Undergraduate programmes

The School of Art History and Cultural Policy offers a dynamic programme as part of the BA Arts and the BA Humanities degrees. Art History at UCD offers a stimulating curriculum that will see the student challenged to cultivate a diverse set of abilities so as to comprehend our visual and artistic heritage, to critically examine artworks and understand the conditions of their making, meaning and influences, and to consider the process of looking itself. 

Since prehistoric times, the beliefs, aspirations and fears of mankind have been expressed through the production of objects and images. Art History interrogates these objects and images, situates them within historical, stylistic and aesthetic frameworks, and analyses their meaning, development and quality.

In studying Art History students will examine the 'history' of art and visual production, will engage with interrogating the work of art, will examine the artist, will look at stylistic movements whilst also considering the problems with art historical categorization, will focus on society and culture, and also study many of the writers and philosophers who have influenced the history of art.  

Students learn through a combination of lectures, tutorials, seminars, as well as special lecture series and conferences.  In addition, field trips/site visits are a feature of many of courses throughout the undergraduate programmes.

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No prior study of Art History or special requirements are required to take Art History modules at First Year. The only requirements are enthusiasm and a readiness to work hard at this stimulating subject. The First Year modules provide a solid foundation from which to build your knowledge. In lectures you are encouraged to keep your ears and, most of all, your eyes open. In tutorials and on field trips you are encouraged to 'find your own voice' and use the time to clarify issues, ask questions and venture opinions.

Dealing with visual culture - with painting, sculpture, architecture, drawing, photography, performance and the decorative arts - Art History is a dynamic and richly rewarding subject.  

First Year Art History offers four stimulating courses that collectively provide a foundation for the theories and ideas that underpin Art History as a discipline, and an analysis of European art from Antiquity to the early 20th century. Students will investigate how long-established artistic traditions dynamically evolve and are challenged, echoing wider historical, social and political contexts.

There are four lecture modules offered at Stage 1 and all comprise 2 lectures per week and small-group tutorials.

  • The Art of the Ancient and Medieval World

  • The Art of the Renaissance: reform and rebirth

  • The Baroque to Romanticism

  • The Modern World


For detailed information on subject content click here.

2019/20 Year Booklet will be available shortly.


For students continuing their studies from First Year as a joint honours students the Stage 2 Year courses will expand upon their understanding of the various epochs of art-making, the key debates and issues that have resonated throughout the history of art from antiquity to the present day.  

There are 6 modules available enabling students to add greater depth to their study of Art History at UCD. 

  • European Architecture 1300-1900
  • From the Modern to the Contemporary
  • Perspectives on Irish Art: from Medieval to Modern
  • Islamic and Indian Art and Architecture
  • The Age of Michelangelo: Mannerism in Italy 1520-1600
  • History & Theory of Photography

For detailed information on subject content for Level 2 Art History click here.

2019/20 Year Booklet will be available shortly.


The aim of the Stage 3/ 4 Art History modules is to build upon the knowledge acquired thus far at a deeper level as students will delve into complex issues of art historiography and enjoy challenging modules on specialised subjects.

Field trips and site visits are a feature of many of the modules and a high level of attendance and participation is expected. Students majoring in Art History take two core modules, Writings on Art (AH30010) and a trimester-long dissertation (AH30080).

All Stage 3/ 4 modules are worth 5 credits and there are eight modules available in 2019/20.

  • Writings on Art (Core)
  • Dissertation (Core)
  • Courts and Court Culture
  • Rome: Caput Mundi
  • Caravaggio and Caravaggism
  • Art and Death in Early Modern Europe
  • Georgian Dublin
  • Genre Painting in the Age of Vermeer


For detailed information on subject content for Level 3 Art History click here.

2019/20 Year Booklet will be available shortly.

BA Humanities: Celtic Studies, Art History & History - In this programme the History of the Celts will be placed in a European and global context allowing for a deep understanding of Celtic Civilization from Antiquity to the present day.  Students will also engage with the aesthetic, stylistic, historical and critical elements of the visual arts: painting, sculpture, architecture, the decorative arts and modern visual art forms, including photography, video and will gain digital expertise in Medieval artifacts.

The diversity of choice in the modules that are available – from early Irish and Welsh to Medieval art and architecture, and folklore and migration – draws together Celtic Studies, Art History and History. This unique interdisciplinary programme covers all of these areas, ranging across Celtic Studies, Art History and History.  The core of this programme will see students examine the history, literature, language and culture of the Celts across the centuries.  It will challenge students and will develop their critical thinking and evaluation skills, as well as providing an appreciation of the complexities of ideas, societies, cultures, languages and art.

  • For detailed information on subject content click here.

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BA Humanities: Classics, Art History & Archaeology - This programme provides students with an in-depth grounding in three cognate subject areas: Classics, Art History, and Archaeology. Students who take this course will benefit from the inter-disciplinary study of the visual arts, archaeology, and material culture from antiquity to the present day. The first three years of the programme focus on training and building expertise and skills in the three disciplinary areas.

In Art History students will learn the skills of visual analysis and learn how to read images in their social and cultural context, in Archaeology they will move from the ‘big stories’ to methods and material culture analysis, and in Classics they will use literary and historical analysis along with the visual and material evidence to reconstruct the lost worlds of the Greek and Roman past. It is expected that on completion of the third year students will have accumulated 45 credits in each subject area. Interdisciplinarity will be emphasized in Stage 3, with a core seminar on a key theme (e.g. text and image, memory, environment and culture) and a summer fieldwork project in Glendalough. The focus of the final year will be the dissertation.

  • For detailed information on subject content click here.

Contact details