A Level - History of Art


Course Information

Duration2 Years
Awarding BodyOCR

Art History

What does the course involve?

History of Art (Critical and Contextual Studies) involves the study of art, in its historical and contemporary form, and gives students insight into artists’ ideas and lives and how art relates to the time and place in which they were made and to their social and cultural context. It gives students visual and analytical skills that can be applied in many walks of life, and the tools to understand how images and objects work to shape our social and political identities.

In this course, you will have the opportunity to explore, research and analyse the art techniques and practices, and develop your skills, knowledge and understanding of the world around you through visual and written form.

Studying the History of Art will give students the opportunity to learn how to develop reasoned arguments and draw logical conclusions. Through research and the first-hand experience of seeing works of art in galleries, museums and alternative venues, students will create a portfolio of practical artwork alongside their written analysis. The course covers a wide range of artist’s ideas and lives, developing writing skills and exploring creative ways to record and communicate intentions, ideas, feelings and meanings when interpreting the impact and effect of social, political, religious and cultural contexts and local and global trends.

In taking this subject, students will choose to work in one or more area(s) of study: fine art and sculpture, craft, design, art theory, the human form, landscape and natural forms, still life and designed objects, architecture and the built environment, art movements, styles and genres, curating exhibitions, art management and art in the community, cultural representations within art and design, multi-media, emerging technologies and their use in art.


An A level in the History of Art provides students with excellent preparation for many careers where critical thinking and evidence plays a crucial role in decision making, as well as careers in the creative arts. The course could lead to a career in exhibition or event organisation, arts administration, journalism, picture editing or researching, art gallery management, conservation, antiques, teaching or lecturing.


For further course information please click here

Entry Requirements

At least 6 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4, including GCSE English Language, and meeting the entry criteria of individual subjects (Level 2 vocational qualifications at Merit or Distinction will be treated as equivalent to one GCSE)

Students should have a grade 5 in GCSE English Literature or Language.

Can I take additional qualifications?

A Level History of Art can be taken alongside two other A levels of your choice, to create a varied and exciting timetable of study. The following subjects will complement this A Level: Art, Business Studies, English Literature, Ancient and Modern History.

How will I be assessed?

Assessment will be in form of extended writing accompanied by relevant visual research, a refined collection of research taken from relevant sources, a comparative analysis of different styles, genres subject matter and cultures, and practical techniques appropriate to the area of study. Students will produce a personal investigation portfolio of practical work and a related study. Towards the end of the course students will produce a personal response project from a thematic starting point.

All of your creative, practical and analytical work will be assessed by your tutors and moderated externally. At the end of the second year the externally set practical assignment will demonstrate all that you have learnt and achieved. The course is assessed as 60% Personal Investigation (Year 1 & 2) and 40% Externally Set Assignment (Year 2).

What are the costs?

There are no charges to study on this course. However, you will be asked to contribute to the cost of printing. History of Art resource packs can also be purchased from the online college shop for £10. Students should budget for trips to galleries and museums in order to gain maximum benefit from this course and opportunities available to them.  These will take place once a term and we aim to keep the cost below £15 for each trip.

What is the duration?

This is a two year course.

How do I apply?

Click here to apply