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Institute of Continuing Education (ICE)


This course is not open for online applications. If you would like to enquire about this course please do so using the 'Ask a question' button.

Our Master of Studies in History of Art and Visual Culture allows you to explore objects, theories and approaches thematically. You will be introduced to a wide range of visual media from Medieval to Contemporary.

By the end of this two-year course, you will have gained many transferable skills, including research, decision making, presenting, academic writing and the ability to communicate your topic to different audiences.

An integral part of your studies will be visiting college collections, libraries and museums in Cambridge when you attend the three residential modules in the city, where you will have the opportunity to hear from curators and experience objects up close.

Your first year of study is split into six taught modules, paired by theme with a focus on knowledge and practice, whilst the second year of study allows you to research and write your dissertation.

Applications for this course are now open, and will close on 2nd April 2024. You can apply using the Apply Now button.


Teaching & Assessment

Teaching and learning

The MSt in History of Art and Visual Culture is structured around three residential modules that students must attend. 

A Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) offers learning support to students while they are on the programme, including learning resources, to build a virtual community of practice. Students are expected to have sufficient IT skills to engage with the VLE and all assignments are uploaded to the VLE for assessment.

Year 1

In order to proceed to Year 2, students must complete the three assessed essay assignments satisfactorily, each between 4,000-5,000 words. The Year 1 essays constitute 50% of the overall award mark, and the dissertation constitutes 50% of the overall award mark. Students must attain an average of 60% overall across the three essay assignments.

Students achieving a minimum of the pass mark for Year 1 but not completing the Year 2 requirements may be awarded a Postgraduate Certificate in History of Art and Visual Culture.

Year 2

The requirement for the award of the MSt degree is satisfactory completion of a 12,000-15,000 word dissertation, constituting 50% of the overall mark and which is read by two examiners, who report independently. The dissertation must reach the pass mark of 60%. The overall pass mark for the award of the MSt degree is 60%. The examiners are required to assure themselves that the dissertation is clearly written, that it takes account of previously published work on the subject, and that it represents a contribution to scholarship.

Year 1

Module 1: Thematic approaches to understanding art 8th-11th October 2024 (15 credits)


Module 2: Research, Sources and Methods 8th-11th October 2024 (15 credits)


Module 3: Thematic approaches to understanding art 11th-14th February 2025 (15 credits)


Module 4: Research, Sources and Methods 11th-14th February 2025 (15 credits)


Module 5: Thematic approaches to understanding art 29th April-2nd May 2025 (15 credits)


Module 6: Research, Sources and Methods 29th April-2nd May 2025 (15 credits)

Year 2

Dissertation research (90 credits) (Day Schools 4 October 2025, 17 January 2026, 11 April 2026)

To complete Year 1 successfully students must pass at least two of the three assessed essays and reach an average pass mark of 60% across the three. Students who achieve this can progress to Year 2, where they research and write a dissertation on a topic of their choice, subject to the approval of the Degree Committee of the Faculty of Architecture and History of Art. Dissertation work is individually supervised and is assessed following the Faculty of Architecture and History of Art’s common examinations handbook (except where a case is made for alignment with common MSt protocols). The dissertation must reach the pass mark of 60%. 

Teaching Methods 

The learning outcomes of the programme are achieved through:

  • Personal study of appropriate material guided by reading lists and other resources;
  • Residential study blocks/modules including lectures, seminars, classes at which students express their own ideas and present accounts of their work;
  • Full and appropriate use of the Institute’s virtual learning environment (VLE);
  • One-to-one supervisions (usually five in total) with a designated expert supervisor to include detailed feedback on students’ work and progress.

Assessment Methods

In Year 1 the taught elements of the course are examined through three compulsory essay assignments, one per term of between 4,000-5,000 words each, totalling a maximum of between 12,000 and 15,000 words. All essays will be independently marked by two assessors. Each written assignment in Year 1 will be submitted at the end of term (Michaelmas, Lent, Easter).

In Year 2 of the course examination will be by a supervised dissertation (of between 12,000 and 15,000 words). A viva voce examination may be required by the examiners and, subject to the Faculty of Architecture and History of Art’s common examinations handbook, will be required in the case of a borderline fail. Dissertations are due in term 3 of Year 2.

Students will receive a range of formative assessments during the course.

Course dates

08 Oct 2024 to 01 Sep 2026

Course duration

2 Years

Apply by

02 Apr 2024

Course fee

Home: £14,100
Overseas: £24,720

Course director

Academic Directors, Course Directors and Tutors are subject to change, when necessary.


Various locations
United Kingdom

Qualifications / Credits

180 credits at Master of Studies

Course code