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Diploma & Purser-Griffith Lectures

Diploma in the History of European Painting and Purser-Griffith Lectures 

The Diploma in the History of European Painting (Z187) is delivered in conjunction with the Purser-Griffith Lectures (Z188). This part-time evening course explores the history of European painting from late Antiquity to the turn of the 20th century. No previous experience in the study of art history is necessary to apply for this course.

This course can be taken either for Credit (Diploma in the History of European Painting) or Audit (Purser-Griffith Lectures). The Diploma in the History of European Painting runs on a two-year cycle and involves continuous assessments in pursuit of the qualification. Audit students attend the Purser-Griffith Lectures purely for interest and do not undertake any form of assessment. This course traces its origins to 1934 and an historic endowment made by the artist (opens in a new window)Sarah Purser and (opens in a new window)Sir John Griffith to encourage the study of history of art in Ireland. In recognition of this endowment the Purser-Griffith Medals are awarded to the diploma student who takes first place with distinction, and to the diploma student who takes second place.

The Tuesday lectures provide a sweeping historical survey of the major artistic developments and styles and artists in European painting. These lectures are partnered with thematic Wednesday lectures exploring such topics as pictorial language, iconography, the techniques of works of art, as well as such subjects as 'The rise of the artist: status, training and practice', 'The portrait: likeness, the ideal, image and posterity', 'Women and the art world' and 'The 19th century and the modern'.

From 2024 the Diploma is one of UCD’s University Access Courses for admission to 1st Arts (DN520) and 1st Humanities (DN530).

The next cycle of the Diploma and full cycle of lectures commences in September 2024.  

Further detail regarding the course can be found (opens in a new window)here >>>> and general infomation can be found in the Diploma & Purser-Griffith Lectures Brochure.

Diploma: Two year part-time course (Two trimesters per year: c. 48 lectures + 24 tutorials per year ).

Audit: Audit students may register in either year one or two of the course cycle, either for a full year OR on a trimester by trimester basis.

Diploma & audit students have access to UCD library facilities.



Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 7:00pm –8:30pm.  Diploma & Audit students


Tuesdays (and/or Wednesdays depending on numbers], 5:30pm –6:30pm  Diploma students only

Gallery visits

Schedule and circumstances permitting, we have at least two Gallery visits each year as additional classes (optional). 

Diploma & Audit students

Registration is now open to Diploma & Audit students for the 2024/26 cycle. Applications can be made online via the following links.  

Contact: Course Director

Contact: School Manager

(opens in a new window)Carla Briggs, MA (NUI)

Tel: + 353 1 716 8403  /  Email: (opens in a new window)carla.briggs@ucd.ie

Helena McCann,

UCD School of Art History & Cultural Policy, 
John Henry Newman Building, 
University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4.

Tel: + 353 1 716 8162  /  Email: (opens in a new window)helena.mccann@ucd.ie

UCD School of Art History and Cultural Policy

Newman Building, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
T: +353 1 716 8162 | E: arthistory.culturalpolicy@ucd.ie