History of Art

White tulip; detail from ‘Flowers and Fruit’ (1732) by Jan van Os. ©The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

History of Art at Cambridge

Cambridge is one of the best places in the world to study the History of Art. The city and University are home to fantastic collections of the finest art and architecture from the Middle Ages to the twenty-first century. Cambridge has a host of museums, some of the country’s greatest libraries, and internationally renowned and dedicated academic staff to guide your studies.

Full details are provided on the Department of History of Art website, and summarised in the University Undergraduate Prospectus.

History of Art at Churchill

If you regularly visit art exhibitions and galleries, if you look critically at buildings, or if you make art yourself and wonder why and how other artists have made it, then Art History may well be the most stimulating subject for you at Churchill. For those interested in the modern period, Churchill has the edge on other Cambridge colleges for its modern architecture and its important collections of modern sculptures, painting, prints, and stained glass. It is also close to Kettle's Yard, the University's modern gallery, and to the New Hall art collection of modern women's art at Murray Edwards College. The Fitzwilliam Museum includes over half a million artworks dating back to 2500BC in its collection and is a valuable resource for History of Art students in Cambridge.

Teaching draws substantially on the outstanding collections of art and architecture in museums and Colleges, and is directed particularly at developing a critical eye and a sense of visual history. The University also has several student art societies, and a life-class is held weekly in the Faculty of Architecture and History of Art.

Weekly supervisions will give you the unique opportunity to put forward your point of view, and to receive feedback on your work from a specialist. Seminars are particularly important in providing encounters with works of art throughout Cambridge's museums and colleges.

Find out more about the College's art collection and exhibitions:

Churchill's art collection


No particular subjects at A Level / IB Higher Level are required for the Cambridge History of Art course, but your subjects should be primarily academic. Subjects like History, English, Modern Languages, History of Art, Religious Studies and Classics are ideal. Mathematics and experimental sciences are acceptable, if they are accompanied by one or two arts subjects. Art does not necessarily confer an advantage.

Subject pre-requisites

Essential Highly desirable/useful
No specific subjects A Level / IB Higher Level in one or more of English, a foreign language (ancient or modern), History, History of Art (or equivalent), and Religious Studies is useful

For details about potential A Level and IB offer conditions in your target degree, see our Typical Offers webpage and select your course from the University's Course Listing homepage then check out the "Subject Requirements and Typical Offers" link in the Entry Requirements tab.

For other qualifications, see our Typical Offers page.

Admissions assessment

Cambridge University uses a system of common format admissions assessments, specifically tailored to each subject. These give us valuable additional evidence of your academic ability, knowledge base, and potential to succeed at Cambridge. For more information about the admissions assessment in this subject, click on:

Admissions assessment

Written work

We will ask you to submit two examples of teacher-marked written work on any subject (though English, History, and History of Art are preferred).


If called, you will normally have two interviews, one of which may be at another college. We are looking for students with general intellectual interests: intelligence, motivation and visual sensitivity are essential.


For more information and for all admissions enquiries, please contact the Admissions Office.

Admissions Office


Image: White tulip; detail from ‘Flowers and Fruit’ (1732) by Jan van Os. ©The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

Fellows in Art History

Barry Phipps

Teaching Fellow

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