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Art history (B.A.) (two subjects)

Programme name: Art history (B.A.) (two subjects)
Degree: Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
Duration: 6 semesters
Starting semester: Only winter semester
Language of the programme: German

Admission to the summer semester 2018:

  • 1st subject semester: start of studies in the winter semester only
  • 2nd to 6th subject semester: open admission (enrolment without previous application)
  • International applicants (non-EU): start of studies in the winter semester only (application to International Student Office)



Description of the courses and degrees offered:
Subject of study
The subject of study in Art History is the historical development of objects in European and Western cultural history from the Early Middle Ages to the present. The objects of art history are divided into various specific categories: architecture, sculpture, painting, graphic arts and applied arts, as well as photography, film and the digitally created images of the new media. Art History examines the function, distribution and perception of images and the cultural processes by which they have acquired their status as works of art. The degree programme conveys various ways of viewing objects, working methods and ways to handle and examine the objects. The sources of art history, art criticism and art theory are also studied, as well as the history of the subject itself and its institutions.
A speciality of the institute in Göttingen is curatorial training with the institute's art collection, ranging from use of the objects in teaching to training students to organise their own exhibitions. The courses offered include regular excursions inside and outside Germany and periods of study abroad at European partner universities. The art history department in Göttingen is a member of interdisciplinary centres, degree programmes and research associations. It also cooperates closely with the disciplines of archaeology, history and cultural sciences at Göttingen University.

Recommended prior knowledge and language requirements
The subject area and related occupational demands require the command of several foreign languages, in order to understand and critically analyse the basic meaning of source texts and secondary literature texts. A sufficient working knowledge of English and of at least one more modern foreign language, as well as a basic knowledge of Latin, are strongly recommended. These language skills should be further developed and expanded during the degree programme as part of the acquisition of key competencies, or by a facultative semester abroad. Since history of art constantly practises the translation of visual impressions into language, the student should in particular also be skilled in oral and written expression in German.

Language requirements (to be acquired during study)
For admission to the Master's thesis, evidence of knowledge in Latin must be submitted, at least equivalent to the intermediate Latin certificate.

Structure of the degree programme
The programme of studies in the B.A. subject Art History conveys to students comprehensive, fundamental knowledge of major works, categories, subject-related terminology, artistic techniques, theories and methods of European art history from post-antiquity to the global present, including elementary knowledge of subject-related occupational fields. Following a methodology- and terminology-oriented introductory phase during the first year, the 2nd to 5th semesters serve to acquire knowledge and skills by way of exemplary learning. In the 5th semester, students can choose between a practical profile and an explicitly scientific profile. The former focuses mainly on practical skills to prepare students for professional work; a mandatory internship of at least three weeks serves to develop the practical skills acquired during study and helps students to make contacts at an early stage. The scientific profile offers students the opportunity to choose more freely than before from the range of courses available and thus define their own thematic and epoch-oriented areas of specialisation. This ensures qualified preparation for a more scientifically oriented Master's degree programme.
In addition, students can expand their foreign language skills and learn new languages in courses offered by the language centre. It is also possible to study for one or two semesters at one of our foreign partner universities, for example in Venice or Barcelona. In planning a period of study abroad, students will receive advice and support from the department.

Art collection
The art collection of Göttingen University is the oldest university art collection in Germany explicitly created as a teaching collection. Its history dates back to the earliest years of Georgia Augusta, which means that this collection is also one of the city's oldest cultural institutions. The art collection is used intensively as an integral part of research and teaching. Already during the B.A. degree programme, art history students are given an opportunity to work directly with the objects and gather important experience of practical museum work in planning and organising exhibitions.

Goal of study
The graduates have mastered the fundamental questions and methodology discussions of the subject from both systematic and historic perspectives, including expert description of objects and their material attributes, analysis of form and content, and placement of such objects in the art historical, political, social and ideological context of a certain period. They are able to describe, analyse and categorise works of different media and categories together with their relevant sources using expert terminology, and also qualified to identify, focus on and deal with scientific questions, and develop new perspectives of research. Moreover, they have mastered the most important subject-related types of text and are able to present results and research questions in writing as well as orally, and contribute such presentations to subject-related discourse. They have also acquired the ability for independent methodological reflection.

Recommended combinations of subjects
Combinations with almost all subjects of the Faculty of Humanities can be recommended. Classical and Christian archaeology as well as prehistory and early history examine cultural aspects from periods dating back to before those analysed by art history, but are still relevant as sources of tradition right up to modern times. Since extensive language skills are required for adequate study of this subject and its representation later on, the choice of a European foreign language as a subsidiary subject may be useful, but with a view to the private sector of art also business administration, law or subjects offered by the Faculty of Social Sciences.

Occupational fields
The occupational fields for art history include employment in museums, in the preservation of monuments or at a university, but also in galleries, the art trade, tourism, the publishing industry, newspapers and magazines, media institutions, insurance companies and all areas of cultural administration. A degree in Art History is intended to qualify graduates for all of these occupational fields and requires on the one hand a wide range of courses, but on the other hand targeted setting of priorities towards the end of the degree programme. To strengthen the competitiveness of our students on the international labour market, the proportion of practice-oriented modules is significantly increased during the academic year preceding graduation. Here we make use of our specific locational advantages in Göttingen: the subject-related orientation of our own teaching staff, the neighbouring disciplines and, as a special asset, the University's own art collection.

The B.A. degree covers the core areas of the subject and enables graduates to study for a Master's degree either in Göttingen or at other German or international universities. The Master's degree programme qualifies graduates in particular for a scientific career at universities or non-university, subject-related research institutions, museums and classical and modern art collections in Germany and abroad and preservation of monuments, and beyond the occupational fields named, it is also a prerequisite for admission to the doctoral degree course programme in Art History.