms within History of Art
- well placed to take an MA in History of Art
- Full time
- 27 students
- 1 year
- Home & EU fee: £8,530
- Overseas fee: £13,990
The Graduate Diploma is structured into four elements:
- The Foundation Lecture Course
- One Period Course
- One Texts and Contexts Course
- One Topic Course
Detailed information about the aims and objectives of the course can be found in the full programme specification below:
Graduate Diploma - Lecture Series
Lecture Series run throughout the year in conjunction with focused study. Courses are designed to offer you a broad coverage of the periods, regions, materials and approaches to western art and architecture from antiquity to the present. These are supported by weekly discussion classes. The trajectory of the Lectures change annually but a recent program is as follows:
This is a series of fifty-four lectures given by the staff of the Institute. It deals with major themes and issues in the history of Western art.
The lectures are organised into nine blocks of six lectures each. Seven of the blocks introduce you to the art and issues involved in the study of particular periods; the other two introduce you to the physical history of works of art, and to questions raised by looking beyond the normal frontiers of Western art.
Graduate Diploma - Period Course
Period Courses introduce students to more specialised investigation and enable them to develop critical thinking and extend their detailed knowledge of art historical periods. Students will select one period course in the Autumn Term. The options offered change annually but recently have included:
This course introduces students to the French art world of the mid to later nineteenth century. It deals with the development of art in the period from a historiographical perspective, by juxtaposing the conventional narrative of modern art, presented in terms of successive, progressive art movements, with the alternative views of the history of the period which have recently challenged this linear history. A broad range of topics will be considered, including the evolution of the realist mode, the role of state art policy, the Salon and alternative exhibition spaces, the ‘Haussmannisation’ of Paris, and the artistic relevance of photography. Each will provide opportunities to weigh up their relative significance as well as to question the values and assumptions underlying different versions of their history. Throughout, questions of style are explored in the context of institutional frameworks, the language of art criticism and theory, and the wider political implications of the debates.
How did a courtly context shape the production of artworks during the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries? Were the careers of artists at court substantially different from those who worked for other kinds of patrons? Focusing on graphic arts and decorative arts as well as painting and sculpture, we will study the relation between images and their social, cultural and intellectual contexts in four major courts. We will read about the political and religious issues at play in this period which saw the formation of absolutist governments, and we will study the primary literature on the courtier and courtly behaviour. The methods of social historians and anthropologists will be introduced in relation to recent studies of court culture. The role of the visual arts in multi-media court pageantry will be a thread followed through the course. Artists to be studied will include Caravaggio, Bernini, Goltzius, Callot, Le Brun, Velázquez.
Graduate Diploma - Texts and Contexts
Texts and Contexts courses are designed to develop your ideas about how works of art are made, altered, displayed and understood. These courses will involve close examination of key texts that will introduce you to art and its histories. Students will select one Texts and Contexts course in the Spring Term. The options offered change annually but recently have included:
This course will address the issue of art historical methodologies through close examination of a series of architectural projects undertaken by Michelangelo in the sixteenth century. The work of scholars on buildings and schemes such as the Medici Chapel (or New Sacristy) at S. Lorenzo and the Laurentian Library, both in Florence, highlights a range of different methodological approaches to the study not only of architecture and art history but also to the figure of the artist/architect. Thus, too, the course will also consider the creation and presentation of the biography of the artist, in particular the contemporary accounts by Vasari and Condivi, (students might also like to consider the well-known Carol Reed 1965 film of Irving Stone's novel The Agony and the Ecstasy). These are important not only for how they have fashioned our view of Michelangelo himself but also for broader constructs and understandings of the image and figure of ‘the artist’.
This course looks at the corpus of writing that has accumulated around the art of William Hogarth (1697-1764), the artist and print maker who was active in London in the middle decades of the eighteenth century. Readings will range from contemporary reactions to the most recent art historical scholarship. As we explore the posthumous development of Hogarthian commentary - and the lively and disputatious state of Hogarthian studies - a key aim is to investigate the sort of ideas that circulate (and continue to resonate) in the historiography.
Hogarth was celebrated and vilified during his lifetime and after his death a succession of texts fixed a number of different identities for the artist. He has been described as a moralist and a modernist; as a political artist and a comic artist. Increasingly, he has become the quintessential English artist. Hogarth has been fully assimilated into the national canon and more than any other artist he is has come to stand in for the eighteenth century. This course will look at the processes through which these positions were reached.
Graduate Diploma - Topic Course
Topic Courses are designed to offer broad coverage of the periods and regions of Western art, with a particular focus on works in London collections. Students will select one Topic Course in the Autumn Term. The options offered change annually but recently have included:
This course introduces students to historical and contemporary photography in London collections and special exhibitions. Now ubiquitous in museum and gallery displays, photography was long regarded as documentation devoid of artistic value and excluded from or marginalized in institutional displays and collections. This course will consider how the perception and reception of the medium has changed, and how this shift is reflected in both historical and contemporary displays in London through lectures and visits to a range of art institutions. The course will consider the medium’s relationship to different institutional mandates, with particular attention to how it is collected, displayed and interpreted in different venues and for different audiences. Students will also engage in literature relating to a wide scope of perspectives on fine art photography, offering an opportunity to examine the historical trajectory of photography’s integration into the art world, as well as to think about current issues and strategies in relation to photography as contemporary art.
How do we experience clothing? The spaces and environments in which we wear and encounter clothes influence our responses to them. Clothing and textiles’ tactile qualities are crucial to our experiences and perceptions of dress. Natural and synthetic fibres feel different against our skin, and affect our relationship to clothes. In addition, their visual impact is intrinsic to our reception and understanding and to the social and cultural values with which they are imbued. We experience dress and textiles through smell – from the fragrant oils added to seventeenth century gloves, to the pungent aroma of old, unwashed clothes, to the evocative scent of someone’s skin on their clothes. Equally, we can hear our clothes – the rustle of full silk skirts, or the creaking sound of a leather jacket as we move. We will explore our perceptions of dress, fashion and textiles through examination of objects, images, novels, diaries and oral histories.
The Graduate Diploma is assessed on the following exams and written work in the third term:
- Foundation course (3 hr paper)
- Period course (3 hr paper)
- Texts & contexts course (2 hr paper)
- Essay (5000 words)
Entry requirementsPlease select your Country of Study
All applicants are expected to have an effective knowledge of English, both spoken or written. For applicants whose first language is not English, we require proof of English proficiency.
We will accept:
- International English Language Testing System (IELTS) with an overall bandwidth of 7.0 or above.
- Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a score of at least 100 on the Internet-based test (IBT) or a score of at least 600 on the paper-based test (PBT) with a score of at least 5.0 on the Test of Written English
- Cambridge Advanced English (CAE) with a minimum grade of B
- IGCSE with a minimum grade of B
- Pearson Test for English (PTE) Academic with a score of 75 or above
- CPE (Cambridge English: Proficiency) with minimum grade of C
Please note that we will not accept institutional test results.
You may be exempt from providing proof of proficiency if either of the following applies to you:
- You are a national of a majority English speaking country*
- You have an academic qualification (not a professional or vocational qualification), which is equivalent to a UK Bachelors degree and the qualification is from an education provider in a majority English speaking country, including the UK and Republic of Ireland but not Canada.
*For a list of countries considered majority English -speaking countries by the UK Border Agency for purposes of English language proficiency, please see the 'Instructions' pages of our programme application forms.
If you are unable to book a test at a centre in advance of the application deadline, you may submit your application without an English proficiency result and it will be passed on for consideration. You should send your test result when it becomes available to you.
Foreign language requirements
A small number of the special options require students to be able to study texts in their original language. Where this is a requirement, the special options list the languages needed.
Home & EU fee: £8,530
Overseas fee: £13,990
Fees are subject to change each academic year. You can find out what qualifies as home, EU and overseas fees here.
We are now accepting applications for 2013 entry. You can apply using the form below.
The deadline for receipt of complete applications is 1 April 2013. Complete applications should include:
Completed application form
- Two confidential academic references, in signed, sealed envelopes
- A transcript of your academic record from your university
- Written work (2000 - 3000 words) - either an existing academic essay or exhibition/book review (if in doubt, please contact the Registry)
- A photocopy of the photo page and relevant biodata from your passport
- English proficiency certificate (if applicable)
- Two recent passport photographs