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Art History and Theory
  Art History and Theory


The School of Art History and Theory at the College of Fine Arts ( offers undergraduate and postgraduate programs in Art Theory and courses in Art and Design History.

Art Theory is the study of ways of thinking about art and design – their histories, practices, reception and philosophies. Art Theory contextualises these practices by using a range of methodological tools: including psychoanalysis, philosophy and aesthetics, and political and sociological theories.

The goal of Art Theory is to enable students, whether studying to be practitioners or cultural critics and commentators, to be able to place the practice of art and design in the context of a rigorous and sustained enquiry which sees those practices as opportunities for questioning and thought. An overall objective of Art Theory is to provide the necessary background for understanding and evaluating contemporary theories of art and design, and increasing understanding of one’s own approach to art, whether as practitioner, educator or historian.

Art and Design History provides a core set of knowledges for all students in COFA. The assumption of the teaching and research in this discipline is that not only those who write and study art and design, but also practitioners, need to have a grounding in the historical study of their practice.

Art and Design History addresses both Western and non-Western art and design.
The School specialises in the study of modern and contemporary art. The histories of specific media, such as photography, film, painting or sculpture are also addressed by specific courses.

Studying Art History and Theory at UNSW
The College of Fine Arts ( offers a Bachelor of Art Theory program and related combined degree programs. Honours study and various opportunities for postgraduate study are also available.

Art History and Theory can be studied as 

Specialisation At the Level of Plan
Art History and Theory Minor ARTHA23434

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© The University of New South Wales (CRICOS Provider No.: 00098G), 2004-2011. The information contained in this Handbook is indicative only. While every effort is made to keep this information up-to-date, the University reserves the right to discontinue or vary arrangements, programs and courses at any time without notice and at its discretion. While the University will try to avoid or minimise any inconvenience, changes may also be made to programs, courses and staff after enrolment. The University may also set limits on the number of students in a course.