History of Art and Architecture

B.A. Honours Bachelor Degree (NFQ Level 8)
4 Years Full-Time
13 Places
CAO Points 467 (2023)
CAO Code TR043


What is Art History?

History of Art and Architecture is about the study of images, objects and buildings. It is unique in developing high levels of visual literacy applicable to a range of career pathways. It explores why works of art look the way they do and seeks to discover what they say about the societies that created them. It develops skills in visual analysis, critical assessment, and communication.

Do you enjoy…

  • Looking at and thinking about paintings, sculpture, and architecture?
  • Exploring the many historical and contemporary meanings to be found in works of art?
  • Putting into words what you think about the richness and complexity of visual culture?

History of Art and Architecture: The course for you?

History of Art and Architecture will appeal to those interested in museums, galleries, architectural heritage, and visual culture. It provides students with essential knowledge and skills for documenting and analysing works of art and architecture. It hones an ability to describe and critically analyse images, builds a rich visual memory, and develops skills in research and its presentation. Students do not need any previous knowledge of art history or any practical skill in art to take this course.

    History of Art and Architecture at Trinity

    Trinity boasts a wide range of expertise in art and architecture from the medieval to contemporary periods. Direct experience of objects, artworks, and buildings is fundamental to the discipline and Dublin’s impressive collections of paintings and sculpture, together with its rich architectural heritage provides an ideal basis for study. The proximity of Trinity to the city’s many museums and galleries renders site visits a central and distinctive feature of the undergraduate programme, and particular emphasis is placed on student engagement with the national collections. The Douglas Hyde Gallery, one of Ireland’s leading contemporary art galleries, is situated at Trinity. The Trinity campus is famous for having some of Ireland’s most outstanding buildings, from the eighteenth century up to the present. The university also has a major collection of manuscripts, paintings and sculpture, and a student committee assists the curator in managing this collection.


    The pathways available are Single Honours, Major with Minor and Joint Honours. There may also be an opportunity to take this subject up as a New Minor Subject from second year, you can learn more at: www.tcd.ie/courses/undergraduate/your-trinity-pathways

    Graduate skills and career opportunities

    In recent years graduates have been employed as lecturers, curators, editors, and writers in universities, galleries, museums, publishing houses and art salesrooms in Ireland and abroad. These include the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Dulwich Picture Gallery, the Universities of Princeton, Oxford, Cambridge, and Saint Andrews, the National Gallery of Ireland, the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the Irish Architectural Archive, and University College Dublin. Graduates have also worked in a broad range of administrative, commercial, and media-based employment and have commented on the usefulness of visual literacy in the field of marketing public relations, and journalism. 

    Your degree and what you’ll study

    This course teaches you how to analyse works of art and architecture and how to understand and explain their historical significance. You will take a broad range of modules covering the history of painting, sculpture, and architecture from antiquity to modern times. Topics available include early medieval art and architecture, Islamic and Japanese art, the art of the Italian Renaissance, the art of nineteenth-century France, the artistic and architectural achievements of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries and the architecture of the Spanish Empire.

    First and second years

    In first year, students take modules that provide an introduction to various aspects of art and architecture, and to the practice of art history. These examine the critical analysis of artworks and structures in various mediums, the importance of iconography, and the different technical methods used by artists and architects from ancient Greece to the present day. In the first year the concentration is principally on Western art, in second year students deepen their theoretical understanding, with modules on the methodologies of art history and the display of art.

    In first year, Single Honours students also take modules exploring individual works of art, and look at how past scholarship and interpretation of art and architecture impacts on our understanding and approaches to art and architecture today. This is further developed in the second year when students may also participate in a work placements and study trips for credit and take more focused modules in areas such as cultural intersections in art history, the arts of Japan and Irish art.

    Third and fourth years

    In third and fourth years students have the opportunity to specialise in areas that are particular interest to them. In third year they can choose from a range of options that may include:

    • Antiquity and Innovation in Early Medieval Art.
    • Painting and Sculpture in the Italian Renaissance.
    • Architecture in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
    • The Age of Rembrandt and Vermeer.
    • Art in France 1850-1900.
    • Global post-modern and contemporary art.

    These courses comprise a mixture of lectures and small group seminars.

    In their final year students select up to two topics dealing with the art-historical issues at a more specialised level. Where possible, these include the opportunity to study primary sources and particular emphasis is placed on personal observation and interpretation of original works of art and architecture.

    Examples of special subject topics include: Art and Architecture in Late Medieval Ireland; Architecture beyond the Canon,; Early Modern Portraiture; Gender, Art and Identity; Painting in Ireland and Britain c1800-1900; and Art, Design and Nature 1930's to the present.

    Assessment is by coursework, examinations and a Capstone research project.

    There are QQI/FET routes available for this course. Please see www.cao.ie for details.

    Click here for further information on modules/subject.

    Study abroad

    Students studying History of Art and Architecture may apply to spend a year abroad, using the exchange networks of the School of Histories and Humanities. These include Erasmus programme links with universities in Berlin, Istanbul, Madrid, Paris and Pisa. In addition, the programme facilitates exchanges with non-European institutions in Australia, Canada, China, Singapore and the USA. For more information on study abroad destinations and requirements visit: www.tcd.ie/study/study-abroad 

    Trinity College Dublin and Columbia University Dual B.A. Programme

    History of Art and Architecture is also available within the Dual B.A. Programme between Trinity College Dublin and Columbia University. Please note: The Dual B.A. is only open to Single Honours students. Joint Honours students cannot apply to the Dual B.A.. For more details, see https://tcd.gs.columbia.edu/

    Applicants to the Dual BA Programme must apply by 2nd January 2024 for September 2024 entry. The admissions process includes a review of the applicant’s academic history, letters of recommendation, an essay, and an interview conducted in English. Standardized test scores (SAT/ACT) can be submitted but are not required for 2024 entry. Applications are reviewed by a joint committee with representatives from both Institutions. EU applicants to the Dual BA Programme must also apply to and receive an offer from their chosen programme at Trinity through the Central Applications Office (CAO)

    Study History of Art and Architecture at Trinity College Dublin

    This presentation by Dr Rachel Moss gives an outline of why we study the History of Art and Architecture.

    Course Details


    B.A. Honours Bachelor Degree (NFQ Level 8)

    CAO Information

    CAO Points 467 (2023) CAO Code TR043

    Number of Places

    13 Places
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    Course Options

    Related courses:

    TR028 Ancient and Medieval History and Culture

    Course Fees

    Click here for a full list of undergraduate fees.


    To apply to this course, click on the relevant Apply Link below

    EU Applicants

    Read the information about how to apply, then apply directly to CAO.

      Non-EU Applicants

      Advanced Entry Applications

      Read the information about how to apply for Advanced Entry, then select the link below to apply.

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