History of Art

Wadham is one of eight colleges admitting students for History of Art.

  • History of Art

    Anja Christine Roß via Wikimedia Commons

  • Berthe Morisot via Wikimedia Commons

  • Raphael, via Wikimedia Commons

Course Offered : BA (Hons) History of Art

This History of Art course is an exciting development in the University, and the course is a distinctive one, which builds on a wide range of expertise in different aspects of visual culture.

Undergraduate Prospectus History of Art Department


Students acquire a grounding in a core tradition of Western culture, as well as being introduced to approaches to the history of art in other cultural contexts, and learning to set Western cultural assumptions in a global comparative framework. There are invaluable opportunities to work with some of the museum curators in Oxford. The collections within the University are extraordinary: the Ashmolean Museum, the Christ Church Picture Gallery, the University Museum, the Pitt Rivers Museum of ethnography and the Museum of the History of Science. There is also an acclaimed modern art museum. The historic architecture of Oxford itself offers rich possibilities for study. Students have an unparalleled opportunity to develop a visual understanding in an interdisciplinary framework.

Teaching Structure

The first year programme and the core teaching on methodology are organised in the History of Art Department.  In the 2nd and 3rd year students go to many different tutors across the University for work on their various options. The History tutors at Wadham have strong interests in art history and visual culture. Jane Garnett was involved in the construction of the degree, and continues to be closely involved in teaching and thesis supervision. Many students who have read History or a joint school with History have developed art historical strands within their degree (and in some cases have gone on to postgraduate work on visual themes).  College tutors in Modern European Languages, English, Persian and Chinese also have visual interests, including the study of film. We have postgraduate students taking the Master’s degree and doing doctoral work in Art History, as well as Fine Art students at Master’s and doctoral level. The College thus offers a welcoming environment for the sort of cross-fertilisation which is the essence of the degree itself.


The Oxford degree provides an excellent foundation for a career in academic art history and teaching; in the museum or gallery world; in the conservation and promotion of heritage; in cultural policy; in publishing, the media or advertising; as well as in the whole range of careers open to all humanities graduates.

Further Information

For more information on the course and applying please see the University Prospectus. Please see the departmental website for further details and answers to frequently asked questions.


A student's perspective

Current Fellows and Lecturers

Dr Jane Garnett (Tutorial Fellow)

Dr Matthew Kempshall (Tutorial Fellow)