Our distinctive curriculum allows you to take advantage of the most up-to-date developments in the field, and combine different approaches to the study of visual media. You study a variety of different films and a number of different genres, periods and national cinemas.
You have the opportunity to develop your interests in the history of the image and in visual communication skills as well as developing your skills of making and analysing film.
In the field of art history you cover a broad history and choose from a variety of specialist options. Engage with art works that range from Old Master paintings, through the Pre-Raphaelites and Surrealists, to the most up-to-date contemporary art and visual culture. Modules explore a wide variety of media, including architecture, urbanism, photography and video, as well as painting, drawing, printmaking, performance art and sculpture. This understanding of visual history allows you to complement and enhance your exploration of different world cinemas as you learn about the history of film, and its formal aesthetics, in a variety of contexts of production and reception.
You can take modules in filmmaking, taught by film professionals with extensive industry experience. Gain hands-on practical training in all aspects of film production, including camera work, editing, and lighting, scriptwriting, and production management. Designed to support you in making links between critical analysis and creative practice, your production modules enable you to develop and apply your academic knowledge and understanding of film, refining and enriching your own practical work. You may produce group films (learning how to work together as a team) as well as personal projects – by graduation you will have built up a fully rounded portfolio of work, enabling you to showcase your creative potential for future employers.
One of the major reasons for choosing Essex is the quality of the education you will receive. We are ranked top 10 in the UK for History of Art (CUG 2018) and ranked 6th among art history departments in the UK for research excellence (REF 2014). You will be taught by our expert staff in your very first year, a rarity in UK art history courses.
We are ranked 3rd in the UK for film studies (Dance, Drama and Cinematics, Complete University Guide 2022).
Your education extends beyond the university campus. We support you in expanding your education through offering the opportunity to spend a year or a term studying abroad at one of our partner universities. The four-year version of our degree allows you to spend the third year abroad or employed on a placement abroad, while otherwise remaining identical to the three-year course.
Studying abroad allows you to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised.
If you spend a full year abroad you’ll only pay 15% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year. You won’t pay any tuition fees to your host university
Our expert staff
We are a dynamic group of art historians who investigate the production and reception of images and built environment, across cultures and media, from the early modern period to the present day.
Our art history staff’s research interests include activist art, modernist art and totalitarianism, the relationship of art and science, the artistic status of body modification, expressions of societal anxiety in art, as well as architecture and urbanism.
The Centre for Film and Screen Media at Essex is part of a unique literary conservatoire that offers talented students the support and confidence to respond both critically and artistically to the study of film. This distinctive environment is possible because we are a community of award-winning film-makers, scholars, and media specialists; our staff over the years have included Oscar winners and BAFTA winners.
We have a distinguished history of combining critical and creative work, and we have long been home to poets, novelists, translators, dramatists and actors, alongside literary critics, drama scholars and film theorists.
- Our Essex Collection of Art from Latin America (ESCALA) is the most comprehensive Latin American art research resource in the UK and has a state-of-the-art teaching and research space. Many of our students gain work and research experience through our collection
- Our onsite gallery Art Exchange runs an ongoing programme of contemporary art exhibitions, talks by curators and artists, and exhibitions organised by our curatorial students
- Enjoy regular visits to London galleries, including Tate Modern, Tate Britain, the National Gallery and the Royal Academy of Arts, as well as many independent and alternative spaces
- View classic films at weekly film screenings in our dedicated 120-seat film theatre, equipped with digital HD projection facilities and surround sound
- Hear writers talk about their craft and learn from leading specialists at weekly research seminars
You graduate from our course with key skills in writing close analysis, critical thinking, contextual research, time management, and hands-on filmmaking. These skills are highly transferable to a range of employers across business sectors.
Our students are well-prepared to enter careers in film production, TV, journalism, publishing and teaching professions, amongst a host of other careers. Our recent graduates have gone on to work in various desirable roles including:
- Celebrity booking for Cactus TV
- Editor for BBC television
- Subtitle writer for Sky TV
- Teachers of English and Media Studies
We also work with the university’s Student Development Team to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.
Why we’re great
- We are distinct – study the social and political implications of art and go beyond its historic institutions.
- Our structured programme of study trips at home and abroad takes you far afield and explores local settings
- Our Essex Collection of Art from Latin America (ESCALA) is the most comprehensive Latin American art research resource in the UK and has a state-of-the-art teaching and research space.