School of Art History, Classics and Religious Studies

Art History

Please note: Information on this page relates to the 2016 academic year unless otherwise specified.

This subject is taught by the School of Art History, Classics and Religious Studies.


From the rock paintings of aboriginal Australia to the work of contemporary artists using digital media—art history encourages you to think critically about art in all its forms. Art History at Victoria is a broad-based and comprehensive introduction to the history of visual art. You will not only learn about artists and art works, but also understand them as products of particular social and cultural situations.

An Art History major within the Bachelor of Arts (BA) starts with first-year courses giving a broad history of art as it unfolds in Europe, Asia, the Americas, and the Pacific. In second- and third-year courses you will study a range of art movements, from Renaissance and Baroque to Modernism and Postmodernism, and explore thematic approaches to the art of particular places and periods.

Victoria's Art History Programme teaches you to think critically, research independently, and write effectively. You will experience first hand the power of art, and realise its importance for humans as a way of giving meaning to their world.

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Undergraduate information

Art History major requirements

  1. 40 points from ARTH 100-199
  2. 40 points from ARTH 200-299
  3. 40 points from ARTH 300-399
  4. 20 further points from ARTH 200-399 or approved substitute

Postgraduate information

Postgraduate qualifications in Art History

For information specific to Art History, please see our Postgraduate Study page. For information about the postgraduate qualifications, please click on the Faculty links below.

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How to find out more

Want to find out more about studying at Victoria? Register now to find out more about your study options and keep updated on application and enrolment information, open days and events.

If you need help deciding what degree might be right for you, or what courses to take, talk with a liaison officer or book a course planning session with us, call 0800 VICTORIA (842 867) or email

If you’re a returning or transferring student, contact the Faculty Student and Academic Services Office, for help with degree planning and for information on admission requirements and transfer credit from other institutions.

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Related subjects and careers

Related SubjectsCareers

Classical Studies
Cultural Anthropology
English LiteratureFilm
Māori Studies
Media Studies
Pacific Studies
Religious Studies

Art critic/writer
Art education
Art historian
Film industry
Gallery owner

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List of courses

Art History courses are taught within the School of Art History, Classics and Religious Studies. The Art History Office is located in Old Kirk 306, Old Kirk Building, Kelburn campus.

For a complete course listing, see the list of all Art History courses.

100 Level Courses

ARTH 113 – Thinking through Art

ARTH 114 – Art and Encounter

200 Level Courses

ARTH 212 – History of Photography

ARTH 213 – Art in Aotearoa New Zealand

ARTH 214 – Art in the Pacific

ARTH 216 – Byzantine and Medieval Art

ARTH 217 – The Renaissance

ARTH 218 – The Baroque

ARTH 219 – Modernism and Modernity

ARTH 222 – Neoclassicism to Impressionism

ARTH 226 – Special Topic: Art and Place

300 Level Courses

ARTH 310 – Topics in Colonial Art

ARTH 311 – Topics in Contemporary New Zealand Art

ARTH 313 – Topics in Renaissance Art

ARTH 315 – Topics in 18th-Century Art

ARTH 316 – Topics in 19th-Century Art

ARTH 317 – Topics in 20th-Century Art

ARTH 319 – Topics in the History of Photography

ARTH 335 – Special Topic

ARTH 336 – Topics in Pacific Art

400 Level Courses

ARTH 401 – Art History Methodology

ARTH 402 – Theory and Context in Art History

ARTH 403 – Collections-based Topic

ARTH 405 – Special Topic: Surrealism and Oceania

ARTH 406 – The Cultures of Collecting

ARTH 407 – Reading Artists Writing

ARTH 408 – 18th Century French Art

ARTH 411 – Topics in Contemporary New Zealand Art

ARTH 489 – Research Project