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


Art History
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) (2 subjects)
Standard period of study:
6 semesters
Only the winter semester
Language of the programme:
open (enrolment without previous application)
Orientation events:
Orientation events are offered

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Studienberatung & Infoangebot


What do images and material artefacts mean, how can their forms and contents be explained and understood historically, what do they do for people, societies and cultures, for their communication and coping with the world from religion to science?

Art history examines these questions for a variety of media and genres (painting, sculpture, architecture, graphics, photography, film and video, arts and crafts and design as well as collection objects). She does this in a historical and systematic perspective, with a focus on post-antique Europe to global modernity, in its relations to other cultural areas (Byzantium, Islam, East Asia, Africa) and other disciplines. In addition, it deals with images and objects beyond their art value and aims to provide orientation and competence in dealing with digital, technical and other images in general.

In Göttingen you can get to know art history in all its historical and thematic breadth and qualify for a variety of professional fields (museum, monument conservation, university, art trade, cultural work, adult education, insurance, journalism, collection and archive work). Special emphasis is placed on the Middle Ages, the 19th century and Modernism, the art of Italy, Germany and the Netherlands, on historical theories of images and art, cross-cultural interconnections, the study of artists' knowledge and artistic work processes (especially using the example of hand drawing) and finally the materiality of our knowledge. Digital art history is also one of the focal points of the institute.

In our training, we place particular emphasis on an object-based and methodologically sound examination of artefacts and on learning curatorial basics in our own historical art collection. This ranges from the cataloguing of the holdings (inventory, digitisation) to the preparation of scientifically sound public exhibitions. The study programme also includes regular excursions at home and abroad as well as stays abroad at European partner universities.

In Göttingen, the Department of Art History is a member of interdisciplinary centres, study programmes and research associations. There is also close cooperation with the archaeological, historical and cultural studies departments of the university.

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.

For admission to the Master's thesis, evidence of knowledge in Latin must be submitted, at least equivalent to the intermediate Latin certificate.

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.

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.

Almost all combinations with subjects of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities make sense. Classical and Christian archaeology and prehistory and early history examine cultural areas from periods that predate those analysed by art history, but are tradition-building for them until the recent present. Since good knowledge of foreign languages is necessary to study the subject appropriately and to be able to represent it later, the choice of a foreign language as a subsidiary subject can be expedient, but in view of the increasing digitalisation of many fields of work in art history, the study of digital humanities or computer science can be equally expedient. For professional activities in the field of art trade, cultural preservation or cultural work, a combination with economics, law or social sciences is also an option.

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.

Related and consecutive/graduate programmes

Consecutive/graduate programmes


In the two-subject Bachelor's programme, two subjects are studied on equal terms.

A total of 180 credits are earned for the Bachelor's degree Bachelor of Arts (B.A.).

The two subjects each account for 66 credits. The area of professionalisation accounts for 36 credits.

The 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.

Regulations and module directory


Winter semester only
1st subject semester:
open admission (enrolment without previous application)
2nd to 6th subject semester:
open admission (enrolment without previous application)

Non-German citizens without a German educational qualification

Citizen from a non-EU country (or stateless person)


Art collection

Examination of paintings





Study and examination advice Faculty of Humanities

Tina Seufer and Eva Wolff

Humboldtallee 17
DE-37073 Göttingen

Phone: +49 (0)551 39 21888 (Seufer)
Phone: +49 (0)551 39 26713 (Wolff)



Academic Advising

Dr. Isabella Augart
Department of Art History

Nikolausberger Weg 15
37073 Göttingen
Room 1.106

Tel.: 0551 / 39-25090

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