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Home > Courses > Courses for 2017 > Undergraduate > History of Art and Visual Culture and Italian
More in this section Modern Languages, Literatures & Cultures

History of Art and Visual Culture and Italian BA

For 2018 entry this course will be replaced by BA Modern Languages and History of Art and Visual Culture.

UCAS code RW36
Year of entry 2017
Course Length
4 years full time
Department Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures »

This course offers you the opportunity to combine study of Italian equally with History of Art and Visual Culture, and to spend your third year abroad in Italy.

If you have a passion for the visual arts, History of Art and Visual Culture will give you the skills to read, interpret and analyse images and artefacts across cultures. You will benefit from the research expertise of staff in the School of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures, engaging in the key phases in the development of the history of art and visual culture of Europe and Latin America, equipping you with the skills You can take courses on key historical skills and take options that combine the study of art history with that of photography, film and other media, ranging from medieval times to contemporary visual culture.

  • Make use of Royal Holloway’s exceptional collection of Victorian Art housed in the Founder’s Picture Gallery
  • Choose options in Visual Culture from across the School of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures

As a student of Italian, you will not only learn to speak and write fluently, you will also develop excellent communication and research skills and combine language proficiency with cross-cultural perspectives. 

You will be able to tailor your study of Italian to suit your specific areas of interest, gaining a greater understanding of Italian visual and musical arts, fashion and design, philosophy, literature, politics and history including topics such as Dante or Renaissance art.

You will also have the exciting opportunity to spend a year working, teaching or studying in Italy at a partner university, teaching placement at an Italian school or work placement in business or industry.

  • Whether you are a beginner or advanced student when you start, by the time you graduate you will be fluent in Italian: confident in reading, understanding and analysing text and able to write with ease and accuracy.
  • Our research staff are engaged in research at the highest level internationally; we are in the top 10 of UK Modern Language departments for research quality and the top in London (Research Assessment Exercise 2014).

Core modules

Year 1

The core modules in the History of Art and Visual Culture are:

International Film 1 - Contexts and Practices

This module will introduce you to some key tenets of film theory and apply them to a selection of important pre- and post-war European and international films. It will familiarise you with the analysis of aspects of film style, genre and national and international contexts. The set films on the module will include canonical works from a century of cinema history, by filmmakers such as Joseph von Sternberg, Alfred Hitchcock and Pedro Almodovar, and significant examples of technique and style.

Visual Arts 1 - Artists and their Materials

This module will introduce you to a number of different media encountered in the study of visual culture. By understanding the technical characteristics of a range of art works you will be able to assess the expressive and stylistic possibilities of offered by different media. You will study a rich variety of visual cultures in Europe and Latin America from the Middle Ages to the present day.

The Birth of Film

This module will introduce you to the early phase of film history between 1895 and the early 1930s, from the invention of motion pictures to the establishment of sound cinema. You will look at a cross-section of American and European films made during this phase, when film-making was largely national but the absence of the spoken word gave film a truly cosmopolitan dimension, with directors, actors and technical personnel moving freely across national boundaries. You will learn about the development of film as art (with its links to the Avant-garde) and also examine cinema as an entertainment industry in which genre (horror and crime films) helped to drive innovation.

Italian: Intensive Italian for Beginners

This is your core Italian language module (beginners’ pathway). It comprises a written and an oral component. There are five hours of seminars per week in which a communicative approach is adopted and the teaching is carried out in Italian whenever possible. Grammar is taught in context in accordance with your specific needs as they arise. In the oral component, you will learn to speak about set topics related to everyday matters by completing set activities including listening comprehension and role play.

Italian: Advanced Italian Language 1

This is your core Italian language module in which you will develop your skills in writing, speaking and comprehending the Italian language. There are three hours of seminars per week as well as a grammar lecture taught fortnightly. The lessons are taught using a communicative approach and are conducted in Italian. In all parts of the module there will be a focus on learning in a cultural context, and in addition to formal grammar teaching you will develop your language skills by reading and analysing a variety of texts, articles, films, and recordings. Learning activities will include listening comprehension exercises and role play.

Year 2

The core modules in the History of Art and Visual Culture are:

International Film 2 - Readings and Representations

The module is divided into two parts, the first exploring crucial issues of filmmaking, film studies and the ‘transnational’ from the perspective of largely contemporary Latin American cinema, the second focusing on a range of European films from the 1970s to the present. The introductory two weeks of the module will introduce you to these concerns; the final two weeks of the module will bring both parts together and establish some conclusions, ask fundamental questions such as what constitutes a ‘European’, ‘Latin American’ or ‘transnational’ film.

History of Art and Visual Culture: Visual Arts 2 - Genres and Movements

What characterises genres such as Landscape Art, Portraiture, History Painting, Religious Art, Satire and Caricature, or Abstraction? In this module, by studying a selection of particular movements (‘Portraying rulers in Renaissance Italy’, for example', ‘Representing the City - Impressionism and beyond’, ‘Abstractionism’, or ‘Medievalism and the Pre-Raphaelites’), you will explore key phases in the development of the visual culture of Europe and Latin America and analyse the artists’ principal stylistic and theoretical concerns, their interaction and development, and their significance within a variety of cultural contexts.

Italian: Advanced Italian 2 for Post Beginners 

This is your core Italian language module (beginners’ pathway). It comprises a written and an oral component. There are five hours of seminars per week in which a communicative approach is adopted and the teaching is carried out in Italian whenever possible. You will continue to develop your Italian language skills through reading comprehension, commentary writing as well as translation from English into Italian. You will also analyse articles from Italian newspapers and podcasts related to social, cultural and political issues in contemporary Italy, and take part in informal debates during which you will practise expressing your opinions in Italian.

Italian: Advanced Italian 2

This is your core Italian language module in which you will continue to develop your skills in writing, speaking and comprehending the Italian language. There are three hours of seminars per week as well as a grammar lecture taught fortnightly. The lessons are taught using a communicative approach and are conducted in Italian. You will practise reading comprehension, commentary writing and translation from English into Italian, and will again analyse articles from Italian newspapers and podcasts related to social, cultural and political issues in contemporary Italy. You will also continue to work intensively on key aspects of grammar.

Year 3

The third year of this degree programme will be spent abroad, either studying or working or both. It is usually expected that students will spend at least 9 months overseas, in countries where the native langauges match the languages the student is studying. Students studying two langauges will be expected to divide their time between two relevant countries, i.e. one for each langauge. The School of Modern Languages, Literatures & Cultures will support students in finding a suitable study or work placement, but students are also expected to explore opportunities independently and the ultimate responsibility for securing such a placement lies with the student. Alternatively students may choose to enrol for courses at a partner university in the relevant country. This year forms an integral part of the degree programme; students on placement will be asked to complete assessed work which will be credited towards their degree, while in the case of those studying at a university, marks obtained for courses taken will be credited towards their degree. The same applies to the assessment of spoken language on return to Royal Holloway from the period of residence abroad.

Year 4

The core modules in the History of Art and Visual Culture are:

Transnationalism, Diaspora and Globalization in Contemporary Film

In this module you will explore cinematic representations of transnational encounters between people, cultures and institutions connected by the forces of globalization. The topics covered range from (anti-)colonialism and revolution to postcolonialism and migration. Attention is also paid to the ways in which the films deal with the themes of emancipation, hybridity, displacement, globalism and cosmopolitanism.

Dissertation

This module enables you to write a dissertation of 5,000 words on a suitable Visual Arts topic of your choice, for which appropriate supervision is available within the School of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures. The topic may be related to a subject on which you have been taught but you should avoid significant overlap with previously studied material; it may equally be related to a fourth-year optional module that you take.

Italian: Advanced Italian 3

This is your core Italian language module in which you will continue to develop your skills in writing, speaking and comprehending the Italian language. There are three hours of seminars per week as well as a grammar lecture taught fortnightly. The lessons are taught using a communicative approach and are conducted in Italian. In this module you will practise translation from English into Italian/Italian into English, focusing on a variety of texts types including journalism, fiction and history, as well as learning about theoretical aspects of translation. You will also continue to work intensively on key aspects of grammar.

Optional modules

In addition to these mandatory course units there are a number of optional course units available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course units that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new units may be offered or existing units may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.

Year 1

Italian: The Heritage of Dante and the Renaissance

Italian: Building the Italian Nation - Heroes and anti-Heroes from Pinocchio to the Leopard

Year 2

Italian: Dante's Comedy - Themes And Ideas

Italian: Postwar Italian Cinema

Italian: Art and Literature in Renaissance Florence

Italian: Italian Crime Fiction

Italian: Boccaccio - Decameron

Year 4

Italian: Dante - Divine Comedy 2

Italian: Of Women, Knights, Weapons and Loves - the Italian Chivalric Tradition

Italian: Shooting History - Dictatorship, Terror and Crime in Italian Film

Italian: Approved Topic

Italian: Italian Fashion and Design

Italian: The Postmodern In Italian Literature - Pioneers, Practitioners and Critics

Italian: From Aestheticism to the Avant-Garde

The course has a modular structure. Some course units are compulsory while others are elective thereby offering flexibility and choice. 

Our teaching combines a majority of seminars and small group work as well as role play and conversational activities, with some lectures. Private study and preparation are essential parts of every course, and you will have access to many online resources such as Powerpoint slideshows, copies of selected primary and secondary texts, audiovisual materials, class and seminar preparation aids, links to relevant external sites, quizzes and grammar and essay writing guidance, and the University’s comprehensive e-learning facility, Moodle. When you start with us, you are assigned a Personal Tutor to support you academically and personally and who holds regular surgery hours at least twice weekly.

Assessment is by a mixture of coursework and end-of-year examination in varying proportions, depending on the course units you take. Coursework includes essays, language exercises, translations and reports. Oral presentations and computer-based tests are used in some course units to assess grammar and comprehension skills. You can, to some extent, choose course units which suit your own assessment preferences. The first year is foundational and marks do not count towards your final degree. The second year, year abroad and final year marks do count, with more importance being given to the final year marks in order to reward progress and achievement. 

You will take a study skills course during your first year, designed to equip you with and enhance the writing skills you will need to be successful in your degree. This course does not count towards your final degree award but you are required to pass it to progress to your second year.

Typical offers

Typical offers
A-levels

ABB-BBB 

The offer given will take into consideration

  • subjects taken at A level
  • the educational context in which academic achievements have been gained
  • whether the Extended Project Qualification is being taken.
Required/preferred subjects Required: One A Level Grade B in an essay based subject If Italian is taken grade B is required as well as five GCSEs graded A* - C including English and Maths
Other UK Qualifications
International Baccalaureate 6,5,5 at Higher Level including grade 5 in an essay based subject or Italian if taken to Higher Level with 32 points overall.
BTEC Extended Diploma Distinction, Distinction, Distinction in a relevant subject 
BTEC National Extended Diploma Distinction, Distinction in a relevant subject plus A Level Grade B in an essay based subject or Italian if taken.
BTEC National Extended Certificate Distinction plus two A Levels Grades B,B including B in an essay based subject. If Italian is taken grade B is required.
Welsh Baccalaureate Requirements are as for A Levels where one non subject specified A Level can be replaced by the same grade in the Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate
Scottish Advanced Highers AB including B in Italian if taken plus Higher Level requirements.
Scottish Highers AABBB plus Advanced Higher requirements.
Irish Leaving Certificate AABBB at Higher Level including B in Italian if taken at Higher Level.
Access to Higher Education Diploma  Pass with at least 30 level 3 credits at Distinction and 15 level 3 credits at Merit in a relevant subject area. Please note that the Access to Higher Education Diploma will only be acceptable if the applicant has had a considerable break from education.

Other UK qualifications

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International and EU entry requirements

Please select your country from the drop-down list below

English language
requirements
IELTS 6.5 overall with 7.0 in writing and a minimum of 5.5 in each remaining subscore.

For more information about entry requirements for your country please visit our International pages. For international students who do not meet the direct entry requirements, we offer an International Foundation Year, run by Study Group at the Royal Holloway International Study Centre. Upon successful completion, students can progress on to selected undergraduate degree programmes at Royal Holloway, University of London.

On completion of your History of Art and Visual Culture and Italian degree at Royal Holloway you will be equipped to operate successfully in a fast-changing and increasingly globalised and multi-cultural environment. You will have excellent communication, analytical and research skills combined with the proven ability to communicate fluently in Italian - all of which will appeal to future employers. Having spent a year abroad you will also have developed the kind of sensitivity to different cultures that is highly prized in the workplace. This experience and the skills gained will make you highly employable  and ready to pursue your chosen career.

  • On graduation you will be ready to pursue a career in a wide range of areas including publishing, marketing, the media, arts administration, fashion, international management, the civil service, accountancy or teaching.  
  • Others have pursued careers in a range of language-related fields, such as: international management, consultancy, sales and marketing, media and publishing, banking, the arts, politics, the Civil Service, teaching, travel and tourism, translating and interpreting.
  • Alternatively you may choose to continue your studies by means of a postgraduate degree.

Home and EU students tuition fee per year 2017/18*: £9,250

International students tuition fee per year 2017/18**: £14,000

Other essential costs***: The cost of your year abroad will vary by country. Typical living costs to consider will be accommodation, food and household items, entertainment, travel, books and bills (including your mobile phone). You'll also need to budget for travel to and from your country of study. Additional costs compared to studying in the UK will also depend on personal choices and it is important to research the cost of living before the year commences.

How do I pay for it? Find out more.

*Tuition fees for UK and EU nationals starting a degree in the academic year 2017/18 will be £9,250 for that year. This amount is subject to the UK Parliament approving a change to fee and loan regulations that has been proposed by the UK Government. In the future, should the proposed changes to fee and loan regulations allow it, Royal Holloway reserves the right to increase tuition fees for UK and EU nationals annually. If relevant UK legislation continues to permit it, Royal Holloway will maintain parity between the tuition fees charged to UK and EU students for the duration of their degree studies.

**Royal Holloway reserves the right to increase tuition fees for international fee paying students annually. Tuition fees are unlikely to rise more than 5 per cent each year. For further information on tuition fees please see Royal Holloway’s Terms & Conditions.

***These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree programme at Royal Holloway. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing etc., have not been included.

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