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Art and visual expression from the statues of antiquity to modern commercials.

About the programme
Quota 1 2018: 8.5 (Standby: 7.8)   |   Quota 2 2018: 7.2 (Standby: 6.4) (Indicative)  
: Danish and English  | Place of study: Aarhus  |  Commencement: Week 35


This programme is only offered in Danish.

We live in a culture where visuality plays an ever-increasing role. Our physical and virtual surroundings are saturated with visual signals, and we consume and share endless numbers of images on the internet. Art history will suit you well, if you wish to learn to decode visual phenomena and understand how the gaze has been staged in works of art and visual culture through the ages. On the art history degree programme we combine the urge to look with critical analysis in order to understand the art of the past in the light of the present – and vice versa.

From Late Gothic to selfies

On this programme you will be taught by some of the best researchers and theorists in Denmark, who will introduce you to the latest research in art and visual culture. The historical and contemporary topics include: painting, graphics, architecture, design, sculpture, street art, performance, bioart, digital art, photography, video, commercials, and the visual culture of social media. We approach art and visual culture through a broad range of theoretical perspectives, for instance: picture analysis, cultural history, the history of ideas, the history of religion, aesthetics, gender theory, neuroaesthetics, and the philosophy of media and technology. Furthermore, we reflect upon how art is staged and communicated in art museums and other cultural institutions.

Studying on the art history programme

On the art history programme you will be introduced to further studies through lectures, working in study groups, classroom instructions, and field trips to exhibitions and museums. The programme aims to develop your analytical skills on the basis of a broad knowledge of art and visual culture. On the Bachelor’s degree programme your theoretical insights will be supplemented with workshop classes, where you will be taught artistic techniques by artists and designers.

Career opportunities

With a Bachelor’s degree in art history, you will be qualified for admission to a variety of Master’s degree programmes. For example the Master’s programme in art history, which will prepare you for a wide range of jobs, such as a curator at art museums and galleries or a valuer at auction houses in Denmark and abroad; as a teacher of art history or visual arts; or as a researcher in the field of art and visual culture. Your skills in understanding and applying images and your linguistic skills also lead to job opportunities in the field of communication. Art historians are also employed as cultural consultants, project managers, foundation consultants and arts journalists. 

Admission requirements

Admission area number: 22300

To be eligible for admission to this degree programme, you must fulfil the following requirements:

qualifying examination as well as the following specific admission requirements (A, B and C refers to the subject level in the Danish upper secondary school with A being the highest level possible):

  • Danish A
  • English B
  • History B or History of Ideas B or Contemporary History B
  • An additional language at A level (or B level in case of an advanced language).


If there are any subjects you have not completed at the required level, you can take them as supplementary courses or as a summer supplementary course (conditional Admission).

The admission requirements must be met and documented by 5 July in the year of application unless you apply for conditional admission.

Quota 2

Like quota 1 applicants, quota 2 applicants must have passed a qualifying examination, and they must also fulfil the specific admission requirements above.

Quota 2 applicants are individually evaluated on the basis of: 

  1. a grade average calculated on the basis of the particularly relevant subjects (Quota 2 subjects), listed below
  2. other particularly relevant documented qualifications.          

Read more about Aarhus University's quota 2 criteria.

Quota 2 subjects:

  • Danish A
  • English B
  • History B or History of Ideas B or Contemporary History B
  • An additional language at A level (or B level in case of an advanced language).

Programme structure

The courses on the art history programme focus on two central areas. First and foremost, you learn how to analyse visual forms of expression. This includes the classical arts of painting, sculpture and architecture, as well as newer art forms such as video, photography and design. You gain a deep understanding of the different periods in art history, such as the Baroque and Romanticism. In addition, you also learn about the institutional dimension of art and on how institutions use and present art in different contexts.

Academic regulations

In the academic regulations, you can read more about the content of the individual course, the structure of the degree programme and the demands the programme places on you as a student. You can also read about the types of exams and the exam requirements.

In the diagram below, you can see how the programme is structured. You can click on the various courses to read the individual course descriptions.


Student life

Academic life on the art history programme

The courses on the art history programme are a mixture of theory and practice. You will participate in large lectures for your entire year group, dialogue-based seminars in smaller classes and hands-on studio work. You will also be assigned to a study group, where you will discuss your subject and prepare presentations together. 

Here is an example of a typical week in the first semester of the BA programme in art history. As you can see, you spend a lot of your time preparing for lectures and classroom lessons. This is why art history is a full-time degree programme, even though you don’t necessarily have scheduled classes every day. This means that you will also learn how to plan your time wisely during your studies. 

8:00-17:00 Independent study

8:00 - 10:00 Lecture: Period Studies I
10:00-16:00 Independent study

8:00-10:00 Study group
10:00 - 13:00 Classroom instruction: Period Studies I
13:00 - 16:00 Practical Visual Culture I

9:00 - 16:00 Classroom instruction: Visual Culture I

8:00 - 10:00 Seminar: Period Studies I
10:00-14:00 Independent study
14:00 - 16:00 Friday bar

Social life on the art history programme

As a student on the art history programme, you will spend much of your time at Kasernen, a former barracks that was recently restored. Here, you’ll rub shoulders with students from related degree programmes, including comparative literature, dramaturgy, musicology and rhetoric. There are a lot of social events for all of the degree programmes at Kasernen, which creates a unique interdisciplinary environment with a wide variety of associations and clubs for you to participate in: 

The Kasernen student magazine is called Vizir, and it’s a forum for student from all of the degree programmes at Kasernen. Anything goes, and the magazine contains everything from poems and short stories to articles and essays. 

Students and teachers at art history edit a national journal for art historians called Passepartout.  

Fællesæstetisk Fredagsbar
The aesthetics degree programmes at Kasernen have a joint Friday bar where you can enjoy a cold beer or mineral water, live music and the company of your fellow students every Friday. 

Fællesæstetisk Festudvalg (Fæstetik) is a social committee that organises parties for the aesthetics degree programmes. 

Follow the Department of Art History on Instagram for engaging discussions, amusing art challenges and much more. Be inspired by your teachers outside the classroom.    

Studying abroad

Doing a semester abroad is an excellent idea for students on the art history degree programme. This gives you a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the history of the art of a particular country, visit new exhibitions and improve your language skills. During the last year of your BA programme, you can take advantage of one of the many exchange agreements between Aarhus University and partner universities all over the world. Get inspiration, guidance and travel lust here.

Commencement of studies

Your time at Aarhus University will begin with an introductory week in week 35 (the last week of August). During this week, you will get an introduction to IT systems, exam forms and degree programme structure and opportunities as well as meeting your teachers. You can read more about your commencement of studies and the introductory week here. On this page, you will also find tips and good advice for new students at Aarhus University.

Follow the student life at Aarhus University

-experienced, photographed and filmed by the students themselves.

With thousands of pictures #yourniversity gives insight into the everyday life as a student at AU; the parties, procrastination, exams and all the other ways you’ll spend your time at university.


The photos belong to the users, shared with #Yourniversity, #AarhusUni and course-specific AU-hashtags.


Job functions for MA/MSc grads

The diagram shows the kinds of jobs and job functions available to graduates of the corresponding MA/MSc programme, based on the 2016 AU employment survey.

As an art history graduate, your career options depend a lot on what you’ve chosen to focus on during your studies, along with your choice of supplementary subject and Master’s degree programme. 

The BA programme in art history teaches you to analyse and understand the various forms of visual expression in the appropriate context, and you learn how visual expression is used to communicate. You also gain insight into cultural policy and how cultural institutions function. 

Many graduates of the art history programme work as in communications or administration. Careers in the art world are also an option, for example in project management, communications or curating. It is also possible to pursue a career in education, for example at upper secondary schools or folk high schools. 

Supplementary subjects

You have many options when choosing supplementary subject during the course of your degree programme. Other art history students have chosen to study: 

  • Supplementary subject in museological studies
  • Supplementary subject in culture of events
  • Supplementary subject in aesthetic communication 

Master’s degree programmes

Most graduates of the Bachelor’s programme in the history of ideas go on to do a Master’s degree. Examples of programmes you might chose include:

  • The Master’s degree programme in art history, during which you learn to apply and evaluate the various theories you were introduced to at BA level more independently.
  • The Master’s degree programme in experience economy, where you learn to understand experiences as commodities and design experiences for users.
  • The Master’s degree programme in aesthetics and culture, where you learn to analyse the aesthetic dimensions of our culture and everyday life.