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 is a stimulating, ever-changing subject that is intrinsically inter-disciplinary in nature. It analyses the complex relationship that exists between visual art and society both across the centuries  and in the contemporary moment.  Art History enables us to understand the environments we inhabit, including how and why they have been constructed and what cultural meanings are embedded in them or have accrued in them over time. The School nurtures an understanding of the role and value of visual art and architecture in cultural life, both past and present. It offers a varied and diverse curriculum that includes the study of Irish, European, American and non-Western art and architecture, in addition to a wide range of media such as painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, architecture, video and performance. 

Our teaching programme seeks to foster original thought, interpretative and analytical skills, critical enquiry, and visual acuity.  We encourage our students to examine artworks critically and understand the conditions of their making, meaning and influences, as well as to consider the process of looking itself. Students are enabled to interpret and assess the meaning, development, context and quality of works of art of different ages using a range of methodologies and approaches including conceptual and historical analysis.  The programme teaches students to learn from images and patterns; to consider formalist aspects such as composition, style and iconography as well as technical material. In order to teach these skills, the programme uses a diverse range of teaching and learning methods such as lectures, small group teaching, web-based learning, field trips and site visits.

Show/hide contentOpenClose All

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.

Stage 1/ First Year Art History offers four stimulating courses that collectively provide an analysis of the key movements, artists, artistic traditions and issues that have resonated and evolved throughout European art from Antiquity to the early 20th century, and a foundation for the theories that underpin Art History as a discipline.

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: European art 1600-1850

  • The Modern World 1848-1914

Students who intend to take Art History as a Joint Major in their BA degree must take AH10130 and at least one of the remaining three Stage 1 modules. Students are strongly advised to take as many of the Stage 1 modules as possible to give them a solid foundation for the further study of Art History. 

For detailed information on subject content click here.

2019/20 Year Booklet available here.


For students continuing their Art History studies from First Year the Stage 2 offerings, which include survey modules and more specialised modules, 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. Stage 2 students taking Art History as one of their Joint Major subjects are required to take one Core lecture module in each trimester. Students then select three of the four remaining lecture modules across the entire year in order to achieve the 25 credits required for a Joint Major in Art History. 

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

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

2019/20 Year Booklet available here.


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). Students then select a minimum of three from the remaining Option modules across the entire year in order to achieve the 25 credits required for a Joint Major in Art History. Students may also use their elective options to take further Stage 3/ 4 Art History modules.

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 available here.

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.

Contact details


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