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Art History (Critical & Contextual Studies) AS & A Level at St Brendan's Sixth Form College

Course description

The specification studied is the OCR: Critical and Contextual Studies (Art History). It may be taken alongside Fine Art, Photography, Graphic Communication and/or Textiles.

This is an ideal course for anybody who has a passion for the arts and, specifically, is looking at progressing in to the Creative Arts and Design industry.

This qualification is a highly sought after programme by universities as it allows a student to demonstrate their academic study and writing skills alongside their practical abiliites in their chosen artistic practice.

Course content

The AS is studied in the first year.  It forms 50% of the assessment weighting of the full A-Level.  AS can be taken as a stand-alone specification or as part of the full A-Level course.

The assessment of the AS is divided into two units.

  • Unit One
    Controlled Assignment 10 Hours
    100% of AS Level

This course reflects the modern approach to studying art history that galleries such as Tate Modern and many universities now use. This is an academic course that requires no practical art skills. Students produce a detailed timeline and two 3000 word essays. The timeline ranges from Ancient Greece to Contemporary Visual Culture.

During the second year of study the assessment for the full A level is divided into two units.

  • Unit One Personal Investigation
    60% full A Level
  • Unit Two Controlled Assignment
    40% of full A Level

During the second year, for the Personal Investigation, students research and plan an exhibition based on an area of personal interest.  They then work towards the final exam based on a question set externally.

Entry requirements

A minimum of 5 GCSE’s at Grades A*-C or at point 4-9 (including English Language). Level 2 vocational qualifications (e.g. BTEC/OCR) must be a merit grade or above and will count as 1 GCSE equivalent.


All units will be marked internally by the Creative Arts team and will be moderated by the exam board.

Financial information

The cost of all trips will be the responsibility of the student. Financial assistance is available if required.

A number of visits are made throughout the year to both local and national galleries and exhibitions.

Future opportunities

This qualification provides a sound basis for students who wish to proceed to Higher Education as well as being a useful background to a career within the Art field such as museum work, design, journalism, the media and arts management.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact St Brendan's Sixth Form College directly.

Last updated date: 24 October 2016

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