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History of Art AS/A2 Level at Bishop Wordsworth's Grammar School

Course description

This course will develop your interest and enjoyment of the study of History of Art and its role as an exciting and perceptive indicator of time and place. You will be able to investigate, analyse and interpret artworks and architecture, as well as developing critical awareness of the social, cultural, historical and economic contexts.
An enthusiasm for the world of visual communication is essential, along with a willingness to explore the meanings and messages found in works of art, architecture and design, and an interest in the cultures in which they were produced.
Although no previous experience is needed, students should have a genuine interest in the subject supported by independent research including reading and exhibition visits. A high grade in English is essential as students must have strong writing skills in order to investigate and interpret specific works of art and art movements and influences, using appropriate terminology.
The AQA specification assumes no prior knowledge of History of Art and is suitable for a diverse range of candidates wishing to develop their interest and enjoyment in a study of art history.

Course content

Through a series of lessons, you will progress through two modules each year, covering a range of periods in Art from Classical Greece and Rome to the 20th Century. The content of the course is taught through lectures, individual and group presentations, reading, research and essay writing.
Work will be required to be completed on a weekly basis, as well as extensive research projects. We organise regular visits to galleries in London and locally, as well as a foreign study trip in February each year.

Entry requirements

No additional academic requirements. Both History and Art are useful background subjects to have at GCSE but are by no means essential.


At AS there are two written exam papers (1 hour and 90 minutes) on Visual Analysis (40%) and Themes in the History of Art (60%)
At A2 there are a further two written papers (both of 90 minutes) on Art and Architecture in the Nineteenth Century (50%) and Art and Architecture 1900-1945 (50%).
 There is no coursework. The AS and A2 marks are averaged to give the final A level grade.

Future opportunities

Art History AS/A Level can be taken for its own sake, to form the basis of a future interest or as one of a variety of other subjects. There are a range of very prestigious universities that offer Art History at degree level, and it is well respected by higher education establishments.
A History of Art qualification will provide excellent training for visual, verbal and written communication courses and careers. The subject provides a strong basis for progression to History or Art related qualifications. Many of our previous students have gone on to study Art History at University, gaining places to study at Oxbridge and the Courtauld Institute in London.
Others have found it a good basis for the study of Architecture and Design at university. It could also lead to careers in the Arts industry, for example in museums and art galleries, art and antique businesses, publishing, arts administration, journalism, teaching and related fields.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Bishop Wordsworth's Grammar School directly.

Last updated date: 08 June 2015
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Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Duration: 1 - 2 Years