Fitzwilliam Museum by Sir Cam

History of Art

The History of Art Tripos at Cambridge provides an introduction to the study of the history and criticism of art and architecture, primarily of Western Europe.


Fitzwilliam Museum by Cambridge University

Find out about studying History of Art from the Department Website and in the University Undergraduate Prospectus.


History of Art at Wolfson

The three-year course is designed to provide students with a sound general introduction to the history of art, its theory and methodologies. The teaching includes making use of the exceptional resources of Cambridge collections and buildings. As well as greater knowledge of the subject, you will acquire critical and analytical skills and the ability to undertake independent research.

Cambridge is one of the best places in the world to study the History of Art. The city and University are home to fantastic collections of the finest art and architecture from the Middle Ages to the twenty-first century. Cambridge has a host of museums, some of the country’s greatest libraries, and internationally renowned and dedicated academic staff to guide your studies.

As a fairly small subject – it admits about 20-30 students across all the Colleges each year, the History of Art is organised very largely at a Departmental level, and for this reason students at different Colleges have basically the same academic experience. Whilst every College has a Director of Studies in the subject, all supervisions, lectures and seminars are organised centrally in the Department. History of Art is in this sense one of the most integrated subjects in the University.

Department of History of Art

Admissions Information

The University's entry requirements for History of Art can be found here.



Art historians study visual and material culture in their historical contexts. As such, we are looking for students with the potential to develop both acute skills of visual analysis and the ability to interpret works of art and architecture in relation to the social, political, religious and intellectual circumstances in which they were made and received.



No particular subjects at A level (or equivalent) are required for the History of Art course but subjects should be primarily academic. Subjects like History, English, Modern Languages, History of Art, Religious Studies and Classics are ideal, and Mathematics and experimental sciences are acceptable if accompanied by one or two arts A levels. Art/History of Art do not necessarily confer an advantage.


Written Work, Assessment and Interviews

Applicants shortlisted for interview will be asked to submit two marked essays or other written work. This should be in a related discipline which the candidate is studying or has studied.

Those interviewed will also sit a written assessment on the day of the interview. The written test lasts one hour and take the form of a structured comparison of images with no specialist knowledge assumed.

Shortlisted candidates will be invited to be interviewed in December. There will be one or two interviews (in total lasting 40-50 minutes) which will be conducted online via Zoom. The interview may include visual analysis, where applicants are presented with a couple of images of works of art or architecture, and asked to comment on them. This aspect is not intended as a narrow identification test but rather to facilitate broader discussion of how we can read and respond to visual material.